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: