Roman and I feel like we're on house arrest with this heat. Rome is really no place for a wee-one this time of year. To make things worse, lately, contractors have been redoing the floors in the apartment above ours. They are supposed to stop from 2-4 pm but they are not respecting building rules. Today I stomped upstairs with one hot, sticky baby, looking pretty haggard myself, to ring the bell and ask them to (please) stop. They stopped for five minutes, then started drilling on the terrace. They might as well have been drilling a hole through my skull. And this is why we're planning our escape this weekend to an organic agriturismo. I know, life's rough.
So, at 4:30, I strapped said tired, sticky baby (did I mention he has 4 teeth coming in on top) into his stroller to go a-strolling to the food store. Even though it was the heat of the day, we really needed to get out, plus I had not a crumb in the cupboard for dinner. On the walk, I was thinking about how unbalanced our meals have been lately. I feel like I'm always scrambling to throw something together and get Roman bathed and to bed all by 7 pm. When was the last time we ate a grain other than pasta? I got to thinking about quinoa and how Roman would be able to scoop that up quite easily by the handful. He feeds himself, and delights in everything I give him now, by the way!
Most places on the planet right now it's too hot to stand for very long over a stove. I conjured up this summery, colorful salad that requires minimum sweaty kitchen time. It has texture with the little pearly quinoa, crunch from the pumpkin seeds, and depth of flavor with grilled onions and sweet potatoes. I served it up with some wild smoked salmon and avocado slices, a meal rich in omega 3's and protein.
Roman threw a lot of the quinoa on the floor and wiped some in his hair, but actually ate a fair amount. Sorry, no photos to share of that.
Quinoa "Confetti" Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 sweet potato cut into rounds
1 red onion cut into rounds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon minced parsley
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Bring 1 cup quinoa to boil in 2 cups of water. Reduce heat to simmer and cover, cook for 15 minutes. Cool. Meanwhile, in a grill pan (if you have one, if not you could grill outside, or even broil these), grill the sweet potato and the red onion. When cooled, dice both vegetables. Seed the tomatoes and dice. Combine all of the above ingredients, along with the lemon zest, juice, olive oil (you need about 1 tablespoon of oil), parsley, salt, pepper. Chill the salad before serving.