One day, you are minding your own business, making pasta sauce for your family and then the next, you are living in a zombie apocalypse. How on earth does that happen? How is everyone doing? Are you thriving or barely surviving? There are no wrong answers, this has been hard going for all of us.
Can I tell you what I’ve failed at during lockdown? Puzzles, cleaning my basement, making sourdough, anything artistic, using seeds to start my garden. I mean, I did use seeds to start my garden, but of the 120 little dirt pellets I started with, I’ve got a few runt tomatoes growing and everything else was a dismal and depressing failure. These are not the days to be going for dismal. There is enough dismal in the news. Every. Single. Day.
How about lockdown winning? My family thus far has been safe, for which I am extra thankful given the number of health care workers we have in our crew. I have actually had time to finish some books. My garden, full of the plants that we purchased after the failed grow -from -seed experiment have been beautifully weeded thus far, and we have mostly managed to stay out of stores thanks to awesome neighbors and some locally owned home delivery services. My dog has never been happier with all of her favorite people around 24/7 and it’s been really nice to have the extra time with each other at home before the nest is emptied.
To be sure there has been lots of anxiety and tension too, but we are all in the same boat aren’t we? Taking it one day at a time, trying to find a way through.
So, lets talk about salad, or more appropriately salad dressings. Not going to the store means you can’t always have your favorite bottle of ranch on hand and naked salad isn’t so great either. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are great but only go so far. I have been working hard at using fresh, on hand ingredients, and exploring new recipes from the giant pile of underused cookbooks in my kitchen. I’m very happy to share some of these light and easy winners with you.
Ridiculously easy and I love fooling people with it. This recipe is take from The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook which is filled with plant based low fat/no fat recipes. Overall there are some great salads in this book, but this is my star choice.
- 1/2 of one ripe banana
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Place both ingredients in a bullet blender and blend.
That’s it. The recipe recommends using it with a kale salad that has grapes and chunks of apples. I will massage it throughout the kale first and then add the rest.
My next new love this summer is a tart little number that I took from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat which is the one cook book you should own right now. This dressing takes her shaved carrot salad into the stratosphere, no joke, but it’s also a fabulously easy way to dress a green salad when you want a little tang, or a fresh way to marinate some chicken or white fish before grilling. There are no rules, only right.
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice from about 2 small limes
- 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or mined
- Kosher salt
Throw everything in a leak proof container and shake it up. Voila!
Thai Style Peanut Dressing
I will forever love the fresh, and at the time innovative recipes from my Moosewood Cookbook. I was gifted a copy of the 1992 revision of the 1974 original and I love, love, love that book. This time around, I am talking about the dressing for the Thai salad, which by the way is also the only recipe ever where I’ve made tofu and my family liked it. As in, no leftovers, liked it.
I’ve also marinated a little bit of chicken with this before grilling, it makes a lot and you have to use it up right?
- 6 tbsp good peanut butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar or honey
- 1 to 11/2 tsp salt
- 3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- crushed red pepper or cayenne, to taste
- 2 tsp lemon or lime juice
Combine the peanut butter and the water first until you have a nice emulsion, then add the rest and let it chill to combine the flavors.
There you have it, three reasons why you shouldn’t be complaining about food prep this summer. I’m pretty sure that you have all of these ingredients on hand in your cupboards.
Have a great salad for dinner tonight and stay safe friends.