Wednesday, May 16, 2007

from 4/26/2007

Yesterday after I posted my list of kitchen staples, I kept thinking of more! For the must-haves: light coconut milk (I like Native Forest or the WF 365 brand). For the my-must-haves: dates, young coconut, unsweetened shredded coconut, figs, pine, I know there were more than that...

Anyway, I have my lunch sitting on my desk in a see-through plastic container, and can barely contain myself from scarfing it down now. It's another Heidi recipe (surprise)!

My friend Elizabeth came over last night. We were planning on riding bikes, but the cold and rain kept us indoors. So, I made us a little snack from Heidi's Super Natural Cooking (p. 52) - [my notes in brackets]:

Wheat Berry Salad
with Citrus, Toasted Pine Nuts, Feta and Spinach

2 c. soft wheat berries [I didn't have soft wheat berries, so I used hard red wheat berries, and it was still deelish]
6 c. water
2 t. fine-grain sea salt [I used about 1/2 t., and it was plenty]

citrus dressing:
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice [I used the juice of 1 lemon]
1 T. minced shallot
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 generous handfuls spinach leaves, stemmed and well-rinsed [I used arugula, just 'cause that's what I had on-hand]
1 c. toasted pine nuts
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese

Combine the wheat berries, water and 2 t. salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, until plump and chewy, about an hour or so. The berries should stay al dente, and the only way to be sure they're done is to taste a few. Drain and season with more salt, as needed. [Seriously, you don't need more salt since there's some in the dressing and the feta is salty].

To make the dressing, combine the orange zest and juice, lemon juice and shallot. Whisk in the olive oil and season with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Toss hot wheat berries with the spinach, pine nuts, citrus dressing, then top with the feta. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with a bit more salt if needed. Serves 4-6.

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We had this warm, fragrant salad with a 2003 Bonny Doon Montepulciano. (I've had a few of their wines, and really liked them, plus the design of their labels is great--that's why she picked the bottle. I got a bottle of their Cardinal Zin as a gift a couple years ago for the holidays, and had kinda forgotten about it until now. I don't drink wine often, but really enjoy it when I do). We had a lovely evening. I love it when she comes over!

And, the most exciting thing to date--a friend of mine asked if I'd be interested in doing some personal chef stuff for her late this summer! Whoa! I've been fantasizing about that lately, but hadn't necessarily thought about actually putting it into a specific plan-of-action. You know, I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to be when I grow up. I'd been thinking of going back to Pitt to finish my social sciences degree, then applying to CMU for a masters program in creative non-fiction. What if I could do both? Get some formal chef training along with the other, and then eventually have a business and work on writing (about food and cooking) in my spare time? My mind is swimming with the possibilities! And, I'm so, so, so flattered that someone would be interested in hiring me already. I think the feeling I'm currently feeling is elation. I love elation!

Okay, it might be elation mixed with kombucha (Guava Goddess today) and maca root powder. I started out the day with a peanut butter-banana-maca smoothie, and heated some of my leftover tortillas until they were pretty golden and firm so I could cut them into chips, and had that with the rest of my guacamole (which was still looking pretty good since I had so much lemon juice in it). Yum.

Is it time for lunch yet?

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