Annnnd, I’m back. What a year. For everything we’ve all been through in 2017, I’m really hopeful for everything ahead in 2018. As Nina Simone would say, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and I’m feeling good.
This hearty winter salad helps. Freekeh serves as the base and is loaded with protein and fiber. Roast up some veggies (including a sweet potato), toast some almond slices, whip up a quick lemon-maple vinaigrette and toss it all together. This is awesome and filling on its own, but Brendan has eaten it for breakfast, warmed quickly and topped with a fried egg. And it’s good for you!! Anyone else need a detox after the holidays? Hell, anyone need a detox after the dumpster fire of 2017? Start here.
ROASTED VEGETABLE WINTER SALAD (serves 4)
1 cup freekeh, pre-cooked
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups cauliflower, broken into florets (I had purple cauliflower on hand, which was so pretty in this, but any color will work)
1/4 c. almond slices
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 cup EVOO
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a small pot, bring one cup of freekeh (no need to rinse this, like you do with quinoa) and 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Toss brussels sprouts, sweet potato and cauliflower with a glug or two of EVOO and some kosher salt & fresh-cracked black pepper. Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes or until browned and tender.
To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice with the salt and pepper. Next, add the maple syrup and then whisk in the EVOO. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the almonds, flipping often, until golden brown – about 3 minutes. Keep an eye on these – they’ll go from perfect to perfectly burned in a span of about 30 seconds.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked freekeh, the roasted vegetables, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and the dressing. Mix everything together.
Winter in San Antonio has been…not terrible. While the poor East Coast is getting Snowzilla’ed, we’re outside enjoying the sunshine. And Central Market is currently having their Citrus Celebration, which features about 60 different kinds of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, etc. It’s beautiful and delicious and makes me happy every time I set foot in that store.
This salad is perfect as either an appetizer or a dessert. Blood oranges are seasonal, and sweeter than a typical orange, but the addition of a little drizzle of honey, some flaked citrus salt (if you have it, if not, regular salt will work too) and some julienned basil is the most amazing combination. So many flavors!!
BLOOD ORANGE CITRUS SALAD WITH HONEY, BASIL AND SEA SALT (Serves 2)
Two blood oranges
Local honey, approx. 1 tsp. per salad
7-8 basil leaves
Pinch of flaked citrus salt or regular sea salt
Cut off the top and bottom of the orange, so it can stand on one end. Then, carefully remove the skin with a sharp knife, making sure you don’t cut away too much of the orange.
2. Cut orange into slices, width-wise, and arrange on a plate.
3. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt and top with julienned basil. Serve immediately.
French Green Beans are one of my favorite foods in France. To be clear: these are not green beans, those chunky, crunchy, scowl-inducing veggies your mom used to make you eat as a kid. These are French Green Beans, or haricots verts, slender little delicate beans that are delicious on their own or quickly blanched and then tossed with some carrot sticks, a couple beet greens and that dijon-spiked, shallot-based classic french vinaigrette. This is not a salad. This is an event. Enjoy.
FRENCH GREEN BEAN SALAD (Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side)
1 lb. French Green Beans
1/4 C. matchstick carrots
1/2 C. beet greens (no more – the beans are the star of this, not the greens)
1.Blanch your green beans. You do this by gently boiling some salted water in a large pot, then throwing the beans in for no more than 2 minutes, or until the beans have a little bend to them, but aren’t soggy. Test them pretty often, so you make sure you get the right texture – it’s key to the salad.
2. Have an ice bath ready, and when the beans are ready, quickly drain them in a colander and dunk them in the ice bath so they stop cooking.
3. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Toss with 3/4 of the vinaigrette, then add the carrots and beet greens, and toss with the rest of the vinaigrette.
4. Serve immediately and enjoy. J’adore les haricots verts!