Authors: .green kitchen stories
I close my eyes and spin around a few laps. Deep breaths. I feel the fear pounding in my heart. Trying to swallow it down. It is not working, I’m still afraid. I take another breath and swallow again. Am I ready for this? Are we ready for this? Change. A new direction. Uncertainty and excitement. Let’s start walking.
11 years ago I graduated from a design school in Stockholm. The day after my graduation I started working as a layout assistant for a magazine. After a few years I became an art director. I have worked day-time at different magazines ever since then. I have always loved my work intensely. But now I am letting go.
All our adventures on this blog have finally given me the strength and confidence to start working on my own. Everything that we have done on the blog, so far, is the labour of late nights, weekends and vacations. Who knows what we can achieve on day-time?
I am blessed that Luise is supporting my decision. In fact, she has been encouraging it. We need those weeknights and weekends for our family. I have worked too much. I know that.
My plan is to do some freelance work as a designer, try my luck as a food photographer, keep on developing our apps, perhaps start working on another book and a bunch of other projects that I have sketched up inside my head. And also, write these blog posts before the sun has gone down. Luise will continue studying nutrition and developing recipes. But she is also considering teaching more classes in nutrition and cooking.
I know this is the right decision for us, but I still feel the fear pounding in my chest.
We have to think through our living expenses. Choose more carefully what to buy. We have talked about moving bigger, but now we might have to wait with that for a while. It is fine though. This is what we want. We are standing here with our eyes closed. And yet, they have never been more open. We don’t know where the future will take us. But we hope that we will keep on learning as much as we have so far.
Moving on to today’s recipe. It is only the beginning of the summer and we have already made this dish four times. I suspect that we will make it at least a couple of times more before the summer is over. Grilled asparagus is one of the simplest and tastiest things that we know. Here, we have paired it with a delicious creamy quinoa with large chunks of marinated bell pepper, feta cheese and hints of lemon and cumin. If you can’t find fresh asparagus, you can use carrots, leek or any other grilled vegetable. The quinoa would actually also be good on its own.
Grilled Asparagus & Creamy Lemon Quinoa
You can prepare the quinoa in advance and just grill the asparagus for a little over 5 minutes before serving.
1 cup (190 g) white quinoa
2 bundles (800 g) asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup (180 g) roasted, marinated red bell peppers, drained and cut into bite-size pieces (you can of course grill them yourself)
1 cup (200 g) feta cheese
1 handful fresh coriander/cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (reserve some leaves for garnishing)
For the dressing
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds
Rinse the quinoa, place in a small saucepan and add 2 cups / 475ml water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce and lemon juice. Gently crush the cumin seeds with a pestle or the back of a knife and add to the dressing.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a griddle pan over high heat. Rinse and pat the asparagus dry and place on a plate. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and roll them until well coated. Season with salt. Arrange the asparagus directly over the heat on the grill rack or place in the pan and cook, turning as needed, until nicely marked on all sides without being burned – 6‑8 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the quinoa, dressing, bell peppers, feta and coriander or parsley in a large mixing bowl. Arrange the grilled asparagus on plates, top with the quinoa mixture and a few coriander leaves.