Again, sorry for the lack of posts. This time it wasn’t that I wasn’t cooking or away for work, Mark and I took a week “off” with 5 of our friends and spent some time at my family’s beautiful beach house on Lake Erie that we rented for an entire week. What a much-needed, relaxing time away. We got to just hang out and spend time together, no event to rush off to, no posters to be printed, just good a old-fashioned vacation. Sure most of us still had to pull the laptops out and get some work done, but being away from life, on the beach and with the people you love most, is one of the best ways you can spend your time.
We of course, planned meals and cooked and ate like kings and queens, ok and we may have drunk a bit, too. I had a handful of recipes I wanted to make and some that I wanted to try for the first time, what better group of people to use as guinea pigs than your friends.
Over the next couple of days I will be posting some of the recipes that I made. I did make a huge pot of my chili one night, but I never measure with that and of course forgot photos, but I make that often during the fall, so that will be posted soon.
The first recipe that I tried out was this delicious quinoa salad with toasted almonds. It was a great way to highlight all the lovely veggies that are in season and it was the perfect side to one of our butterflied grilled chickens from Sojourner Farms that Mark and I made for everyone. Since there were 7 of us, I multiplied the original recipe for this salad by 4, to serve 8, but I am posting it here to serve 2. Not only is this recipe gluten-free but also vegan.
It was so good, we were all eating it right after it was done cooking, right out of the bowl on the countertop and before it had fully cooled. It is always hard to please a large group of people with food, but surprisingly everyone loved this salad and the leftovers were perfect for lunch after enjoying some time in the sun and swimming. A couple of things that I had changed since I made such a large batch, was instead of 1 yellow pepper, since we needed so much more, I went with one each of yellow, red and orange peppers. I also went with green zucchini and yellow squash, since I had an abundance of both, and I loved all the color. Because we were at the beach house and our supplies were limited, I also skipped the celery when I made it, and instead of dried red pepper flakes (which we didn’t have), I went with a hot pepper oil from some hot pepper sandwich spread that Allison and Craig had bought for sandwiches, the subtle heat was so perfect. I have become a huge fan of quinoa and I love it’s versatility. It can be served like most grains, though it is actually a seed, it is perfect sweet or savory, hot or cold. It really is the super food, as they call it. It is packed with protein and loaded with fiber. Quinoa can be found with other grains in the natural or organic section at most supermarkets or at natural food stores.
This recipe came from the Whole Living website and it was featured in Body + Soul Magazine, March 2006. I have a subscription to Whole Living, and I really cannot recommend it enough, great recipes, articles and tips for clean and healthy living.
Quinoa Salad With Toasted Almonds
Adapted from Body + Soul Magazine, March 2006
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup (3 ounces) quinoa
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds discarded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 lime, halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds until crisp, lightly browned, and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add yellow pepper, garlic, scallions, and red-pepper flakes; cook until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in quinoa, thyme, 1 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 7 minutes. Stir in zucchini, cover, and cook until quinoa is tender but not mushy, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Remove the saucepan from heat.
Stir in celery, almonds, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, season with salt, and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature before packing into two containers and refrigerating. When ready to eat, squeeze lime over salad, if desired. Serve with additional lime wedge and thyme, if desired.