This summer is supposed to be a frugal one, which means that I probably shouldn't be buying quinoa (especially the only brand of quinoa they had at Shaw's, which was organic and pre-washed* and all that fancy stuff) at $5 for 7.5 servings. But the stuff is nutritious, versatile, and flavorful enough to justify its sudden trendiness, and I had a craving, so I decided to splurge and make a quinoa tabbouleh of sorts. I used about 2/3 cups of quinoa, cooled, most of a bunch of parsley, half a cucumber, a few carrots, some halved grape tomatoes, and about a quarter of an onion, sliced thin and soaked in ice water for about 20 minutes to get rid of as many unpleasant thiols as possible. I stirred in some red wine vinegar, olive oil, cumin, garlic salt, pepper, and yogurt mix (a blend that my friend Rachael gave me and that prominently features mint and a bunch of Persian spices of uncertain provenance). To go with it, I baked pita, which, despite the fact that it didn't puff as much as I'd have liked, Andy keeps assuring me turned out well. Next time, I'm going to let the dough be stickier and rise logner, and I'll probably roll it out rather than just stretch it with my hands. Here's a shot of an uncooked pita with the finished salad.
And now, dear reader, I need your advice. Andy's parents sent us a wonderful box o' goodies whose contents comprise some clothes for Andy, Trader Joe's fruit bars and tortellini, Smart Food brand cheesy popcorn**, a few other tasty sundries, and some dried black mission figs. Figs are wonderful both fresh and dried, and it would be nice to eat some of these straight and cook the rest. Topping a pizza with goat cheese or gorgonzola, arugula, and (usually) fresh figs is just so quotidian (okay, it's actually delicious, but it is rather typical). I don't want to just mush them up with some dairy and sugar and put them on a crust and be all, "Hey, tart!" So, dear reader, what should I cook with some of those dried figs?
*Quinoa grains are coated with saponins, bitter, varyingly toxic compounds (digoxin is a saponin, in fact) that must be rinsed off lest they ruin the dish.
**I love cheesy popcorn with an affection usually reserved for figures like Hero and Leander and consequently hope that the dichotomy between that affection and my affection for less processed food is charming rather than obnoxious.