A Summer Salad

File under “Organisms that are probably in way better shape than I am at this point”

I moved away from Florida about a month ago to escape the heat, among other things, but I may as well have been there today: 93 degrees with a heat index between 102 and 107.  We intended to go to the Turk’s Head Music Festival today, but being as Jim and I have about as much ability to tolerate heat as an icicle, we cancelled our plans. Points to us, however, for not loafing on the couch all day in the air conditioner.  We both put in an hour at the gym this afternoon–a habit we’ve sadly neglected for way too long, but better to get back on the wagon than just looking at the number on the scale, giving up, and fully committing to being unhealthy.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but after I work out, I get ravenously hungry.  Jim does, too, only my ravenous is his, “I’m one moment from cannibalism”.  It’s almost like my body is trying to undo all the good it just did, and its nefarious voice comes to me like a song on the wind: “Sugarrrrr…we must have cookies…”

“Not today!” I say.  It was nearly dinnertime anyway, so I wasn’t about to settle for a Builder Bar, which, let’s face it, are good in a pinch, but probably not the bundle of nutritional goodness your body really deserves after you just pushed it past its usual limits.  We just made a trip to a local farm for produce, so I have a ton of gorgeous vegetables along with some leftover parts and pieces from the fish tacos we had last night.  On a whim, I whipped up this salad, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Nutritional 411
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Ingredients:

(serving size is about a 1 cup)

  • 1 cup uncooked farro (makes about 3 cups cooked, eyeballing it)
  • 2 cups eggplant, chopped into 1-2 inch cubes (I used erdine striped because, like a weirdo, I basically buy food I find attractive, but you can use any kind of eggplant)
  • 1 bundle garlic scapes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 1 head baby bok choy, chopped into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo (I’m not even gonna lie, I used store-made)
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 2 T capers
  • 2 T chopped garlic
  • Juice of one lime or lemon
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup olive oil (for dressing)
  • 2 T olive oil (for sautéing)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped roughly
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped roughly
  • Salt and pepper

How to Cook 

  1. Cook the farro.  Here are some great instructions.  Set aside.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of good olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of garlic and cook for about a minute.  Make sure your heat isn’t too high; we don’t want to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the pine nuts and let them toast in the garlicky oil for a good minute or two.  Again, don’t burn them.  They’re expensive and magnificent.
  5. Add the eggplant.  What we are going for with the eggplant is fork tender: that means you should just be able to pierce it with a fork.  You need to check it frequently during the cooking process so you don’t go beyond that into overcooking it so it’s mushy and has no texture, which is totally gross.
  6. Add soy sauce.  Stir.
  7. Throw in your garlic scapes and cook for about five minutes.  Make sure you’re stirring all this goodness together.
  8. Add bok choy.  Stir.
  9. Add the mushrooms.  You might need to add a little more olive oil, since mushrooms are thirstier than a single bridesmaid at a wedding.  The mushrooms are basically your guide for when to stop cooking; once they’re fork tender, everything else should be good.
  10. Add a little salt.  You should be using kosher salt, because iodized salt, while noble in preventing millions from developing goiter in the 1920s, is way too salty for cooking.  Regardless, use a light hand with salt.  You can always put more in, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there.  I used probably two pinches in the cooked part of the recipe.
  11. Combine literally every other ingredient in a large bowl.  Stir.  Throw in a pinch of salt.  Stir again.  Taste it.  Add more salt if you think it needs it.
  12. Fold in the cooked stuff, including the farro.  Taste again.  Add what you think it might be missing.  Don’t forget the pepper, too.

Eat and enjoy.

2 thoughts on “A Summer Salad

  1. Looks good ! I almost have all ingredients on hand even faro and eggplant, though not striped😰. As soon as I get the rest of ingredients I will make it.

    Like

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