Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014.
I’m not quite sure how that happened but here we are. You know what that means? Time for the dreaded New Year’s resolutions.
Unlike many this time of year, I’m not going to go on about my New Year’s resolutions swearing off this and only eating that. Health isn’t the number on a scale or even the size of your clothes. For me, health is about eating real foods, the kind grown in the ground by hard working folk. It’s about having a healthy relationship with food where cheat days and guilt don’t exist. It’s even about the pleasure that comes from cooking or the ecstasy of that perfect bite. A life where food is mere sustenance is one I never want to live. Now that’s not to say I eat sugar and butter with abandon but when I do, I sure as hell don’t feel bad about it.
How about we all resolve to make up with food this year? I mean, resolutions don’t get any better than this.
I will eat all food groups, most notably bacon.
I will not cheat on my food. We’re in love.
I will never feel guilty eating anything. Not that burger and certainly not that cake I just ate for breakfast.
I will embrace moderation.
I will eat real food grown close to home though the occasional bag of chips or hot dog is going to happen.
I’ll gather around the table with friends and family as often as possible, celebrating the joy of food and cooking.
There you have it. With resolutions like this, 2014 is all mine. And don’t think the irony of me starting the year off with a salad post is lost on me. I simply happen to love salads. Besides, I’ll probably eat bacon for supper.
From warm roasted potatoes to cold rice noodles, I believe anything can make a salad. Though if your idea of a salad is that 1980s bowl of iceberg, chopped tomatoes and cucumber all smothered in Ranch, then we’ve got some work to do. Salads round here come in all forms – warm, cold, roasted, grilled, fruity, cheesy, and never boring. Lately, roasted roots are taking the place of all those Summer tomato, a heartier salad perfect for those days when it seems there’s no end to Mother Nature’s wrath. With a market full of local beets, celeriac, parsnips, squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots, I see many a Winter salad in 2014.
In the first of many, beautiful local carrots become caramelized and sweet, the perfect backdrop for a seasonal salad. Peppery arugula, sweet pomegranates, crunchy pumpkin seeds and a smooth dressing of orange and miso round it out. Arugula is perfect added to pretty much anything – a salad adorned with a poached egg, a pear and prosciutto pizza or most recently roasted tomato pasta. If you’re not on team arugula yet, you should be. Plus, in Australia they call it rocket. It’s the coolest green out there. I imagine, however, any of the dark, leafy greens of late would also be nice in its place.
Whether it’s an interesting salad or a creamy butter laden pasta adorning your table today, resolve to love every bite and never look back. That Julia Child had it right you know. “People who love to eat are always the best people.”
- 4 carrots
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 pomegranate, seeded
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons miso (white or yellow)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded or chopped ginger
- 1 small clove garlic, finely shredded or chopped
- 1/2 small shallot, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Preheat oven to 400. Quarter carrots or cut into 1/8s for faster roasting. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until browned yet still slightly crisp, about 15 min. Let cool if desired or serve warm.
- For the dressing, shake everything together in a jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To assemble, toss together salad ingredients with dressing or alternatively, layer ingredients on a platter or bowl and pour dressing over.
- To finely shred the garlic and ginger plus get at that amazing orange zest, get out your trusty microplane. It's a must have in my kitchen.
- The dressing could stand alone without the ginger, garlic or shallot if you can't handle any of them raw. If you don't have a diverse pantry like us, hit that salad with a simple lemon-olive oil dressing.