My favorite kind of cooking is baking, but when I'm not doing that I like to make hippie food. For me, this consists of a lot of one-pot meals accompanied by crusty bread and good cheese. Usually, there's some sort of grain (quinoa, wild rice, bulgur, amaranth), some veggies, nuts, and dried fruit tossed in a dressing. I really can't say enough for simplicity in cooking. Simple flavors can be stunning in their own, humble way, and there's nothing wrong with humble.
This salad is one incarnation of a common refrain on my kitchen table: red quinoa, whatever fresh veggies I have on hand, and a garlicky dressing. This is so easy to make, and so hard to mess up, that you may become dependent. I usually add feta to the mix, but you could just as easily use parmesan, a well-aged gouda, clothbound cheddar, ricotta salata, or something like comte (any cheese that will retain its shape and have a pronounced flavor). I've also been known to just omit the cheese altogether when I'm having vegan friends over.
For this particular version, I used a Middle Eastern inspired ingredient palette--mint,
cilantro, chopped apricots, and pistachios. You should feel free to follow your pantry on this
one. I can imagine a nice, refined vinaigrette being really charming on this salad with radishes
and celery and maybe some toasted hazelnuts. Or even a balsamic dressing with chopped
strawberries and ricotta (this version wouldn't keep as well, though).
And no, I'm not going to give you a recipe because this is too easy.