The week of the Salads: Catalyst Cooks’ Kitchen 5/16

Have you been too busy in the sunshine to get busy in the kitchen?  I certainly felt that way this week, so when I saw a recipe flash across my Facebook timeline for Waldorf Salad, I knew I had my inspiration for this week’s meals.  Cool, naturally sweet fruit combined with crunchy celery, nutty wild rice and toasted almonds- can you taste it now?

To bring these lovely flavors together I made my own mayonnaise with dijon and lemon juice.  My version of Waldorf is lightly dressed, served atop fresh spinach greens, and topped with cubed chicken.   I had a helping for lunch yesterday and my favorite part is the perfectly ripe, juicy and tasty grape halves.  It was fun to experiment with my version of Waldorf… you can try different fruits, nuts and grains to make your favorite combination.

I paged through my newest Cooking Light Magazine and saw a recipe for Greek Farro, which made me think about making a Greek pilaf.

After doing a bit of searching on the internet, I decided to mix red pepper, red onion, fresh tomato and some fresh herbs (the vegetable component) with farro, barley, and chickpeas (the beans & grains component) and dress it with a tahini lemon garlic vinaigrette.  To give this salad some saltiness and a creamy texture, I topped with fresh feta from the Wedge Coop.

The big question is- to eat it cold or warmed?  I opted for the former, and grabbed a helping from the fridge to eat al fresco!  Nothing better than having a bit of sunshine and enjoying fresh, crisp Greek flavors in a filling pilaf.

Heidi Swanson’s Supernatural Cookbook has my favorite recipe on today’s docket: the sushi bowl.

I’m okay with it if you don’t think this is a salad, but it does come in a bowl and it tastes fantastic.  Starting with brown rice in the rice cooker, I crafted a citrus/shoyu (thicker soy sauce) and sesame oil vinaigrette and tossed it with the rice and some browned sesame seeds.

For protein I added three-grain tempeh (lightly fried in sesame oil).  It is the first time I have cooked with tempeh and I haven’t tasted it before, that I know of.  Tempeh originated in Indonesia and was recommended by my dietician as a great source of protein.  I’m trying to reduce our meat intake, so I was reluctantly driven to buy tempeh and it seemed like it fit in this sushi bowl recipe pretty well.

Tempeh has a much more pleasing texture than tofu (to me anyway)- after I fried it, it had a crisp on the outside and was nicely chewy on the inside.  I think I’ll continue to experiment with tempeh to see where else I can incorporate it.  I also want to study about it, and soy in general, some more.

To finish the sushi bowl (which is like an inside out sushi roll!), I topped the rice/tempeh with a sliced avocado, some green onions and crisped nori (seaweed wrap).  It is so delicious I already ate a bowl for breakfast.  YUM!

I just love the grab-and-go meals that I created this week- perfect for picnics, quick lunch or dinner, and easy to store in the fridge so they’re at the ready when you are hungry.  The flavors only get better after they’ve hung out together for a few days.  Here’s to the week of salad!  I’m getting so hungry writing about it, I want to go get one now!


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