Cooking Lesson

I had a cooking lesson with a friend this weekend. Well, that’s a stretch. The only thing we (she) cooked was the quinoa. Everything else was chopping and mixing. Still, the end result was made from scratch – including the dressing – and it was delicious and healthy and pretty!

We made a Thai quinoa salad from a recipe she found online. I’m not a very experienced cook and tend to be intimidated by anything that seems the slightest bit complicated. The dressing for this recipe made me nervous, and I wasn’t sure where to find the quinoa here in Taipei so I asked her to help. Thankfully, she loves to cook and was happy to take me shopping and to cook at her place which is much bigger than mine.

I understand why people find cooking relaxing. Even though I’m not very good and will get stressed if the recipe is confusing, I love when a dish comes together. There is something about organizing the ingredients, chopping, stirring that takes you to a zen sort of place. Your mind is occupied with something nourishing and delicious, and your senses are completely engaged.

The only sense I can think of that I don’t use much when cooking is hearing, but I usually have music on while I cook so that’s all part of the process for me.

Blair put on some music, and we both chopped up the vegetables. We barely talked during this part because, as I said, zen. She put the quinoa on to boil then started the dressing. This part was a little tricky because we changed the super healthy vegan recipe a bit since we had no idea where to get a few of the ingredients.

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For the dressing, she substituted natural peanut butter for almond butter, soy sauce for tamari, and rice vinegar for brown rice vinegar. The peanut butter was difficult to mix at first, but, once she started adding water, it got easier and turned out great. I say “she” because the only thing I did here was offer encouraging words and squeeze the lime. But that lime was hard to squeeze, dang it!

We also used black quinoa instead of white and used some different veggies, but it was awesome! The quinoa looks a little like ants, but I promise it tasted really good.

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Mixed with dressing

Here’s the original recipe and website  – Simply Quinoa – which looks like a wonderful resource for anyone trying to cook healthy food using quinoa.

Go have a zen evening making something in the kitchen!

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