Monday, January 26, 2009

simple salad...

This past weekend has been an adventure at home - my landlord has decided to focus his attention on the apartment - so Allison and I have been adjusting to only having water for a few hours at a time... I guess one can only say, c'est la vie!

When it came time to figuring out my "easy to make, easy to pack" lunch for work I figured - simple is most definitely better. Hence the simple salad I made. I was inspired by Celia Brooks Brown's book "Party Food for Vegetarians" (the original recipe is entitled "Sugar Beans")... I love this book (thank you Katie Edwards for introducing me to it in Edinburgh all those years ago) - but had sort of pushed it to the backburner (literally, there are burn marks on the cover)... so I'm happy to welcome it back into the forefront and to take my inspiration from it... I hope you enjoy this salad - and really, use whatever easy to steam, crunchy veggie you feel like eating. Oh, and Louise - you could use the dressing on your bok choy - something to help with those cravings the little one is giving you ;0)


Ingredients (super simple, I swear)
string beans (I bought some pre-packaged, pre-cleaned beans and used the entire bag)
1 x red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 x red onion, thinly sliced
1 tin mixed beans (the 6 beans mix), rinsed and drained
1 tin Red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tin water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

nuts - pine nutes, slivered almonds, walnuts
dried fruit - raisins, apple, pineapple, cherries

for the additions, I add them daily - so whatever I feel like eating that moring I add to the base of the salad... that way, if I don't like 1 combo, I'm not stuck with it all week...

4 cloves of garlic, minced
knob of ginger, finely minced (tip: freeze your ginger, easier to grate and last forever in the freezer)
3 tsp. of honey (or to taste - I start off with the first tsp. and add as I feel is necessary)
zest of a lemon
juice of a lemon
hot red pepper, finely diced
coarse sea salt
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 tsp. sesame oil (remember, this is strong stuff, start with less and add as you taste and season)

Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once that water is bubbling away, steam your string beans about 3 minutes - you want them to be warm but still have that crispy bite to them. Remove from heat (I don't put them in ice water since it was a steam and not a boil - they never touched the water)

Meanwhile, combine the beans in a large bowl (I put them all in the Tupperware bowl I'm storing them in for the week - less dishes for me)...

Now: in a small bowl, whisk together your dressing - start with throwing in the hot pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and honey... then add the sesame oil - whisk well to combine all the flavours. Then dip that spoon in there and taste it - and adjust everything according to your tastes... add more honey if you want, or more spice... do whatever you think tastes good - you're the one eating this.

Add your dressing to your beans and combine well, then add the onions, bell pepper, water chestnuts and string beans - mix everything well. The dressing should coat the veggies and beans.

Cover and leave in your fridge. I made this at 8 pm and just left the container in the fridge until I was ready to pack my lunch this morning... It makes about 6 lunches - so perfect for the work week -and it would be super simple to add some tofu, chicken even tinned tuna to it if you wanted to...

The flavours combined are fresh and light - a taste of spring... something I need with the end of January freeze!

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