The Big Ass Conference Call Salad

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May 7, 2014 by juicefong

Maybe there should be a food and recipes section of this blog. I dunno. For those who know me well, I love, love, love to cook. Nary have I mentioned so here on Fongalong, but I guess we’re now beyond that. I used to come home from a long day of teaching and cook for hours for my roommates (we had a five-person rotation), and I had so much energy for it. That’s when you know you love something.

Currently I have a job where I can work from home sometimes, which doth provide its conveniences. I think it’s important to be there in the office, building relationships and hearing what’s going on with everyone, personally and professionally. But the other day, I had a few very long conference calls, so I stuck it out in my Brooklyn apartment. This led me to create the Big Ass Conference Call Salad.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Active cooking time: 5 minutes
Ideal conference call length: 1 hour or more

Ingredients (salad for 2):

• a couple handfuls of arugula
• a handful of watercress, the whole bunch ripped in half
• three cocktail tomatoes (or another favorite tomato) cut into sixths
• one shallot, sliced
• 1/3 cup of quinoa
• 1/2 cup of chicken stock or water (for preparing the quinoa)
• shaved Parmesan, to taste
• tablespoon of olive oil
• tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar, to marinate the shallots
• Dijon mustard, olive oil and white wine vinegar for the dressing


Important: Make sure you are all good and prepared for the conference call you are on. Have the proper equipment (earbuds), be ready to mute and unmute and have a towel and a notepad at the ready.

Start up the quinoa: Over medium heat get a tablespoon of olive oil all hot and bothered. Throw 1/3 cup of quinoa in there and stir it for a minute. Then add in your chicken stock, turn the heat all the way to low, cover your saucepan and let it hang for 20 minutes. Set a timer. You’re on a conference call. Don’t get all cocky. You’ll forget.

Marinate some shallots: Slice up a shallot and put it in a little bowl, then pour some red wine vinegar, just enough to cover them. Let them chill out – in 20 minutes you’ll be taking them to their new home.

Mix your dressing: In a small bowl, mix together a generous dollop of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the rest of the team: Bring out that arugula, watercress, get the tomatoes in there and shave some Parmesan into a medium-sized bowl. Get crazy with some sunflower seeds or pine nuts if you’re feeling it.

When your quinoa is done, scoop that right into your salad, then rescue those shallots and toss enthusiastically. Serve and you should have something like this:

Arugula, watercress, cocktail tomatoes, marinated shallots, quinoa, shaved Parmesan

Arugula, watercress, cocktail tomatoes, marinated shallots, quinoa, shaved Parmesan

I find that arugula and watercress go so well together. Two great greens both with peppery flavors but different bodies. I think the mustard performs well here to give it a creamy texture and if you’re not a fan of tomatoes – well find something else substantial.

This is one of those salad-as-a-meal type things, the quinoa really creating a fuller experience. Here’s to your next great conference call from home, and the big ass salad that may ensue.

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