favorite ingredients salad: herbed wild rice & quinoa with avocados, heirloom tomatoes, & strawberries

this delicious salad came about one day when inspired by reading Marcus Samuelson’s*  book “Yes, Chef!” (highly recommend it) i decided to be more courageous than usual and combine several of my favorite ingredients (in a slightly calculated yet random way) in a salad bowl, toss them together, cross my fingers, and hope for the best: a delicious salad that somehow tasted like it was absolutely meant to be: chewy (wild rice), slightly zesty (in a fresh citrus sort of a way), surprisingly creamy (thanks to the just ripe avocados), with hints of sweetness (ripe strawberries), spicy enough (red pepper flakes), super fresh, moderately “ethnic“(cumin!), and pretty good for you. add or subtract what you like, create your own favorite ingredients salad, or give this one a try…i think you might just like it!  
*below/right, a (not so attractive) picture of me with MS taken at his Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem!

favorite salad ingredients (4 servings or so):
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup wild rice (cook in ligtly salted water until just tender)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (cooked in lightly salted water)
  • 2 just ripe avocados, sliced
  • 1-2 large heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 10-12 ripe organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • small bunch of fresh mint, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
  • small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon (2 tbs)
  • 3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • (whisk together)
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Gina’s salad: wild rice and brussels sprouts with tomatoes

i’m so happy today. my dear friends had a beautiful, healthy baby girl a couple of days ago. something (so special) about babies…they remind us of the miracle of life, the power of love, the excitement of new beginnings, and the importance of family. besides, they smell like heaven, don’t they? i know, by now you’re wondering where i’m going with this….well, i just had to share the good news-and…this salad was born on the eve of little girlie’s birthday-so the Gina salad it is! it is deliciously fresh and new, filling, and really easy to make. i’m pretty sure it’s good for you as well. give it a try if you will~let’s make Gina famous!
ingredients for 4-6 servings:
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 12-14 brussels sprouts, cut in half, then thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely cubed ripe tomatoes (about 2-3 medium tomatoes)
  • small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely minced
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed (about 3 tbs)
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
1. cook the wild rice in boiling water until tender and allow it to cool completely.
2. in a bowl, combine the finely shredded brussels sprouts, cold cooked rice, tomatoes, and parsley.
3. whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper. pour over salad before serving and toss well. taste and adjust salt & pepper, lemon juice. 
4. enjoy. easy enough?
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