After many weeks of silence (and lack of inspiration at home), I have finally broken the silence (and the dry spell)! Last time we spoke, I just started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I never did get back to you about my experience. Stay tuned!
This lovely in-between-spring-and-summer evening, I'd like to share my recent creation! Like I alluded to earlier, I have been a bit bored lately with my cooking. My remedy? Go to my favoriteblog and look up new ingredients! I decided to branch out with grains and vinegar. I will talk about grains more later.
Vinegar? Isn't that a little boring or basic? Perhaps, but it was severely underutilized in my kitchen! One day I realized I had a decent bottle of balsamic vinegar and Chinese cooking wine (which in my mind is pretty much like vinegar) sitting, just sitting there, in the pantry (next to my olive oil, no less). What a shame, I thought. So I just started adding it to things. First, the Chinese cooking wine went into stir-fried bok choy (thank you CSA for introducing me to bok choy!), and the balsamic into a vinaigrette for salad with chickpeas.
So the next time I went to Trader Joe's, I decided to investigate the vinegar section. Holy smokes, there are some delicious looking vinegars! I decided upon the orange muscat champagne vinegar. Once I opened the bottle, catching a sniff of its sweet scent, I knew was going to have fun. With this and my CSA basket in hand, I was inspired to make this beauty of a salad.
Late spring salad with orange-mint vinaigrette
3-4 cups washed and torn lettuce leaves (I mixed romaine, red leaf, and iceberg)
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
For the vinaigrette:
4 strawberries, sliced
1 small blood orange, peeled and pulled into segments
3 mint leaves, crushed and chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
a few splashes of orange champagne vinegar (or whatever you have that's similar)
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt and pepper
1. Prepare vinaigrette and let sit for at least 5-10 minutes.
2. Toss vinaigrette and toasted walnuts with salad and enjoy!
Notes: No blood orange? No problem. Any small, sweet orange or tangerine will do. Also, the shallot could just as well be an equivalent amount of red onion. I'm sure this could be adapted for other kinds of fruit and nuts depending on what you have on hand as well.