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Jake, 26, is my youngest son, and when he was growing up we called him “Jakey Boy.” He is 6 ½ years younger than my second son and 8 ½ years younger than my daughter — so it comes as no surprise that he is part youngest child and a lot “only” child. My grandchildren only call him “Jakey Boy” or “Uncle Jakey Boy.” In fact his nephew Isaiah, age 3, asked him what his middle name was and Jake replied “Boy.”
When it comes to food, Jakey Boy and I have identical palates… we both adore all kinds of veggies and fruits, grains, sushi, and high quality food in general. Two to three stars of heat, thanks for asking. Baked goods and sweets are a lower priority – unless they are crème de la crème, brown butter dark chocolate chip cookies, or my biscookies. We both eat small, frequent meals, and we know exactly what we want to eat. You can imagine how thrilled I am that for now he is living and going to school in Seattle. He’s always up for trying a new restaurant or sampling a new recipe, although he is brutally honest with his opinion. This makes me love him all the more!
So this post is dedicated to Jakey Boy. It’s a simple quinoa salad with fruit, cheese and nuts that I have made for years but forgot was in my computer “salad” files. Jake made it while back in Philadelphia and New York visiting college friends, and told me it is so perfect that I needed to post it. Here it is:
Jakey Boy Quinoa Salad
- 1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed
- 4 ½ cups water
- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, freshly cooked or canned and rinsed well
- 1/2 cup dried unsweetened, unsulphured cherries
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced ¼ inch
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnut pieces, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 2 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2/3 cup crumbled high quality feta cheese (I love Pastures of Eden)
Bring water to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa and simmer until it is translucent but still has a bit of crunch, about 12 minutes. Drain and return the hot quinoa to the sauce pan. Cover with a towel for 10 minutes so the moisture absorbs.
Once it cools to room temperature, combine the cooked quinoa with the chickpeas, dried cherries, bell pepper, and nuts in a large serving bowl.
Put the honey, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oils into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add more honey or seasoning to taste. Gently stir the dressing with the salad and add a bit extra salt and pepper-but be careful not to over salt because the feta itself adds saltiness.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours overnight. Stir in the cheese right before serving. This keeps a few days in the refrigerator and leftovers taste delicious.
Note: You could eliminate the walnut oil and instead use ¼ cup of olive oil, but I love the nutty taste of walnut oil with this salad. I have used dried chopped apricots or cranberries but strongly prefer the dried cherries! And I have made this salad with farro and with kasha too in place of quinoa yet quinoa is my fave!