In the colder weather, we want sturdier, starchier foods. The craving applies to salads, too. This selection of ‘cold weather salads’ relies on typical pantry items, which means with a well-stocked larder you can make most of them with little or no planning. Nothing like toothsome barley to satisfy the need for something deliciously starchy! Add some chic peas, diced red onion, chopped green olives and orange pepper, toss with parsley and a vinaigrette and you’ve got yourself a Company Worthy salad! Unlike many others, this holds for days in the fridge.
Dress up red leaf with some deli-style olives and artichoke hearts out of the can. Yum! While I generally prefer white or rice vinegar, a balsamic vinegar adds to the visual sense of a dark and hearty mixture.
Sunflower seeds and cannellini beans, both readily kept on hand, dress up any salad — here find them nicely partnered with spinach and red cabbage.
Hearts of palm and again, sunflower seeds, turn an otherwise pedestrian salad into something a little special. Scallions and radish add pizzazz. The dressing here is Marie’s Lite Blue Cheese mixed with lemon and garlic. It’s the only store bought dressing I ever use. If you’ve a brand you really like, let me know! Generally, I find that little compares with homemade mustard/garlic vinaigrette.
This salad combines radicchio, sunflower seeds, chic peas and carrot ribbons with bitter greens. In the cold weather, it’s nice to have pops of color on our plates and even though we associate bitter greens with spring, they’re available all year ’round. Partner with a sweet potato for a light, mid-week meal. Roasted beets of any color constitute a real treat in my book. Wrap them in foil, throw ’em in a medium oven for an hour, use the foil to scrape away the skin and voila! — you have a tender, sweet vegetable that really needs no adornment. Here, I’ve mixed yellow beets with canned white beans, olives and lots of pepper prior to dressing with a vinaigrette.
If my friend Elizabeth ever produces another batch of this exquisite oil, I’ll let you know. It’s delicious on salads and good for direct application to hair and skin, too.
Escarole, mung bean sprouts, and radishes. Not sure why this salad made it into the ‘cool weather file,’ but I’d eat it this late November week for sure.
Chicken Waldorf Salad is special any time of year, but in November it’s particularly satisfying. I’ve skipped the greens and the grapes and added wild rice. Walnuts are a must, as are celery and some kind of onion. I didn’t do so here, but roasting the nuts briefly in a saute pan brings out their flavor. This is a wonderful use of leftover chicken.
Now, the cold is here. Just when I should be walking the dog, I am curling up with a heating pad and quilt, instead. Hard to get motivated to do much of anything. “It’s Sunday,” I tell myself.
Yesterday, took my sister grocery shopping and the place was an absolute mob scene – supposedly because of the football playoff game that would be aired later (Okay, Mr. Pious, kneel down and thank god for THAT!). It took me the rest of the afternoon to recover. I hadn’t planned to sit with K. and watch the game, but he lit a fire and I had my fat, fat novel to read (“1Q84”) and so, it was nice.
And today? It’s one of those days where I can’t remember WHAT I’ve done, or even, if I’ve done anything at all. Crossword puzzle. Drug store run. Pages. Prep for Thursday’s class. Wandering around studio looking for something. Somehow, it feels like a whole lot of nothing. Perhaps if I make the chicken stew I have on the menu for tonight, and the ‘Wellesley Chocolate Cake’ recipe I picked out, there will be something more tangible (and delicious, hopefully!) to point to.
I HAVE been making some of the world’s most delicious winter salads. Really. What makes a good winter salad, in my humble opinion? Some crunch (cabbage shreds, radish slices, celery, for example), some bitter greens (frisee, arugula, to name two), something onion-y (diced shallots, if you’re feeling fancy, or diced red onion or chopped scallions) and then your filler (usually, chopped romaine in this house) all dressed with a super-tangy vinaigrette (I have long been a fan of 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 acid — lately, I mostly use white vinegar — and then of course, garlic, mustard, and S&P). One night, I added sunflower seeds (raw), along with dried cranberries and Granny Smith chunks (heavenly!). So, so, good. Last night, with both boys out and having had a heavy (but delicious) tortilla pie for lunch, K & I had a Winter Salad, Sweet Potatoes, and Green Beans and Brussel Sprouts for dinner — yummmmmm.
Well, maybe that’s all the day needed – to talk about food for a minute. Definitely perked me up!
I am reminded, posting a drawing, that this time last year we were bombed by a snowstorm, and I spent Martin Luther King Jr. day getting my Sketchbook Project well underway. I can’t imagine having that kind of energy tomorrow, nor can I imagine being bombed by a snowstorm. I can hope, right?