all sorts of bolstered

Land sake’s alive, we are having one heck of a rainy day!

It brings back memories of when we lived in Nicaragua and Hurricane Mitch came along and dumped water on us for three solid days. (Or was it five?) We’re not having any hurricane, though, and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, I do believe. Plus, I haven’t heard of bridges being washed out between our house and civilization (like they did in Mitch), so I’m not too troubled.

Also, knowing that I have my belly dance class this afternoon helps to keep my mood up. I won’t be trapped in the house the whole live-long wet day.

Plus, I made myself a kick-butt lunch, just for the heck of it. Quinoa, spinach, chicken, feta, yeehaw! I’m feeling all sorts of bolstered.

Rain-schplain, do your thang,
you ain’t gonna flush my fine mood down the drain.

I couldn’t decide if this salad is Greek or Mediterranean, and then I realized that Greece in ON the Mediterranean so it’s both. (At this point my husband cocks his eyebrow at me and says, “And you are homeschooling our children?”) But I don’t generally think of tabbouleh and tahini as Greek food, like feta and black olives are. So I’m still mildly confused and therefore do not know what to call the salad. Possible names include the following:

Greek Quinoa Salad
Near East Quinoa Salad
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing
Quinoa Salad with Feta, Black Olives, and Roasted Tomatoes
Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Spinach
Quinoa Spinach Salad
Winter Quinoa Salad
Flexible Quinoa Salad
Swoon Salad

Because it’s December, and because I omitted all things fresh (like green onions, mint, parsley, tomatoes), I’m going with:

Winter Quinoa Salad
Inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light Magazine, but I changed it beyond recognition so I’m not going to credit them. (Except for the idea. Thanks for the idea, Cooking Light!)

1 cup raw quinoa, cooked (see below)
1 cup roasted tomatoes, diced
1-2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
4-8 cups fresh spinach (or 1-2 cups cooked), lightly sauteed in a bit of olive oil
1/4 – ½ cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
a couple handfuls of black olives, torn into bits
½ – 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

for the dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir into the salad.

Serve the salad warm, room temperature, or chilled.

How to Cook Quinoa
According to my friend, The Quinoa Queen. (In fact, she should be called The Quinoaeen.)

for 1 cup quinoa:
Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover with hot (but not boiling) water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain.

Rinse and drain the quinoa with cold water—about four or five times. Drain thoroughly.

Put the quinoa in a medium-sized saucepan and add 1 ½ cups water (maybe a little less). Bring to a boil, uncovered. Stir once or twice. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. If you want a warm salad, mix immediately. If a cold salad is the goal, dump the quinoa into a large pan and spread it out to cool (and so it doesn’t clump).

This same time, years previous: baked corn, company tizz


  • Jennifer Jo

    Jane, Are you sick?

    Second Sister, I think of you and your diet limitations frequently. It delights me that this dish would work for you!

    Quinoaeen, My quinoa didn't make much suds, so now I'm thinking it was maybe pre-washed? In any case, it was very sweet and delicious, not at all bitter.

  • Kris

    How about "MediterAndean"? Since quinoa comes from the the high plains of the Andes…

    Margo, quinoa is covered with saponin, a bitter substances that makes the water foamy when you rinse it. I like the taste better when I've first soaked it in hot water a few minutes, then rinsed until the water comes clear without suds. I think some brands selling packaged quinoa are pre-washed, though the package may not say so. Bulk quinoa is not pre-washed, and since that's what I've always purchased, I always soak and rinse.

    – Quinoaeen

  • Second Sister

    This could work for my "fructmal" diet if you leave out the onions, garlic and tomato- which is a small amount of ingredients to shun compared to most recipes… Sounds yummy!

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