shaved cauliflower & farro salad

there's a certain salad i've been remaking on repeat ever since our yoga retreat last month. i've made it for all my clients with rave reviews, and most recently brought it to a yogisthanksgiving gathering. i'm remaking it one more time for our meal with my family tomorrow night, but i doubt it will stop there. i still haven't tired myself of it...

the inspiration for this recipe came from my friend becca, who adopted it from a salad on the menu at rock creek in fremont. she assisted me with the food for our yoga retreat and added this crowd pleasing salad to the retreat menu. we served this salad to our guests along with a kabocha squash lemongrass stew that was incredible (recipe from nigel slater's cookbook 'tender' but you can find a version here)... it was a winning combo! i've been fiddling with different versions and various vinaigrettes and have finally settled on a recipe to share with you all! it's the perfect contribution to a holiday potluck or a nourishing meal to balance out all the holiday feasting! 

this past weekend i was house/dog sitting for my sister and wandered with her pup over to the university district farmers market. i was so excited to find a pile of vibrant purple cauliflower at nash's farm!!! they are tricky to track down in the grocery markets... but you can certainly use other heirloom varieties like "cheddar" cauliflower, or even romanesco for to mix in some color with regular white cauliflower. 

shaved cauliflower salad ~ serves 6-8 
2 small heads cauliflower (purple, "cheddar," white or romanesco)
3/4 cup emmer farro
1 cup shaved parmesan (about 4 oz) 
1/4 cup or more toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons pickled peppers (mama lil's or sweet piquante peppers), diced 
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, roughly chopped

bring farro to a boil with 6 cups of water and simmer for about 45 minutes until chewy but tender (i usually pull it off the stove once i see a few grain berries start to split). strain and rinse with cool water. 

trim cauliflower leaving the stem intact and broken into large florets. use a mandoline slicer to thinly slice florets - thin enough that they are a not quite translucent. i use the mandoline to do the bulk of the slicing, and whatever i can't slice without slicing my fingers i chop finely with a knife or just save those leftover florets for a stir fry. if you don't have a mandoline, you could use a food processor attachment to shave the cauliflower instead, but it will turn into more of a cauliflower "rice" texture than shaved cauliflower. 

toast pine nuts in 350-degree oven or on stove top until gently browned and fragrant. shave parmesan, chop pickled peppers and parsley and set aside. when ready to serve, mix ingredients together with a light amount of vinaigrette to start and add more to taste (you don't have to use the full cup of vinaigrette) 

creamy cashew vinaigrette ~ makes about 1 cup 
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter (raw or roasted) 
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
large pinches salt and pepper 

use blender or whisk to combine. if you don't have cashew butter on hand, you could substitute 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds or pine nuts and blend with remaining ingredients in high speed blender. i didn't want to spend $14 on a jar of cashew butter, but i was able to find one of those tiny single serving nut butter snacks for like 75 cents. if storing in fridge for later use, it will thicken... use a splash of hot water to thin and serve.

maple roasted kuri squash, kale & quiona pangrattato

how do i restart this thing? i had planned to take just a month off from blogging to travel with my partner in south africa for the entire month of august. then from the moment we landed home, i had a long list of tasks to tackle... starting with laundry and then bigger tasks like marketing myself for more private chef clients to fill my schedule back up. i've been trying to hustle but struggling to shift gears out of vacation mode. i'm pretty certain my list of tasks has grown longer faster than i've been able to tick things off it. 

so my blog sat idle for not one but two months!!! but not for lack of inspiration. 

our trip to south south africa was incredible and i have memories and photographs that i'll cherish forever. rad bouldering, inspiring sunsets, new friends and wonderful time spent with my favorite person. we had some fantastic meals but the cuisine is very (like reeeeally) meat heavy. i was thrilled to be there during their citrus, passionfruit and avocado season, but i really craved vegetables. i failed miserably trying to find a farmers market with fresh produce beyond the same small selections at the grocery store. so i pitifully bought arugula in tiny plastic "fresh herb" packets because it was the only bitter greens i could find. i cooked a lot of rice and lentils, rice and beans, fried rice and ate avocado toast day and night. i kept dreaming about our markets back home and told a south african climber about the tomato farmer who grows probably 30 kinds of heirloom tomatoes. the south african was stunned! "we have two kinds here. big or small." 

i was so excited to get my hands on heirloom tomatoes and have been all giddy with all the produce coming into season. it gives me so much pleasure and inspiration... i just needed to get into gear again to share it with you all! 

i drew some inspiration for this fall salad from nigel slater's cookboook tender, for a pumpkin pangrattato. "grated bread" aka breadcrumbs. so first i experimented with homemade breadcrumbs. i think i'm partial to the bread crumb version, but got curious to try a crispy quiona version. both were spectacular. without the pangrattato, this is just a simple salad with some of my favorite seasonal flavors. but with the pangrattato... oh, you'll be glad you didn't skip it! 

if you're curious to try this recipe with breadcrumbs (because it was stupendous!) just swap a cup breadcrumbs (ideally chunky homemade breadcrumbs) for quinoa and add a bit more oil (or butter) ... they will brown quicker, but otherwise follow same recipe and directions! the pangrattato is a wonderful topper for roasted vegetables and squash! 

for the maple roasted kuri squash:
1/2 red kuri squash 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
salt & aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 

preheat oven to 375. gut squash and carefully cut into cubes slightly smaller than 1" - the beautiful thing about organic red kuri squash, is that you can and should eat the skin! if you're using another squash variety, or if your particular kuri squash has a really tough skin you might prefer removing it with a vegetable peeler first, then cutting into cubes. toss cubed squash with olive oil, salt and aleppo pepper - reserving the maple syrup for later. 

line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread squash out in a single layer. roast for 15 minutes and then stir to turn squash on their other sides. continue roasting until squash is fork tender, then remove from oven and drizzle with a tablespoon or more of pure maple syrup. if the quash seems a little dry, add a tiny drizzle more of olive oil too! stir to coat and return to oven for 5-10 more minutes to let sugars caramelize. 

for the quinoa pangrattato: 
1 cup chilled leftover quinoa 
2+ tablespoon olive oil 
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped 
large pinch red chili flakes
large pinch sea salt 

in a skillet (nonstick is best), heat oil, quinoa, salt and red chili flakes over medium-low heat. don't rush it, you want the quinoa to brown slowly and crisp up rather than burn. stir every few minutes and continue frying until quinoa is toasted golden. add chopped rosemary, lemon zest and garlic and continue frying until gently browned - adding a bit more oil if quinoa is burning. 

or the kale salad:
1 bunch lacinato kale
1/4 cup roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds 
juice of 1 lemon
1+ tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
salt & pepper 

de-stem, wash and dry kale and tear or chop into large bite size pieces. massage kale in a bowl with lemon juice, olive oil and maple syrup - you can start with less and add more to taste. season well and toss with roasted seeds, warm roasted kuri squash and crispy quinoa pangrattato. top with a little extra lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil! 

apricot & greens smoothie


mornings when you can take a moment to nourish yourself and sit quietly in a beautiful space. i love those mornings.  and i've been cherishing every morning this way all month in our new home. our deck is surrounded be edible goodness and tall green trees, it's quite and the perfect space to sip coffee. i am savoring this new opportunity to walk into the garden and grab a handful of fresh herbs and greens to make breakfast. i'll see how long this morning ritual continues...  we will certainly keep the ritual going from our caravan trailer in south africa next month! and i imagine sitting in slippers and a sweatshirt long into the chillier months back in seattle in the fall (so long as it's not wet outside!) i won't give up mornings like these so easily.

i bought a flat of apricots last week at our neighborhood farmers market. they were bursting with juice, so i frozen several trays of sliced apricots to save for later, and have been slurping up the remainder in these tart green smoothies that are wonderfully refreshing and hydrating in the warm summer weather! the cucumbers this time of year are incredible as well!! i've been munching on them day after day! ah, summer produce! 

apicrot & greens smoothie ~ serves 1 
2 ripe apricots
1 cup greens (kale or chard) 
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup or more cucumber
1/2 cup or more frozen pineapple 
fresh mint spring 
1 tablespoon chia seeds
splash of water or coconut water

blend all ingredients, except chia seeds, and just enough water to get things moving. blend until smooth. add chia seeds and blend to just stir them in. pour and enjoy!

grilled summer squash & corn salad

we leave for south africa in 12 days, but i seem to have already settled into vacation mode. a good portion of my clients are off with their kiddos on summer vacations, so i've just been teaching a little yoga and working irregularly for clients who drop back into town. my partner is a school teacher, so his relaxed summer-break mood is also effecting my motivation to do anything productive. we've slowly managed to settle into our new home and spent a full day merging kitchens with our housemates, but mostly we've been spending our summer lounging on the deck of our new home with coffee and our house mate's cats and utilizing our house mate's incredible vegetable garden and propane grill to assemble meals worthy of opening a good bottle of wine. 

i'm grateful we've had a relaxed july. it's allowed us to fully enjoy our one month of "summer" before we travel to the other hemisphere for early springtime in south africa. soaking it in while we can! 

this is the first time as an adult that i've lived in a home with a grill. i'm convinced that everything tastes better grilled. i know i'm not alone in that thinking. since i have all sorts of free time, made and remade this salad of grilled corn, poblano peppers and summer squash - grilled each vegetable in batches and then cooled and tossed together to create the most flavorful summer salad imaginable. but since it takes a little while to grill everything, know that this salad holds perfectly well in the fridge - so you can make it ahead of time for a backyard bbq party! 

grilled summer squash & corn salad ~ serves 6+
6 ears corn, shucked
6 small-ish zucchini, sliced into 1/4" strips length-wise
6 poblano peppers, halved and seeded
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 limes - zest saved and juiced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves crushed garlic (optional)
olive oil
salt, pepper & chili powder
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (optional)

rub shucked corn, sliced zucchini and seeded peppers with a bit of olive oil - just enough to thinly coat. salt, pepper and sprinkle with chili powder. heat grill to medium-high heat and grill corn, turning every 3-5 minutes or so until the kernels are lightly browned, then let corn cool to room temp. while corn cools, grill zucchini ribbons and peppers in batches until theres some good grill marks on both sides of the zucchini and blisters on the peppers. remove veggies from grill and let cool on a large cutting board or flat surface (try to avoid letting them pile up in a bowl where they will continue to steam and get mushy).

once grilled vegetables are cooled to room temp, slice off the corn and cut the zucchini and roasted peppers into small bites. toss with the zest and juice of both limes, chopped onion, garlic, cilantro and cotija cheese. you might add a bit more olive oil, salt, pepper or some chili powder to taste or toss in some chopped greens like tender kale or arugula. 

snap pea & nappa cabbage slaw

i've spent the last decade in tiny apartments with dinky little kitchens and cheap electric stoves. i made do. in fact, i made some pretty incredible meals out of those tiny kitchens! and while it's still going to be a long while before david and i own a home, we're making the jump to move into a house ...a real house!... with another lovely couple. it's going to be a big transition for us to merge our households, but i'm thrilled about this house, its beautiful kitchen, it's viking gas range, and the wildly productive vegetable garden that our house mate has been pouring his heart into for the past two years! 

but for now, i'm still in our apartment... sweltering on the top floor. it's too hot to consider turning on the stove or oven, so i've been playing with fun salads and smoothies. i've made a few batches of this flavorful dressing for myself and clients and love the sweetness of nappa cabbage. you can toss in any other spring veggies you like and some kind of protein! lot's of different combinations work well with this dressing!

snap pea & nappa cabbage slaw ~ serves 4 
1 pound nappa cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet snap peas (about 2 cups chopped)
2 small persian cucumbers (about 2 cups chopped)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup gomasio or toasted sesame seeds

optional additions:
toasted soy nuts
wasabi peas
hard boiled eggs
baked/fried tofu
ripe avocado
toasted seaweed snacks

shred cabbage and chop snap peas and cucumbers into small bites. mix in any other fun additions and dress with a hefty portion of miso-ginger-wasabi dressing. enjoy! 

miso-ginger-wasabi dressing ~ makes about 12 oz
6 oz fresh orange juice 
2 oz untoasted sesame oil
2 oz unseasoned rice wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
2-3 tablespoons miso paste (white or chickpea miso works best!) 
1 heaping tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon tahini
wasabi to taste (powder or paste) *optional 
best if you wiz this up in a blender, or you can just stir together. store leftover dressing in fridge.