Side, Salad, Gluten Free, Spring, Winter

GARNET PILAF

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I had planned the menu for Easter in my head before we even started making plans. I wanted to have a brunch in my parents backyard with a smoked salmon frittata, a spring pea and greens salad, a pastry with strawberries and some sort of grain salad, this one here would have been great.

As it is, one thing leads to another and it turns out we'll be driving out to the desert to visit one of my grandmas. Traffic. Heat. Eating at The Sizzler (I'm not kidding, it's one of the only options out there and Grandma Gladys uses the oven for storage space so you know she's not cooking). So I made the grain salad for a dinner with friends the other night and it was so simple and so pretty I had to share. There are three cooking vessles used, which for some dismisses this dish from the "simple" category, but grains are hands off cooking, so I think it classifies as such. I keep all the sweet potato nuggets on top for presentation sake, covered in a blanket of fresh chopped chives, but mixing eveything together works just fine.

I hope you have lovely weekend plans with family and friends and a table full of good food.

In other news, our "tech guy" (Hugh) has the email subscription up and running again, so if you're still trying to get updates, fingers crossed this attempt proves successful for all of you! Thanks for your patience.

GARNET PILAF // Serves 4-6

1/2 cup brown rice

3 sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika, divided

sea salt + pepper

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed

1 cup water or broth of choice

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

sprinkle of red chili flakes, if you like some heat

1 bunch fresh chives, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

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Preheat the oven to 425'.

Rinse and cook the brown rice according to instructions. This takes the longest, so start the rice first.

Wash and dice the sweet potatoes into 1'' cubes. Pile them on a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp. of the smoked paprika and a few pinches of sea salt. Toss everything together with your hands to coat and spread them all out in a single layer. Sprinkle a few grinds of pepper.

Roast on the middle rack for 23-25 minutes until the edges are browned and crisp.

In a pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and saute the diced onion until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, a pinch of sea salt, 1 cup water or broth of choice and bring it to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15-17 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork and cover it for another few minutes to finish.

When both the rice and quinoa are cooked, put them both in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the remaining Tbsp. of olive oil, remaining 1/2 Tbsp. smoked paprika, red wine vinegar, chili flakes if using and toss everything together to mix. Taste for salt and pepper. Top it with the cubes of sweet potatoes and a ton of fresh chives and serve.

*It may not all be piping on at the point of serving and that is ok. I found it tasted best just a tad warmer than room temp.