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Holidays are a great time to share food with friends.  This year I decided to make a quinoa salad celebrating the theme for the Fourth of July. So I chose to make a Red and White Quinoa Salad and serve it in a big blue bowl.  This salad is large enough to feed 35  people during a progressive dinner so you might want to scale it down for a family or small gathering of friends.

Red and White Quinoa Salad in a Big Blue Bowl

Ingredients:

12 ounces white quinoa, cooked

12 ounces red quinoa, cooked

2 large red peppers, chopped

8 ounces of crimini mushrooms, diced

6 scallions, sliced

½ of a large red onion, thinly sliced

Generous handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 jars of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

15 ounces garbanzo beans

(I make big batches of beans and freeze them so I measured, defrosted and allowed these to dry a bit.  If you use canned beans, rinse them thoroughly and allow them to dry a bit.)

8 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 cup slivered almonds

Lemon Vinaigrette (recipes follows)

 

Lemon Vinaigrette:

3 large lemons (about ½ cup)

1 ½ cups olive oil

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (adjust to taste)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a small food processor or use a whisk to emulsify the vinaigrette.

Begin by cooking the quinoa.  While the quinoa cooks, begin chopping your vegetables.  Your quinoa will finish cooking before you finish chopping so when the quinoa is done, remove it from the heat, fluff with a fork and let it rest covered for another 10 minutes or so.  Then remove the cover and allow the quinoa to cool while you finish chopping.

When all your vegetables are chopped, fold them into the quinoa along with the feta cheese crumbles and almonds.

Add the vinaigrette in increments of about ½ cup at a time until you are satisfied that your salad is seasoned properly to your liking.  Leftover dressing can keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be used for green salads and pastas salads too.

Cover the salad and set it in the refrigerator to chill.  This salad is best served chilled or at room temperature.  It makes a great potluck side dish because it travels well.  In fact, I take containers of this salad with me when I travel so I get my protein and vegetables, i.e. a complete meal, in flight and I don’t have to worry about spoilage or bringing a cooler as carry-on luggage.

 

 

 

 

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I have a love of foods that are stuffed.  I adore the original one dish meal that comprises several ingredients, or even just a few, stuffed into either a vegetable, pasta or a protein.  Even a twice-baked potato brimming with healthy additions is a joy.

With spring giving way to summer soon, I’m excited about all the heirloom tomatoes in our garden.  It was time to begin testing some recipes for those precious heirlooms.  I came up with a wonderful dish that is sure to please.  However, it’s an old-fashioned recipe in that it isn’t a recipe at all.  It’s more directional and you need to use your own instincts where amounts are concerned.

So, this is what I did:  I cored and seeded my tomatoes.  I sliced my homegrown leeks in half and then sliced them thinly crosswise and added to them to a sauté pan over medium heat.  After a few minutes, as the leeks were beginning to caramelize, I added my homegrown spinach.

While that pair cooked, I chopped several mushrooms and some fresh jalapeno.  Then I chopped a couple of garlic cloves.

As the spinach wilted down, I put the mushrooms and jalapeno in the sauté pan with a pinch of salt and pepper.  When they softened, I added the garlic until it was aromatic.

When everything was cooked, I removed it from the heat.  At this point, I mixed in about 1-2 tablespoons of goat cheese.  I mixed the vegetables with the goat cheese until the cheese melted into a light and tangy sauce.

I stuffed each tomato with the vegetable and goat cheese mixture.  Then I set them under the broiler just until the tomato softened.

I sprinkled the tomatoes with homegrown chopped chives and served them hot.

You can serve these with a protein or a pasta dish or even just some more vegetables.

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