Quinoa Salad for a Hot Day

 

So, Vancouver is being hit with a heat wave! I know it doesn’t get as hot as other parts of the country, but that’s why we live here, because you can wear the same clothes year-round. So when the temperature gets to 26 Celsius I’m all, Seriously? And I used to live on the equator. But in very hot places everyone has air-conditioning. In Vancouver we only need it a few days a year so it’s not worth it, but when it’s hot, it’s awful. In the summer I watch the forecast and get anxious days in advance if high temperatures are predicted. Our house gets really hot and I can’t sleep in the heat. My office is upstairs and it’s horrible to work with your body parts sticking to your chair and desk. So I prepared Quinoa Salad so we’d have something cool and light to eat for dinner and also so I’m not dealing with a hot stove. I’d barbecue but our barbecue isn’t working and we haven’t fixed it yet because, I don’t know. Maybe it’s really comforting to have yet another nonfunctioning piece of equipment in our garage.

My friend C introduced me to quinoa last year – I bought some, but  I didn’t get into it in a big way because I wasn’t sure how to use it, my mother can’t tolerate it, and I was pretty sure the kids would refuse to eat it. But we were eating it in Bowser and I love it so I’m going to force the kids to eat it. I felt really stupid saying “Oh, the girls won’t eat that,” when we were organizing menus. So I’d make them rice and steamed vegetables when the rest of us are having these gourmet meals. It felt really neurotic, like I have poodles instead of children, so I’m going to make an effort to have them eat what we eat.

I’ve now had two kinds of quinoa salad – one is dressed with a basic vinaigrette and has feta cheese, and the other is a kind of Southwest flavoured one. I’m going to post this first kind because that’s the one I just made so it’s fresh in my mind.

Quinoa Salad with Feta

I use a rice cooker to cook quinoa – two “rice cooker” cups is about 1 1/3 c. and I use the water measurement in the pot. But you can cook about 1 1/2 c. quinoa in 3 cups of water – bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then remove the quinoa to a large bowl and spread it into a thin layer so it cools down quickly. I put this in the fridge and stir it a few times until it’s completely cool.

While the quinoa cooks, prepare vegetables by dicing quite small:

  • 2 medium tomatoes – I remove the seeds and juice first
  • 1/3 long English cucumber
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/4 c. red onion – mince this, put in a  small bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit a minute then drain and rinse well with cold water, drain again.
  • small handfuls of: cilantro and flat leaf parsley, and a smaller handful of mint leaves – mince these
  • 1/2 c. corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese – in very small dice or crumbled if it’s the really crumbly kind

Dressing:

  • 3 T. white wine or red wine vinegar
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 t. grainy mustard

Shake together in a jar or whisk in a bowl.

When the quinoa is totally cool, add all the ingredients and toss gently together.

 

It’s not actually as hot as I was afraid it was going to be. There’s a nice breeze….

 

 

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