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We’re back in the city, back to eating on the back porch where all the appliances and boxes and torn-out stuff isn’t, back to walking Lou on the sidewalk instead of the beach. What I miss most about having a stove on this particular day is the ability to cook potatoes – the new ones with the thin skins that are just being pulled out of the dirt and sold in farmers’ markets. I could live on these sweet baby potatoes, for awhile, anyway – forked and doused in butter and lemon, with steak and gremolata, or in an uber-creamy potato salad. (It’s not just for picnics anymore.) My pal Chef Michael Allemeier, one of the best chefs around, the guy who taught me to proof bread in a warm, steamy dishwasher after it finishes a load, came up with this recipe. It has blackberries (!) and fresh mint, along with all the other things that make a potato salad great, plus a hit ofContinue reading

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That’s charred, as opposed to chard, which would likely also be delicious. I just made this for lunch, and wanted to share it right away. It was a spur-of-the-moment salad, made because it occurred to me that such a combo would be delicious, and because I’m making a concerted effort to not fill up on banana muffins and toast and eat mostly things that are nutrient-dense (and delicious), even if it requires a lot of chopping and our kitchen counters are currently torn out. (One of the pieces landed on our back porch, and has been turned into an outdoor kitchen of sorts. The barbecue is earning its keep. Our new dining table is outside, and it’s called laps. What do people do when they renovate in the midwinter? Takeout?) As a salad, this is open to interpretation. And the measurements are pretty lax. I’ve been on a bit of a homemade salsa kick this week (a result of a story I was working on),Continue reading

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I know, I need to back away from the kale. It’s so 2013. Retro, almost? Can’t. Stop. The thing about big salads is that when I make them they tend to wind up with loads of cheese, or bacon, or eggs, or other things that have more business being on a burger than atop a salad. Here, I mulched together only good things – kale, carrots, baby bok choy, broccoli slaw, red peppers, pea pods, cilantro, sunflower seeds – and tossed it all with sweet-tanginess spiked with sesame oil. I could feel myself becoming more virtuous as I ate it. And I’m pretty sure I can see better in the dark. I’ve eaten versions of it for three days now – leftovers do just fine with kale as a backbone – and today I drizzled the peanut sauce from our pork satay overtop, and YES. If I’m stingy with my words this week, it’s because I have a cookbook manuscript due in a little overContinue reading

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Kale salad is more in keeping with the season, yes? For those sighing heavily at the suggestion of more kale, what if I imbue it with warm browned butter? You know, instead of the oil that you’d normally douse it with. Perhaps you already know the trick of massaging your raw kale leaves with olive oil, which loosens up the leaves a bit, mellowing them out and making them easier to eat. Drizzling them with warm, just-browned butter does the same – it tames the kale, dialing it down toward cooked, but still raw. It’s easier on the teeth, and to pile onto your fork. Which you’ll want to do.

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butternut salad 2

I’ve decided after close to an hour that I don’t have much to say about this salad, except that it’s tasty, and I’ll be making it again. My backyard greens have long since frozen solid, and I’m back to buying bins of the stuff, which mostly tend to sit in wait and go slimy in the fridge, not only because I’ve been away a lot but because I’m less inspired to eat a salad than usual. Comes with the snow, I guess – I’d rather be scooping up baked Brie with a crusty baguette. I came home today and turned the oven on to warm the house up, and decided that if I roasted some winter veggies, I would eat them. And after the past few weeks, I could do with filling up on veggies. Turns out a butternut squash makes as fab a salad as a roasted beet – had I had goat cheese, I would have used it, but big curls of sharpContinue reading

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I’m all about ginormous salads these days – ones with quinoa and barley and rice noodles and just loads of chopped up stuff – salads I can fill up on and pat myself on the back for having consumed a virtuous quantity of veggies. This particular salad was served at the very first back yard meal of the season, long before the floods, when it got chilly as the sun went down and we had to leave early because it was a school night. We were at a housewarming dinner at our friends‘ first home; this was set upon the picnic table alongside a chicken curry and stacks of mismatched plates, and all was devoured. When I made it myself at home it was far too much for us three – far better for a backyard get-together – and next time I’ll make sure I have salted peanuts or cashews to crush overtop, and perhaps some quickly cooked shrimp or leftover roasted chicken to addContinue reading

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I’m diving into salads, y’all. Everyone into the pool! I’m all carbed out. Well, not totally. But I’m finding toasted bagels with peanut butter and chunks of bread with butter and just one more muffin far too convenient and I need to remind myself that I do love a Big Salad. Unfortunately my brain somehow doesn’t go in that direction when I ponder what to eat, or what to make, or what to experiment with… it’s far more inclined to dip a caramel apple into bacon or stuff a burger with Babybel. (Wait for it…) I’m also programmed to think that salads don’t require a recipe – and most of the time they don’t, although being pointed in the right direction is a huge help. And some flavour and texture combinations just work, and there are so many I would never dream of tossing into a bowl together. This is one of those salads. Last weekend at my mom’s house, she made a salad withContinue reading

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I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a big bowl of greens. The hardy, wintery kind – a tub of spring mix just won’t cut it here. Nor would straight-up kale – I actually went to the store just to buy a couple handfuls of Brussels sprouts to add to the bowl – the biggest ones I could find, to make them easier to slice. They were more like mini cabbages. I needed something I could really chew on. It has been a food-heavy week; there have been restaurant openings, I got to emcee a fancy brunch at River Cafe and dinners at CharCut (where for the first course of our progressive dinner they served us one-pound wild boar and Chorizo meatballs smothered with bone marrow béchamel), Catch and Sky 360, and Geoff Rogers‘ new restaurant, Market. We went for ‘shroom pizza and ice cream, checked out Candela Lounge, and after all that I practically ran to Mango Shiva on Saturday morning whenContinue reading

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