I amaze myself sometimes. Thinking back over my childhood, “Growing Up Hippie” in Big Sur, all the communes’ crazy folks ‘n’ weird situations ‘n’ funky log cabins ‘n’ wood stoves for cooking and heat, outhouses with little moons on the doors (which put a new spin on the term “funky”), long and treacherous trails that went on seemingly for an eternity just to get home from The Road, a/k/a Highway 1 . . . schlepping groceries ‘n’ laundry ‘n’ wood ‘n’ this, that ‘n’ the other . . . you’d think — actually, I’d think — that would’ve made me hate it all! But quite the contrary, I love the distinctive smell of wood stoves and rustic old cabins under the sky-scraping Redwoods — I still have an affection for all of it. And even for the food that was cooked up in these humble little places, so many, many moons ago — although as in the case at hand, I have. shall we say, rehabilitated some of those recollections.
See, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with those culinary memories, using some of the freshest and healthiest ingredients to do so, and this particular instance involves red quinoa, something I’m sure as a child I vowed never to eat again as long as I lived, along with wheat berries, brown rice, avocados, beans, mushrooms, tofu — all foods I now love; the list was so long you can’t even fathom it. I was convinced at the time my mom was making me eat these foods just to torture me, and when I would arrive at school with one of her famous “Rock Bread Avocado Sprout Sandwiches,” I would promptly find some gullible waif toting a bologna-on-white to trade with me. This set me well on my way to a career in crime, door-to-door sales, tending bar or food blogging. Take your pick, ’cause I’ve done ’em all. And of all the things I’ve done nothing makes me happier than making things taste delicious, so try this one out on your family to keep them happy AND healthy!
Mediterranean Red Quinoa Salad:
In a saucepan with put:
2 cups red quinoa
With 2 tbs. olive oil, sauté until it gives off a nice aroma, about five minutes.
Then add:
3 cups chicken stock OR water with bouillon
Reduce to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove top, fluff with fork and allow to set awhile and cool. Meanwhile get all this stuff together in a really large bowl:
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
tomatoes, chopped OR 1 package grape tomatoes, all halved
3 medium cucumbers, chopped
1/2 -3/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 6- to 8-oz package of feta cheese, chopped or crumbled
Add the still-warm quinoa to the rest of the ingredients and toss. Salt and pepper to taste if necessary; the bouillon cubesolives and feta are all very salty, so really taste before shaking out any more at this point. Serve at room temp.

Serve at room temp.

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