December 04 2020 – Melissa Patterson
I remember the moment well. It happened just over 10 years ago. I was sitting in a London café with a dear family friend of mine, Ashleigh, and I knew it was time.
I decided I was going to quit my job and open a café. I had been so inspired by what I saw, and most of all ate, while in London. I knew a café of my very own was going to be the thing that kept me happy back home in Toronto.
When you decide to quit your job and pursue your passion, you have some phone calls to make. My father was my first call and my sister soon followed. I knew they would be supportive and excited for me.
Since my sister has been there from the beginning, it’s only appropriate she be featured in one of my first blog posts. My sister Jenny is one of my favourite people and salads are among my favourite things to ‘cook’. I never bothered feeding my father salads, he was always a treats guy, my sister on the other hand loves my salads.
Jenny has been a huge support to me, always, and especially now as I pivot and change directions in order to continue to grow through the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s there with hugs, a shoulder and some of the best advice I could ask for. She’s also smart and much like me, she works to get shit done. We have had many long conversations and planning sessions about what’s next for Café Plenty. Like she was on that first phone call, Jenny has encouraged me and she has helped keep me excited about my business and its future.
My sister is amazing and inspiring and I think of her often when I’m in the kitchen coming up with new recipes.
This one's for her!
Quinoa & Greens with a Citrus Zest Dressing
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 green onions
1/4 cup pistachios (chopped)
1/3 cup feta (crumbled)
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 cup frozen peas
5 sprigs cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook your quinoa by combining 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water in a medium saucepan (or whatever size you have handy!) Bring the quinoa mixture to a boil over medium/high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes, all the water should be absorbed at this point.
Remove from heat and set aside with the lid on the pot for 5 minutes.
Next, start chopping the green onions. I personally like using both white and green parts of the onion.
Blanch the sugar snap peas in boiling water. This should only take about 2 minutes, I like my greens crunchy! A good salad needs lots of crunch.
For the frozen peas, I use the same boiling water as the sugar snap peas. There’s zero benefit to going through the process again. These take about 4 mins to cook and thaw.
For the cilantro, you can use the leaves and stems, your call! Chop your cilantro but just not too finely. Cilantro can be a controversial herb, if you and yours aren’t fans, feel free to skip it.
Combine all your salad dressing ingredients together. I like using glass jars with a lid, I throw in all my ingredients and give it a good shake with the lid on. I always have homemade salad dressing in the fridge.
To construct your salad, layer the bottom of the bowl with your cooked quinoa, followed by peas, sugar snaps, green onion, cilantro, feta and pistachios. Finally drizzle in your salad dressing to taste. I like to finish this salad with Maldon salt, fresh cracked pepper and lemon zest.
Fresh, super crazy healthy and delicious! Enjoy!