watermelon, blueberry + basil quinoa salad + a red awakening

Always the setting forth was the same, Same sea, same dangers waiting for him, As though he had got nowhere but older. Behind him on the receding shore, The identical reproaches, and somewhere, Out before him, the unraveling patience, He was wedded to. There were the islands, Each with its woman and twining welcome, To be navigated, and one to call “home.” The knowledge of all that he had betrayed, Grew till it was the same where he stayed, Or went. Therefore he went. And what wonder, If sometimes he could not remember, Which was the one who wished on his departure, Perils that he could never sail through, And which, improbable remote, and true, Was the one he kept sailing home to? — “Odysseus” by W.S. Merwin

Today I woke thinking of red. It’s strange, I know, but I’ve always been prone to dreaming in shape and color. Fields of blistering poppies, Stop signs, scarlet paint thrown onto a canvas, a thumping rabbit’s heart covered in leaves, and a sanguine river gushing out of the very elegant elevator doors in The Shining — I saw all of this as I woke. It was a tableaux of rich color — reds faded to the orange and browns of daguerreotype, and hues so bright they threatened to scald.

On my way to the laundry, I noticed these abandoned shoes. And then I read this: I realised that I was staring at a fork in life — a choice between the somewhat Known and the completely Unknown. That was really what it came down to. The rational brain wanted to choose the former. And a seemingly irrational voice wanted the latter.

Perhaps this color assault was meant to awaken, to jolt oneself out of bed, to snap into life, get into the frame as it were. Red is symbolically interpreted as intense passion, love, energy, life (and arguably, the fear of losing it). Red has the power to pause, to cease, to make one surrender. A heart beating under skin. A valiant man in uniform running into a towering inferno. But red could also signify courage, longing, determination — a will that will not bend, a force that will not be broken.

I thought about this today for it’s the first day in weeks that I’ve enjoyed uninterrupted sleep. I didn’t wake to a random sound, my cat’s restless breathing, or my own thoughts racing. I felt awake.

I also realize that I’m on the verge. Sort of like Odysseus watching all that he’s left behind, moving toward something unchartered and unknown. I think about taking great risks, making leaps, packing bags, being nomadic, embarking on the newness of something, and it’s all very thrilling.

In celebration of this red awakening, I’ve embarked on a minor challenge: finding a myriad of ways to fix quinoa. I’ve found books, blogs, and combinations that are exciting, and I’ll be sharing them all with you this week. So sit tight, soak your quinoa and think about the ways in which you can breathe life into a body that maybe once you thought was ready for the pasture.


INGREDIENTS: Recipe inspired by Quinoa Revolution, but beyond the watermelon + quinoa, this recipe is all mine.
1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed under cold water
1 cup water
2 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
1 tbsp of the sundried tomato olive oil (or regular olive oil is fine, too)
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp blanched, slivered almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes
1/4 cup gruyere, cut into small cubes (the salad is divine without cheese, so don’t freak if you can’t have dairy. Or, you can opt to use feta)
Salt/pepper, to taste

After you’ve rinsed the quinoa, add it, along with the cup of water to a medium pot. Bring the water to a boil, and then simmer, covered for 15 minutes. When done, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, toss the watermelon, blueberries, sundried tomatoes, basil, almonds and gruyere. Add the cooled quinoa, oil, salt + pepper to taste. Serve lukewarm or chilled.


7 thoughts on “watermelon, blueberry + basil quinoa salad + a red awakening

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