I've got a salad for you today ... because I just got finished with two weeks of marathon eating, and this week all I want to eat are gigantic salads for every meal. I cannot think of or look at pictures of christmas cookies right now, I am still so full from the past few weeks.
And .... I know in the weeks to come there are going to be so many sweets and bacon wrapped whatevers. I want to psych myself up for all the upcoming indulgence, and to do that I will be eating salads and super healthy stuff on the in-between days.
Don't worry, you and I can get back to talking about more serious holiday eats and treats next week.
So let's talk about this salad. Sometimes I find myself using quinoa and kale for everything, but I am trying to make a better effort to change things up once in a while. You can certainly make this salad with quinoa and kale instead of barley and spinach, but I decided to give barley and spinach the spotlight here, because other grains and dark leafy greens deserve our love too.
Since this this salad is more grain-heavy, it feels more like a meal. Something you can eat for dinner, or a hearty lunch. It's filling but it won't put you over the edge, and it's loaded with healthy goodness. It would also make a great side dish, or brunch salad, or you can just snack on all by yourself all week long (that's what I've been doing).
My favorite part about this salad is the dressing. This dressing is killer. Almonds, sesame oil, and miso ... some of my favorites, all blended together. You can easily use this over so many things .... other salad combinations, roasted vegetables, noodle dishes. I just want to dive in and take a bath in this dressing, it's so darn good.
I usually start thinking about my next meal before I've finished the current meal in front of me. Sometimes I start day dreaming about meals days or weeks ahead of time. If you're reading this, I am guessing you do the same.
This past weekend I visited one of my closest friends from college, Michal, in Switzerland. Michal and I both think about food and talk about food a lot. I knew this trip would involve some pretty great meals. And don't let those mountains in the background fool you, there was no physical activity happening on this trip ...... we didn't want anything to get in the way of our eating.
Before my trip, I was already thinking about the food I would eat while I was there, and what I would bring with me to eat on the plane. As you might remember, I have been trying to make food for my flights, especially the longer ones. Since I don't really enjoy flying, I like to make food that will make me happy. Looking forward to a good meal is one way to take my mind off of take-offs and bumpy rides.
Dumplings make me happy. I just love a good dumpling. I get excited when I see a dumpling, and even more excited when I eat a dumpling.
Before I made my first dumpling, I have to admit, I was intimidated (and maybe just a little lazy) to take on the task. Leave it to the experts, I thought. But let me tell you, once you start making your own dumplings, you'll never stop. It is so much easier that you would think, and this way you can come up with crazy concoctions that you would not be able to order from take out.
I bet you wouldn't find swiss chard dumplings at your local chinese food delivery place.
I love the idea of stuffing what is fresh and seasonal into a dumpling. Last fall I made some pumpkin dumplings, maybe this spring I will do some sort of pea dumpling. Right now there has been some stunning swiss chard in the markets, so I thought a fantastic dumpling combination would be swiss chard and roasted garlic, because swiss chard and roasted garlic go so well together.
The walnut miso was inspired by my favorite cookbook of the moment: Japanese Farm Foods. That book is such an awesome source of inspiration, I am sure you will be seeing more recipes + influences from that book here.