A green salad seems so easy, so boring, but it’s one of those essential dishes like pasta, scrambled eggs, or a pot of beans, where the magic is in the details. I make one with pretty much every dinner I serve, and it ranks high in my list of favorite foods—salad with dinner is how I grew up, though I’ve come a ways from the Thousand Island dressing-ed and bagged Caesar salad-ed days of my youth. Nothing is quite as reliably refreshing. A pile of perfectly dressed greens, speckled with few or many adornments, and glistening with some bright zing and rich fruitiness in the form of a vinaigrette, is just what I want to round out a meal.
Good lettuce is a no-brainer. Save rubbery or wilted lettuce for . . . well, you might sauté it if it’s a hearty green like spinach or arugula or throw it into a smoothie, but for the most part you’ll probably just want to compost it. Some lettuces, if it looks like there’s some life left in them, can be revitalized by soaking them in ice water for 10 to 15 minutes. There are lots of good-quality pre-washed organic baby lettuces and lettuce blends out there, and I’m certainly not embarrassed to buy them. But lately, I’ve been most often drawn to the heads of green- and red-leaf lettuce sold still attached to its roots, from one of the stands at the farmer’s market near my apartment. It’s incredible how long these lettuces last—the one pictured, I bought it over a week and a half ago. I just pluck off leaves as I need them. Continue reading
Not to overwhelm you with quinoa, but I can’t help myself right now. This is very much a blueprint recipe and hopefully it’ll provide some ideas in terms of giving your old grain-based salads new tricks. My inspiration today, clearly, is spring: I want grill marks, I want tart and snappy textures, a zesty vinaigrette, and most of all, I want green.
Hello from Seattle! I’ve written most of this from the lovely Amtrak Cascade, en route from Portland to here. It’s a luxurious ride—trains are always better than airplanes, in my opinion—and the scenery is so lush. There’s every shade of green, yellow, and orange, and the train tracks are wedged between some substantial, tree-covered hills. And then air in Oregon! On my way to the train station it was so verdant and fresh I tried hard to figure out a way to take some of it with me.
But onto food: This unexpected salad is one I brought with me on the airplane last week. I know it’s not much of a looker. The colors clash and bleed together, and no matter how I try to slice up the veggies, nothing seems more visually appealing than this pico-de-gallo-esqe pile of cubes. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t give it a shot. I was making one of those refrigerator dustbin salads—I wanted to use everything up before I left down for a little while—so I just swept it onto a cutting board, chopped it up, and threw it in a mixing bowl. As I was tasting it, I thought it seemed familiar; I was experiencing some déjà vu. Then I realized: There’s a salad much like it in Veggie Burgers Every Which Way. Continue reading
When this time of the summer hits, the only recipes that really appeal to me are those that require no application of heat. I know, I complained about the weather last year. It just gets so hot in New York! (It does!) When I started getting beets a few weeks ago through my CSA I was first a bit irritated. I love them, but surely someone at the farm must know how much heat is generated in cooking them. I quartered and steamed beets a few times, which doesn’t take as long as roasting does, but even that seemed to penetrate my apartment with enough hot air that it simply wasn’t worth it.
Now that I’ve been eating veggie burgers almost every day for three months, in addition to anguishing about them on the subway, and in the shower, and in my dreams, I turned to the “side dishes” section of the cookbook with a great deal of giddiness. You wouldn’t believe how exited I got about potato salad! Yes! Sweet, sweet potato salad! Continue reading