Salad days are here again (if the rain lets up)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another busy week has just flown by! Little MC Junior “graduated” from pre-school last night and I survived dry-eyed :)

As the year winds down, we should really be enjoying our warm beach days, but obviously Sydney didn’t get the memo. Where can I lodge my complaint about the horrendous weather we’ve been having? I know I’m whingeing, but last week it was so cold we had to pull on our ugg boots, and sleep in our winter pyjamas. This is supposed to be summer!

Luckily, we’ve had a couple of warm days thrown in amongst all the rain. Just the sort of day to enjoy a good salad or two. I wasn’t really going to blog about these, but they looked so pretty I couldn’t resist.

The first salad I actually made a couple of months ago, using the last few beetroot of the season. It was inspired by a salad we ate (twice) at El Amacen (one of our favourite restuarants when we visited NY). The two things I remembered most about the salad were the wonderfully tasty slivers of spiced almonds, and the dressing. It was listed on the menu as a shallot vinaigrette, which I thought would taste really “oniony” but it was lovely and mild, and tied the whole salad together. (The rest of the salad is made up of baby spinach leaves, roasted and steamed beetroot cubes and apple slivers).

I found a recipe for shallot vinaigrette over here on Epicurious. For the spiced almonds, I based it on a recipe for spiced nuts, found here, and used flaked almonds instead of whole nuts. Some spiced nut recipes used oil, but I prefer the taste of butter, it really does make a difference here. Make lots because you’ll find yourself snacking on them as you prepare the rest of the meal. I’m not sure how long they’d keep (because of the butter content) but I think they’d make a great edible Christmas gift too.

Salad number two was a more recent concoction and came about from a last minute scrabble through the vegetable crisper in the fridge. I found lamb’s ear lettuce (mâche), a cucumber, some crimson grapes, and a forgotten granny smith apple. A forage through the cupboards yielded pecans, and my salad was born. Ain’t it purty? I dressed it with a very simple dressing made from equal parts verjuice and olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

Mâche is now my new favourite salad green. I love how the texture is kind of fleshy and leafy at the same time, and of course, it just looks so gorgeous with the little rosettes. As you can tell, I’m a really visual eater (most of the time).

Enjoy the weekend and see you soon. We’re having family visit over the weekend, so Malaysian Monday will probably be late :)

Is that batgirl? No! It's MC Junior receiving her "diploma" :)


pierre said...

bravo for the graduate !!and nice salads !! here it is winter time !!Pierre

Vanille said...

Ah, Shaz, like your sens of humour ;)
Your salads look really pretty and tasty indeed !
Hope you had good quality time this week-end !

Renata said...

I guess the weather is crazy all over the world. I'm about to go to Brazil for the holidays, and it was supposed to be quite hot in Rio at this time of the year, but still, temperatures are quite mild, seems like the summer doesn't want to wake up. Go figure!
Your salads are simply amazing! I know I'll crave them when I leave these chilly days in Korea. Love beets!
Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog anniversary :)

Jamie said...

Oh she is adorable! And so proud! Congratulations on the graduation - and just in time for Christmas! And mmm love the idea of spiced almonds and shallot vinaigrette. Both salads inspire me to get more creative...

Loveforfood said...

she is so adorable..

Barbara said...

Congrats to your little graduate!
I like using mâche too. It's delicate and looks so pretty in a salad.

grace said...

hooray for graduation!
also, i have a huge preference for mache over other greens--it's amazing!

Juliana said...

Congrats on the graduation...and the salads look delicious, crispy and colorful.
Hope you have a wonderful week ahead Shaz :-)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Comelnya CikMC. Wow you eat very healthy with those nice salad you made. I always cook express food nowadays. Dish that is not time-consuming.

Anh said...

how cute was the little graduation? :)

I love the salads u got here!

Beth said...

Sorry to hear about the bad weather, but your salad looks wonderful. So does your little graduate!

shaz said...

thanks for all your comments everyone, I am finally catching up with the blog again1