It’s one of the more common questions about living here that we just didn’t see coming: “What do you guys eat?” Not like we needed to scratch our heads or anything to find an answer (even after mentioning waffles and fries), just one that was unexpected for us. Which, really, shouldn’t have been. Grocery shopping was one of the things that while basically the same, feels completely different as compared to back in the US. Yeah, it’s all still sorted into aisles and we pay at the check-out counter, but little things like different brands, different names and different packaging had thrown us for a loop when we first arrived. Our first few trips would take at least 1 to 2 hours and would maybe yield two meals for us. And it wasn’t just grocery shopping, the entire dining experience is different here, where the idea of a fast casual meal is almost scoffed at, making it difficult to simply swing by a place and grab something quick for dinner.
But we’ve managed to stay (get back up?) on our feet, and have both gotten a lot more comfortable experimenting in the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the seasonal change in the produce aisle to find out what we have to work with. With summer arriving and the brief heat-wave in Brussels last week (really, felt like the tropics) we needed something that was a bit on the lighter side and didn’t involve the oven heating up our A/C-lacking apartment anymore that it already was.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 9 ounces grape tomatoes, quartered
- 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook one cup quinoa in approximately two cups water for 15 minutes or until there is no liquid remaining in the pan. Set aside and let cool. Add garlic with olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix well. Add in grape tomatoes, parsley and feta cheese, then salt and pepper to taste.
We originally got the idea for this guy from Ms. Stewart but made a few edits to make it our own – mostly switching out the bulgur for quinoa (we like the texture that the quinoa adds, but we’ve used couscous in the recipe with decent results too), and subbed a lot of garlic for the little bit of shallot (ok, and really, we just use a garlic press instead of mincing, but it just doesn’t sound as nice. And while we’re being honest, it’s really more like 5 cloves in our house but we realize that’s probably a little much).