Recipe: Quinoa With Black Beans and Tomato

Somewhere between a side dish and a salad, I pulled this dish together last night from the pantry and the garden. It turned out very well for a freehanded dish, so I thought I’d share it. I used standard canned black beans; other beans might work well as well.


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chicken stock (or water if you’re a vegetarian)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 can cooked black beans
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (approximately)
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the quinoa according to the package directions and allow to cool. I used chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor.

Put the oil into a nonstick pan. Sauté the shallot and garlic over medium heat until golden brown – watch carefully to avoid burning, especially if you chopped them very small.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and then put them into a bowl big enough to hold all ingredients.

Add the black beans, basil, parsley, shallots, garlic, and the quinoa.

Mix everything up in the blow and then salt & pepper to taste.

Can be served immediately or held in the fridge until dinner time.

Are You "In The Weeds"?

This piece comes from chef Shuna Fish Lydon’s blog Eggbeater, written by a working chef about the workings of a restaurant kitchen, but if you look past the jargon of the chef you’ll find the advice is relevant to any team that has to produce, on time and under pressure.

The Weeds.

It’s an expression for line cooks by line cooks, but it is also something much larger. A euphemism. It’s an in-the-moment, during service expression.

But it can also refer to your whole career.

The Weeds

can take a whole department. A station. A restaurant. A person and their career.

On The Line the weeds will usually let you out of its stranglehold after the last table is out.
But if you’re really stubborn, The Weeds might have a lesson for you that takes a week, or five years.

When I train cooks I say the same thing over and over.

There are no cowboys on islands in kitchens. If you can be smart and honest enough to see The Weeds getting near, and you can ask for support before The Weeds claim you altogether, I and we can help you push through. But if we don’t know you need help until you’re drowning, not only is it too late to help you, it’s too late to save the food from merely being banged-out. And I don’t know about you but I have more pride in my food than to allow it to be banged-out.

Go, read the rest, share it, bookmark it.

Hat tip, Ruhlman.

A New Side Project: My Food Blog

I’ve done occasional posts on food and cooking here, but recently, as I was reading Bill Buford’s Heat, I was struck by a phrase and though, “wow, that would make a great domain name.”

Being a geek, I registered it. And since my new web host allows me to run multiple domains off the same account, I set up a small food & recipe blog to go with the name. I’ve set it up the way I want it, and gotten a couple of posts up. It’s ready for the world now.

Benvenuto, Profumo Profondo.

A couple of friends have expressed some interest in occasionally contributing recipes, but I expect it will be mostly me, and be relatively low traffic. We’ll see how it goes.

Good Things Coming: The Next Iron Chef

As I slowly made my way through my much-neglected feed reader this morning, an offhand link from Ruhlman’s blog caught my eye: a short interview with Alton Brown to help promote “The Next Iron Chef”. It’s a fun read.

Along with The Barefoot Contessa, Alton’s one of the few people still watchable on the Food Network. I loved his two “Feasting on Asphalt” specials. His goofiness can occasionally be a little annoying, but given how FN has eviscerated nearly all their real cooking shows, I suppose it’s the price he has to pay to keep “Good Eats” on the air.

At any rate, “The Next Iron Chef” has been added to the TiVo. I really hope it doesn’t suck.

Scott and I watched the Tuscany episode of “No Reservations” last night and got into a discussion of some possible options for homemade pasta this weekend. If we do haul the much-neglected pasta machine out of the closet today I may get a blog post out of it.

Notes from the Kitchen

Two quick food & cooking related notes from the past weekend:

1) We’ve made the Roasted Tomato & Fennel soup recipe we came up with several times over the past few months, always to great acclaim. As a follow-up, Scott decided to try a new version of the recipe with a medley of roasted root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, and turnip, plus a leek and some garlic cloves). We weren’t sure whether beef of chicken stock would go better in this version, so we did a split-test and did half-batches in separate pots with the different stocks. The result was tasty, but not quite as successful as the tomato-fennel version. We’ll try again with some other combinations in the not too distant future.

2) We saw Ratatouille. I share Ruhlman’s highly positive take on the piece — with one caveat. My feminist funnybone got dinged by the fact that the movie was set up so that Remy the rat ALWAYS knew better than Colette when it came to food. She’s presented as a highly talented line cook who worked her butt off to get where she was. Couldn’t she be right at least once?