March 07, 2010


The blackbirds dive in and fly out, perform balancing acts on phone lines and billboard signs. The robins revisit their home, high in the treetop, still intact. The doves, they sing.

Activity in the kitchen is sprouting on a Sunday morning. Quinoa is rinsed under cold water before its release into salted, boiling water. It will simmer and steep.

Energetic hands will chop garlic and shallot, peel and slice button mushrooms.

The sun is pouring in. The warmth feels good. Recharging. I surrender.

Imprisoned by winter. Spring arrives, but visiting hours are short. One more week, a loss of one hour of sleep, and yet another week leading up to release.

Food shopping for the days ahead and crimson tomatoes from far away look so appealing. Long cucumbers of the English variety, Buy in Bulk and Save!

We cannot help ourselves.

"What are you making?"

"A quinoa salad of mushrooms, cucumber, and tomato."

Something bright. Something to nest in. Where Spring and Summer dreams can lay, hatch, grow and flourish.

A Monday lunch of quinoa salad, orange segments and banana bread. Whole foods. Delightful whole foods to nourish and strengthen, bidding lethargy a farewell.

The salad was made simply. A saute of chopped garlic, shallot, crushed red pepper, sliced button mushrooms and parsley in extra virgin olive oil. When all was tender, when the mushrooms had released and dehydrated by 50%, forked fluffy quinoa was added.

Transferred, it cooled in a large Pyrex bowl. Once at room temperature, the addition of diced cucumber and tomato made things complete.

More than a few heaping spoonfuls into a bowl and more fresh parsley as a finishing touch.

Amounts? Whatever wakes you up. For us, it was one cup dry quinoa to 1 1/4 cups salted water. A single clove of garlic (I pull the largest clove I can find). Half a bloated shallot. More than necessary crushed red pepper. A small basket of button mushrooms. Enough extra virgin olive oil to pull what was heated together. Leftover cucumber. One very robust plum tomato. Salt, pepper and parsley to taste.


  1. I just love making quinoa salads. Yours looks very tasty. I like your additions of orange segments and banana bread to make it a meal. Nice.

  2. Yummy! I'd probably omit the tomatoes, though, as they're not in season and fairly tasteless. I once heard of putting oranges in the salad along with raisins. There you get into a sweeter salad rather than the savory one you made that looks so good!

  3. You had me at crushed red pepper! :D The only thing I would change is leave out the mushrooms, just a personal preference though.

    Thanks for the idea!

  4. I so want to put my hand up to that top photo and snag that bowl of food! Another lovely job for sure. Mmmm!

  5. I love those napkins!! And that food is so beautiful and colorful!

  6. I love all types of grains, and this quinoa salad looks delicious. I haven't cooked quinoa in quite some time, so thanks for the reminder. Speaking of oranges, I bought some blood oranges today to pair with some crispy fennel and black olives with tonight's dinner. :}

  7. Love quinoa, love quinoa salad, love your little diddy about spring bring on the way!

  8. That dish makes me ache for the return of fresh produce. I need some veggies back in my life!

  9. This makes me want to try straight quinoa--this would be such a great, light meal for the summertime when cooking is the last thing we'd do.

  10. How lovely! :-) Our spring disappeared with a random snow fall yesterday - but it is back again today and your post has inspired me to celebrate. :-)

  11. Beautiful salad, great ingredients, simple and nourishing :)

  12. "Spring arrives but the visiting hours are short." love that--
    thanks goodness the visits are getting steadily longer. your salad gives a taste of whats to come!

  13. Loved reading your blog post - we sound a bit like kindred spirits, only you are a better writer and photographer!

  14. I've had Quinoa before, but it didn't look this good. Great work.


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