I like to cook. When I get or make the time, cooking is a cathartic experience for me. When I’m motivated or inspired, I look in the fridge to see what I have, or think about for what I’m in the mood. Sometimes I follow straight from the recipe; sometimes I change ingredients or steps based on experience; and sometimes I follow a desirable color palette. Grazing through cookbooks or magazines of various cuisines and diets, and even online, I begin to anticipate what may be created next. I also love excursions to the grocery store or farmers market, seeing what’s fresh and in season to determine what colorful dish can be prepared.
I think my cooking interest really began in my early 30’s while living in Seattle. I had a group of friends, some who cooked and some who just enjoyed food. When I met my husband he worked in the service industry and also enjoyed cooking, and the foodie adventures continued. Including the major holidays, dinner parties, barbeques, restaurant excursions and take-away gatherings were the norm. My favorite experiences, and most of the time the dishes, were prepared at each other’s homes. I loved having themes and searching for new things to cook. I even enjoyed the challenge of meeting everyone’s dietary restrictions and preferences. Well, almost always…
Some of my more recent curiosities were inspired by a vegetarian cookbook full of international recipes, which was referenced in a book about Ayurveda. That led me to dig deeper with Sachi Doctor, an Ayurvedic practitioner based in San Francisco. Sachi has taught me to understand how to eat (and live) in a way that is more aligned with my mind-body constitution (dosha) and with the seasons. Thinking about reviving the group meal experience and combining it with my passions for teaching and cooking, Sachi and I collaborated to teach workshops that applied Ayurvedic principles on the mat and in the kitchen. Our next endeavors are in the works, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I plan to share my own experiences in the kitchen. Here’s a tasty salad idea that I created for Summer/Spring.
Vibrant Quinoa Salad
Combine the following chopped herbs in food processor with 1/3 cup or more olive oil. Add lemon or vinegar if desired,
- 1 bunch cilantro , packed
- 1/2 cup parsley , loose
- 1/4 cup each dill, mint & tarragon
Mix with the following:
- 2 cups (more/less as desired) cooked quinoa
- small sautéed onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 3-4 green onions, sliced
- generous handful of arugula, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste; I also added cumin
- feta, optional
If you don’t like the taste of tarragon, you could skip it or experiment with another herb…basil, sorrel, lemon thyme.