Your New Favorite Salad Has Ham, Cheese & Buttered Bread

It’s the end of the long workday (or the start of an extra-long week) and we’re hungry. Like, “can’t-think-straight” hungry. Luckily, Food52 contributor EmilyC wants to do all the thinking for us. In Dinner’s Ready, her monthly column on weeknight wond…

It's the end of the long workday (or the start of an extra-long week) and we're hungry. Like, "can't-think-straight" hungry. Luckily, Food52 contributor EmilyC wants to do all the thinking for us. In Dinner's Ready, her monthly column on weeknight wonders, she shares three simple, flavor-packed recipes that are connected by a single idea or ingredient. Stick with Emily, and you'll have a good dinner on the table in no time. Today, three hearty, make-ahead salads to eat on the porch, in the park, anywhere.


If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself in a cooking rut at least once, if not a hundred times over, during this pandemic. I often find that my best laid dinner plans vaporize at the end of a long work day, when all I want to do is get outside and remind myself that it’s August (not March!). Even take-out—an exciting treat at first—has lost its allure.

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Legendary Layer Bean Dip – Vegan, Grain-free

    Dips are my favourite food group. Yes, food group. If I ever got a tattoo, it would probably say something like: “pass the hummus”. I was recently hosting a party-for-no-reason, and like most of my get togethers they involve a lot of food. […]

The post Legendary Layer Bean Dip – Vegan, Grain-free appeared first on My New Roots.

   

Dips are my favourite food group. Yes, food group. If I ever got a tattoo, it would probably say something like: “pass the hummus”.

I was recently hosting a party-for-no-reason, and like most of my get togethers they involve a lot of food. But I didn’t feel like making a fallback dip, like tzatziki, or baba ganoush. No. I felt like leveling up and creating something I hadn’t tried to before. Something with BIG DIP ENERGY – a chunky, spicy, creamy, and above all impressive layer dip. I’d cooked pinto beans the night before, had a little tin of chipotle chilies kicking around the pantry, and I knew that if I cut a couple corners, this thing would come together so I’d still have time to tizz myself up before the guests arrived.

My childhood memories of layer dip involve many cans and jars of processed food being dumped into a large bowl, but the current-reality-holistic-nutritionist version definitely involves making every single one of those things from scratch. Mama don’t have time for that! So I simplified things by cutting out the guacamole (don’t yell at me like that – add it if you want to!), and using jarred salsa. Everything else was homemade, but came together quickly and easily.

 

   

First, I sautéed the pre-cooked pinto beans with onions, garlic, spices, and the chipotle peppers. While that was on the stove, I whipped up the hemp seed “queso” (no soaking required!). And the salsa got an upgrade with some fresh, chopped cherry tomatoes. This is such an easy hack btw, since it makes the salsa taste more alive and juicy, while giving it a lot more texture, which I personally dig. All it takes after that is mushing the beans up a bit in the pan, which you can do with a bean masher, or an immersion blender, if you don’t want to haul out yet another large piece of equipment. Then layer away! All in all, this took me about 20 minutes, start to finish, and the party people hung around this bowl like it was the last dip on planet earth.

The delicious, creamy “cheese” sauce is a riff off my cashew queso, but in the interest of keeping this allergen-free, I used hemp seeds instead. I love this change-up, since it’s less expensive, and contains way more omega-3 fats and protein. You can dial up the heat here if you like, but because both the salsa and the bean layer have quite a kick to them, I kept the queso pretty mild. Did I mention that this is delicious on its own next to a platter of veggie sticks?! Or chips. Let’s be honest. 

   
   

Pinto Bean Dreams

Just look at those beautiful beans! Don’t they look gorgeous in all of their tone-on-tone mottled-ness? “Pinto” actually means “painted” in Spanish, and when you take a close look at pinto beans you can clearly see how they’ve earned their moniker. Their speckles fade when cooking, and turn a lovely pale pink colour. They also gain a super creamy interior that is perfect in soups and stews, but also dips.

Pintos, like all beans, are a mixture of protein and complex carbohydrates, making them incredibly filling, but won’t spike blood sugar levels. Pinto beans are low in calories and fat, but contain the highest amount of fiber out of all the legumes (wow!). Key nutrients in pinto beans include potassium to maintain normal blood pressure, calcium for supporting muscle and nerve function, iron to enhance oxygen transport, and zinc for skin health. 

Like all beans, pintos can cause an increase in intestinal gas (burps! farts! abdominal discomfort!), due to the oligosaccharides in the beans fermenting in the lower intestine. Because these starchy molecules live in the skin of the beans, a simple soak in water overnight usually does the trick. The soaking process will help leach out many of these fermenting properties, which is why it is so important to discard the soaking water and then boil them in fresh water. Adding a strip of kombu seaweed to the pot will further help to reduce the gas-producing potential of pinto beans (and all legumes), acting like a sponge to absorb those raffinose sugar toot culprits. Try these two tricks to reduce your toilet tunes, and stay social! 

   

   

I used a clear glass bowl to serve the dip in so that they layers are visible, and it was not until after pouring in two layers did I have the idea to put cilantro stems up on the sides of it. Doh! But knowing it would be #worthit, I painstakingly scooped out the beans and salsa trying to keep everything separate, cleaned the bowl, and started over. I lightly brushed the tiniest amount of olive oil on the leaves to act as glue, then pressed them to the walls of bowl. This is completely unnecessary, but it makes the dip look less monotone and more enticing in my opinion – green always does it! This step takes an extra two minutes and adds a decorative touch, but it’s your call. Maybe you need those two minutes to tizz yourself up? 

If you want to change up the recipe, try using black beans or kidney beans in place of the pintos. If you want to add another layer to this already boss situation, go on and add the guac! I was just trying to keep things a little easier for ya’ll.  And if you’d like to make your own salsa, I have a stellar raw recipe right here.

Lastly, I want to add that my bowl for this was roughly 1½ quarts / litres capacity, and everything it fit perfectly. I would only suggest sizing up if you don’t have this exact container size.

   

Hope you’re all doing well out there. If you are experiencing any semblance of Spring weather where you are, please send some my way. K thanks. Happy dipping!

xo, Sarah B

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The Epic Travel Salad

  When I saw the number, I couldn’t believe it: 29 hours. It was undoubtedly going to be one of the longest travel days of my life. I’ve been to Bali twice before, but always from Copenhagen, which is about half the distance from Toronto. […]

The post The Epic Travel Salad appeared first on My New Roots.

 
When I saw the number, I couldn’t believe it: 29 hours. It was undoubtedly going to be one of the longest travel days of my life. I’ve been to Bali twice before, but always from Copenhagen, which is about half the distance from Toronto. I almost gave it a second thought since spending that amount of time sitting upright just felt like it might end me, but the retreats were booked, and there was no backing out!

I knew what would get me through, and that was food. Lots and lots of delicious, nourishing, consciously-created food. I always always make a point of preparing meals for traveling, since eating mini, microwaved mystery munch seriously kills my vibe. Plus, the amount of calories in one of those airplane trays is barely enough to get me through one romcom and you know that I’m watching at least five in a row.

When you’re about to face any length of time on an airplane, there are a few things to take into consideration. First, fill your snack pack with foods that are hydrating: cucumbers, romaine, bell peppers, carrots, apples, oranges, celery, berries, grapes, and melon. Depending on where you’re traveling to, it can help to have the fruits and veggies already prepared or sliced, since some countries won’t let you bring in whole fruits and veg, but they will let you bring them in if they look ready to eat. It sounds nonsensical, but it works!

I love having huge vegetable salads with lentils and / or whole grains to keep me full too, since I have a tendency to stress-eat when I’m in transit and will totally mow down a bag of chips if they’re put in front of me (okay, sometimes I also eat those chips, and that is okay too, but I notice that it always prolongs my jetlag). For other filling munchies, I like my almond flour cookies, nuts like pistachios or walnuts, and granola – especially crossing so many timezones, which requires breakfast-y things. Veggie sticks are also nice, light fare that keep my crunch cravings under control.

 

 

As you can see from the photo, I bring my food in reusable containers, use washable wooden cutlery and a straw, all of which are convenient to have once I’m at my destination to use for my own cooking and storage. I also always have my 800-ml water bottle with me when I travel. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but it begs repeating: jetlag is exacerbated by dehydration, and drinking about half a liter (16 oz.) per hour of flight will make such an immense difference, you may never experience jetlag again. I used to suffer terribly from exhaustion for days post-travel (which really ruined my trip when it was a short one), and now it’s no big deal. I arrive, wait until a mildly appropriate time to go to bed, and wake up feeling about as normal as one could hope to. Yes, you’ll have to make friends with the flight attendants, since they are the keepers of the water, but go visit them at the back of the plane every so often for a refill, treat them like humans, and you’d be amazed at how accommodating and helpful they are. Make sure you fill your bottle before landing as well, since you never know how long it will take for you to get through customs, baggage claim and the taxi line. It always pays to have hydration close at hand.

Avoid the plane food if you can, since it is overly salted and often has added sugar. Our taste buds are actually less receptive at high altitudes, due to low air pressure, low humidity, and high levels of white noise. Yup – that is an actual thing. The way our brains interpret flavour signals is impaired, therefore, things taste different, so airlines pump up the levels of salt and sugar in their food to make them taste the way they would at ground level. If you ate that travel-sized “chicken or pasta” at your dining room table you’d be surprised at how exaggerated the flavours were.

 

 
Why is this the most epic travel salad? Because it’s got All. The. Things. Rich, hearty beets, protein-rich and satiating lentils, so it’s filling, but it’s not going to leave you feeling stuffed. And because of that whole flavours-being-less-powerful-at-high-altitudes thing, I endeavoured to add as many potent tastes as possible. Lemon, pomegranate, parsley, cumin seeds, and olives are like flavour fireworks that you can safely ignite at 30,000 feet. There is a Middle Eastern vibe going on for sure, and the multitude of textures tick every single box. You don’t want your mouth getting bored while you’re hurtling through the sky, and this combination will ensure that each bite is a surprise party.

Olives that come without their pits are often mushy and less flavourful, so I always opt to remove them myself, or leave them in until I eat them. The problem with leaving the pits in the olives in this situation, is finding a place to put them on your teeny table real estate (the airsick bag is a great option, just sayin’…and yes, I’ve really thought of everything). If you do want to remove them beforehand, it’s easiest to do so by smashing the olive with the flat side of a knife blade, then simply pulling the pit out. You can roughly chop the olives from there.

If you don’t have any black lentils, Du Puy or French lentils work just as well, with green and brown lentils as a passable fallback. I don’t dig these types of lentils in salads since they tend to be water-y and dilute the flavour of the dressing, but if it keeps you from making a special trip to the store, by all means just use them.

And normally I wouldn’t include alliums in a plane salad since your neighbours might give you the stink eye when you pop open your lunch box, but I’ve tempered their potency by pickling them ever-so-slightly. This is done in the same container that you’re going to put your salad in, preceded by mixing up the dressing right in there too. Easy peasy!

I guess I should mention that this salad is not just delicious on a plane – it’s also fabulous enjoyed at ground level. Perfect for road trips, picnics, school or office lunches, just make sure you make it the day before so that all the ingredients are cool. If you travel with this salad on the warm side, it could spoil in transit.

 

 
Maybe it’s a bit strange to have a travel salad as the first post of the year, but I’m a bit tired of the whole “new year, new you” rant. People expect me to talk about cleansing or detoxing in January, and although I’m all for reflecting and re-evaluating one’s lifestyle choices, I’m a bit bored of the narrative saying that the first day of the new year is the time to atone for all our dietary sins. Why do we need a specific day to act as a reason to start treat ourselves well?

If there a New Year’s resolution to pull out of this post, it should be to resolve to make yourself delicious food when you go anywhere. Avoid the overpriced convenience food, no matter how healthy it is, since nothing sold in a package will ever compare to the freshness, or high-vibrational energy of food you’ve lovingly prepared for yourself. Case closed!

If you’d like more travel food recipes, tips, and inspiration, check out my two previous articles here and here.

 

The Wild Heart High Spirit Retreats are starting tomorrow, and I cannot wait to embrace each of the women who have traveled from every corner of the earth to join us here in Bali. We are going to eat the most delicious food, practice yoga, dance, laugh, learn, and celebrate the joy of being alive together! We have one space left for the second week, so if you’re interested in joining us in tropical paradise, please visit our site for more information.

Peace and blessings for an abundant, healthy, vibrant year ahead. Thank you for being here. I love you.

xo, Sarah B

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Blackberry and Currant Clafoutis

The first time I heard the word, I knew I would love it. Clafoutis. Clah. Foo. Tee. It felt so good just to say it, like a laughing cloud floating off my tongue, I was certain it would taste even better. I was right. Clafoutis […]

The post Blackberry and Currant Clafoutis appeared first on My New Roots.



The first time I heard the word, I knew I would love it. Clafoutis. Clah. Foo. Tee.
It felt so good just to say it, like a laughing cloud floating off my tongue, I was certain it would taste even better. I was right.

Clafoutis is a classic French dessert; a custard tart of sorts but without a crust. It is traditionally made with flour, milk, sugar, and eggs, and a fruit, the most popular being black cherries. Arranged in a buttered dish, the fruit is bathed in rich batter and baked, then served lukewarm with a dusting of powdered sugar and sometimes cream. The concept is brilliantly simple and I knew that with a few adjustments, the clafoutis of my dreams could become a reality.

For my first cookbook, I took the plunge and came up with an easy, grain-free and dairy-free foolproof recipe that I can honestly say I make more than any other dessert in my repertoire. I always have the batter ingredients on hand, and I always have seasonal fruit, so when I need something sweet on short notice, this dish often makes a delicious appearance. The only teeny issue with my original version, is that it required a food processor to blend up toasted almond flour. When I set out to make a clafoutis a couple weeks ago, we were living pretty simply at the family cottage in Denmark without any kitchen equipment to speak of, and I was left scratching my head. I knew I could simplify the calfoutis even more, so I endeavoured to make it an equipment-free recipe, and edited a couple of steps so that there wasn’t even a bowl to wash.

Instead of roasting the almonds in the oven, I purchased almond flour, then toasted it in a large skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Then, once the pan had been removed from the heat and cooled a bit, I mixed the remaining ingredients right there in the skillet! The last step was to simply pour the batter into the prepared baking dish with the fruit, and place it in the oven. So easy! The final results were just as good – if not better – than the more complicated version of the recipe.

Since blackberries and red currants were absolutely dripping from the bushes around the island, I knew that these two berries, as untraditional as they were, would be delicious in this context. The sweet batter in contrast against the sour-tart, juicy jewels worked so perfectly.



Some notes on the recipe: the reason that I measure the fruit out by volume may seem unusual, but it’s because the physical space that the fruit takes up in the clafoutis is more important than the weight of it. The goal is to fill the bottom almost entirely with few gaps, so that every bite contains tons of juicy fruit pieces. 

You are welcome to use any fruit that is available to you, with the exception of anything with a very high water content – melon, citrus, and pineapple make the tart too soggy. I love rhubarb in the spring, cherries in the early summer, stone fruits in the late summer, and figs in the autumn. You can also add spices to the batter, such as cinnamon and cardamom, and even dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, apricots, figs or dates.

I have not tried making a clafoutis without eggs. The vegan versions I’ve seen online rely on either tofu or aqufaba for body and binding, and I’m not overly enthusiastic about either one of those ingredients. Plus, I really love eggs. It may be groovy to try with a coconut milk + chia + arrowroot combo, but I cannot reliably say it would work since I’ve never tried it before – this is just a hunch!

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed that look of the blog has changed a little bit. I felt that it was time for a freshen up, and I hope you take a moment to visit my homepage and have a look around. And for this first post since the redesign, I decided to make a small photo essay to convey the gorgeousness of our village on Bornholm. Bornholm is a small, Danish island in the Baltic sea off the southern tip of Sweden. My husband’s family have a cottage there, in an old fish smokery right on the ocean. The light on the island is particularly special, the colour of the sea an unique shade of blue, and the air is soaked with the scent of rose hips, sun-baked rocks, salt water, and elderflower. It’s one of my favourite places on earth, and I always leave feeling so inspired, and connected to nature. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

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