Last November, Merrill and I and our friend Sharelle pored over the lunch menu at Sitka & Spruce in Seattle. And we all immediately homed in on the strangest item on the menu: yogurt with toasted quinoa, dates, almonds, and rose salt. The dish -- the clear winner on our crowded table -- was like a Turkish recipe in a West Coast cloak. At home, without rose salt, a little digging in my pantry produced a jar of olive salt, which worked beautifully. A good flaky sea salt will work just fine, as well. —Amanda Hesser
shelled pistachios (raw or salted, either will work), chopped
ounces whole milk Greek yogurt
medjool dates, pitted and chopped
Pinch of freshly grated lemon zest
Flaky sea salt or other coarse salt -- or olive salt if you can get hold of some
1 to 2 teaspoons best quality olive oil
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the quinoa into a small saute pan and place over medium heat. Toast the quinoa -- it will begin popping when it's toasted, and as soon as it is pour it into a bowl to cool. Spread the pistachios and almonds in a small baking dish and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Spread the yogurt on a small plate or shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the quinoa, pistachios, almonds, and dates. Fleck with lemon zest and sea salt, and finish with a sprinkling of olive oil.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.