Friday, April 1, 2011

FFWD - Quinoa, Fruit And Nut Salad

In all honesty, I wasn't all that excited about this recipe.  While I'm a huge lover of nuts, I'm not all that keen on dried fruits and I'd never cooked (or eaten) quinoa before.  However as I've said before, being in the French Fridays With Dorie cooking group has made me step out of my 'comfort zone' box a little and made me make things I would have ordinarily passed right on by.  Most things I've totally loved. Unfortunately, to me, this wasn't quite one of them but in all fairness, my husband said the taste "grew on him, the more he ate". Talk about a trooper :)



I rinsed the quinoa very well before cooking it, as the package (and Dorie) indicated.  The texture of the grain was very intriguing to me. It reminded me a lot of bird seed and to tell the truth, I really just wanted to dump it in a big bowl and play with it for a while like a kid in a sand box. Weird, I know :) 

Another thing I noticed, is while is was simmering on the stove, I was enthralled with watching it.  Because each grain is so small and light, it was like tiny little volcano's erupting with each bubble in the pot.  I was mesmerized. Weird again, right?

Here is my third bit of weirdness regarding quinoa:  Upon opening the package, I instantly thought to myself that it's smell was reminiscent of something familiar, but I could not quite place my finger on it. It was driving me crazy as I tried to determine what it reminded me of.  As it cooked and then as it cooled and I was finally able to taste it, I had my light bulb moment...cooked asparagus!  Yep, told you I was weird, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it :)  Well, enough about my quinoa experience... back to the recipe:

My dried fruit: apricots, mango's, plums, pears and whatever else was in that bag I bought. I made sure to look for ones without added sugar.


And my nuts: chopped almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds, which I roasted in the oven before adding them to the dish for a little extra nutty flavor.



And my salad of baby greens.  I love a good salad!


With the addition of the fruit and nuts to the quinoa and then topped with a lemon, ginger and olive oil dressing, you then top the salad with the quinoa mixture and a dollop of yogurt and a bit of fresh herbs. I used one of my favorites (cilantro) in keeping with the clean, bright flavors of the other ingredients in this dish.  Put them all together on a plate and this is what mine looked like:




What I did find out, was that I DO like the taste of quinoa and I will make it again.  What I probably won't do is mix it with dried fruit and top it with yogurt (but that's just me).  What you really need to do is go to page 138 of "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan and try this recipe for yourself.   Once you do, I'd love to know what the smell of quinoa reminds YOU of?  I'm dying to know :)  

If your interested in seeing the rest of the groups completed dishes and their thoughts (and you know you are) check them out here.  I can't wait to see and read them myself !!! 

Bye for now. Please come again as I always love it when you visit :)

22 comments:

  1. I think cilantro is a good choice with the nutty dish. I used mint as I love mint and yogurt but since i'm making this again and again I will give cilantro a try too. Great photos!

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  2. Glad you gave it a try. And I don't think any of us will judge you as weird - we probably all have our "weird on" at one point or another. Cute post.

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  3. Yummy, Renee! The cilantro sounds wonderful! :)

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  4. Stunning photos and how cute is that little French Fridays sign :) I enjoyed all your "weirdness" and can heartily relate. Esp about the cooking aroma. I was doing the same thing but never got the answer. Asparagus sounds right on board. I was actually thinking to myself that this was one French Friday where the kitchen did not smell so hot.....:) Nana was not a fan but I will be revisiting the use of quinoa in the future.

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  5. I thought it smelled like asparagus, too. You're not the only one!

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  6. I thought it smelled like really healthy breakfast cereal and toasted corn before you added the other ingredients. You are not the only one :).

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  7. I need to take some time to watch the quinoa pop. Beautiful pictures; I want my own FFwD card!

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  8. Like you, I've never eaten quinoa before let alone purchase a bag and cook it. I do like the idea of all the fruit and nuts. Glad that you tried something new and will revisit quinoa again.

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  9. Your dish looks great! It's funny how you mentioned the smell of asparagus because I thought of boiled peanuts and another blogger smelled horse feed! Great post!

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  10. Looks great Renee! I have never tried or made quinoa, but now I'm very intrigued. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!!-Paulie

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  11. YUM., this dish sounds so delicious< i love all the ingredients!~

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  12. Beautiful photos and finished salad! I, too, love how Dorie pushes us out of our comfort zone...but most of those times, I'm the only one in the family brave enough to try something new!

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  13. Nice photos, Renee! I also made a non-fruit version for the non-fruit eater at my house. My thought was that some diced vegetables would have added the nice color the fruit gave to the fruit version. Since you didn't love the fruit, but liked the nuts and quinoa, maybe try substituting vegetables for the fruit next time.

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  14. Oh, interesting! It definitely had a surprising vegetably scent in the package. I was reading that it's from a plant related to spinach ... maybe that's why?

    Thanks for visiting and for your nice comment, too.
    Audrey

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  15. Hi, Renee! Thanks for being so sweet! Your salad looks beautiful, but I have a feeling I would have preferred my fresh apple to the dried fruit, too.

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  16. I was mesmerized by quinoa the first time I cooked it, too! Now it's too late, but next time I cook it I'll try to figure out what it smells like - you made me intrigued:)
    I made quinoa salad before using different ingredients, and I liked them all, including this one.
    You just have to experiment and figure out what works for you (I love to add orange segments, or sweet potatoes and bell peppers, as Mark Bittman does in his recipe).

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  17. I felt the same way about the yogurt and greens and will not put those on next time. I'm glad you liked the quinoa. Your salad looks great. I loved what you said about wanting to play with the quinoa like a child in a sandbox and being mesmerized watching it cook. I felt the same. :)

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  18. I was amazed at how much salad I ended up with. I never expected the quinoa to grow so much. Okay...asparagus...that is kinda funny!

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  19. I've made quinoa once before and really loved it. But I didn't add dried fruits. That sounds like an interesting combo. Sorry you were less than impressed with the dish as a whole...but I'm glad this got you out of your comfort zone and forced you to try something new!

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  20. That's great that you liked the quinoa. Maybe you can use it in other ways. Another FFwD blogger used fresh fruit because she also doesn't like dried fruit. I thought that was a good idea.

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  21. Hmmm, I don't know what quinoa smells like... Gotta make some more! Love all the pictures in this post Renée and the finished dish!

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  22. Cilantro sounds like a great herb choice - I used a combination of basil and parsley. I'd like to try this with mint, too. we enjoyed this dish a lot, for dinner and for packed lunches.

    Glad you liked it enough to try it again.

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Thanks for taking the time to visit me in my Kudos Kitchen. Your readership means a great deal to me. I hope that you'll never leave here hungry, and that you'll come back looking for seconds, and maybe even thirds :)
Take care and have a lovely day!
Renee

Kudos Kitchen By Renee

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