Times Have Changed
March 22, 2008
This is going to be one of those posts. One of those where I selected the recipe; shopped for the ingredients; chopped-and-sauteed-and-seasoned the ingredients; photographed the final dish; and then, oh yeah, ate it days ago. And since then, circumstances have changed.
You see, when I made this quinoa salad, I was bursting with spring and spring break-ness. I delighted in quartering vibrant red cherry tomatoes and creating a light, colorful salad. I think I might have even been doing a little basking in the sun that was flooding in our windows while I ate it.
And, then there’s now. After positively April-ish temperatures and sunshine late last week, Mother Nature lowered her cruel, cruel hammer … in the form of a terrible, awful, are you serious? snow storm. So after a Friday full of snow boots, terrible delays at O’Hare and a winter wonderland once I arrived in Minnesota, I feel a little funny writing about such a spring (maybe even summer) kind of a salad. And don’t even get me started about how I teared up just a little when I saw all the tulips and daffodils at my favorite local grocery store near my parents’ house. Or how silly I feel dreaming up an Easter menu with my mom that features all of spring’s finest produce.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
All that said, if you’re in the same weather pattern as me right now, this salad could be just the make-believe you need right now. (Plus, it’ll give you the strength you need to trudge through the snow banks, shovel out the driveway or, heck, just continue on in the face of such a late-March travesty.) And, if you’re not in our weather pattern, this salad will help you usher in spring’s lighter, brighter flavors. (And you can stop rubbing it in already, jeez.)
Spinach, Tomato & Mozzarella Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cups baby spinach or arugula leaves
1/2 cup quarter cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup red onion, very thinly sliced in half moons
1 to 2 tablespoons buffalo mozzarella, torn or diced
Bring the quinoa and chicken stock to a boil in a sauce pan; reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the quinoa has absorbed the stock. Set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and oil in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach (or arugula), tomatoes, onions and mozzarella on top of the vinaigrette. Top the vegetables and cheese and with the hot quinoa. Toss the salad together, being sure to incorporate the dressing at the bottom of the bowl.
Serve warm or cold.
Yield: 1 entree sized portion (pictured above) or 2 small servings