Got my hair cut today. And I colored it. I usually use a strawberry blonde. For some reason I picked up a dark blonde. No problem I thought. I’ll just put some of this burgundy that my daughter N brought over in with it. Cartoon moment time. I call the end result Cabernet with pink highlights. G says they’re not pink, they’re light auburn. That’s putting it nicely. Pink is as pink does, sir. Now if it would’ve been a nice purple color I would’ve been really excited. I love purple! I told my green-eyed Irish guy that I was going to be one of those old ladies who has purple hair. Quite aghast, he said, “What would you’re grandchildren think?” I said, “They’d think they have a pretty cool Grandma!” The hair doesn’t look seriously bad. Changing my name to Jem though.
Anyhoo, FOOD! I’ve had this quinoa salad on my mind for several days now. I’ve never eaten quinoa and never cooked with it. All I know is that it’s an ancient grain, you cook it pretty much like rice and it’s supposed to be good for you. I’m usually up for trying new foods and new challenges so GAME ON. I google, trolled Pinterest and Food Network and didn’t find any recipes that really spoke to me. I had a blank canvas on which to create my recipe. I knew I definitely wanted an orange pineapple rum vinaigrette for the sauce. I knew I wanted orange bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, seasoned chicken and orange segments. That sounded like a pretty darn good salad. And indeed it was good. Nom, nom, nom.
Quinoa Salad with Orange Pineapple Rum Vinaigrette
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chicken broth/stock
1 cup water
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1 pound)
Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
1 Tbs. pineapple rum
1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2-3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small orange pepper, diced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped or you can use 8-10 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough in which to wrap your chicken breast. Place chicken on the foil. Sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle enough of the Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning to cover chicken. Fold the foil to make a packet for the chicken to bake in. Place the packet on a small baking pan and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool enough to chop. Rinse quinoa until the water run clear. Check for any foreign materials. Place in a medium sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid along with the water, broth/stock and butter. Bring to a boil on medium heat, reduce to low heat and cover. Cook covered for 15 minutes or until you see the grain pop. It’ll have little squiggly tails. Fluff quinoa with a fork and then pour into a large bowl. Heat a small skillet on medium head with a tsp. of olive oil. Saute for a minute or two just to take the raw onion bite out of it. Chop the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken, the onion and the chopped sun-dried tomatoes or fresh tomatoes in with the quinoa. Supreme 3 of the oranges. Supreme is a fancy word meaning cut the peel off of an orange, making sure to get all the pith with the peel. Take a sharp knife and cut each segment’s side, taking out the pulp but leaving the membrane still attached. Do this over your quinoa bowl to catch the juices. Don’t discard oranges yet. To make the vinaigrette: Zest and juice the last orange into a small bowl. Now squeeze the other oranges that you supremed into the bowl. You’ll want all that juice. Add salt, pepper, pineapple rum and apple cider vinegar. Whisk this until well mixed. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil so that it emulsifies. If you don’t whisk while you pour the oil in, the oil won’t mix in. It’ll just stay an oil slick on your vinaigrette. Nobody wants to eat an oil slick. Ewww! Taste to make sure you’ve seasoned with enough salt and pepper. Pour over the quinoa mixture and toss with two spoons to coat everything with the delicious vinaigrette. It’s delicious at room temperature or cold. Bon appetit!
Wishing you love, laughter and cake,