Perfect Summer Salad (or, Why We Listen to Oprah)

Oy vey. It’s been quite an eventful three weeks! During that time, I moved. That’s really all that’s happened, but I truly hate moving, especially considering that the last time I moved was a mere three months ago. My new apartment is quite lovely, though now I have a galley kitchen and an oven that may or may not be the devil. I have named him Archibald. (I thought about Beelzebub, but that seemed like I was asking for trouble, so I went with Cary Grant’s real first name.)

Anyhow.

Listen to Oprah. Or rather, listen to the people Oprah tells you to listen to, namely Toni Bark. A friendship with this MD/aerial silk-doing wonder woman might be difficult since you’d probably die of jealousy. Nevertheless, the woman is intimidatingly brilliant and kickass. I was first introduced to Ms. Barks and her healthy body tips through this absolutely delicious salad recipe from O magazine. I’ve adapted it very little due to its perfection, so I’m still going to call it Toni Bark’s Perfect Summer Salad for the sake of fairness.

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Toni Bark’s Perfect Summer Salad

  • Raw beets
  • Organic greens
  • Blueberries
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts (or pecans if you can’t find any contamination-free walnuts)

Dressing (full recipe serves 4-6)

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of ½ lemon

1. Peel the beets using a sharp vegetable peeler. (If possible, by the beets with stems and roots still attached – that way you can hold on to that long, tail-like end of the beet while you peel.) Slice thin with a mandolin or sharp knife. Peel and slice the avocado. Combine sliced beets and avocado with remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Combine dressing ingredients. I like to use a mason jar for easy shaking, or you can use a blender if you prefer not to mince your garlic ahead of time. If serving one, toss salad  with 2-3 tablespoons of dressing and serve immediately.

Tip: Preparing this for work? Wait until just before eating to peel and slice the avocado. Make sure to bring a knife from home if your office kitchen isn’t well-equipped or if you’re worried about cross contamination. (Disclaimer: I do not advocate work violence. Keep that knife in yo’ lunchbox.)  Also, tiny bottles from the mini-bar make great, non-leaky containers for salad dressing.

Bon appétit!

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Boozy Bourbon Peaches and Raspberries

Hi, parents. You should probably skip this recipe. K thanks.

The scene: A classy(ish) Fourth of July barbecue.

The problem: A lack of grain-free summer desserts to console me while others stuff their faces with angel food cakes and berry pie.

The heroine: Me. And also bourbon.

But let’s backtrack a little. I’ll be honest, folks. I’ve been suffering from a bit of bread-envy lately. My boyfriend and I decided to make hot dogs a few weekends ago, and for some idiot reason I took his buns out of the package for him. (That is not a euphemism.) REAL BREAD IS SO SOFT AND SQUISHY, YOU GUYS. (Also not a euphemism.) So when the time came to find the perfect gluten-free Fourth of July dessert, I was feeling a little melancholic. Additionally, all grains and flours have been rather unkind to my stomach lately, so I didn’t want to just make a pie with gluten-free crust. Instead, I wanted pure, unadulterated gluten-free dessert-y-ness, preferably the kind that is also filled with booze so that I’d feel less sad about everyone else’s glutenous treats.

My recipe search led me to bourbon peaches. However, most recipes recommended cooking off the alcohol. I take issue with wasting the waste-making powers of a good bourbon. Therefore, I ignored the recipes, decided to add some raspberries, and holy bourbon Batman, I think we can now call me a genius.

Behold, the splendor of my dessert!

[I keep forgetting to take pictures of my foods. I just like eating them too much, I guess. Sorry dudes.]

Boozy Bourbon Peaches and Raspberries

Inspired by Martha Stewart, mostly. I don’t remember the other recipes I referenced. Probably ’cause of the booze.

Serves 6-8

6 ripe, medium sized peaches – peeled and diced
1 package (5-6 oz) raspberries
1 cup-ish of good bourbon (or not that good – I used Jack Daniels. ‘Cause it was there.)
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Combine all of these wonderful things. Allow to marinate for 2-3 hours. Or possibly 2-3 days when you have leftovers. And you will. Because they are that strong. And they keep getting stronger.
2. If serving with ice cream, warm the peaches and raspberries in the microwave. Or don’t. Everyone will be too drunk to notice, anyway.

Cautionary Tale: Don’t eat more than 1/4 cup of this at a time. Like seriously. Face-planting might ensue.

Cautionary Tale Part 2: I hear tell of people who react to liquors made from distilled gluten-grains. I personally do not react to them, thank goodness, but if you’re uncertain, you should probably test your tummy’s tolerance before making this recipe.

Have a happy, drunk-face dessert day!