Another beautiful day in Central Pennsylvania! This weather has been a wonderful surprise and I have enjoyed being active outside. One of my favorite things that the sunshine brings is outdoor get-togethers!
My friend, Jonathan invited a group of us over just to hang out and enjoy some time together basking in the warm sunshine Sunday afternoon. Jonathan is one of a kind. He’s got a quick-wit and is a great banterer, qualities I find to be of chief importance in a friend. He totally cracks me up and is someone I find effortless to spend time with – in a good way.
While we have a lot in common (our faith, a love of the theater, an appreciation for Bar Harbor – the list goes on…) we also have differences too. For one, in my perception, he’s much more of a planner and is deliberate about things, whereas I am an impulsive, fly-by-the seat-of-my-pants-kind of girl, expecting it all to fall in place. For example, he is in rehearsals to play Will Parker in a local production of Oklahoma. Without being sure that he would use the skill, he took it upon himself to learn to manipulate a lasso in a variety of ways. Not only that, but he got a book and video and had a private lesson with a real roper while on a business trip to Texas. HILARIOUS!! You can see a very small portion of his skills in this video (he’s the ‘renaissance man’ in the maroon shirt):
There were a number of other great people at the get-together too (including Michelle who has been mentioned in 2 previous posts) and I look forward to featuring them in upcoming posts! Seriously, the people I know are priceless!
It was an afternoon filled with stories, heart-to-hearts, confessions, tears, apologies, jokes, eye rolls, and, of course, laughter. Since this was an impromptu gathering, I needed to use ingredients already in my home. Here’s what I came up with:
1 Cup Quinoa, dry
6 oz. Block of Feta Cheese, cut in cubes
1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers, diced
1/4 Cup Capers, drained and rinsed
1/8 Cup toasted pine nuts*
1 Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp. Dried Oregano
Freshly Ground Pepper
Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon (you could use a regular, but the Meyer lemon gives this dish a brightness that’s not as overt)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
* Toasting nuts can be tricky. There is a fine line between perfectly toasted nuts and burnt nuts. Look for a beautiful, golden brown color and then remove the pine nuts. I like to do mine in a toaster oven where I can monitor their progress.
For the quinoa, bring two cups water and one cup dry quinoa to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Toss the red pepper, chickpeas, capers, pine nuts and dried oregano, and freshly ground pepper while quinoa is cooking. You may allow the quinoa to cool slightly before adding it and tossing all ingredients together.
Add the Meyer lemon juice, the olive oil and stir together
Add the feta cubes and the parsley to the quinoa, tossing gently. You can serve this salad at room temperature or cold, whatever your preferences.
We served this salad along side some grilled burgers and hot dogs, potato salad, chips, mojitos, and my personal favorite, grilled fresh vegetables. We dined alfresco enjoying each other’s company. Good food is better when you have someone great to enjoy it with. I feel so blessed to have people in my life that I can just kick it with and be me around. I wish the same for you.