I feel like it’s taken me an eternity to get around to writing this post! Typically my modus operandi with this blog is to cook and photograph a dish one day, then write a blurb about the dish and publish the post the next – although sometimes I get on a roll and manage to accomplish these steps in single day. Not that it’s all that involved, but sometimes it feels involved when there’s a nearly-ambulatory one year old in the mix. While I’m absolutely certain none of you maintain statistics on the intervals between my posts, I’ve been itching to get this one out of my drafts folder. It’s nice publishing a post; it makes me feel like I’ve met my creative quota for the week and provides a crafty counterpoint to changing diapers, wiping drool and folding tiny clothes… although naturally (perversely?) I enjoy all of that, too!
This post is slightly delayed because the last few days have been action packed – and when I say action packed, I mean it in the least fun way possible. On Saturday we finally got around to rearranging our storage locker to make room for the last of the furniture (from our condo in Vancouver) that’s been sitting in a cargo trailer for the past month and a half. The mere act of moving stuff into storage is crappy enough; having to take almost everything out, determine the most efficient way to configure boxes and other more cumbersome items (bikes, a BBQ, a snowmobile) in order to free up space, and then put it all back together made us want to turn our backs on the entire operation and get belligerently drunk. But as responsible parents, no such option existed. Rather, we persevered until everything was back in its place. Naturally this beast of a job took several hours longer than anticipated and we were tired and craving junk food by the time we got back to the trailer park.
With that gargantuan task behind us, we decided to reward ourselves with a sojourn to Vancouver, where I’m writing this from now. Unfortunately yesterday didn’t feel like much of a reward as Hunter had no interest in being strapped in his car seat during the drive and made his dissatisfaction known via seemingly endless wailing, despite numerous attempts to entertain him with music, cartoons and sound-making toys. Sketchy road conditions, and the fact we were towing a cargo trailer didn’t do much to improve the driving experience. All that aside, I’m enjoying staying in a hotel and being able to take a real showers with limitless hot water! And just getting away from the trailer park for a few days is a pleasant switch for all of us, too.
With all that box-shuffling and the crappy car ride out of the way, I’m free at last to write a few words about this rapini salad! I can concede that rapini – even more so than other leafy greens – is a bit of an acquired taste. Really, there’s no way around it: the stuff is bitter. This doesn’t offend my palate much; but then again I also love dark chocolate, black coffee, black liquorice and other flavours many people find too intense. I’ve read that boiling rapini in heavily salted water can help reduce its bitterness, but I’m not a fan of boiling vegetables and the heavily salted water thing doesn’t sit well with me either. So I simply sauteed it until tender crisp along with a few handfuls of ribboned carrots, the natural sweetness of which I find offsets the bitterness of the rapini nicely. The creaminess of the yogurt dressing (I used Mediterranean yogurt which has a pretty high (10%) milk fat content) also takes the edge off the rapini somewhat, and is delicious in its own right! But if you simply don’t enjoy eating rapini, I think kale or Swiss chard would be perfect substitutions here.
I assume that most of you love to eat your veggies. But are there any vegetables you just won’t go near? I think I like everything except raw onions; they’re just too pungent (which goes against what I said above about liking strong flavours, but there you have it). I love onions cooked, but unless we’re talking about the super mild kind available in Mexico, I do my best to avoid them!
In other news, this past week I’ve been the recipient of THREE blog awards (yowza!), so I’ll be posting about those in the near future, too! Many thanks to my fellow bloggers Crew Cuisine, Love & Green Juice and GiRRL_Earth for the nominations 🙂
We’ll be in Vancouver until the latter part of the week, but I’ll be back as soon as possible with a new recipe to share with all of you! I’m heading to Whole
Paycheque Foods tomorrow, and hope to find some new ingredients to experiment with there 🙂
Recipe: Warm Rapini and Carrot Salad | With Yogurt Mustard Seed Dressing and Toasted Chickpeas
Makes 4 servings
Yogurt Mustard Seed Dressing
- 1 cup plain Mediterranean yogurt
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rapini and Carrot Salad
- 1 bunch rapini, ends removed
- 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons (using a vegetable peeler or mandolin)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make Yogurt Mustard Seed Dressing: Place mustard seeds, cumin and coriander in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Toast until spices are fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Be careful of mustard seeds; they may pop so you may want to place a lid on your saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.
Toast chickpeas: Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add chickpeas and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute just until browned. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.
Prepare rapini and carrots: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add rapini and saute just until bright emerald green and tender crisp. Add carrots and saute for another minute or two, just until they begin to soften. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
To serve, divide rapini and carrots into portions and top with toasted chickpeas. Dollop yogurt dressing on top of each serving, or serve on the side. Eat!