mains, salads

chopped winter salad with quick-pickled vegetables.

chopped winter salad with pickled vegetables.

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.

chopped winter salad with pickled vegetables.

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.

chopped winter salad with pickled vegetables.

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.

winter chopped salad with pickled vegetables.

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.

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  • Reply Wendy January 13, 2016 at 11:42 am

    The funny thing about friends and loyal fans is that they are right there where you left them when you get back….especially if you are back bearing January salad. 🙂 Congrats on a year full of accomplishments! Congrats on a year of Wee One snuggles! May your New Year be full of peace and happiness, in whatever form it takes!

    • Reply shannon January 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Wendy, i actually can’t fully express how much this meant to me: I’ve been so worried (anxious, tense) about how maybe no one will be here anymore, or that I’m such an idiot and have been away for so long and no one cares, but you make me feel so much better. Thank you so much! May your new year be full of the same, and all the good things you can handle, and may our collective new year maybe bring with it a few coffee dates: we have so much to get caught up on and i’d love to see you soon. I owe you an email.

  • Reply John/Kitchen Riffs January 13, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I keep meaning to get a slab of slate for a background. Love picture taken on slate! Love salads too, and although we’ve been into soups lately, can never resist a good salad even with the cold weather we’ve been having. This looks great — thanks.

    • Reply shannon May 6, 2016 at 8:34 am

      It’s so nice to finally have one! And i put it off forever, also: this size slate is fairly affordable, and I like that it can do double-duty for get-togethers as a place to hold fruit and cheese. I totally recommend it.

  • Reply Brianne January 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Your work for Feast last year was FULL of win, girl. I’m so excited when I see your new recipes over there! Kevin gave me the Genius Recipes book for Christmas, and I’m getting really inspired by it–I made Marcella sauce for the first time this week and finished it with Rao’s meatballs. That’s how I eat January! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016, friend!

    • Reply shannon January 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      thank you, Brianne! I’m happy you think so: my work for Feast last year was SO invigorating, and brain-expanding, but it’s all a blur. A fun blur, but a blur nonetheless. I can’t wait to catch up with you (and stay in touch: a new year’s resolution!) this year and talk about what we’re stuffing our faces with. 🙂

  • Reply movita beaucoup January 19, 2016 at 6:35 am

    What Wendy and Brianne said. (Why fix it when it ain’t broken?)


  • Reply shannon January 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    DANG IT; i have missed you so much.

  • Reply elizabeth January 20, 2016 at 8:02 am

    You know me–I’m a big believer in quality over quantity so if you can only drop by once in a while, that’s OK by me because your posts are always excellent and thoughtful.

    (At least this is also what I tell myself as I come out of my own blogging hibernation.)

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