Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hey thanks, salad

In the spirit of expressing gratitude this time of year, I'd like to share my appreciation for some late fall vegetables and a zippy horseradish vinaigrette that I tossed together in a bowl last weekend. A particularly nourishing fall salad that cleared the clutter out of my mind and made me feel more awake than I have in weeks.

Hey thanks, salad.

I suppose I should also say thanks, treadmill, for helping me realize on Saturday that I should be eating more bowls of roasted fall vegetables, and cutting back on the holiday cheer. I ventured into a four-mile run that day, in our condo-association "gym" where two treadmills on a mezzanine overlook a swimming pool. It was my first run in two weeks and oh, it was bad.

So, after that treadmill death run, I ate this power salad: first, on Saturday night alongside a piece of salmon, and then as leftovers right out of the tupperware on Sunday morning, standing in the kitchen, immediately after I finished taking pictures for the blog (all the while being prodded to "hurry up so I can eat that" by the other one that lives here). I give this salad full credit for the energy that carried me through my next run: a quite good five-miler on Sunday late afternoon, when cold wind blew the last bursts of brown leaves over the road and everyone else was indoors. I didn't run fast, but I ran strong and remembered that I like running. Quite the change from the miles I slogged through the day before.


While we're at it, I should say thanks, Thanksgiving. You never fail me. I'm came into your holiday last weekend like I had just reached the finish line of a marathon, at first ragged and weary, then with a sense of euphoria at finally taking a break from things. I spent the next four days hobbling around with a fuzzy mind and eating everything in sight. Just what I needed.

And thank you, even more, to Adam for all-around-great-guy-ness. On Monday night, I finished a big project at work and then trudged out into the snowy night to catch my much-delayed bus. I sent him a text message: Good night for tortilla soup! Too bad we don't have Modelos with limes. :) And by the time my bus dropped me off, there we had it: Modelos with limes. Does it get any better than that? 

And thank you, Gilt, and your impulse-sale tactics. My Nespresso machine arrived yesterday.

Thanks, this.

And hooray right now for beets and squash, and hearty soups and stews and bubbling sauces on the stove, if I haven't said it before (oh wait, I have). What a great time of year to cook.

And, to you: hey, thanks for reading my blog. I hope you try this salad.

Fall Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette
Vinaigrette recipe from Sprouted Kitchen

Horseradish vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish (added an extra 1/2 tbsp)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 a shallot, minced
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the horseradish, garlic, shallot, honey and cider vinegar until combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

For the salad:
1 sweet potato, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1-2 handfuls of Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, halved
1/2 bunch of kale, torn into small pieces
Olive oil (few tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (white wine vinegar should also work)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
small handful walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and kale on a baking sheet or two (try to not crowd it too much). Drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and the white balsamic vinegar, then dust with nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Toss around with your hands to coat everything evenly.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes and Brussels sprouts are cooked through and have browned a bit. The kale will get a bit crunchy. Toss with the vinaigrette (I used about half of the vinaigrette from the recipe above) and toasted walnuts.

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