Kiss the Cook


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By mid-second semester, it dawned on me that my weekly trips to the grocery store were doing more harm than help. I constantly felt compelled to eat all the food I had before it expired and my loyalty for Central Market (over the local H-E-B notorious for cart traffic jams) left my food allowance tight by the end of the month.

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On the weekends, I mostly ate out and Kappa provided all my lunches as well as dinner on Sunday and Mondays. Needless to say, I didn't refine the cooking skills I anticipated to before the my apartment life began.

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To make up for lost time, I put myself to work in the kitchen this past weekend. Mollie invited Mary Caroline and I to her ranch for Memorial Day, so I offered to bring a baked goodie. Mollie suggested that a savory dish may be a better contribution as chocolate chip cookies and Texas sheet cake were already on the menu. I turned to my Pinterest board and decided to make a lemon quinoa cilantro chickpea salad from the Diva Dish.

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We have quinoa two to three times a week at Kappa and I was curious to see just how this nutrient-packed grain that's all the rage these days is made. This recipe provided a host of other yummy ingredients alongside the quinoa, and it made for the perfect accompaniment with the assortment of meats, fruit, beans and potato salad that made up our Memorial Day meal. The recipe is as follows:

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1/2 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 diced avocados
2 cups spinach
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup onion
2 cloves garlic

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juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
dash of salt + pepper

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Make the quinoa by soaking the grains in a pot with the vegetable broth for about 15 minutes. After that, let the quinoa come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the quinoa cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring it every so often. Most of the liquid should be soaked into the grains when it's finished. At this point, remove it from the heat and cover it with a lid.

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Mince the spinach and cilantro in a food processor. Add these to a bowl and place the onions and garlic in a food processor next.

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Once these are processed, add them to the mixture of greens.

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Drain the can of chickpeas and add this to the bowl; once the quinoa is cooled, add it next.

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Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and toss it into the salad. Finally, add the tomatoes and the avocados when you are ready to serve the dish.

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And bon app├ętit!