Wednesday, September 23, 2009

End of Summer Salad, Gluten Free

Wow, it has been a long summer for us. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the warm weather, the extra long days, playing outside in the evenings with my children, camping, etc.

What I didn't enjoy was the impact my husband's surgery had on our whole family, the deer that ate my entire garden, losing my wedding ring and finding out that our new house is a money pit.

The good news is that my husband is expected to make a full recovery and our lives have just about returned to normal. My friends have gardens and sometime share their produce. My city has a wonderful Farmer's Market where I can purchase fresh and local produce. The insurance company has finally decided to pay our claim so my ring will be replaced.

But the house is still a money pit. Right now only a few of our doors close because our hill has settled and the house has shifted. I would have thought most of that would have happened already, since it was built in 1994. We are coming to the reality that we will someday soon have to install piers under the house. We have trees that must be trimmed or removed unless we want unexpected house guests during the next strong windstorm. It scares me to think that a tree cold come crashing into our home. And finally, the people that we bought the house from didn't exactly do the upgrades with permits or up to code. Our master shower was gorgeous when we bought the house, but it turns out the waterproof liner was not installed correctly. It has been slowly leaking and causing damage. We have had to tear the whole bottom out (of course, it is a second story shower) and are now looking at ugly sub-flooring until we can (hopefully) find matching tiles and have it reinstalled and the remaining repairs made. Big sigh.

But all is not bad with our new house. We still like it very much. And the neighborhood is FANTASTIC! That brings me to my recipe for this post. Every September our little neighborhood has a pot luck BBQ. Everyone brings a salad, side dish or dessert to be enjoyed and we sit around and get reacquainted. This was our first year and it was a lot of fun. It is nice to know that all my neighbors know who my kids are and where they belong.

As you know, a potluck is a minefield for us GF folks. I can tolerate a tiny bit of cross-contamination so as long as I know the ingredients, I can eat what my friends and neighbors make. Still, I play it safe and bring something I know I can eat and will fill me up.

I made this wonderful salad that tastes like summer. It was inspired by my friend Ceri, a Celiac and wonderful cook. She made something similar for a work potluck.

I call it the End of Summer Salad because around here, corn ripens near the end of the season. It could easily be made any time of the year with frozen corn. The measurements are very approximate, I have never used a measuring device for most of the ingredients, instead I rely on taste. Make some for your lunch or a dinner at the end of a hot September day. Or, it is great for a potluck.

End of Summer Salad

1 C quinoa
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can black olives
2 C fresh corn (cooked and removed from cob) or 10 oz bag frozen corn
1/2 of a mild or sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh basil (I forgot to add this to my salad this time, but it was still tasty!)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C red wine or lightly seasoned rice vinegar (this is a rough estimate and I used a little of both this time because I needed a little sweetness to balance out the sourness of my tomatoes)
1/2 C crumbled feta (certainly use more if you LOVE feta, I did)
salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare quinoa according to package directions, allow to cool to room temperature. Cut tomatoes and olives in half and place into a large bowl with the quinoa, corn (thaw if using frozen), sweet onion and basil. Sprinkle with the olive oil and vinegar of your choice. Stir it all together and taste. Add salt and pepper. This is the best time to be adding more vinegar, salt or pepper, if you feel it is needed. Once it tastes right to you then add the feta cheese. Stir just until the cheese is incorporated. Too much stirring breaks it up so you don't have nice pieces to enjoy.

It is tasty cold or at room temperature. I have thoroughly enjoyed the leftovers for 2 days after I made the salad. After that the tomatoes go a bit off.

Enjoy, and thanks for sticking with me while I weathered a rough summer!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

My baby is 2!!!!

Isn't he cute? He is a bundle of personality and he keeps all of us on our toes.

Believe it or not I should be posting something this weekend or Monday. I think life will be slowing down soon.

Thanks for sticking with me,