Pleasantville Cookbook Club – March Roundup

Hudson Valley Chef's TableThis year, I began something that I have wanted to do for a while. Begin a book group, except it is a cookbook group, which we will be doing at Pleasantville Library.

The objective is pretty simple, get a group of local residents talking, cooking and discussing cookbooks. With the help of super organized librarian Debbie Jordan, we have started the the group. Here is the report from the first meeting, where we talked about the Hudson Valley Chef’s Table.

The hope and objective is to alternate between themes and selected cookbooks, with some emphasis on the local component.  We all bring a dish, and share our experiences with the book we pick.

Now, believe it or not, we ended up with three of us, cooking the gorgeous quinoa salad from Taiim’s Falafel Shack. Now, if you are regular farmer’s market goer like me, you could not have missed their amazing offerings.

Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Well, this showcased a couple of things, we need to get people to list the dished that they are bringing and irrespective of best intentions the same dish is interpreted differently by different cooks. So, this chickpea happy version was mine.

Taiims Quinoa Salad

Here is version two from Patty, she had slow cooked her chickpeas (yes, following my directions from the Spices and Seasons Cookbook), giving the dish a deeper hue. She had also left out the sumac in her seasoning.

Taiim's Falafel Shack - Quinoa Salad

Version 3 is the fancy version, the closet to the real Mccoy, served over crisp romaine leaves, Betty even brought along Pita bread and Tahini Sauce.

Hudson Valley Apple Cake

Fortunately, no one forgot dessert, this amazing and incredibly moist apple cake was the Hudson Valley Apple Cake from Lulu’s in Scarsdale.

About The Hudson Valley Chef’s Table:

We thought that it was a stunning, very beautifully illustrated cookbook. Everyone loved the restaurant details saying that it gave us all ideas about where to pick up our next Hudson Valley meal. Having said that, some participants did acknowledge that some of the recipes were a little complex and not well suited for everyday cooking.

If you liked this, I hope I can persuade you to join us in April, when we will back to our themed discussion this time it will be Spring Soups and Stews.

Now I would not leave you without a recipe, so here is this gorgeous salad that caught everyone attention.

Taiim's Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

A lovely easy to make salad, full of loads of easy flavor.


    For the Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 2 - 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 large romaine lettuce leaves


  1. To make the dressing, whisk the salt, pepper, sumac, lemon juice and olive oil together and reserve.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. If you’d like to use the red pepper flakes, add them to the boiling water in which you cook the quinoa.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, place the dried chickpeas in a small saucepan.
  4. Cover the chickpeas with water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook chickpeas for 30 minutes, or until tender.
  6. When the chickpeas and quinoa are fully cooked, drain and place in a large bowl.
  7. Add the tomato, scallions, peppers and the dressing and gently toss the salad together.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve on the romaine leaves.


I soaked the chickpeas and pressure cooked them separately, otherwise followed the recipe to the T.


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