Over the years (I started making this about ten years ago), many clients have grown to love this lentil salad. One of them orders it practically every single week. No wonder.
So easy to make, it's an extremely versatile side dish, and by itself as a main course it's straight-up vegan. The BF loves it, but he needs another protein, so I like to add soft-boiled or poached eggs, and/or chicken sausage (pictured above). Easy to pack for on-the-go sojourns, the dish can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature, and it even tastes better the next day.
I cook fresh lentils all the time, but have to say a terrific hack and time saver is to use Trader Joe's steamed lentils, which are found in their fresh produce section. They're delicious and have a firm texture, which is key to this salad.
This one is a perfect summer dish, and unlike most of these blog recipes, isn't an adaptation–it's wholly original. Feel free to make subsitutions, i.e., substitute parsnip for carrot, dill for parsley, and if you don't like fennel, use only celery. Make it your own.
Number of servings: 4
NOTE: If using Trader Joe's steamed lentils, take out of box, make three slits in the plastic. Place on plate and microwave for approx 45 seconds.
My BF-editor and I owe you an apology. We missed a blog. While pathologically inexcusable, we actually have a wonderful excuse, namely, a family reunion for the ages. They came from far and wide (we're talking from Boston to Bangkok, Thailand) for a beautiful unveiling ceremony for our mother in Portland, Oregon (complete with glitter and a wonderful Rabbi), as well as a burial for my dear auntie in the small town where I went to high school. If you've ever had one of those perfect days that you replay over and over in your mind, this was a week of perfect days. Friends, family, and of course copious amounts of good food. Goodbyes were difficult.
It was a week that couldn't be beet.
[Ed. note: Oh no you didn't. No one will ever buy this transition for the love of G—]
Beets! With spring in full swing, they're at their peak at all stores and farmers markets. This salad is so easy to put together, is a vibrant alternative to a leafy green salad, and pairs well with chicken or fish. Feta or goat cheese makes a nice optional addition, and if you're adventurous with oranges, you can't go wrong with the Cara Cara red-fleshed navel variety.
Of course, it must be noted that red beets stain easily, so if you want to avoid that, you can use golden beets. If you go that route, you might want to try blood oranges for contrast.
Hello from the fam.
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate and Gjelina, Cooking From Venice, California, Travis Lett
Number of servings: 4 small or 2 large
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Traditions are discussed a lot here, and everyone has their must-see Christmas movies. For us, it's not December if we haven't watched Bad Santa, A Christmas Story and holiday-themed episodes of South Park, Family Guy and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. [Ed. note: Grow up? You fool!] This year my BF surprised me and found the 1964 Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which I haven't seen since I was a child.
On Christmas Eve we hosted our annual traditional dinner with a small group of dear friends. In previous years I'd made seafood paella, but this year I veered away from that tradition and made cioppino. Although it was delicious, my guests took a vote and it's back to seafood paella in 2018. (Am not complaining. Note to self: don't mess with tradition.) I also made a delightful sugar-free low-carb peppermint cheesecake, and bought a chocolate layer cake wrapped like a gift, because I didn't think all the guests would go for the sugar-free option. Of course, the sugar-free cheesecake won out (and will certainly be featured in a blog post next year).
Christmas day was gloriously relaxing. For me, a rare day off. Music and movies playing all day, a leisurely breakfast, gifts to open [Ed. note: I got Joker socks and you didn't], taking our chocolate lab Marlowe for a long romp, and a Christmas Story-inspired Chinese take-out dinner of Peking duck and Chinese greens.
The aforementioned "leisurely breakfast" was this gorgeous, colorful, refreshing, jewel-toned citrus salad. Blood oranges and citrus are at their peak right now, so it's the perfect time to make it.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and adventure-filled 2018.
NOTE: I cut the sugar amount in half from the original recipe as my preference is to not over-sweeten, but if that's not of your concern, stick with the original recipe. I also added two Cara Cara oranges, which look like regular navel oranges on the outside, but the inside is red-fleshed, juicy and sweet. You can make this one day in advance. Keep chilled.
Number of servings: 8
Adapted from: Gourmet (December 2008)
Another seasonal (in California, we are in the throes of cherry and corn season) client favorite, this one is quick and simple to prepare, and the colors and ingredients scream summer. The sweetness of the corn with the charred lettuce, tangy pickled cherries, and shallots make for a fresh, vibrant combination.
Adapted from Heather Christo
Number of servings: 6
Pickled Cherries and Shallots
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.