It is so hot outside! I have never felt more unmotivated to be in the kitchen. We don't have air conditioning which is ok normally. I mean, we live in the Northwest so it basically rains about ten months out of the year. Summer finally decided to show its face and it's showing it well. I am definitely not complaining about the sunshine but I do feel a little guilty that I don't want to be in the kitchen. At all. It's too nice!
So I came up with a little salad we served with some vegan 'dogs'. Tofutti is where my heartstrings lie. kielbasa, sun dried tomato, brat... delish. In fact, my dear friend Abby was at a recent beer tasting event and she mentioned something about cooking the sundried tomato 'dogs' in beer. I told her she'd have an automatic guest post so do it; now.. are you reading?. :)
This salad was simple and really bold in flavor. Honey wasn't too sure what to think of it because it doesn't 'look' like it tastes. But trust me... it's delicious and lovely on a hot summer day when the last thing you want to do is look at a stove or oven.
1 1/2-2 sweet potatos, cubed
6-8 figs, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped fine
1/4 cup shaved almonds
8-10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
For the dressing:
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon curry salt (or regular sea salt with a pinch of extra curry)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Peel and chop your sweet potato into small bites. Boil in a pot of salted water until JUST tender. Note: they cook really really fast so keep your eye on them and a fork to test nearby.
In a container with a lid, such as an old Kerr jar or jelly jar, combine all ingredients for dressing and shake really really well. While you are preparing the rest of the salad, pick up the jar and shake it every once in a while.
Chop your figs, celery, green onion and carrot and put it in a big bowl.
When your sweet potatoes are done, drain them from the hot water and blanch them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Note: if you want to make this a hot salad, simply skip the blanching step.
Add your sweet potatoes to the fig mix making sure to keep an eye on sweet potato ratio vs. other stuff. You want the sweet potatoes to be equal to the bulk of the other stuff, not more.
Give the mix a little toss, shake your dressing one more time and then add the dressing. Note: don't pour it all on at once... start with half and see how far that gets you. There is nothing I dislike more than an over dressed salad.
Julienne your basil and add it, along with the almonds to your salad. Give it a light toss; just enough to combine but not move all the nuts and basil to the bottom of the bowl.
You can let this one sit in the refrigerator so it's a great make ahead salad. It is also lovely freshly prepared. Goes great with anything from tofurky to burgers to the other stuff...
(and get out there and play in the sunshine!)