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salmon and quinoa, al fresco

June 14, 2010

G and I woke up super early Saturday morning to go out to the suburban countryside (that’s half suburb, half country) for an estate sale.  We’d seen an ad for a patio table and chairs set and we decided that if it’s the right price (cheap) then it was for us.  The whole experience was kind of both amazing and ridiculous.  We got there a little after 7am and there were already a few people who had been there since 6.  The sale actually starts at 9, but we had read online about a number system that they set up a few hours earlier: you can get “temporary numbers” before 8am and then at 8 they give out “permanent numbers” to those who are there.  Then you can go and come back if you want at 9am and they let people inside in numerical order.  This was already way too organized and complicated for me this early on a Saturday, but to make it better and crazier, the people who actually got there before 7am were really interesting.  That’s generous…they were awful.  And because I overheard them talking about the patio set, we were determined to beat them to it.

To describe our competition: 3 or 4 (it felt like a pack!) very talkative (too much too early!) women who somehow had managed to get ready in cute yoga-suburb outfits and make it to the sale by 6am.  They obviously love estate sales and know all the rules.  We first encountered them as we were walking up to the house and they quickly reminded us that if we wanted a temporary number we had to go back down the driveway to pick it up.  Thanks, tae-bo ladies. I’m sure they are probably nice people, but they had a deviousness about them. They stuck around for a while, talking about our patio set and other things in really loud voices, and then left shortly after getting their permanent numbers…1-4, of course.  While they had us beat on early-morning energy level, we won on street smarts, and after they left we had nice and informative chat with the person who runs the sale.  I’d like to say that the information we gathered from that talk enabled us to beat them to the patio set, but what actually happened was kind of more perfect.

It was close to 9am and the doors were about to open. The tae-bos were in the front of the line, eager to get their hands on the table.  We were numbers 10 and 11.  The doors opened and they disappeared inside, and we followed shortly after.  As we made our way to the table (the sale guy had told us exactly where to go) one of the ladies was coming back from looking at it.  At first I thought we had lost, but then, wait, she had a look of total disgust on her face, and actually said, “it’s disgusting.” So we walked by her and claimed it as our own. 

That’s a long way of saying that we are now proud owners of a beautiful and not at all disgusting teak patio table with six chairs.  And that is what we gloriously ate dinner on last night.

I had a bunch of herbs that I bought at Saturday’s farmers market, so I made a three herb pesto with fresh parsley, cilantro, and mint.  G grilled salmon seasoned with a little salt and pepper and we served the pesto over the fish.  

We put this on a bed of quinoa that I cooked in chicken broth with green onions, garlic, and saffron.  When it was almost done cooking I added a little white wine, butter, and fresh parsley.  I used mostly regular quinoa along with a little bit of red quinoa to give it some color.

 It was a perfect meal to eat outside and to celebrate our table-getting victory. 

three-herb pesto


2 cups total of parsley, cilantro, and mint (I used about a half cup each of parsley, cilantro, and mint and the last half cup a mix of the three with mostly parsley and cilantro.)

1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1 clove of garlic

juice of 1/2 a lemon

pinch of salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 + of olive oil


Put all of the ingredients in a Cuisinart.  Blend until you get the consistency you want.  You may need to add a little more olive oil.  You also might need use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl once in a while as you’re blending it.  Keep tasting to see if you need to add anything.

white wine & green onion quinoa


one green onion, if large then chop up half the bulb, and thinly slice half the green stalks (if small, I’m sure the whole thing will be fine)

1 clove of garlic, fine-medium chopped

olive oil to cook with

pinch of saffron or to taste (the flavor wasn’t super strong, so I need to figure out how to bring that out more)

1 cup dried quinoa

2 cups chicken broth/stock

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

couple splashes of white wine (use whatever you’re drinking…we used a table white)

1 tablespoon butter


Over medium heat cook the onions (green and white parts) and garlic in olive oil in a saucepan (one that will hold about 3 cups of liquid at least).  This should cook for about 5 minutes or so, long enough to bring out the smell of the garlic and onions but not too long that your garlic starts to really brown.  Add the saffron and stir, following with the quinoa.  Stir the quinoa for a few minutes and then add the chicken broth.  Stir to mix, then bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Quinoa cooks like rice (but faster) where it simmers until all the liquid is absorbed. It will probably be about 10-15 minutes. But, you want to keep an eye on it toward the end because when there is a small bit of liquid still left you want to add some white wine. Let this then cook to the end (full absorption).  Finally, add the butter and parsley and stir to mix.  Remove from heat and serve.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Garnet permalink
    June 14, 2010 12:48 pm

    Yes! Take that tae-bo ladies….. Deliciousness! DELICIOUSNESS!!!!

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