Monday, April 7, 2008


I don't know if I've ever mentioned it here (though you've PROBABLY picked up on it... Was it my paragraph-long description of the perfect bowl of cereal that gave me away?), but I have a deep, true love for good food. I like eating it, making it, talking about it, reading about it, watching other people make it, watch other people talk about it, watch other people eat it, look at pictures of it... Eating is required on a physical level for our bodies to subsist, but we are more than physical beings, and I truly believe a good meal feeds more than just our cells-- it feeds our hearts, our imaginations, our memories, and our ideas. What is better than good food?!


In this age of Clif Bars and protein shakes and trying to figure out what the right carb/ protein/ fat ratio we should be eating for "optimal performance" (whatever that means), whatever happened to eating to sustain AND please our bodies? I've discovered that if I really just allow myself to be still inside for a moment, my body will tell me what it needs. Whether I've been on a long walk, and a pulpy orange, heavy with juice that runs down my wrists is what I ache for, or I've been sitting behind a desk all day and nothing sounds better than a big bowl of cereal (with extra nuts!) as I curl up on the sofa, or it's my birthday and nothing but a big slice of chocolate cake will do... I love my body, and my body loves good food. So I try to listen.

Sometimes, Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake is all that will do. For a full week I had been wrestling with a craving for the deepest, darkest, most intense chocolate THING I could get my lips around... Thus, this momma of a cheesecake was born.

I made this quinoa salad today. Quinoa has become pretty trendy among the health food crowd recently because of its status as the only grain that is also a complete protein. I love it because not only does it treat my body well, but its nutty, silken pearls are the perfect backdrop for some really yummy add-ins. I whisked up a white wine vinaigrette, poured it over the steamy quinoa, tossed in some feta and almonds, and a truly fantastic lunch was born.

Jessica's Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Cool, tangy feta resting in a bed of warm, oily quinoa with the salty bite of roasted almonds, this salad would be the perfect accompaniment to a Mediterranean-inspired dinner. But I think it's perfect on its own.

1 c. uncooked quinoa
1/4 c. white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 c. olive oil

salt and pepper

4 oz. feta cheese

1/4 c. roasted, salted almonds

Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. Then put in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water, and boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cover until quinoa is translucent-- about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Combine vinegar, mustard, and sugar in small bowl. While whisking constantly, SLOWLY add olive oil in a constant stream until completely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over warm quinoa, and stir until absorbed. Cube feta and toss on top with almonds. Serve warm or cold. (Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a main dish.)


christie @ fig&cherry said...

Yum, that looks gorgeous. I'd eat this will a nice piece of salmon. Great recipe Jessica.

Kevin said...

That quinoa salad sounds tasty!

Anonymous said...

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A Fabulous Nanny said...

that salad looks SO

as does the cheescake, but i can't have that, now can i?

Jessica said...

Christie: This would be great with salmon, although I think a few hearty hunks of roasted lamb would be truly superb... Mmm!

Nanny: Thank you! It really was, if I do say so myself! I'm already dreaming of when I can make it again. As for the cheesecake, EVERYTHING in moderation, dearheart. ;-)