Tasty recipes for Valentine’s treats show labor of love

Ellie Newell

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Illustration: Ariel Carter-Rodriguez

If you and your sweetheart are going to brave the crowds this Feb. 14, I’d recommend making your reservations yesterday. I think I’ve mentioned before my undying love for Brasserie Four, but I’ve also come to be a big supporter of the appetizers and beer date. Public House 124’s truffle fries and wings are so delightful you’ll consider building a shack out back just to be closer to them at all times.

Personally, I would take a home-cooked meal over eating out any day. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, or the anniversary of Oregon’s statehood, here’s a recipe that’s tasty, simple to throw together and won’t break the bank. Bonus points for how beautifully orange and purple it is!

Quinoa Beet Salad with Cashew Ginger Dressing

Start by getting your quinoa cooking. Some people swear that rice cookers work well for quinoa, but my best results have been with a pot on the stove. Most quinoa recipes call for two parts liquid to one part dry quinoa. I often add a spoonful of vegan Better Than Bouillon paste, but you could just as easily use chicken or veggie broth, or just plain water. The quinoa that I buy from Super 1’s bulk section takes about 12-15 minutes to simmer once the water’s boiled. If you prefer a cold base to your salad, you can prepare the quinoa ahead of time and chill it in the fridge.

Wash a head of lettuce and rip into bite sized pieces. Wash a beet or two and trim off the skin. Use a cheese grater to shred. Wash and peel a couple of carrots and shred them just like you did the beets. Toss the vegetables in a large bowl.

For the dressing, place half a cup of unsalted raw cashews in your blender or food processor and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and either a couple tablespoons of dried ginger, or a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced. Blend for several minutes, testing the mixture every so often by rubbing a drop between your thumb and pointer, feeling for graininess. When you can no longer feel grains of cashew, add water bit by bit to your dressing until you reach your desired consistency, squeezing half a lemon into it at the end. Give it a taste and add more ginger or salt if necessary.

Serve the salad on a bed of quinoa, drizzled with your delicious homemade dressing. ¡Buen Provecho!

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