Simply Food:Roasted Corn and Quinoa Salad

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” Jane Austen, Northanger Abby

Claud and I made new friends. Yay us! It’s not that easy to make friends in Vegas. This makes me miss Minnesota a lot.

A few weeks ago, we went to an amazing music, food and art festival called, “Life is Beautiful.” It was so much fun. We listened to amazing bands and wandered through art galleries and ate some incredible food.

I discovered an unbelievable Mexican restaurant that I now love. It is called La Comida and it is in downtown Las Vegas. The festival was located on six city blocks downtown. Downtown is beginning to be such a cool place. It’s not scary and rundown like it used to be and I love all of the incredible new restaurants. Although the music, food and art were brilliant, the best part of the festival was when we met Amy and Rick.

On the last day of the two-day festival, about an hour before we were going home, we went into The Griffin, a cool little bar. We found a nice seat in front of a warm fire. We sat right next to Amy and Rick who would become our new friends. Amy was going through some pictures on her phone that they had taken that day. She said she didn’t look very good in them. Rick, her husband, said she was being crazy.

I said, “Let me have a look. I’ll tell you.” She handed me the phone and I had a quick look through a few of the photos. Yes, she was being crazy. The thing is, I don’t think Amy could ever not look beautiful. She is gorgeous. I told her I agreed with Rick. Turns out, these two are so much fun and we spent the rest of the night with them talking and walking around the festival.

Since then, we have texted a few times and became Facebook friends. They have kids and we have kids so we have all been pretty busy and lots of time passed. Finally, last night, they came over for dinner. They met Daphne and Jack and we met two of their four children. Obviously, I had to invite eight other people because once I get a dinner party idea, I invite everyone I run into. I was at my neighbor’s house the day before and I invited her to join us. A few days earlier, I sipped a glass of wine with another friend and invited her whole family over. Of course, I included the friend she has living with her. Before I knew it, 16 people needed to be fed.

I wanted to make a meal that would please lots of people, kids and adults. I decided that fajitas would do the trick. I cooked beans, sauted peppers and onions and grilled chicken. Claud marinated the chicken in what we are calling “Mindian” spices because it was a combination of Mexican and Indian spices. I set out bowls of cheese, sour cream, and salsa. This way, people could choose what they wanted in their tortilla and make it however they desired.

I also made a big pot of Spanish rice. We grilled a little polenta just for fun. Then, to top it all off, I made roasted corn and quinoa salad. I used frozen corn but you could use any version of corn you please. The important part is to roast it so it is brown and a little crispy. Claud decided to add a little bit of maple syrup to the corn to make sure it browned beautifully. It did. He has the best ideas. This salad is so easy to make and is a great side dish for almost any meal. Everyone loved it. Today, I received texts from a few people complimenting me on the salad. Rick asked for the recipe. I knew I liked that guy. Amy went back for seconds of just the salad. So, I am pretty sure it was tasty. Everybody raved about the Mindian chicken too. Rick and Amy’s son went home and told his brother that the chicken was so good. Rick said that was a huge compliment coming from Jase.

I am so happy I invited so many people because something amazing happened at the dinner party. Rick and Amy’s kids played on Jack’s drum set almost all night long. My other friend was so impressed that he is giving them his drum kit to give to the kids for Christmas. How amazing is that? I love it when good things happen to great people. I bet Amy never thought that looking through pictures on her phone in a bar could lead to a free drum kit for her children for Christmas as well as a friendship that I hope will be life long.

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