October 5, 2012
First time I had beet salad: at Fraîche in Santa Monica during Restaurant Week.
Second time I had beet salad: last week, at my place.
Third time I had beet salad: the next morning, for breakfast.
September 20, 2012
You see this? This is me trying to figure out how to take photos of food in autumn light.
The moodiness of the photo in no way reflects my feelings about this salad. You guys! Brussels sprouts! Are back! What? Why is no one else as excited as I am about raw sprouts?
I guess I’m biased. The first time I tried Brussels sprouts was in the Momofuku recipe, and that’s an auspicious beginning if I’ve ever heard of one. I had never been tortured with boiled or steamed sprouts in my youth, when they’re so clearly meant to be fried or roasted.
September 18, 2012
Can we talk about wheat berries for a second?
I have no idea why no one eats them. With all the hullabaloo about quinoa and farro and other good-for-you grains going around, it seems only natural to start introducing other whole grains that aren’t getting as much air time.
So, meet the humble wheat berry. A wheat berry is not a berry at all, but a whole wheat kernel — the stuff that’s milled to get whole wheat flour. It’s eaten a lot more here in France (as a side dish, similar to rice) than in the States. Because the whole kernel is left intact, its nutrients come with it too: protein, fiber, iron, and vitamin E. It’s got a lovely tender, chewy texture and its flavor is nutty and similar to other whole grains like brown rice.
August 23, 2012
An old sweetheart of mine once gave me one of the most interesting compliment I’ve ever received: “I’d like to see you eat a salad. It’s hard to eat a salad gracefully, but I bet you could do it.”
He’s not wrong. About salad, not about my ability to eat it. Salads are, in general, kind of a messy affair. Especially the ones with those pretty and colorful artisanal lettuces that you don’t want to chop that are juuuuust bigger than one mouthful, meaning you get dressing all over your lips trying to get that forkful of unruly greens into your stomach, messing up your lipstick in the process. And don’t even get me started on frisée.
This is the antithesis to those messy, albeit often lovely, lettuce salads. You can eat the entire thing with a spoon. It’s crisp and cold from the raw corn, the chickpeas bring a lovely nuttiness, and the avocado melds with the lemon and olive oil to form a lovely creamy mouthfeel. I toss mine together in about five minutes flat.
August 15, 2012
I have officially made friends with the guys at my greengrocer’s. I guess I stop by often enough that, despite my lack of French, they figure I’m not a tourist. You know how I can tell? One of them slipped a scoopful of these bright yellow mirabelle plums into my shopping bag, after I had checked out.
Of course, that was in addition to the donut peaches, strawberries, and blueberries I’d already picked up, so I guess he must have guessed about my love for summer fruits.
July 31, 2012
The inspiration for this salad was, if you can believe it, cafeteria food.
Remember that trip to Zurich? At Tim’s office, I had a tiny layered salad similar to this, served in a shot glass. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to reproduce it on a larger scale back home.
The thing about this salad is, it’s like a full meal: you get the meaty component, the green component, and at the end, the sweet component. The layers only mix with each other selectively, so each bite is unique.
July 24, 2012
I’ve been feeling a little more than myself these days, friends. Let’s call it the Parisian fifteen. I mean, with all the wine, butter, and pastries that I’m constantly surrounded with, all of it superb, I more or less expected to get a bit more rubenesque during my time in France. Not to mention the fact that, despite walking more in this city, I’m still not quite as active as I was in LA. I used to go out to dance salsa at least twice a week. Now I’m lucky if I get to a club once every three weeks.
I’m okay with looking little rounder. My mother is always telling me I need to gain a few pounds anyway. But along with the lack of definition in the ab-area came this general feeling of unwellness — crankiness, headaches, a general feeling of blah in my body. I am not okay with feeling unfit.