Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Say what??

I guess it is time to share the news we alluded to a couple weeks ago and let you in on why we have been so busy. I honestly can't believe that I am saying this given how much effort and work we have put into this house since we moved in just last year, but we are actually putting it up for sale within the next week or two as Jeff was offered, and has officially accepted, a new job. We will be heading back to the state that we left when we moved out to Phoenix where I started this blog... I also just happened to grow up there - that's right, Minnesota!

Huh? What? Are you crazy? I know... I know! The job is of course with the same company and he will even be working with a few of his former co-workers when we lived back in Minneapolis. Unlike the move from Phoenix however, we will be staying out here in Maryland until this house sells (ugh... we can't even wrap our minds around having to deal with showings and all that stuff that goes with selling again - scary!) We've been peeking through a few realtor sites to get a glimpse of what the market has to offer out there - but we will be waiting until we get an offer out here to get more serious about looking for the new house. We are trying to narrow down the area that we want to search in - so far we are thinking of areas south or south west of downtown Minneapolis, but we won't know until we have time to fly out there and see what has changed in the few years since we've been there.

We have a couple more projects to finish up on the inside to get this house listed, but once it hits the market we are really hoping that it won't take months and months to sell. I do have a sneaking suspicion that we will be out here for quite some time.... though I'll try to stay positive about it. We are excited to be moving back - it will be nice to be closer to a big city again that has so much culture and things constantly going on. So... anyone need a house? Come on... how could you say no when you have these cute four legged friends right behind your backyard!

Well, now that we have dropped that bomb, let's move on to tonight's dinner! We knew this Toasted Quinoa, Snow Peas, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella Salad was going to be good before we even took a bite when I rattled off the list of ingredients to Jeff. Do be sure to take the few extra minutes in the beginning to toast the quinoa - it really lures out the natural nuttiness in the grain. As we've mentioned before, you do need to make sure to rinse the quinoa before you use it - even if your package says it was pre-rinsed, I would still advise that you rinse it just to be sure you remove any lingering bitterness.

Once the quinoa has cooked and cooled a bit, the spiral grains are tossed with a medley of colorful veggies and herbs - they include crunchy snow peas, red onions, cool chopped cucumbers, fresh mint, chopped basil and juicy grape tomatoes. We also threw in some delicate pearl-sized mozzarella balls - you could also just dice up some fresh mozzarella if these are not easily accessible.

To get a fresh and tart counterpoint to the salad, the mixture is dressed with a combination of lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and a couple dashes of cayenne pepper sauce. The cayenne pepper sauce does not make this salad spicy at all, but it just adds a little "oopmh" to the final dish. We both think that this would be great to make ahead and have ready for a couple tasty lunches throughout the week.


  1. Yeah...a Quinoa recipe to bookmark! I just learned of this lovely grain-like plant this year and am a huge fan now!

  2. Chris - we have quite a few recipes over in the Main and Side Dish section for quinoa that we have done if you want some more options!

  3. Oh Joe, moving is a great deal and takes a lot of effort... I wish you the best luck with everything and that the house sells super quick!!!
    I loooooved the quinoa dish, going to the top of the "to try" list right now!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Moving two times in rapid succession is NOT fun. But at least one of our moves was only across town, not to a whole new state.

    I know you'll hate to leave your brand new kitchen (I only had my big kitchen in IN for 7 months), but maybe it will be the key to selling the house quickly.

    Best of luck, Joe.

  5. Congratulations, you two! A new adventure. I look forward to reading all about it. Love the quinoa dish - maybe someday I'll give quinoa another try. I didn't know you had to rinse it!

  6. I've been reading your blog for quite some time, but never commented because I'm not a food blogger (yet).

    Anyway, I'm from Minnesota! So, welcome back home :) (By the time you move here, I'll be living in Florence, Italy going to culinary school)

    I love your blog and your recipes!

    Good luck selling - the market is doing MUCH better now (I work in mortgage currently) and have fun!

  7. That is some news! I bet you're really excited. I think the question that everyone is wondering is.....will the name of the blog change??? Maybe Culinary in the Twin Cities?

  8. Just having done the big move from Toronto, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia - I'm exhausted for you!!

    All for the greater good, I'm sure. Best of luck selling your home and finding a new one.

    The salad by the way, looks awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Congratulations on the new job, and good luck with the move!

  10. Congratulations to both of you! Moving = not great, having to a sell a house = not so good. New people at work who will get to taste your treats each week -- PRICELESS! Good luck!

  11. Joe and Jeff

    I don't think that you will have to wait months to sell your house - it should go very quickly after all the work that you have done on it and it looks beautiful. On the positive side, when you have shown the photographs and comments on the house in the time that you have been there, they have been nothing but positive... remember, the internet world is a large world and as you are in the country, I am sure there will be other people who live in the country wanting to move and think that your house is ideal. Anyway, best of luck to you both... and keep the recipes coming.

    Anne, Edinburgh
    PS I would move there, but it is just a bit too far!!!!

  12. Joe

    Good luck on selling your house in rapid fashion.

    We are looking for a new house and if I were moving to Maryland I would buy your house sight-unseen.

  13. Congratulations to both of you!

    As a former Twin Citian now living in Duluth, Welcome Back to Minnesota!

    Best of luck with the move.

  14. Congratulations! Welcome (back) to Minnesota!

    June in Northfield (~1 hr S of the cities)

  15. omg, you will have to change your blog name again-i'm sure that's easier than moving.

  16. I mean, I think you must just like moving or something! ;-) You sure will miss those llamas! I have a box of quinoa sitting in my pantry that I really need to try and use. This looks good.

  17. I've never worked with quinoa before, but I will check it out! Thanks! Good luck with the move. Having just been through one myself, I know it can be exhausting!

  18. Culinary in the Twin Cities???

    Oh, Joe, I feel your moving pain. Luckily, I don't have to wait for a house to sell, though, but the planning and effort involved in moving really stinks. I was going to see if you wanted to meet in Brunswick nearby where you live when I'm in Maryland next summer, so I guess I'll just have to find another exciting locale to visit instead. Bummer.

    Anyway, I'm sending good selling vibes your way. All my best to you, Jeff and the pups in your upcoming move "home".

  19. Hey--don't knock MN! I know moving is a pain, but we will welcome you back!

    in Minneapolis

  20. Moving again! Good luck with selling the house. Hopefully with all the new things you've done it will sell quickly.

  21. Well golly, something else to add to our Twin Cities agenda! How exciting for you, I'm sorry you're going to have to leave behind your gorgeous new master suite though.

    And you never know about seeing llamas in the city. My brother's neighbor had chickens last summer...

    I'll be keeping an eye out for my dinner invite. ;-)

  22. Whoa - moving again, and so soon! You have my UTMOST sympathy since we're going through that right now. After MONTHS of having our house on the place, and making two contingent offers on homes that fell through because we didn't have an offer at the time, we finally received an offer AND made an offer in the same weekend!!

    And then comes the stress of inspections, scheduling moves, packing, etc...all of which we're doing now. Ugh! Not gonna want to do this again anytime soon! CERTAINLY not within a year! ;-)

    If only we were in your area - sounds like you've got pretty much what we've wanted - more of a country setting, and I'd LOVE fields of alpacas or llamas or horses or even cows next door!

    I wish you lots of luck in a low stress, fast moving sale!! (So I guess Jeff's job won't do a relocation thing where they buy the house and sell it for you guys, hunh?)

    PS Still haven't tried quinoa - and we've had a box in the cupboard for MONTHS! It sits there intimidating me...

  23. Greetings! I made this recipe last night, although I used rice instead of quinoa and feta instead of mozzarella. It was fantastic!!

    Now...what are you going to call your blog? Culinary in the Great North?? : - )

  24. Thanks so much! I am going to head there now.

    And, I got so excited about the Quinoa, I forgot to congratulate you! Good luck with everything!

  25. Congrats! I'm moving too from the East Coast to the West Coast (Vancouver Island). We sold the house the first day it was on the market. Really clean house in a nice neighbourhood sales really well. Few weeks to go and we will be on the road. We will be travelling thru the states and actually your new location is on our list to visit. We were here just 2 1/2 yrs when my husband took that new position. We move every 3 to 4 yrs. That's life and everytime I like where I live. It makes me discover the country.

    I wish you best and I feel your pain because I'm in the same situation right now.

    Good luck!!!

  26. Thanks everyone!

    One note - I don't think I want to go through the whole name change thing again. The "country" might actually work well, depending on where we choose the new house, but I just think we'll leave it alone this time.

    Who knows what might happen though! We certainly were not expecting this to happen so soon!

  27. congrats, joe! i'm just catching up on all of my blogging since being away, and i had to say congrats and good luck!


  28. Oh, my! I certainly don't envy you having to deal with the moving process all over again, but it sounds like it will work out for the best.

  29. Very cool - and I don't mean the weather! And it also means that some time in the next while, if you like we'll be able to meet for coffee since I often stop in the Cities on my way home to Lake of the Woods ...

  30. s'kat - it is quite the experience. I would have laughed if you told me this was going to happen last year!

    Alanna - How often do you go?

  31. Great site!! Enjoy your vegetarian stuff you do. Very well done. Hope the move went well and you are all settled in...

  32. Kleo - we have not moved yet... the house has only been on the market for a week now. We are hoping to get some activity soon though! Thanks for checking us out!

  33. ok, i finally read that comment you left me which directed me over here. I dont know why I didnt get an email telling me I had a comment. Wow, you're moving back to MN??? I've actually been there twice( in the summer of course) and I liked it. My ex grew up in Shakopee.