Tight Ass Tuesday: Beans and Quin


That’s pronounced “beans and keen,” for you whole grain noobs.


I decided to keep things light, quick and simple for my first day back, so I could take my time dipping my toes into the water and also have enough time to watch American Idol, which, yes, I have been known to watch, especially when Ellen Degeneres is involved. Plus, what’s better than a nice cold-to-room-temperature salad on a 30 degree day when 18 inches of snow are about to be dumped upon the land? Perfection!

Ergo, black beans, quinoa and avocado in a simple lime and cumin vinaigrette. Suck it, seasonality!


I like quinoa as a grain because (1) it’s fun to say; (2) it tastes nutty and delicious and (3) you cook it like pasta, so you don’t have to mess around with grain-to-liquid ratios and shit. I suck at math and I can never cook the damn rice correctly, so it’s nice to be able to boil ’til done, drain and call it a day.

To make the blog more manageable and facilitate increased napping, I’ve moved to Plan “Planning,” where I actually map things out ahead of time (although I still don’t cook ahead of time; there’s only so much planning I can take). I got a leg up from Fresh Direct this week, as I plan to in all coming weeks, when I discovered that you can buy regular old avocados, or you can buy “ready to eat avocados.”

On one hand huzzah, because I’ll know my avocados are, if not seasonable, at least ready to be eaten. On the other hand, shouldn’t all produce be sold ready to eat? I mean, I don’t want my veg to be overripe or mushy, but I want to be able to eat it. The only exception: peaches, which I love so intently that I am willing to leave them on the counter in a paper bag until it’s showtime. Otherwise, if I’m buying you, I want to eat you. If not now, then soon. I dictate my avocado consumption, the avocado does not dictate me.


While the quinoa cooked and cooled – there’s another benefit of quinoa; it only takes about 12 minutes to cook, unlike some other grains I could name – I threw together a simple dressing of lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and toasted cumin seeds. Lime juice because it’s good with avocado and black beans, toasted cumin seeds because I was too lazy to get out the spice grinder and pulverize my cumin.

Never let it be said that I shirk my shortcomings. I am fucking LAZY as shit. Seriously, it’s a miracle I brush my teeth every day, and I only do that because I’m so scared of the dentist. I hate the dentist more than I hate clowns, and I REALLY hate clowns. What’s really going on in their creepy little clown heads behind that slick greasepaint smile? Surely they don’t enjoy all being in that tiny car together; you know one of them has BO and there’s always fighting over the radio station. But we’ll never know their true feelings, and thus I will never like clowns. (Sad clowns are marginally less disturbing, but only marginally.)(Also, the evil clown from IT scared the living crap out of me, and my mind pictures all clowns with razor blade teeth. So that doesn’t help either.)


I cubed an avocado that was, as promised, ready to eat and tossed it in the lime-a-grette to keep it from turning brown, then drained and rinsed the beans and mixed them in. Yes, I used beans from a can. Because (1) remember, light and quick and (2) remember, lazy as shit.


I folded my now-cooled quinoa in, careful not to break up the avocado chucks because GOD FORBID the structural integrity of my avocado be compromised in any way.

Truly, the few things about which I am NOT lazy (maintaining the integrity of my avocado, keeping my bookshelves perfectly aligned and organized, making sure the upstairs bathroom is always stocked with an adequate supply of Crate and Barrel catalogs*, artfully arranging jars of grains and chiles in our open cabinets to make the kitchen look as much as possible as the Barefoot Contessa’s) are a motley crew.

I heaped some salad (I guess this qualifies as a salad?) into a bowl, and dinner was served. Fast, healthy – vegan even, take that angry vegans who were pissed about the tofu moussaka** – and ready to eat.

*Incidentally, I was just in the bathroom reading said catalog; did you know there’s an item of furniture called a “chifforobe”? I think they made it up.

**Before more vegans get angry, please note that I did come around to tofu thanks to Martin Yan.


This was good, and eating it made me feel virtuous. Quinoa makes a fun little squeaky pop between the teeth, and lime and cumin were made to go with black beans. My only complaint is that it could have used some more textural contrast, especially with all the big chunks of creamy, ready-to-eat avocado; there was no real crunch aside from the occasional pop of a cumin seed, and it was really crying out for some. What can I say? Maybe you can win them all, but I, personally, cannot. And if I didn’t post less-than-perfect dishes, I’d hardly have a blog. So there you have it: make this, but chuck in some diced raw bell pepper. You’ll be happier.

And now, because I had a crappy afternoon, a pick-me-up:


20 thoughts on “Tight Ass Tuesday: Beans and Quin

  1. Welcome back! I’m thinking some fresh corn might be good in this too but again, not in season…for your snow covered half of the country. Us snobby Californians eat avocados, corn, and strawberries year-round. God, I’m a jerk annnd your dog is adorable.

  2. Ugh, I hate clowns. So much so that my niece used to say “Auntie Sara don’t like clowns” when she was two. And I was reading It in 7th or 8th grade at two in the morning, and as if it wasn’t scary enough, my friends knocked at my window. I never picked up the book again.

  3. Gorgeous dog!

    Do love quinoa, and yep, the fact that you can just boil it till it’s done is one of its pleasing properties. I don’t see canned beans as being bad in any way…they’re so handy for making a quick meal when it seems like there’s nothing in the kitchen. Also…totally hate clowns too.

  4. I want to love Quinoa…always have…but it fails me every time. I’d just rather grab some other grain like bulgur, cracked wheat, wheat berries, even couscous…

    but i just cant get into the quin…but i fully LOVE the presence of beans and avocado…mmmmm

  5. Ooh, loves me some quinoa & this looks great…except for my little ol’ deadly avocado allergy. Do you think the dressing would work with roasted red peppers or roasted golden beets?

    And yes, chifforobe is real: http://tinyurl.com/yeyc53l It’s a Southern thang.

  6. A chifforobe is what Mayella asked Tom Robinson to break up for her in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ It’s like the southern word for armoire.

    I’ve got all the ingredients, I think I’ll make this for dinner tonight, but the menfolk will need some meat, perhaps some pork tenderloin.

  7. I hadn’t heard of chifforobes either until I moved to the south, but still, I think it’s a term mostly used by those in the deep south. It’s just a fancy word for wardrobe.

    This dish sounds good. I’m going to have to get some ready to eat avocados so I can make it soon.

    Love when you post pics of your pups.

  8. julie, corn would be really good in this. and strawberries for dessert. too bad i’m in the middle of a fucking blizzard.

    stupid jerky californians.

    sara, i had to read it without stopping because i was too terrified to put it down. luckily it was a weekend, and i’m a fast reader.

    lauren, i don’t know what i would do without canned beans, they’re such a staple. people try to tell me it’s just as easy to work with dry, but you just can’t turn on a dime with dry beans.

    kate, perfect!

    lasomnambule, i could start. that’s actually more fun to say.

    vera, well, the wheatberry is certainly the superior grain.

    i wonder if i would like quinoa as much if cooking it required a ratio? i bet not.

    burkie, shucks, thanks. it’s good to be back.

    cayenne, i don’t know how well the lime would work with roasted red peppers. you might be better off with lemon, or a more standard vinaigrette.

    peggasus, best reference for a chifforobe ever! well played.

    tanis, and they love when i post pics of them. they’re hams.

    karen, no joke. it didn’t take much to fill up.

  9. I have done the Fresh Direct “ready to eat” avocado thing. And i frequently find the “ready to eat” avocados still need another day or two before they are out of baseball contention. Sometimes, they just outright LIE! Highly irritating.
    When I buy an avocado, it’s because I have spontaneously decided that I want to eat one in some healthy dish. Not because I know in 4-6 days I shall crave one.

    On other notes: nice to have you back :)

  10. I ate almost this exact same thing for dinner three nights last week + red onions. Nice.

    Also, I love your chairs and would try to steal your dog if you lived closer than one thousand miles away. (I wouldn’t really steal your dog, that’s a compliment that sounds UBER creepy on the internet. Kaitlyn fail.)

  11. another chifforobe reference:
    in the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”, George Clooney’s character hooks back up with his wife towards the end, and she mentions something about leaving her wedding ring in the chifforobe — it was a really quick comment, but it stuck with me, I guess because I like to say the word.

  12. He, he…so with you there on the clowns. Everytime when I’m walking our dog and we go by the sewer grates I issue a reminder warning that clowns live down there.

    Great recipe as well. I’ve fallen in love with quinoa over the last year or two, I think it’s the texture. If you ever decide to give dried beans a try, make at least 1 lb at a time and freeze in 2 cup portions. No harder to pull out of the freezer than open a can and much greater sodium control.

  13. chessa, that’s exactly how i feel about avocados. maybe it’s the luck of the draw, but the ones i got were actually ready to eat.

    camille, i was trying to be charitable, although i don’t know why given my hatred of clowns.

    kaitlyn, he will not be stolen, he sticks to us like glue. they don’t call sheepdogs “velcro dogs” for nothing.

    unless you had a chicken drumstick. then he would totally follow you anywhere.

    NOTE: internet strangers, please do not try to steal my dog with a chicken drumstick.

    amy, a coen brothers reference no less! well done indeed.

    kris, HELL TO THE YES to the sewer grates. (also, thanks for the bean-freezing tip.)

  14. I am a spoiled Cali girl – have avocados growing in the backyard – I’ll never be able to move. I’d miss my tree too much.

    I was excited about trying this out – had avos – subbed the rest – canned, drained kidney beans and frozen brown rice. The fresh lime/olive oil dressing really rounded out the dish.

    Frozen brown rice is a gift from God – or at least from Trader Joe’s – if you can get your hands on some – it resolves your rice dilemma.

    My meal was delicious. Thanks!

  15. I see this post was quite some time ago, but I wanted to comment. I recently was inspired to make a bean & quin dish based on a couple recipes I saw, and it is absolutely delicious. Mine includes: quinoa (cooked in chicken broth), black beans, corn, mushroom, red onion, and sweet potato, seasoned very lightly with just a little salt and chilli powder, and with shredded “Mexican Blend” cheese on top. I’ve added avocado a couple times in the past and liked that, too. The corn helps a bit with the crunch, but you’re right, it is pretty mushy. Luckily, I like it that way.

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