I had a fantastic weekend – my granddaughter Alisia and my son Alex visited with us. Alisia is three months shy of 16, and lately, she’s been on a health track. I am understandably excited about it, since this is the same girl who had insisted on sticking chicken nuggets into a sushi roll, when she was 4. We did make sushi for dinner on Sunday- sans chicken nuggets! – but in the morning, before we left for the Vizcaya Museum, Alisia made her signature salad with quinoa, chick peas, and other healthy stuff, for a picnic at Vizcaya. With her permission, I am posting the recipe.
Every grandmother thinks that her grandchildren are special, but Alisia is objectively exceptional! Yes, I know, “all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.” See for yourself (to open the PowerPoint presentation, click on the link and start the slide show. It is short, but truly astonishing!):
In addition to gymnastics and acrobatics, she already has quite an experience performing in plays, especially in musicals. Having a powerful and richly resonant contralto, she once played both Tevye and his wife Golde in two different amateur productions during the same year! You can skip my grandmotherly bragging and scroll right down to the recipe, but you may want to take a few minutes to enjoy a lovely duet.
A shopping list had been given to me ahead of time. It included quinoa, cabbage, carrots, chick peas, alfalfa sprouts,and tahini paste. To save time, I cooked quinoa, shredded cabbage, and grated carrots before their arrival.
In addition to tahini paste, Alisia requested garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Dressing had to be made first, so all these ingredients were dumped into a mini-food processor.
Garlic was minced first, then everything else was added and pulsed until well blended.
Transferred into a “traveling cup,” it looked thick and creamy, but not a bit oily. Sea salt and fresh ground pepper would be sprinkled on the salad when fully assembled. We covered the dressing securely for traveling, as the salad was supposed to be dressed right before serving. The salad would travel naked. Oh, well, on South Beach people do that, too.
This picture keeps turning sideways, no matter what I try. Let it be that way, then. I am not fighting stubborn pictures, especially since all ingredients are clearly visible.
We had my precooked, or, rather, pre-steamed quinoa, finely shredded cabbage, grated carrots, drained and rinsed chick peas, and alfalfa sprouts. There is a definite order to it, said Alisia, and the beauty is in the presentation.
She really assembled this salad, as a work of art, starting with quinoa as the foundation, then adding chick peas, covering it all with shredded cabbage, topping with grated carrots, and fluffing some alfalfa as a finishing touch.
You can see all five layers of vegetables. According to Alisia, this is how it should be served, dressed at the table. I can visualize the beauty of this salad presented in a clear or pastel-hued bowl. I think it will become a staple for feeding a bunch of people either in shul, or at a Melave Malka in my house. It is full of protein and quite filling, and we are a sushi and salad crowd here! We didn’t actually dress the salad at this point; we just pretended, for the sake of taking a picture. We covered it and packed a cooler with picnic-type gear. And off we went to the breathtaking beauty of Villa Vizcaya, built by James Deering (of the Deering Tractors fortune) in the beginning of the 20th century, imitating the Tuscan and Venetian Renaissance style.
Some beautiful pictures of Vizcaya, taken by Alisia, as well as some beautiful pictures of Alisia, taken by her dad, are gathered in this collage. This is a truly stunning place worth visiting and exploring. It has become a favorite site for romantic occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, and milestone birthdays. While there, we chanced upon a young man proposing to his lady, the young lady accepting, and when they finalized it with a kiss, we respectfully gave them their privacy and turned away. We also saw a very pretty girl being photographed in her pink Quince gown, surrounded by a happy family.
We found a bench in the shade, and Alisia served her yummy creation. Since taking selfies while stuffing one’s face is a literally shaky perspective, we asked a passersby to take this picture, and he was happy to oblige.
The visit was wonderful, but woefully short! They had to fly back to Boston the next day. Good bye, Alex, you are a ray of sunshine! And good bye, my kukla, my beautiful Alisia!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked)
- 2 cups chick peas or 1 can
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup grated carrot (1 large carrot)
- Alfalfa sprouts to garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Prepare dressing first. Mince garlic, add the rest of dressing ingredients, pulse in a blender or food processor until well blended and smooth. Put aside.
- Precook quinoa as you like. I prefer to soak it for 10 minutes, then steam for 10 more minutes, and fluff with a fork. You can just cook it in a rice cooker, like you would cook rice. Make sure it is completely cooled off.
- In a bowl, assemble vegetables in this order: quinoa as foundation, then chick peas, then cabbage, then carrots.
- Fluff some alfalfa on top and sprinkle salt and pepper.
- Serve and dress at the table.