Sunday, August 2, 2015

Quinoa Avocado Salad

To accommodate vacations, weekend getaways and other general frolicking, Dinner Club seems to have taken an spontaneous sabbatical.  This is not that unusual given our schedules that seem to become even more challenging during the get-me-out-of-dodge summer months.

I have exciting news to share…I bought a house at the shore, Ocean City, NJ (a long-awaited item on my bucket list!).  It’s not big. It’s not fancy.  But it’s mine.  What this means, however, is that adorable pair of shoes I saw in Anthropologie won’t be walking on these feet anytime soon and that oh-so-charming vintage-stye dress from ModCloth, well, I’ll be wearing vintage circa 2010-2014 already hanging in my closet.  I don’t mind, really, because now I have something that I can and will happily share with family and friends that will be the joyful hub for many, many wonderful memories.

Also out of the budget is going out to eat which is fine with me because I and my brigade can prepare a meal better than most restaurants anyway…except for Lago in the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  I had the best red wine risotto there, plus the waiters were straight off the boat from Italy and so damn handsome.  I was in heaven (so were my travel colleagues although I don’t think they would admit it as freely me). 

So, when friends came to visit this week, we opted to eat in.  K, a native New-Englander (she’s the one who worked for The Barefoot Contessa and knows Martha) taught us how to properly cook and eat lobster.  She said, and I quote “you have to twist the tail off with conviction." Very Julia Childesque.  The instructions continued….use a heavy life to crush the claw in half to liberate the meat; knuckles contain the sweetest meat so twist the claw, poke your finger though and pull out the meat; there are some wonderful little jewels in the body if you are willing to work for them; serve with melted, salted butter and lemon wedges.  Younger daughter and K got the lobsters at Mike’s Seafood in Sea Isle and they were delicious

The next day, K, our friend D and I strolled along Asbury Avenue in OCNJ…we came upon a farmers market and bought scallops for our dinner that evening and some fixings for the Quiona Salad recipe I share below.  We also bought chocolate-covered blueberries, roasted red peppers and the most delicious corn and cilantro Sicilian-style pizza….it was delectable!
D, who is a sales rep, donated some very nice — and useful — product samples, including a Sparq Soapstone Appetizer Tray on which you can serve hot or cold foods.  She also brought some homemade pesto that we happily consumed mixed linguine and served as a side for the scallops that were lightly fried and served with lemon wedges.

Later that day, we headed to the beach where we saw the preparations of a life-guard competition…very cool!  My favorite time on the beach is between 3:30 and 6:30….it cools down a bit and is very peaceful!  

We meandered on the boardwalk the next morning…it was a wonderful visit with dear ones!

My friend V. who runs wine education events that you can read about here, shared this recipe from Wegmans with me last year.  I’ve prepared it several times and, of course, made some additions and substitutions.  It’s quite tasty and great for a quick lunch or as a side salad with grilled meat or fish.   At 140 calories (a little more since I add nuts), 0 cholesterol, 3 g of fiber, 3 g of protein and low sodium per 2/3 cup serving, it’s also good for you!

Red Quiona & Avocado Salad
Adapted from Wegmans

1 box (7 oz) Red Quinoa, cooked per package directions, cooled
1 small can Shoepeg corn or a cup of frozen shoe peg corn
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced on the bias (about 1 cup)
2 plum tomatoes, 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup) (we used fresh Jersey tomatoes, of course!)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing (Wegmans is good, so if Briannas)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper


Add cooked quinoa, corn, cilantro, green onions, tomatoes, garlic and nuts to mixing bowl; stir to combine. Fold in avocado and dressing; season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.