Well, we are installed in a new house (sigh of relief). Half of our life is still in boxes (plain old sigh), but a lot of it is actually unpacked and organized, including the kitchen (yay!!!!!). And GUESS WHAT!!! My new kitchen has BRIGHT red countertops and – even more importantly – a view of Lake Superior. Dreamy.
For lack of a better way of describing it, the house feels like a house for grown-ups. It’s just nice. Low-key, unostentatious, and so nice. It has good bones, or as the realtor we worked with kept saying, “it has good juju.” Only two families have lived here before us in the past 50 years. It’s a place where people settle down and live, and you can feel that when you’re in it, somehow. Ever since I first left home, I have always basically longed for a place that felt homey in this way, in the way that exudes settling and putting down roots.
But, now that I’m here, it is a) wonderful, but b) slightly freaking me out because suddenly I’m like, “this means I’m SO OLD! And I don’t know what I’m doing!!!!” Here we are with a baby, in this house, and I keep looking around for the real grown-ups to show up and intervene. (And sometimes they do! In the form of my parents or neighbors who stop in and have excellent advice and observations on making and maintaining a home. I wonder if they themselves still sometimes wish a real grown-up would show up and show them how you’re supposed to do things. Or is it something you do eventually grow out of? Like when you’re 98?)
Speaking of growing up, Espen has in the last week and a half really started crawling. It’s not graceful, by any means, but there are times when he manages to move at warp speed. I’ve long had an (unfortunate) tendency to view the world as a not very safe place, but I never knew before just how unsafe it was. It turns out that everything, even in your own home, is just waiting to take out your eye, scrape up your forehead and knees, fall on top of you, and wind up – misguidedly – in your mouth. If you are a 9 month old boy, at least.
So, my job has become scrambling around closely in Espen’s wake, letting him explore but standing ever at the ready to try to prevent him from impaling himself on one of the many objects in our home that you wouldn’t think was hard and sharp, but is, if you hurtle toward it out of control. It is a full. time. job. I can barely get anything else done. I don’t know how people out there who have children capable of moving ever get anything done, unless they have help, or their children actually take long naps. It’s sometimes frustrating because you get that Through the Looking Glass sense that “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” But it’s also quite fun in its own way. Molly just wrote in a post about how having a child there forces you to be 100% present. It’s so true. You don’t have the option of zoning out unless you want your child to zip from his playroom into the bathroom, try to climb the toilet, fall on his face on the tile floor, then try to eat a knob on the sink plumbing (really baby?) leading him to whack his face again. For example.
We’re doing some intensive baby-proofing, but you can’t proof a baby against himself, so you still have to stay present. And that, I think, is probably very healthy for me. Even if I don’t get all my work done anymore.
But, moving on to the matter at hand: quinoa and white beans. Anyone who knows me well will immediately have spotted how odd this post is. I don’t eat quinoa or white beans. Nothing against them. I like the taste quite well. However, they make my tummy hurt, so I generally avoid them. But, in the old house, in the crazy run-up to the distillery grand opening, we had a bunch of days where all (3, wow!) of our employees descended on our house to help us build and print and sew and jar things. And they needed lunch.
For unclear reasons, we had white beans around, as well as quinoa – the quinoa, I sometimes like to turn into salads for lunch for Joel – so I decided that everyone other than me ought to be treated to a tasty lunch of warm quinoa peppered with garlicky, rosemary-y white beans, laced with caramelized, roasted broccoli, and flecked with thin slices of salami (which you can totally omit to make it vegetarian/vegan). I can’t really say much more about it than that, since I didn’t eat it. But, I know everyone had a second helping, and I decided that meant it was worth sharing!
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 cup quinoa
- 3 cups cooked white beans (canned is fine, just rinse them first)
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 oz thinly sliced salami, cut into ribbons (optional)
- Heat your oven to 425F. Toss the broccoli pieces with olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread it on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender and dark brown in places, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well in a strainer (this is necessary to remove the tannic outer coating), then put it in a pot with 2 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.
- In a large frying pan (sorry about all the dirty dishes!), add ¼ cup olive oil and heat over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary, turn to low and cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Then, stir in the beans getting them all coated with the oil. Cook for another minute or two to warm the beans, then add the beans and all the flavored oil to the bowl with the quinoa.
- Add the broccoli and the lemon juice and toss everything together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Then toss in the salami, if using. Remove the rosemary sprigs before serving, if you're worried about someone not paying attention and getting a giant mouthful of rosemary.