Shame, meet my face. I was someone who prided myself on proper blog maintenance, and I’d rarely go more than a month without a tail-between-the-legs posting about being neglectful. (ie “It’ll never happen again, baby. I stray because I care”). And yet, here I am, two months deep in blogless shame. I never thought I’d join the ranks of the half assed masses.
In my defense, I’ve been making time with San Francisco and Israel during my self-proclaimed “Year of the Vacay,” so I haven’t had much in the way of content these past two months. If I made time to squeeze out a blog between trips, it would have been something like, “I picked up dumplings for dinner and then forced myself to do twenty minutes of cardio.” Laaame.
I was in Israel for 10 days (birthright, obvs), during which time I had about 10 falafel sandwiches and an obscene amount of hummus. We’re talking morning, noon, and night. I lapped it up like a collie. I still haven’t had my fill, because that’s how much hummus and I vibe. Check out the last meal they served us:
Amazeballs. The food was like a dream my palette once had. Luckily, my trip was extra outdoorsy, so my sweaty side was able to shine. We hiked multiple times, went cave crawling, rafted down the Jordan River, and went camel riding, all of which beat the hell out of the elliptical and free weights. I returned with a newly discovered desire to marry a mountain man and start, like, kayaking or something. I haven’t quite worked out the details.
I ended up eating out for almost 3 weeks straight, so I was in need of some home cooking upon my return. My mom always hated beets (arbitrarily, because I recently asked her about it and she admitted to never giving them much of a chance), so my sister and I shared the aversion for our entire childhood.
Beets are like last year’s brussel sprouts (aka newly trendy), so I figured it was time to give them a chance. I found a recipe for a beet and rhubarb salad on my beloved Epicurious app. Seriously, that thing is my favorite grocery shopping accessory. I’m not sure what I did before its inception, but I’m pretty sure it was something like walking around aimlessly and drooling.
8 2- to 2 1/2-inch-diameter red or yellow beets, 4 of each color if available
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 large oranges
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon honey
3 cups watercress sprigs
1 1/4 cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about one 7-ounce package)
You start by roasting the beets in aluminum foil in a 400 degree oven for an hour. Bring water, sugar, and a pinch of salt to boil in a saucepan, and then add the chopped rhubarb. Cook for 1-2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.
Then, you finely grate 1/2 teaspoon of orange peel into a small bowl. Cut off peel and white pith from all oranges, and then segment the oranges into a big bowl. Squeeze membranes to release juice into bowl, and then put 2 tablespoons orange juice to bowl with orange peel. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil into the bowl with orange peel and orange juice mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Lay out your bed of watercress, and arrange chopped beets and orange segments on top. Add lots of feta and dressing:
The beets were damn good and earthy tasting. They’re almost potato-like, so I’m starting to get why Eastern Europeans lurve them so. My only gripe was the rhubarb, which I’d never cooked with before. I’m not sure if Whole Foods gave me a bad batch or something, but it was waaayy bitter. Not my fave.
I was feeling like some of my faves a few nights ago, so I decided to make blackened salmon, sweet potato fries and mashed cauliflower. Om nom nom.
For the sweet potato fries, I mixed together 1 tsp each of fennel seeds, thyme and cumin along with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I peeled the sweet potato, chopped into fries, and tossed in the seasoning mixture with some salt and pepper. I baked in a 450 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, turning once about midway through. Sweet potatoes, check. Onto the blackened salmon.
To start, I put together a mix of paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, Adobo seasoning, and dried basil. Then, I rubbed the salmon until it looked like this:
It was a variation on this recipe. I then drizzled with melted butter, and seared in a skillet for about 3-5 minutes each side. Black and beautiful.
So, I bought purple cauliflower because I thought it would be fun. Once mashed, the end result was a little cartoonish and strange. I’m actually physically uncomfortable admitting this. It started normal enough, when I chopped the cauliflower into florets and tossed in a pot of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. I removed with a slotted spoon, and mashed with some salt and about a pat of butter.
Then things got a little weird…the cauliflower looked like it could be creamier, and I had no milk in the house. The closest milk-like thing in the apartment was my roomie’s vanilla soy milk, and I wasn’t about to go that route. Without fully considering the consequences, I added a ladle of salted water to the mash. So, they turned out slightly watery and weird. Not my finest moment, but they still tasted fine. Anyways, see below for the final results: