Food & Drink

QLC Cooking: Chef Gerard’s Red Quinoa Salad

Chef Gerard at work

Chef Gerard at work

Leave the hotdogs and hamburgers alone. Here in LA, we need recipes that are tasty, easy to make (if you have any skills) and will keep you bathing suit ready.

Quinoa: What is it, how do you cook it? You boil it until it blooms or opens up; it’s a great vehicle for a salad it holds flavor really well and is tasty. All this stuff you can easily find in your grocery store near your crib. So let’s do it.

This recipe feeds a crowd, so be sure to cut it down accordingly for smaller groups:

Shopping List:

  • 2 1lb bags red quinoa
  • 4-6 cucumbers – there are many different kinds; European (my pick) are the long skinny seedless variety, but the Persian small ones are also great. I’d would avoid the usual grocery store cucumbers; they’re full of seeds and you want the meat, not the seeds. Grab 4 cucumbers, 6 if you’re going to go with the Persians.
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 bunches radishes
  • 1 bag red grapes
  • Dressing: (No pre-made ish. You can slap this together and will taste better than that foo’ Newman’s)
  • 1 pint plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 small bottle champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey (save the sugar for your coffee)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch fresh dill
  • 1 pint feta

Ok, so you got the goods and you’re ready to get your salad on:

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  • Place the quinoa in a stock pot- a pot that you can place about a gallon of water in. Cover it with water about twice as much water as the quinoa; bring to a boil, stirring so it doesn’t burn on the bottom
  • Once its boiling, drop the heat down real low and cover; simmer for 20 mins until all the water is gone. The grain will have opened up and doubled in size
  • Remove the quinoa into a large 5×10 pan to cool, whatever big pan will work, the idea is the more surface area you give, it the faster it will cool. You want it cold like the pizza we use to eat before we became all Hollywood and cool.
  • Cucumbers: I like to use my vegetable peeler and peel them all. Cucumbers peels are gross and not sexy.
  • Once the cucumbers are peeled, split them like a banana down the middle and scoop out the seeds. I use a spoon tip.
  • So you have them peeled and gutted: now slice about ¼ inch slices on a bias. Beautiful!

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  • Red onions: peel them, then cut them through the middle like it’s the globe and you’re cutting it on the equator. Take one piece and slice them as thin as you can. ‘Julienne’ is the term for the matchstick-like cut you’re looking to achieve.
  • Radishes: slice them like you would see at the taco truck- thin sliced
  • Grapes: wash them and split them in half
  • Dressing: Fine chop the mint and dill. In a big mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and a half cup of honey, a quarter cup of champagne vinegar, salt and WHITE pepper) we don’t need little black specs in our sexy dressing) and finish it by whisking in a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (cuz no one likes a slutty oil.) Add your mint and dill mix it all and taste it. It’s ok if it’s a bit strong, you’re going to add it to everything so it can be a little intense.
  • Mix chilled quinoa, halved grapes ,cucumbers, onions, radishes and feta cheese.
  • Pour dressing over quinoa mix; stir.

Okay. So hopefully that was sort of easy and you’re not cursing my name. Grab a nice serving bowl and nicely scoop your salad into the bowl. Boom: your guests are raining compliments down on you. Your girlfriend’s not going to leave you anymore, you’re on the winning team!

By Gerard Sampson

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