I grew up in a village. I didn’t think much of it until one of my students said, “A village? Those are real? I thought they only existed in fairy tales.” Are kids getting dumber?
Recently, Rosie Beaucoup brought out a whole bunch of stuff from my village childhood to show 2.0. Highlights included a clipping of my locks from my very first haircut, photos of my parents feeding me dog biscuits, and a certificate stating that I had earned my Bachelor of Rhymes from the local pre-school. Yah, you read that right. A Bachelor of Rhymes. Can I get a what what? Bounce wit me.
Then we stumbled across a program from Happiness is Figure Skating (which, FYI, is a total lie), presented by the local figure skating club. Suddenly, I was awash with painful memories. My name was listed in the section called: Stars of Tomorrow (another lie). I remembered that we, the stars of tomorrow, were to bring the tale of The Farmer in the Dell to life. I was cast as The Cat. The pungent scent of the local skating rink came back to me as vividly as if I were once again standing at centre ice, blinded by the lights, in my wee black cat costume. I remember skating in a circle, each child attached to the next. And then, like a punch to the stomach, the memory of a spectacular fall came flooding back. As if only yesterday, I could remember falling and taking the entire cast of The Farmer in the Dell down with me. The farmer, his wife, the child, the dog…
I remembered that I didn’t return to figure skating after The Incident. I think my parents were told I didn’t demonstrate much potential, and I was enrolled in ballet the next fall. And I thought about how those cruddy instructors lacked vision. How they didn’t spot my potential for Olympic glory because I destroyed one stupid lame-ass village production of The Farmer in the Dell. I was like, four, for cripes sake. And the costume didn’t fit right. Come to think of it, that’s probably what made me fall. The tail threw my balance off.
And I felt sad for my child-self. So, so sad.
As I held the wrinkled old program in my hands, my eyes scrolled down the list of cast members. The names of the children let down by yours truly. And there was my sister’s name! She was in The Farmer in the Dell? How could I have forgotten? What was she cast as? Oh, there she is… The Cheese.
And then I laughed for about three hours straight.
If you’re looking for a tasty treat that will allow you to meet the challenges presented by a local figure skating production, you should consider eating some quinoa. This stuff will give you the power of, like, ten skating cats. It’s a freakin’ super food, mofos. And this here salad is a great way to transport some of that superbness straight to your belly. It’s a got a little greek salad thing going on what with the thyme, balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. The crunchy veggies are perfect alongside the protein packed, gluten-free pseudo-cereal awesomeness that is quinoa. And it’s über easy to make – you can dice the veggies and make the dressing in the time it takes to cook the quinoa. The dressing has a nice tang, and the feta adds a little saltiness to the mix. I could eat this stuff by the shovelful. No lie. I just high fived myself.
Oh, and just so you know, sister dearest, you didn’t have the worst part in that ill-fated production of The Farmer in the Dell. Some kid named Debbie had to play the part of The House.
. . .
Yields enough to serve 4-6 as a side dish.
- 3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1 1/2 cups water (for cooking quinoa)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese + extra for garnish if desired
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Here’s what I do: put 3/4 cup of quinoa in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before floofing with a fork. As the quinoa is cooking, you can dice the veggies and prepare the dressing.
To prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the thyme, pepper, salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Set aside.
To assemble the salad: place the green pepper, red pepper, garlic, and green onion into a large bowl, and mix to combine. Stir in the prepared quinoa. Pour the dressing overtop and mix to combine. Finally, mix in the feta cheese.
Sprinkle the top of the salad with some crumbled feta cheese for garnish (if desired).
Best if served immediately. Should be stored in the refrigerator if not eating right away, due to the cheese content.
Note: I find this salad tastes best when it’s warm/room temperature, though you might like it cold! If the salad has been chilled, you can heat it gently in the microwave before serving. If microwaving, use a low power setting and heat for only 10-20 seconds at a time, stirring frequently, as the salad should be warm, not hot, to avoid cooking the veggies and cheese.