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By Olivia Roszkowski, Chef Instructor at Natural Gourmet Institute

At Natural Gourmet Institute we are guided by the principles that food should be: seasonal, local, whole, traditional, balanced, fresh and delicious. We were excited to exemplify these values by taking to the stove with a heritage apple breed, native to and grown right in our backyard, the Newtown Pippin Apple. You can read more about the history of the Newtown Pippin Apple on the Slow Food USA website, but here are some of the highlights: The Newtown Pippin apple was first harvested in 1730 in Queen’s County, New York. It was a favorite of several founding fathers including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson; it was included on the “Select List of Apples” and brought back to New York by Slow Food NYC in 2008.

Anthony Fassio, CEO of Natural Gourmet Institute and Chair of Slow Food NYC describes his gustatory experience with the Newtown Pippin apple: “The Newton Pippin apple, at first, taste like a familiar tart apple. As the flavor develops however, I find the taste to explode with ‘New York State.’ Maybe it is my knowledge that the Newton Pippin apple hails from New York, but I tend to believe it is because of the environment in which the apple grows. There is a sharp, pine-tree like flavor that lingers after the sweetness subsides. The flavor is quite fresh, almost grassy. I imagine the rolling grassy hills of the Hudson Valley slightly cool from a morning crisp dew.”

The other principal ingredient in this recipe, quinoa, is also a food with a long tradition – though that tradition was born and continues in the Andes. The global popularity of this grain has had wide reaching effects, not least of all in its country of origin. As with most foods that are part of global trade and exchange, the situation is complicated. While quinoa is and should be highly valued for its flavor and nutritional benefits, we encourage you to seek out domestically grown or responsibly sourced quinoa and, as always, to consider the story behind your food.

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Quinoa Salad with Newtown Pippin Apples, Fennel & Slivered Almonds
Serves 4 to 6

For quinoa:
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For vinaigrette:
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

For salad:
3 Newtown Pippin apples, small dice
1 small fennel bulb (reserve fronds), small dice
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 bunch chives, sliced thinly

For the quinoa: Bring two cups of water to a boil. Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cold water. In a small saucepan, toast the quinoa over medium heat for approximately 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until dry. Slowly add the hot water, sea salt, reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is fluffy and has soaked up all the water. Keep covered off the heat.

For the vinaigrette: Combine the orange zest, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, and sea salt in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Gently fold in the cooked quinoa.

For the salad: Toss in the diced apples, fennel, almonds, raisins, and chives. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.