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Posts Tagged ‘easy salads’

 

I hope you are in a safe place–both physically and emotionally. Last week was a very difficult one for our nation, for our nation’s black community, and for many of us individually.

I won’t begin to think I am informed enough or experienced enough to talk about the struggles that so many people of color still face today across our nation. What I will say is that I am fully aware of my white (half-Asian, actually) privilege, and I remind my children of it regularly–not just speaking of the color of their skin, but also the circumstances into which they were born.

But above all else, I try to teach them to treat everyone with kindness and compassion, to look beyond any outward appearance or labels (e.g. black/white, gay/straight, racist/antiracist). After all, while there may be an occasional bad egg amongst all the good ones, racism is born out of ignorance, and it’s often born into. Our country is vast, our neighborhoods are mostly still segregated, and that ignorance is allowed to continue year after year, generation after generation.

I do believe we all have a responsibility to be actively antiracist, and we have a responsibility to seek to understand.

I stress-bake, and I stress-eat, so was doing a lot of both last week. Luckily, I still managed to keep it healthy. Here’s a dish that’s colorful, tasty and easy to prepare (although you need to allow 30 minutes to cook the farro and 35-40 minutes to roast the beets). You might be thinking, wait, isn’t she gluten-free? No, I’m not. I rarely eat gluten, but I have no obvious intolerance to it, and indulge occasionally when it’s something I really like, such as farro–because I just love the texture and slightly nutty flavor, and a good loaf of pain levain.

Farro, like Einkhorn, hasn’t gone through all the hybridization that modern wheat has (which has significantly increased the gluten content of today’s wheat), so it’s largely believed to be much the same grain as it was more than 100 years ago. While it still poses real dangers to celiac individuals or anyone with high gluten sensitivity, it (luckily) can be enjoyed by the rest of us.

This recipe serves as a great main dish for lunch or a side dish for dinner, and it travels well for a picnic at the beach. You can also make it vegan by leaving out the feta, although it changes the flavor profile.

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cups cooked farro*

2 golden beets roasted at 375F until tender (about 35-40 minutes)

1 cup mixed radishes, trimmed and quartered

2 oz feta (I use a sheep’s milk version)

3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

* Place 1 cup of farro in a medium saucepan. Wash and rinse 2-3 times. Add two cups water and place over medium-high heat. When the water begins to boil, turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer the farro for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess water.

 

Preparation

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Set aside.

Carefully peel the skin off the beets, and slice into 1/2-inch chunks. Place in a medium bowl. Add in the radishes, fresh herbs and oil and vinegar mixture and toss to combine thoroughly. Add in the feta and toss again. Season with salt and pepper

Best served immediately, still slightly warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

(Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side. Adapted from http://www.bonappetit.com)

 

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I recently had the pleasure of cooking dinner, at a lovely home in Santa Cruz overlooking the ocean, with a friend whose husband and young son are primarily vegetarian. It reminded me that I tend to cook in a distinct pattern. That is, I usually prepare a meat-based entree served with a cooked vegetable side and a green salad. Healthy, yes, but a little boring in its repetition. The evening I cooked with the above mentioned friend, we served steak (the meat entree), along with four or five vegetable dishes, which combined for a great meal. Not that any of us have time to whip up six dishes for every dinner, but it got me thinking… I want to cook more vegetarian dishes not just cook more vegetables.

One of the dishes my friend made that evening is this lentil salad. She said the recipe comes from the genius Ottolenghi team, but I couldn’t find it in any of their books. My friend didn’t use precise measurements, but I’ve tried to capture fairly precise measurements based on my own taste. It’s definitely one of those dishes you can make, then taste, adjust, taste again, etc. However, I have included the measurements for the dish as I like it (since I’ve already made it three times in the past two weeks).

The combination of flavors and textures surprises and delights. I also love the different colors even though the main ingredient–French lentils, is an uninteresting greenish-brown. And while sun-dried tomatoes seem strong-flavored on their own, as does gorgonzola cheese, they blend perfectly together in a surprisingly mild, yet still very flavorful way.

I also think this dish works with just about anything. We served it with steak, but it would have been a great accompaniment to roasted chicken or grilled halibut or any vegetarian dish.

 

Ingredients

3 cups cooked French lentils*

1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus a little oil from the jar

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp fresh dill, thick stems removed and leaves chopped

2 tbsp fresh chives, snipped or cut in small lengths

2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Coarse-ground sea salt

Fresh-ground pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

*If you happen to live near a Trader Joe’s store, they sell steamed lentils in the produce section. Cooking your own is always better, but in a hurry, the pre-cooked lentils make this dish a cinch to prepare!

 

Preparation

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil, season to taste and stir to incorporate. Serve at room temperature.

 

Enjoy!

 

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