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Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

Who’s ready for fall? Me, me, me!!! Seriously, I cannot wait for the summer to be over. Here in New Orleans we don’t usually get nicer temps until sometime in October. For us, September is firmly entrenched in summer. But hey, that’s okay. The days are already ticking by, and mercifully, October will be here before I know it. Even though the temps might not say “fall” yet, the seasonal produce is well on its way to delivering the fall abundance. Soon we’ll all be eating pumpkin everything, apples aplenty, and butternut squash galore. Since I’m impatient for fall, I’m bringing you my first fall dish a bit early. It’s an apple pecan quinoa recipe, inspired by my friends over at Good Eggs.

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

Those of you here in New Orleans, or perhaps in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Brooklyn, have very likely heard of Good Eggs already. For those of you out of those markets or just in case you haven’t heard about Good Eggs yet, let me fill you in. Good Eggs is basically an online farmer’s market. It’s a practical marketplace where one can source all manner of local veggies, meats, cheeses, baked goods, pantry goods, and even plants and flowers. Ordering via their website is a snap, and they even deliver for free. You never actually have to leave your house for high quality local groceries. How’s that for service?

Today’s post is actually the result of partnership with Good Eggs. Since we have one here in New Orleans, and I’m a big proponent of shopping both locally and seasonally, I felt like we were a match made in heaven. Today’s partnership also has a very specific purpose: to let you in on a secret. Well, it’s not *really* a secret. It’s more of a surprise! Here goes:

This week (9/7 to 9/14), whenever you place an order with Good Eggs New Orleans, you get free Golden Delicious apples!

All you have to do is add them to your order when you’re checking out, and they’ll be in your bag along with your other goods when delivered. Seriously, what better way to get ready for fall than with sweet, crispy, tangy Golden Delicious apples? I’m stoked!

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

Since Golden Delicious apples are the fruit du jour, today’s recipe features them prominently. We’ll get to that in a little while, but first, let’s talk a little more about Good Eggs’s online marketplace. I’ve included some screenshots here to show you how beautiful their site is and how intuitive and easy it is to use. First, let’s talk about product pages. Not only does each page show a fantastic shot of the item, you can also find out more about the producer. Additionally, the availability dates for each item are on the product page as well. Good Eggs keeps very little to no inventory on hand. It’s basically all brought in fresh when you place an order. This means, though, that it takes at least two days from order date to delivery date, but considering all you have to do is wait a little while, it seems worth the trade-off to me. You can shop from the privacy and convenience of your home or office or while you’re on the go, and then also have those items conveniently delivered to you. Good Eggs makes grocery shopping painless. I’m really into that.

Good Eggs New Orleans

Speaking of delivery, did I mention that it’s free? Yes, it’s true. They even deliver on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, for those of you in the surrounding areas of New Orleans. If you’re willing to commit to a four hour window of time, Good Eggs will indeed deliver for free. However, for only $3.99 you can dictate a two hour window in which to have your goods delivered (not available on the Northshore; Southshore only). They also offer pick up spots around town with specific hours for picking up (again, Southshore only). I like to use this option, especially if I can’t be home on delivery day. Swirl Sensational Wines, just around the corner from me, is a pick-up spot, and  it’s super easy for me to swing by. I just walk over, and it’s still free!

Good Eggs New Orleans

Part of my preparation for this post was to actually walk through the purchase process and report back on it for you fine folks. I’ve ordered from Good Eggs many times before and have always found the site very easy to use. They’ve got great category navigation on each page and a pretty robust search capability. Below is my final page before placing my order. Several things strike me here. One is that some items are available for “subscription,” which means that I could set up a regular recurring order for that particular item. You can see that option below on the arugula line. Not every item has this, but it sure comes in handy for a kitchen staple like arugula. Second, I like that I could update my shopping cart from this page and finally that I can get items delivered on different days if I so desired. One transaction and multiple delivery dates should I need it, pretty awesome!

Good Eggs New Orleans

Needless to say, the ordering process for the ingredients for this quinoa salad was a breeze. I had this order delivered to my house since I needed it on a Friday, and Swirl doesn’t do pick up on Fridays (I guess that’s a busy wine store day, eh?). That morning I received a text letting me know that my delivery was scheduled. The order arrived within the specified time, and the driver even called beforehand to let me know he was on his way. Also, I was able to return my cold packs right to the delivery driver (they now charge if you don’t return cold packs, as they should! That stuff’s expensive!)

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

Now that I’ve walked you through the Good Eggs site and ordering process, let’s get on to the super tasty stuff – the recipe! As I said earlier, I’m really looking forward to fall, and this recipe puts me right in that fall atmosphere. The combination of apples, pecans, pancetta, and pungent farmhouse cheddar cheese provide a delicious base of flavors for this fall salad. While I’m typically an avid maker of salad dressings, I decided to get a bottle of citrus vinaigrette offered on Good Eggs’s site. Since they listed the ingredients right on their site, I knew I was getting a dressing that would be of the same quality that I’d make at home. Same goes for the pecans. I have my own recipe for sweet and spicy pecans, but the pecans on the Good Eggs site looked and sounded so tasty, I had to order those!

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

This dish is super simple to put together. While the quinoa is cooking and the pancetta is baking, the rest of the ingredients can be quickly prepped. Some of your time will be spent waiting for the quinoa to cool to room temperature, but this step is critical. If you attempt to put this together while the quinoa is still warm, the cheddar will melt and the arugula will wilt. That’s not what’s wanted here. It’s hard but be patient and wait for the quinoa to cool. You could even chill the quinoa in the fridge if you need to get moving… which I can’t blame you – you’ll be so pleased once you start eating this, I promise!

Bottom line – If you’re in a Good Eggs service market, try them out if you haven’t already. And if you’re in the New Orleans area, be sure to order this week (9/7/14 to 9/13/14) to get your free Golden Delicious apples. I can’t recommend this service highly enough. It’s a practical and easy-to-use solution to life’s grocery woes. Shopping local and eating well have never been more convenient! Or tasty! 😉

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

Yield: 2-3 meals; 4-6 sides

Apple Pecan Quinoa Recipe

While many of the ingredients listed here were sourced from Good Eggs here in New Orleans, if you’re out of market, see the substitution suggestions below the recipe. Double this recipe for a large group or party.

Ingredients:

Method:

Preparing the quinoa:

  1. Bring the two cups of water and the half teaspoon of kosher salt to a boil in a pot that you have a lid for.
  2. If your package of quinoa is not labelled “pre-washed,” start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Try to remove as much water as possible afterward.
  3. Heat a skillet on medium-high on the stovetop. Add the quinoa and cook until the quinoa dries out and toasts, about 5-7 minutes. It’s ready when you hear the quinoa “popping.” Remove from heat.
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa and stir well. Lower flame to medium-low and cover the pot.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed most of the water. Monitor the pot regularly to make sure it’s not sticking. Stir once or twice to check. If needed, allow quinoa to sit for 5 more minutes to soak any excess water.
  6. Once done, spread the cooked quinoa on a dinner plate or sheet pan to allow it to cool more quickly. You want the quinoa at room temperature before assembling the salad.

Preparing the pancetta:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Place pancetta rounds on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.
  4. Once cooled, crumble or chop the pancetta to make “pancetta bits” (basically, bacon bits)

Assembling the salad:

  1. Place the cooled cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the pancetta bits, arugula, Golden Delicious apples, farmhouse cheddar, toasted pecans, green onions, and dressing.
  3. Stir well to incorporate ingredients.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Note:  If you live outside of the Good Eggs service coverage area, make the following substitutions:

  • Arugula - just use any good quality arugula that you can find at a farmer’s market or grocery store.
  • Farmhouse cheddar - if you can’t get farmhouse cheddar, use cheddar cheese curds or even sub a goat or feta cheese.
  • Sweet and spicy pecans - make your own using my recipe.
  • Citrus vinaigrette - make your own using Bon Appetit’s recipe or purchase a high quality pre-made dressing.

Prep:40 min

Total:40 min

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Disclosure: Good Eggs compensated me financially for this post. However, all opinions expressed are sincere and my own.

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