Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Going "Publix" with a Vegetarian Feast | Quinoa Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette


If you've never taken a cooking class, you really should. I'm not talking about the department store demo.  I mean the put-on-your-apron, get-your-knife-chopping cooking class.  Just a lot of fun. And even if you're a veteran in the kitchen, you're bound to learn something.

I recently visited my daughter who lives in Tampa. It had been months since I'd seen her and it was a very sunny break from a gray winter for this Pennsylvania born and bred soul. (I think that the groundhog lied.)

One of the things we planned to do was to go to a cooking class. Our original plan was to cash in on a Groupon Amy had found for a sushi class. But our timing was bad for that so we looked elsewhere and found that the Publix supermarket offered cooking classes at one of its stores.
Grilled vegetables (eggplant, portobella mushroom, zucchini) and provolone
 got stacked between two slices of ciabbatta bread and grilled.
 (The balsamic glace kinda looks like a treble clef!)

Before I go any further, I have to tell you that my daughter did not catch any kind of cooking bug from me. When she was little she did like to make play dough with me and mix inedible things with flour and water, but she outgrew any visions of mastering anything culinary. Where did I go wrong!

So signing us up for a cooking class together was generous on her part, just to please her mother.  (Amy would have preferred the Taco Tuesday class the previous night --  booked! -- to the vegetarian class we attended. "Mom," she said, "I like meat!")

But we were very impressed with the vegetarian feast our co-chef teachers coached us through. We made a tabouleh-like quinoa salad, a grilled vegetable panini, vegetable lo mein with tofu, and for the finale, orange creme brulee, the only dish I didn't get a picture of!


The vegetable lo mein featured colorful, crisp veggies and tofu,
wonderfully fragranced with fresh ginger,
 all topped with toasted sesame seeds.

And then we sat down and ate our little feast, accompanied by our choice of wine. My carnivore daughter was impressed that the meal was hearty without meat. I liked it all, but the creme brulee was the most fun to make. And I didn't get a picture! Too bad I was too busy running my little torch to perfect my burnt sugar crust!  ("You don't have one of those, do you, Mom?" says my daughter. I know what my next present will be!)

My favorite dish was the quinoa salad. Colorful, full of texture and fresh citrus flavor. Just a lot of chopping! Great do ahead salad.  It was while making this that I learned my favorite new tip about juicing a lemon:  use your tongs! Just nestle a lemon (or lime) half between the arms of the tongs and squeeze. You don't get lemon juice on your hands and, you don't have to dirty another tool! Clever!


I wish I could take more classes there . . .  until next Florida visit! Now, without further ado . . . the salad:

Incan Quinoa Salad with Citrus Thyme Vinaigrette
Serves 4
Courtesy of Publix 
1 cup raw Incan quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
3 limes, zested
4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
1 bunch scallions,thinly sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeds removed, finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
For the dressing:
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
2 ounces grapeseed oil
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When done, the grain will appear soft and translucent and the germ ring will be visible along the outside of the grain. Chill immediately  Meanwhile, chop the vegetables, prepare the juice and zest.

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the citrus juices, garlic and thyme and then slowly drizzle in the oil while constantly whisking. Taste for seasoning.

Toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa mixture to coat evenly. Allow at least 10 to 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.

50 comments:

  1. I agree that everyone should take at least one good cooking class and I think you did! When we lived in Charleston, S.C., I directed (and taught at) the In Good Taste cooking school. It was so much fun and always well attended. I love Publix! I think our closest one is in Florida.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. You're right, Bonnie, everyone can learn something from a cooking class. I bet your classes were fun. Wish I could have gone!

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  2. Lovely! I was vegetarian for a number of years before being "converted" back by my carnivore husband. Funny thing is that we are eating less and less meat now with no complaints. I want the lo mein, but would prefer it without the tofu :)

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    1. I'm more likely to be perfectly satisfied without the meat than Mr. Rosemary. Tofu is so, well, nothing, to me. I'm keeping an open mind. (I love your new avatar.)

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    2. Perfect summation of tofu :) Thanks on the avatar, Ben created it. When I asked him how he got such a close likeness he said it came from years of looking at his favorite thing, scoring major points. He even gave me my favorite color, green.

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    3. Smooth guy, that Ben. And green is my favorite color. I think I have six shades in my house. Picking out new carpeting today -- where do I keep leaning?!?!?

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  3. I took an Aprons Cooking class in a Publix in Florida and it was excellent too..Lovely room..linen tablecloths napkins..great lighting..
    It was lovely.
    I use the little lemon juicer that looks like it's wearing a perforated apron..all the seeds stay in there..:)
    It does look like a treble clef:)

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    1. I like my tools for juicing; sometimes, though, I hate to get something else dirty!

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  4. I love taking cooking classes at any opportunity, especially with my daughter.

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    1. I think I have Amy convinced that she'll have fun with me the next time!

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  5. What a wonderful thing to do with your daughter! I would love to take a cooking class like this. This all looks so delicious. Thank you for whetting my appetite (perfect timing too...I"m about to eat lunch!) I hope you have a fabulous week!

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    1. You're eating for two, you know! All the food was great, Monet. (I've had trouble visiting your site lately, Monet. I'll get back to you!)

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  6. Glad you got to Florida and could take a class at Publix. Our store also offers these classes and I have been curious about them. Nice to have a good report and everything really looks quite good.

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    1. The Giant Eagle Market District in Pittsburgh also offers what look like great classes. (A lot closer for me.) Our schedules just aren't coinciding!)

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  7. I love cooking classes and that quinoa salad looks great--what a nice photo of you!

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    1. I think what most impressed me about the salad was the wonderful fragrance from zesting the lime. Heavenly!

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  8. I love the look of that lo mein dish! And you look so beautiful and tan in that picture! Florida agreed with you! So glad you had a wonderful time!

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    1. The lo mein was good, Susan, even though I'm only slowly warming up to tofu possibilities. It's snowing again here today. I know it's still February but I want to some Florida sunshine!

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  9. What fun! so glad you and your daughter had such fun:)) the recipe sounds delicious!
    Mary x

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    1. We had a lot of fun, Mary. It's great to be able to have a good time with your daighter.

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  10. What a fun day to spend with your daughter, Rosemary. And what a beautiful photo of you. The quinoa salad looks like a fiesta in a bowl - sounds rather delcious too. I've never done a cookery class but tempted...

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    1. A fiesta! that's a great way to describe it, Hester. And you should take a class -- I don't get a chance to cook with others often. It's fun!

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  11. that looks like fun she knows you well, and loved your comment on the farro just to make healthy food taste good wise words

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    1. We do tend to eat with our eyes, don't we Rebecca?

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  12. Seems like both a healthy and a fun experience my friend, thank you for sharing with us all :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. It sure was, CCU. I plan to do it again.

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  13. What fun to share the lesson with your daughter in an area not buried in snow :-). It sounds like you had a great time and the meal looks delicious. Have a great day, Rosemary. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Cold is old . . . and I guess I must be, too. The idea of being a snow bird, once ridiculous in my mind, is now quite attractive, Mary!

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  14. That sounds lots of FUN! I want that veggie noodles!

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    1. I often cheat when I make lo mein at home, Angie, and use spaghetti. These genuine lo mein noodles were much more authentic.

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  15. My daughter caught a mild case of the cooking bug from me, and does cook some but only when she's in the mood. I think this is a brilliant idea. I should definitely treat her to a cooking class. Your food looks delicious.

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    1. My daughter can cook, Karen, -- she just doesn't enjoy it, while I find it a creative outlet!

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  16. I'm so glad you had a fun time with your daughter. I volunteer at our local PCC as a cook's assistant. It's so much fun, and as you said, I always learn something new. The quinoa dish looks wonderful. I can't wait to try it.

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    1. I loved the quinoa dish, too. I'm always impressed at how much we can learn, and have fun, too. That it involves cooking and eating good stuff, well, that's a plus!

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  17. I love to take cooking classes but no local grocery store teaches them to my knowledge. We don't have Publix in this part of the country. I would love taking classes with my daughter. Love that quinoa salad!

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    1. The Giant Eagle Market District has a cooking school near Pittsburgh, close enough for a nice day trip, but no classes have yet kit my schedule (or my interest.) I'll keep looking.

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  18. Hi Rosemary, it's so nice to catch up with you...been a couple months since we've connected. Here in West Palm Beach, the only cooking demo they have for Publix is the 'Apron' s' meals with the recipe cards to accompany their cooking demo for a certain dish...do not know of any cooking classes here. (not that I'm looking for one)

    So nice that you and your daughter had this special 'cooking class' together. Such a happy and sweet photo of you! My favorite is the grilled vegetable sandwich on the ciabatta...yumm!

    Love Quinoa salad with the Citrus Vinaigretta...although on your introduction you have written 'Couscous' with the Citrus Vinaigratte! Did you make both? for me, I would love to try it on couscous, as well!

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    1. Whoops! Can't I keep my grains straight?!?! It was quinoa. But you're right, Elisabeth, couscous would be good, too. Even rice, right? Glad to have caught up with you, too.

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  19. I had no idea that Publix gave cooking classes here in Florida. Just familiar with their Aprons program. Over the years I have taken many cooking classes. It has always been inspirational. So sweet of your daughter to do something that pleased you. Love your recipes.

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    1. I looked over the whole schedule and there are a variety of classes available, Penny. I'll have to make it part of my routine when I visit now.

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  20. Sounds wonderful Rosemary! Maybe your daughter will catch "the bug" after your fun and delicious class together! :)

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  21. I adore taking cooking class (lessons) and I remember my first class in the 70's that I took with my mother.....it was about how to cook with a microwave oven, if you can believe that. yet we learned how to make Italian zabligone! It was a wonderful experience and I have been hooked on cooking classes ever since. I love your quinoa recipe, especially since I have been trying to introduce more quinoa my nutrition! Thanks Rosemary! PS: Great photos of you!

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    1. Making a zabligone in a microwave! Wow! Actually I have a great cookbook by Barbara Kafka about microwave cooking. I learned that stuffed peppers are actually better cooked in the mic (the pepper shells stay firmer).

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  22. I had no idea that Publix held cooking classes in some of their stores. I have two daughters living in Florida that should take classes as they tend to buy ready made meals.

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    1. My daughter does, too, Karen . . . .I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, after the fun we had she might go again. Just hope it's not till I get there again.

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  23. I absolutely LOVE that pic of you!! (It's you, right? I'm not dishing out compliments for your doppelganger, am I?)
    I would love to do a cooking class of any kind. It's so important to be open to learning and embracing new ideas!

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    1. Yep, that's me . . . I wanted to put my daughter's picture here, too, but she looked really goofy and I couldn't do that to her. (I had to look up "doppelganger" -- great word. I learned something new today!)

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I realize you don't have to take the time to comment . . . but it makes my day! So glad you decided to stay.