Time and time again, I’ve tried to beat the odds - wear a shirt without getting something on it. My clothes typically have a one-to-two wear life span, dodging a variety of sticky, greasy or colorful messes. Whether I’m bibbed up or strapped into a face funnel, something ugly, loud and rude always rears its face on my clothes. I fear that one day, I’ll end up in a predicament like this GUY
Hundreds on dry cleaning bills and irritated friends, who swear they’ll never lend me a shirt again, has given me a complex when it comes to handling the worst kinds of staining foods. I see them in the grocery aisle, glance at them on the menu, but the knee jerking psycho semantic complex keeps me looking the other way. Beets are one of those foods. It’s purpley red flesh, once broken, can paint everything from your hands, clothes, walls, counters and dishes. It’s up there next two red wine and oily fish on the DANGER STAINING SCALE.
A couple days ago I was craving something fresh and colorful. I had received a bundle of beets from a farmers market and they’d been staring me down for a week. I couldn’t take it any longer. I stripped down, put on some blacks and covered the kitchen a la’ Dexter Morgan, preparing myself for the inevitable mess. I knew I could do it. Beets had been a popular fix for the past year and I’ve yet to see anyone with stained hands and clothes where it was prepared. It’s likely that these people aren’t prone to being a n’th degree klutz, but regardless, I was ready to conquer the beet and succeed, sans stain.
Tri-Color Beet Salad
| Ingredients |
| Preparation |
Preheat oven to 475ºF. Cut ends off of beets, drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly in tin foil. Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Wrap clove of garlic and leave in for 20 minutes. Check with a fork to see if beets are soft, as some oven temperatures vary. Once beats are ready, take them out of oven and let cool. Then using gloves, Ziploc bag or paper towel rub the skins off of the beets. [You can also try peeling in cold water, then reserve the liquid to make a drink. YUM.]
Cut beets into cubes or quarters. Cut the heirloom tomatoes in half and combine both in bowel. Add chopped green onion and basil.
Mix dressing ingredients together and whisk. Adding salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing on top of salad, mix then serve alone or with a crunchy warm baguette.
Up until recently I had a revelation in the world of salads. Around five years ago I used to make fun of people who claimed to get full on a salad. I always treated it as a side meal or a bargaining piece in a mental negotiation for something fried and unhealthy. Greens are the convenient illusion of balance when you’re going glutton and beyond. Soon enough, my taste buds matured and I became one of those people I laughed at, ordering salads as meals, raving about all the different ways you could eat it. When I got sick of the romaine, I moved onto to the boston; when I grew tired of that I stuck with spinach; when I craved a flavor change I went on to arugula; when I got sick of the spicy I’d take a jump into kale and then back again to romaine. Sometimes I even mixed them all; yes, living on the dangerous side of salad!
Eventually, I grew tired of that and started finding that I was no longer feeling satisfied no matter how I mixed the greens. What was I to do? I loved salad. I really needed to start thinking out of the ‘salad bowl’ (yes I just did that). Shortly after, I visited a vegetarian restaurant for lunch and ordered their mix salad. On it came a variety of salads, but none of them had lettuce. No lettuce! Impossible! There was a green bean salad, a beat salad, a broccoli salad, chickpea salad and so on. Instantly a kaleidoscope of veggies took over my vision; my imagination bursting with ways to re invent the salad.
Butternut squash is in season so I knew I wanted to experiment with it and find something that could be a good contrast to its sweet robust flavor. Looking through the grocery aisles I came upon rapini. Rapini is a very bitter green and on it’s own can be quite overpowering, but melding the two juxtaposing flavors would create for a very interesting teeter-totter of taste experience. The whole recipe is incredibly easy to make. Short prep and assemble time. You just have to be patient as the squash roast. Sometimes I’ll make the squash the night before and then assemble everything in the morning.
Lets just say, the salad didn’t last long. My roommate ended up loving it so much, he kept sneaking spoonfuls until I caught him, giving him a speech about kitchen hygiene. But who am I kidding, I did the same thing and soon we were both spooning until there was nothing left.
* Beat all ingredients together
Pre heat oven to 475 F. Cut squash into cubes and layout on to tray, covering it with a generous layer of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then mix with hands to make sure all areas are covered. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Heat oil in a pan and sauté garlic. Before it turns gold, add rapini and some rapini leaves and sauté until rapini is semi soft.
Add rapini, squash and chickpeas into one bowl. Season with spices to taste. Add all herbs and green onion. Drizzle dressing and then mix thoroughly.
Enjoy on it’s own or with a slice of the Vegan Zucchini Carrot Banana Bread.
You know how Fresh gives their bowls and salads personalities based off of the types of vegetables they put in it. Or perhaps they just get high and pick names out of hats. I guess we’ll never know. Well, I’ve decided to give my Quinoa a name as well. While Fresh has got the Beach, Green Goddess and Power House - I’ve got, The Mighty. No real event or vegetable compelled me to this name , but I do feel pretty mighty after a few spoon fulls.
I don’t eat red meat. Haven’t for close to 16 years now, so I’m always looking for healthy alternatives to power up on my protein. Back in elementary school I used to microwave white bread with cheese. Those were the days when my body could take a beating from whatever I put in it. I quickly learned that wasn’t a real source of protein. And it wasn’t until several years later that I learned to distinguish what was good and clean vs. cacapoopoo for my insides.
Like many of you, I’ve jumped onto the quinoa craze bandwagon. It’s absouletly genious. I call it my blank slate. In the begining of the week I will (or Lorne will) boil a huge pot of it, let it cool and put it in a big tuperware for a morning creation. Depending on my mood during the week, I’ll make different Quinoa salads based off of what I have in the fridge. After a bit of experimenting I’ve come up with, I’d say, one of the best quinoa recipes ever. (humbleness at its best) Drum roll please…..”The Mighty Quinoa”.
2 cups of cooked quinoa
Half of a large red onion (chopped into small squares)
1 whole avocado (small cubes)
A bunch of colorful heirloom baby tomatoes (Halved)
Two small baked sweet potatoes (recipe below)
100 grams of Feta Cheese (chopped or crumbled)
1 bunch of mint (chopped)
1 bunch of coriander (chopped)
½ cup of good olive oil ( makes a huge difference)
1-2 tbsp of a good balsamic ( I use a 4 yr old crema di glaze)
Juice from half of a large lemon
Salt to taste ( I tend to go for 2-3 tsp)
Pepper to taste
A touch of cayenne
The first time I made it I cute up some firm tofu into cubes. I didn’t really need this because the quinoa is already packed full of protein but I love different textures in my food.
The second time I made this I added shrimp to make it a more substantial dinner meal. For my shrimp I seasoned them in herb de provence, olive oil, salt and pepper. I pan seared them for 15 seconds on each side and removed from heat.
Sweet Potato Directions
Pre heat oven on broil. Cut potatoes into small cubes. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and a touch of cayenne pepper to cover. Watch the potatoes very carefully. They burn if you don’t keep a steady eye. Let cool and combine with other quinoa ingredients after cooled.
This might sound crazy, but I believe if someone has the exact same ingredients and makes the same dish as you, depending on the love and attention you give it, it will come out tasting a whole lot different. There’s something to cooking with heart and passion. I’ve witnessed the difference a million times. Don’t just shove everything in at once. Taste as you mix. Cook with passion and you’ll notice the difference immediatly.
Have a forkful and enjoy!
Reminiscing Through My Taste Buds:
Israeli Salad. It’s easy, fresh and delicious.
What you need:
4 Tomatoes (Roma), Whole Cucumber, 1 small Red Onion, handful each of Mint and Parsley, Lemon Juice from whole lemon, Good Olive Oil, Zatar and Salt & Pep to taste.
Chop all ingredients into small cubes and finely chop herbs. With your eye and using your palette add the olive oil, lemon, Zatar and s&p. Throughly mix.
I put mine in the fridge for 10 minutes for optimal flavor fermentation.