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Exciting things don’t usually tend to happen to me.
I know I talk about things like meeting matchmaker cabdrivers and setting world records for making the most PB+J sandwiches in one minute.
But honestly, this weekend I rode in three cabs. Each of which was completely nondescript and totally un-noteworthy.
And I did not set a single world record.
You’re snoring already, I see. That’s okay. Yesterday I was forced to listen to a truly boring individual talk about methylation of DNA for two hours. And I did not listen to a single word he said. Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?
Ah, but here’s where you should perk up. This weekend, I walked my first red carpet. Okay. It was not red. In fact, it looked distinctly like tar. But it felt like a red carpet, and isn’t it truly the thought that counts?
You see, thanks to the wonderfully amazing folks over at POM Wonderful (and wow, who knew that they have an Abercrombie and Fitch model on their website. If drinking gallons of POM can get me a guy like that…I’ll bathe in the stuff.) I was able to attend one of the NYC Wine and Food Festival’s Grand Tastings!
Basically, the NYC Wine and Food Festival is a festival centered around food and wine (duh) that is hosted by the Food Network and Food and Wine magazine. Each day there are a series of events, cooking demos, book signings as well as grand tastings where you basically walk around this HUGE tent with a wine glass hanging around your neck and gorge yourself on free food and wine from some of NYC’s most famous fine dining establishments. It was basically what I imagine heaven to be like.
The festival was located at Pier 54 and in order to get there, you need to walk along the West Side Highway, a favorite running and biking route among the city’s physically inclined. However, rather than have festival-goers mingle with the sweaty and dehydrated, the Wine and Food Festival planners blocked off half the running path for us.
It was a very VIP moment. I may or may not have posed and put on my movie star face as I walked down the strip.
By which I mean. I probably did.
So that was how I spent my Sunday. Gorging myself on amazing food and amazing wine. Thinking to myself the entire time. Man. This was not the time nor the place to wear my skinny jeans. (Note to self. Next year. Wear something with an elastic waistband.)
And to think, this was after the mouth-watering dinner I attended on Friday at the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, hosted by POM Wonderful, to kick off pomegranate season (more on this in a later post!)
To say that I was stuffed beyond belief (and very happily so). Is an understatement.
And what does one do when one has eaten more gourmet chocolate and than one cares to remember? One goes back to basics. Fresh flavors. Clean eating.
Hence this chickpea and quinoa salad, which is good for you in every sense of the word. Whole grains, fiber, vegetables, healthy fat, vitamin E. Good for your mind, good for your body, and good for your tastebuds (which really means good for your soul). I’ll be eating this every day for the next week. Because you just never know when a red carpet or a little black dress is going to present itself. Word.
Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Lemon and Tahini
Serves 4, adapted from Lisa’s Kitchen
1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 can chickpeas
1 1/2 cups red quinoa
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 medium eggplant
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
3 tbsp tahini
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. If using dried chickpeas, soak them over night in water for at least six hours. Drain them. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them plus an inch. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer until soft. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
2. Dice the eggplant. Heat a nonstick skillet. Spray with cooking spray. Saute eggplant until cooked through. Set aside.
3. Mix 1 1/2 cups red quinoa in a pan with three cups water. Season with salt. Cover and bring to a boil. When boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid has dissolved.
4. While this is happening, mix together the ingredients for the dressing – shallot, garlic, lemon, tahini, salt, pepper.
5. When the quinoa, eggplant, and chickpeas are done, mix all together with the dressing and the chopped parsley.
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