Hello all! A very, very late happy New Year to you. How are you; how is 2015 treating you so far? We are doing A-okay. Can we talk for just a moment about the revelation that is January in Tampa? It is pretty magical. For the most part it is blue skies, sunshine, and 70 degree days. Here, people take down their Christmas decorations to hang pirate flags and Gasparilla wreathes. That’s right, this weekend we will experience part one of our first ever Gasparilla!
We’ve been spending our time getting better acquainted with the area, and getting to know some of our fellow. . .Tampons? :) What in the world do you call people from Tampa? Tampites, Tampians, Bay Dwellers? Anyway, we’ve been meeting people. We recently had a potluck dinner with two of J.’s co workers and their families. The food was fantastic and there were littles running amok to keep things lively. Our contribution was a gigantic Greek-ish quinoa salad (if a salad based on a seed that comes from the Andes mountains can be in any way Greek). Recipe requests were made, so I thought I’d share with everyone at the same time.
Happy Herbaceous Grain Salad
As I said, for the dinner party I made this dish with quinoa as the base. My intention was to do the same for this post however, my inattentiveness led to a happy accident. I had grabbed, soaked, rinsed, and drained my quinoa before I realized it was not quinoa at all, but millet. Good news: equally delicious, so I continued on as planned. A quick note if you decide to do millet instead of quinoa, my inadvertent soak and rinse didn’t hurt anything, but usually when cooking millet, I would just toast the dry grain before adding liquid, as in the recipe from this post.
Doing the Allergy Elimination Diet? By changing the feta into avocado, the pistachios to seeds, and the raisins into chopped grapes (or sulphite-free raisins), you can totally embrace this salad!
1 C quinoa or millet
2 bay leaves
kosher or sea salt
1 large carrot
zest and juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/2 C tightly packed herbs, chopped ( I used flat leaf parsley, cilantro, and mint. Basil or oregano would be really nice too.)
3 TBS – 1/4 C golden raisins
1/2- 3/4 C crumbled feta
1/2 C kalamata olives
*banana peppers (I couldn’t find any at the store, but I think they would be fantastic)
Soak quinoa, rinse and drain. Place in saucepan with 1 1/4 cups of water, two bay leaves, and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low. Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Check to see that all water is gone and quinoa fluffs dry with fork. When cooked, spread in tray or platter to cool.
Quarter lengthwise, and slice carrot and cucumber. Zest and juice lemon. Roughly chop herbs. Pit and chop olives. Cube feta.
Combine all ingredients in large bowl and fold to incorporate. Taste for seasoning. I know everyone hates to be told that, but I can’t possibly know how salty your olives or feta are, so you are just gonna have to taste as you go! Top with chopped pistachios.
*If it will be some time before you serve, consider adding the herbs just before eating. The acid of the lemon juice and the bruising of being chopped can cause the herbs to change color.