Growing up in Hippieville USA, a/k/a/ Big Sur, California, was an incredible experience. Music was always emanating from a turntable here or an 8-track player there: Janis, Jimi, the Beatles, the Stones, Donovan, the Moody Blues, Buffalo Springfield, Santana, etc. Live music played at every gathering or festival and people danced for joy — no dance cards here; women clad in long, flowing skirts and beaded blouses with not a bra as far as the eye could see (so to speak), their beautiful long hair twirling in the sunlight, their barefeet on the cool grass in the hills and valleys of the beautiful land in which I grew up.
Of course these happenings were also happening a little bit north of there, notably in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and even ‘way down the coast — although maybe with a little more affluent vibe, the bare feet swirling the golden sands of Malibu, and all the way back east in New York’s Central Park there were more hippies, more love beads and more free concerts — hey, it extended well east of that too, from Woodstock to Stockholm.
There was never anything like this magical time and may never be again, and it forever changed both MY life and history itself. I was reminded of this when my brother-in-law, Charles Rosin, posted a blog that included me and my “process” at So when the test kitchens at Jenni’s Dish get fired up to create something new, the music (’60s and ’70s on XM Radio) must be playing to get the vibe just right and conducive to the flow of juices of love, light and creative energy. Nothing tastes better than food made with love; it’s THE secret ingredient and has been so from the days of your great-grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother!!!
A lot of great food has passed through these hands of mine, though some ideas take a little more ingenuity than others. Take this one from the old hippie days, incorporating that ol’ “mother grain” quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). Let’s be real, I found it tasteless and with a funky consistency when boiled, and even with the addition of some bouillon it was just not that great! So I tried, tried and tried again and it finally came to me: The water must be taken back out in some way, leaving you with an end product closer to wild rice pilaf. And so this dish was born, and everyone who tastes it says, “Wow, I didn’t think I really liked quinoa — I just ate it ’cause it was healthy! But this is delicious!”

Roast Turkey Breast w/ Apple, Onion, Carrot and Thyme:

Preheat oven to 400ºF Have ready a lg roasting pan lined with foil, and spray w/ oil

2 1/2 Turkey Breasts
Make two beds of
2 apples quartered
1 red onion quartered
4-5 sprigs of Thyme

Wash and trim and dry breasts
Season breasts w/
3 lg cloves garlic grated or pressed
1 orange
1 lemon
olive oil
Seasoned Salt
Garlic Salt
Lemon Pepper
3 TBLS Chopped Fresh Thyme
Place seasoned Breasts on beds and spread

1 lb bag carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal about 1″ pieces
around the rest of the pan, season carrots as well, first with olive oil then spices
Bake for 1 hr and 15, (basting w/ there own juices every 20 minutes) or until a meat thermometer reaches 175º-180ºF
Remove and let rest for 15 minutes.

Wild Mushroom & Walnut Quinoa:

2 cups Quinoa 
1 package Whole Foods Wild Mushrooms Mixture, reconstituted in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until soft, drain a little of the mushroom juice from the top, about a 1/2 cup, reserve and discard the rest, as it can be sandy. rinse and dry shrooms and chop until about a 1/4″
2 packages baby portabella’s, (cleaned by hand with NO WATER, use a mushroom brush or a paper towel), chopped to about a 1/2″
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, set aside
Boil Quinoa as directed on package, adding bouillon to the amount of water as directed.
Remove from heat and set aside.

1 package Enoki Mushrooms as Garnish at the very end before serving.

In a lg saute pan put a few TBLS. Olive Oil and get very hot, being careful not to burn or smoke, add all mushrooms and allow little pockets for all steam to escape. (See Spice Rubbed Tri Tip recipe 3/19/10).
When mushrooms start to brown add garlic and quinoa and keep cooking stirring often and letting the steam escape, season with  truffle (or kosher) salt and pepper to taste, but remember, you added bouillon to the quinoa already, so watch the salt, keep cooking over med heat until the mixture starts to get a little dry, letting it brown a little bit on each side before stirring, this whole process takes about 25 minutes, add nuts and reduce heat to low. Taste, and if it is to dry add reserved mushroom water a TBLS at a time. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE A LITTLE DRY, BUT NOT HARD!!!
Put Mixture in a serving platter and sprinkle with Enoki Mushrooms, and serve.
By the by, I simply roasted the Brussel Sprouts w/ Olive oil and a little truffle salt at the end.

And as Always, Enjoy!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2010