vegetarian

Something from Nothing: Rice Salad with Orange-Sesame Dressing

My parents have lived in San Francisco long enough now that it doesn’t feel like an occasion for them to join us for lunch, but not so long that I feed them totally unadulterated leftovers. Recently, though, I barely even had leftovers; I had this:

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And so I turned it into this:

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Any grains would do, though I happened to use rice. Any chopped vegetables are nice, and fresh herbs and/or toasted nuts would liven it up. The key was the bright, orangey dressing, which I failed to photograph as individual ingredients, but at least I do remember what I did:

Orange-Sesame Dressing

Combine 1 tablespoon each
orange juice
soy sauce
rice vinegar
sesame oil
honey

Add
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil

A tablespoon of miso would be a nice addition, too, if you have it, but this version was very much about what I had immediately at hand.

Mix well, pour over your salad, sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’ve got them, and serve.

Shredded Root Vegetable Salad

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I love my CSA, I do, but sometimes, the vegetables, they just stack up. Especially when the farm’s producing root vegetables — gorgeous, sweet, root vegetables — but I am in full-on summertime tomato-pepper-corn mode. So, the root vegetables get ignored. They wait patiently in the back of the crisper — because among their many lovely virtues, they keep — until I can deal with them.

Yesterday I finally did. I pulled out the nine beets, the seven turnips and the four kohlrabi, I peeled and chopped and shredded and pickled and roasted. And then when I had packed most of it away for future salads and pasta toppings, I turned to what was left and made a salad for my dinner.
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Welcome Home Carrot Salad

A week of cocktails with this view:

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And meals with this view:

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Meant we really didn’t care that all our food came off this truck:

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But when we came home, we were certainly craving something simple and fresh like this:

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Welcome Home Carrot Salad

This is less a recipe than a reminder: sometimes giving an old familiar ingredient a different treatment makes it fresh. And if you’re feeling veg-deprived, this is an easy way to eat a lot of carrots.

One pound of carrots
1/4 – 1/3 cup (to taste) of your favorite vinaigrette (we like this with a particularly lemony dressing)
fresh parsley, to taste

Shred the carrots with a box grater or in a food processor. Toss with the dressing and parsley and serve.

The Salad that Saved Family Dinner

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There was this one night we had dinner together, when we all found our way into the kitchen from our separate places–one from soccer, one from swimming, one from work–all at the same time.

That night, together, we were more than the sum of our parts.

A husband, a wife, a daughter, a son. Usually, on weeknights, we spin in our separate orbits, with our own interests, desires, events, activities, chores, work, projects, needs.  But that night, the spinning stopped, and we focused on each other when we weren’t expecting to and the result was pure joy. Which is, of course, why people make such a fuss about family dinner. Because it can be a gorgeous, grounding thing. Sure, it can be hard and hair-raising. But it is a thing worth fighting for. A thing worth preserving when you can. A thing that can be composed, a thing that can bring composure.
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One More Kale Salad

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The farmer’s market is full of spring vegetables these days — asparagus and peas, artichokes and strawberries — but we’re still having cool days that make me crave wintery ingredients. So I was happy to see a new salad recipe in my CSA share; I’ve modified the recipe just a bit here, for a salad that combines dark kale and bright oranges to point toward spring.
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