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Grilled Scallops and Cherry Tomatoes with Quinoa Tabouleh and Raita

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Yields 4 servings

Quinoa Tabouleh
2 c. cooked and cooled quinoa
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 medium scallion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, or 1 tsp. dried
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
Juice from 2 lemons
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. white pepper

Toss all ingredients together and chill at least one hour before serving.

Spicy Cool Raita
8 oz. Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced or grated
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
1 hot pepper (jalapeño, serrano, pepperoncini, banana, cherry…) seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 Tbsp. minced cilantro
½ tsp. garam masala
Salt and white pepper to taste

1. Peel, seed, brunoise (finely dice) or grate cucumber. Sprinkle with salt and sugar and strain in mesh strainer or cheesecloth 15 minutes to release excess liquid.
2. Whisk yogurt with minced pepper, cilantro, garam masala, salt and white pepper.
3. Add cucumbers and toss.
4. Chill until ready to serve.

Scallop-Tomato Skewers
1 lemon
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. orange blossom honey
6 oz. extra virgin olive oil
16 sea scallops
16 cherry tomatoes

1. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes to prevent splintering.
2. Preheat grill.
3. Juice lemon and mix with salt, white pepper, vinegar, and honey, and olive oil.
4. Rinse cherry tomatoes and toss in oil mixture, remove from marinade and reserve.
5. Trim fins from scallops and toss in oil mixture, marinate for 15-30 minutes in refrigerator.
6. Skewer scallops and tomatoes, alternating arrangement.
7. Grill until golden brown grill marks appear on both sides. Scallops will feel firm and tomatoes soft when ready. Serve immediately.

Redemption! Thank you New Year for the chance to redeem ourselves, detoxify, and recover from the big holiday meals, prolific desserts, endless Halloween and Christmas stocking candy, football food, and celebratory beverages we chose to indulge in over the past few months. New beginnings are exciting and January is the forgiving month which deserves embracing and commitment. Where better to embark upon a journey of self-improvement than by improving the quality of food we ingest. We are what we eat!
This is a dish which I hope inspires a sense of cultural fusion, diversity, and well-being. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid models the structure of the dish by placing whole-grains and seafood at the center-of-the-plate and incorporating flavors of olive oil, lemon, mint, and yogurt. The Indian Raita sauce is much like the Greek Tzatziki sauce, but the addition of the garam masala gives it more depth in flavor and the addition of jalapeño, or hot peppers, introduces some heat to the profile.
Quinoa is a gluten-free alternative to the bulghur (cracked) wheat traditionally used in Tabouleh. Quinoa is also a “power-food” as it is not only a “fiberlicious” whole grain, but also contains more protein than any other grain. Seafood is another source of protein in this dish, lean and low in calories, and oh so delectable! Nothing beats the silky luxurious feel of the prized sea scallop. Greek yogurt in the Raita sauce contains not only special enzymes which encourage healthy digestion but also twice the protein of ordinary yogurt. High-protein meals uphold our fitness goals by supporting lean muscle mass, satiation, and increased metabolism.
The beverage best paired with this dish would be not the 2007 Bourgogne Blanc you may have been anticipating, but a detoxifying cucumber-lemon water. Save the $55 and the 300 calories and prepare your drink by pouring water over fresh cucumber and lemon slices and infusing overnight, adding mint leaves if desired. Another super-food, a single cucumber supplies vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc! Parsley, tomatoes, lemons, and cucumbers are individually considered to be among the world’s healthiest foods. We can be assured that nourishing our body and mind by adding these power-packed nutrient-rich ingredients, and knowing that if we are what we eat, we are actively making healthy progress!

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