This was the final weekend of my summer classes so I can start studying for the CPA exams. I didn’t need to take anything in particular, so QuickBooks and Nutrition it is. I’ll let you guess which was more entertaining. We had three books to read in Nutrition—Fast Food Nation [Eric Schlosser], Food Fight [Daniel Imhoff], and In Defense of Food [Michael Pollan]—all of which I’ve been meaning to read. I mostly liked them all in some form or another. I also managed to squeeze in Eat Pretty [Jolene Hart] and VB6 [Mark Bittman] for fun. Call it over achieving; call it a new genre of books I like. Either way, I like it. Have you read any of them? I find them fascinating, if a bit preachy at times, but they often present new information to chew on [PUN!]. I think about food a lot, but I don’t always thinking about it in political or it’s nutritional sense, so it’s a nice change of pace.
The summer of the salads lives on despite it being September 1st. As long as summer keeps bringing me fresh produce, I’ll keep eating it. It’s meant to have mache, which apparently is known by other names such as Lamb’s lettuce and corn salad. I had my eye on the mache at the fridge one day, went back a few days later, and it was gone. Instead of making something else entirely, I went with baby kale. Not exactly what the recipe had in mind, I’m sure, but it worked. You basically want something tender, yet hardy, to stand up to this potentially spicy-as-hell dressing. I hit the jalapeño jackpot with this dressing. I feel like I can go weeks with less than spicy stuff and then *BAM* melt your face. This was bordering on melt your face. I should really learn to taste test before I toss them in, but I don’t. Ever. Playing Russian roulette with peppers. I live on the edge.
Thankfully the creaminess of the mayo [or creme fraiche] and the avocado help tame the spice. The peach is the right amount of sweet. The feta comes in with a salty and pungent change of pace, and it’s just generally dang delicious. The lentils are really just there for added protein and fiber, and mostly because I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Summer of salads and lentils, I suppose.
If you’re going to take the extra step and boil down the fresh orange juice, please please please pay attention to it. It goes from super liquid to a sticky orange toffee consistency really quickly and generally when you stop paying attention. Story of my life.
Inspiration: Sprouted Kitchen
- juice from 1 medium orange [or half cup of orange juice]
- 1 jalapeño
- 1 shallot, quartered
- pinch of sea salt
- handful of cilantro
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mayo or creme fraiche
- 5-6 cups mache or baby kale
- 2 avocados, cubed
- 2 peaches, sliced
- 1/2 cup lentils, cooked and cooled
- 2oz crumbled feta cheese
Simmer the orange juice in a small pan until it reduces a bit. Char the jalapeño until it’s blackened all over [I used my gas stove top]. Peel the charred bits off and chop. In a blender or food processor, add the ingredients from the orange juice to the mayo/creme fraiche. Blend until smooth. Taste for additional salt or mayo to soothe the potential heat.
In a large bowl, toss the greens with the dressing. This will likely be more dressing than you need, so start small. Layer with the avocado, peaches, and lentils. Toss gently before serving into a plate. Top with feta before serving.