I'm in the midst of Birthday Week. So far, I have to say, I'm having a lot more fun celebrating 41 than I did 40. It's not that I had a bad time for my 40th. I think I just felt compelled to do something really memorable and I couldn't decide what that should be so I just became paralyzed with indecision and didn't plan much of anything. This turned out to be the year of the Ipad. I bought Todd one for his birthday a couple of weeks ago, not knowing he had already ordered one for me. It's probably a good thing, because I don't think either of us would be into sharing. And besides receiving that and other great gifts, I'm really enjoying myself. Thursday, my actual birthday, was Mission: Ice-cream. Imagine my delight when I realized one of the flavors for the month at J.P. Licks was fresh banana oreo, just like last year. Todd, Steve and I went for a casual dinner in Davis Square, followed by a calcium fix. To my relief, fresh banana oreo was just as good as I remembered it and I'm going to have to get over there at least once more before the end of the month. Friday was my real birthday dinner. Todd, Sallie, Mike, Catherine and I met at Oleana. I've heard many times how fantastic this place was and made the reservations 2 months ago. I ordered the vegetarian tasting menu and everything was great. I think the table favorite was the falafel appetizer Sallie ordered. Each falafel ball was laid out in it's own adorable little wrap. It's perfect for a special occasion and we will be going back. Hopefully next time we will get patio seating. Tomorrow, I go see Patty Griffin with Susan. We haven't had a music date in a while so I'm looking forward to it. Then, next week, I'm on vacation.
I found this recipe in a newer cookbook of mine, The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. I needed something to bring to a Memorial Day cookout. In the midst of making it I suddenly panicked as I realized, "Oh no, I've done it again. I've made some weird thing that no one will want to eat." As it turned out, my worries were unfounded because most of it was not only consumed, but enjoyed. Sarahjoy, the host, was particularly fond of it. I mentioned her in my last post as I had volunteered to bring a veggie dish to her wedding weekend party. It looks like I will now be bringing quinoa salad instead! It's great for a picnic or outdoor setting because it stays pretty crunchy. Be warned, there are quite a few ingredients, so it requires a bit of time to make, but it's worth the effort.
Crunchy Quinoa Salad
1/3 cup hulled sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cups water
1/2 tspn sea salt
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
Kernels from 2 ears of corn, or 1 cup frozed corn kernels defrosted
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-6 radishes, trimmed and cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small bunch cilantro (about 1 cup), trimmed, leaves and tender stems chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
fresh milled pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Spread the seeds on baking sheet and toast in the oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown (Not too much though! There is a fine line between toasted and burned.) Pour them in a bowl and set aside to cool.
3. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the 1 1/2 cups of water and salt to a boil. Add the quinoa. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Spread on a baking sheet to cool.
4. In a pot with a fitted steamer, combine the corn kernels with the red onion. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes until tender crisp. Remove to a colander and chill under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.
5. Make marinade. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, cilantro, scallions, jalapeno pepper, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk well.
6. Add seeds, quinoa, steamed vegetable, red pepper, radishes, and carrot to the marinade. Mix well. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to blend flavors.