Hi! Just me.
Most likely, the same exact me as before, complete with talents and shortcomings and strengths and weaknesses and the whole bit. Last year vanished in a blur of work and life things, one tumbling in right after the next, and i felt mostly like the circus act with the spinning plates most days. A small handful of precious days were spent not doing anything productive, but those were few and far between. If I had to grade 2015, I’d have gotten an A- for learning, growth, and reaching beyond my comfort zone, and an D- for blogging. D+ for keeping up with friendships, and that would be generous. B+ for parenting, though, so that’s something.
So maybe an overall C+ for balance, which falls short of what I would have liked, making it my most important resolution this year. It’s the one thing I need to keep all things clicking along smoothly, and without it, I’m crap. So i’m working on it; I can’t be too hard on myself for it because it just bums me out, so I”m moving forward and attempting to start the new year off correctly.
With salad. In January. Cue surprised gasp.
And some photography backgrounds: specifically, a big slab of slate and an even bigger slab of marble. That’s motivation, right? Not having your photos look like something the cat dragged in is always a good start to a post, I think.
So let’s talk about this colorful little salad, shall we? It’s a twist on a salad found in Food52’s Genius Recipes cookbook; a lovely book, filled with – you guessed it – recipes which in one way or another, are brilliant examples of how to make food work for you. I winterized this one, swapping steamed beets and some wheatberries in for cucumber and red pepper and choosing blue cheese over goat (although either would be perfect here), and I daresay it’s one of my new favorite winter salads.
The best part? Hard to say. I think what makes this genius is the quick-pickled carrots and celery you do at the outset. I’ve been doing more with quick-pickling this year, and i love the idea that 1) it’s not “preserving” in the most traditional sense, but you get that same flavor, and b) enough sometimes with the raw vegetables in salads, you know? Especially carrots and celery, because I’m not a huge fan of either one raw, most days. This salad leaves the crispness to the soft shredded cabbage and arugula, the crunch to the toasty almonds, and the chew to the wheatberries. It’s perfect, it lasts, and it’s ultra-satisfying.
Are we all looking forward to 2016? I am. Big changes seem to be afoot here, while other things keep chugging along as they have been. Aside from balance (a necessity given my schedule for the coming months), my other big resolution is not to be a blogging jerk, which should mean i’m back at it and actively making time for it, along with other things I’ve set aside without meaning to. Talk to you soon and, with any luck, often. Thanks for being here; I promise good things.
Like this thing.
Adapted from a recipe by Michel Nischan, found in Food52’s Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes Which Will Change the Way You Cook by Kristin Miglore.
chopped winter salad with quick-pickled vegetables
Serves | 4 to 6 | as a side
Perhaps the most genius thing about this recipe is that it it’s not half bad as a leftover, even overnight. Just cover tightly and freshen it up a little bit the next day with a few more crunchy greens and a little more seasoning.
- 1 cup white wine (or champagne) vinegar
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed, 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup carrots, cleaned, 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups wheatberries, cooked and cooled
- 1 1/3 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup napa cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 cup raddichio, finely shredded
- 1 cup red beets, steamed and cooled, 1/4-inch dice
- 1 Braeburn apple, cored, 1/4-inch dice
- 2/3 cup blue cheese (Maytag is great here)
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Make the pickled veg:
Heat vinegar in small saucepan over medium heat until liquid is simmering. Add celery and carrot and remove from heat; allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to refrigerator to chill, at least 2 hours. Strain vegetables with a mesh strainer, reserving the vinegar and vegetables separately.
Add 1/3 cup of the reserved vinegar to olive oil in a lidded glass jar (or a bowl, you don’t have to be cute about it); whisk or shake until blended, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, add wheatberries, arugula, napa cabbage, and raddichio together and toss together with your hands until evenly distributed. Add a little of the vinaigrette mixture – just enough to coat leaves – and toss until leaves are slicked. Add beets and apple and toss until distributed; divide onto plates. Top with blue cheese and almonds and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.