March 8, 2017

Dear friends,

While hunting up an old recipe for Asian slaw, I found another salad recipe I didn’t know was lost: Winter Quinoa Salad With Dates and Pomegranates. I made it, swapped blood oranges for the pomegranates, and loved it even more than I did the first time. I gobbled up the leftovers in two days, adding various toppings — pan-grilled chicken, stir-fried shrimp — to turn it into meals.

I have already made a second batch of the grain salad. I like the idea of having something delicious on hand that can be turned into dinner with the addition of protein. I plan to keep making the quinoa salad until i grow tired of it, as a friend does with the Asian slaw. In a note in January, he said he and his wife have eaten the slaw at least once a week since I printed the recipe. If he is taking about my recipe, that’s once a week since May 2007. I don’t think he is, though, based on ingredients he mentioned — miso and mayonnaise. I did find a Food & Wine slaw dressing with those ingredients, so I’m providing a triple-whammy of make-ahead dinners today.

The first recipe is for my reworked version of the quinoa salad. The warm spices give it a Moroccan flair. The second recipe is for my spicy slaw. Just add a bag of supermarket shredded cabbage for a super-quick meal. At the time I developed the recipe, I wrote, “It’s a great quick-fix dish to take to summer pot lucks. The most time-consuming part is making the dressing, which is a blend of soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, oil and Asian seasonings including fresh ginger and chili bean sauce.”

My friend’s slaw dressing sounds good, too. Miso gives it a umami backbone and that touch of mayonnaise emulsifies the sauce. Maybe I’ll alternate the salads in my fridge.

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QUINOA SALAD WITH DATES AND BLOOD ORANGES

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped dates
2 blood or cara-cara oranges

Dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. each salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cumin
2 tsp. honey or Splenda to taste

Rinse quinoa well in cold water. Drain in a sieve. Place in a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until grains are al dente. Do not overcook. Drain any excess water.

While quinoa cooks, place onion and dates in a medium-size serving bowl. Make the dressing by combining the vinegar, oil, spices and honey or Splenda in a small jar and shaking well. Place the warm quinoa in the bowl and toss with the dressing, onion and dates.

Cut a thin slice from both the blossom and stem ends of the oranges. Place on a cutting board, one of the cut ends down. With a sharp knife, slice off the skin and white pith all the way around, following the shape of the orange. Then one at a time, slice next to one membrane and flick the bare orange section into the bowl. Do this over the bowl with the quinoa to catch any juices. Continue with second orange. Gently toss to distribute the orange sections.

Cover and chill salad. Toss again before servings. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

SPICY ASIAN SLAW

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp. Chinese chili bean sauce
1/4 tsp. (or more to taste) red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 bag (16 oz.) shredded cabbage (about 4 cups)
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts

In a small, deep bowl combine oils, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, hoisin sauce, sugar, ginger, chili bean sauce, red pepper flakes and peanut butter. Whisk until smooth. Mix together cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour enough dressing over slaw to moisten, tossing gently. Garnish with peanuts. Makes about 6 servings. Unused dressing will keep in the refrigerator for weeks.

ASIAN SLAW DRESSING:

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tbsp. white miso
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated ginger
Pinch of sugar
3/4 cup oil
Salt, pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

TIDBITS

While bumbling around the kitchen during my recovery from knee surgery last fall, Tony invented a new kind of spaghetti sauce. This one was actually edible. He dumped in a lot of spices from the cupboard and although the they shouldn’t have gone together, they tasted fine. His genius, though, was adding about a cup of walnut pieces.

I was reminded of how good nuts taste in red pasta sauce when we thawed the last of his sauce earlier this week. The walnuts add texture and flavor that do not fade in the freezer. Although Tony can’t remember everything he stirred into the sauce, we will remember those walnuts for future batches.

Bakery is back:
Holly Phillips of Stow is back to making custom gluten-free cakes after a brief hiatus. Check out her gorgeously decorated cakes on Facebook under Sweet P’s Custom Cakes (www.facebook.com/SweetP’sCustomCakes. The business formerly was known as Mrs. P’s Gluten Free Bakery. You can reach her at 216-906-2758.
THE MAILBAG
From Doris G.:
Regarding old darkened pans, I am still using 70- to 80-year-old pans that my mother used. I find that regardless of the way they look, they are superior to anything you buy today. Or maybe I think that because they are connected to my late mother.

Dear Doris:
I can relate. I have a couple of my mother’s old, banged-up, darkened baking sheets that I hang onto. I don’t use them often but when I do, I line them with parchment paper to help prevent baked goods from over-browning on the bottoms.

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