April was an unusually rough month for me. Some personal things came up that were pretty hard to deal with, followed closely by the bombings at the Boston marathon, and then a shootout and a manhunt for the bombing suspect in my normally very quiet neighborhood. It was all a lot to take in and I had been desperate to get out of town for a little bit and get some much needed R&R.
The opportunity finally came when my wonderful aunt and uncle offered up their beautiful house on the pond while they were visiting my cousin in Texas. Joseph and I spent the weekend taking it easy, sipping Champagne and eating cheese, reading, napping, and watching the birds on the pond.
A favorite part of the weekend was when the lighting hit the house just right and suddenly became an amateur photographer’s dream come true. I got so lost in the excitement of taking photos that nothing else mattered. All in all, it was a perfect weekend where the toughest decision faced was whether to sip on beer or wine while sitting on the porch with my feet up.
The other big highlight of the weekend was without a doubt this salad. Joseph and I both concluded that it was the most amazing salad that we had ever had. With the creamy avocado, luscious broiled pineapple, peppery watercress, and a hint of cumin in the tangy dressing, this salad has it all. While each component brings so much to the recipe, the sweet and tangy pineapple is particularly outstanding.
Is football getting in the way of your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier? Well lament no more, because these enchiladas are absolutely deeeelicious and they are loaded with healthy veggies.
Joseph first made these enchiladas for me a year and half ago after one of my knee surgeries and afterwards I only vaguely remembered some yummy thing with sweet potatoes. When he made it again and I wasn’t hopped up on painkillers, I begged him to make it again and again and again. I adore roasted veggies and am especially in love with sweet potatoes and poblano chilies together. If you’re not familiar with poblanos, they’re the mild peppers typically used to make chilis rellenos.
I have a new favorite quinoa recipe. This southwestern quinoa salad now stands right at the top of the list along with the spinach feta quinoa that I fell head over heals in love with earlier this year. This one’s got some of my favorite ingredients and flavors: black beans, fresh veggies, some southwestern chili spice, and (my favorite) delectable, creamy avocado. Oh, and of course the wonderful nutty and nutritious quinoa with its fun, slightly crunchy bite.
If the ingredients alone aren’t enough to have you running to get your keys to go to the store, consider how easy and healthy this dish is. In fact, we first made this the morning we were heading up to Vermont for the day. As much as Joseph and I love eating out, we’re pretty frugal and besides, we had to save our money to stock up on cheese, maple syrup, and our favorite Vermont pepperoni. We hadn’t thought ahead and planned on making anything, but when I woke up the morning of our day trip, I figured, hey, that recipe looked pretty simple, I bet we could make it quickly before heading out.
This dish is so many things, and yet it is so simple. It’s the perfect side dish for summer picnics and barbecues, but it also easily works as a light, refreshing dinner or lunch. You could just as easily make it a day or two ahead as you could make it on a weeknight just before digging in. And best of all, it all comes together in an explosion of color and great textures.
It’s such a complete meal that I didn’t even notice until Joseph pointed out that it’s vegan. But between the almonds and the edamame, there’s plenty of protein and the carrots and scallions make it even healthier (and more colorful!). Sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey give it a delicious Asian flare and dried cranberries provide a sweet, tart contrast (and even more color!).