An Open Letter and Three Satisfying Salads for Late Winter

Post by: Kim

Dear New York City,

What are you doing? Your normally demure winters are now the stuff of my Midwestern childhood. You refused to plow our streets and now it seems you really don’t want to clean them either. Your mayor is hell-bent on laying off our teachers and I’m worried that you’re letting the MTA run a little too wild. After all, petulant children are known to throw fits when they lose their trust funds.

Is this burst of unseasonably warm weather an attempt at consoling your aggravated citizens? An acknowledgement of your poor behavior? Perhaps a mere gesture of thanks for putting up with you? Since the canine excrement, plastic bags, and shopping carts once hidden in the snow are now competing for sidewalk space, I’ll be retreating back to my kitchen for a while and making due with whatever my pantry and freezer will yield until greenmarket spring produce and a street sweeper lure me back outside. Please don’t take it personally. We all make mistakes.

All my love,
Kim

Bulgur Salad with Herbs
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

If you aren’t able to find bulgur, couscous or even quinoa would be good substitutions here. I buy mine in bulk from Fairway Market.

1 cup bulgur wheat
One bunch finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup olive oil
Fresh lemon juice from one large or two small lemons
½ teaspoon salt

In a small sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the bulgur and gently simmer, stirring occasionally. When the liquid is almost fully absorbed, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow the bulgur to steam and absorb the rest of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the bulgur with a fork.

Meanwhile, combine your herbs, scallions, and almonds in a large bowl. If you’d like you can also toast your almonds in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes until they are golden brown. This adds a great textural contrast to the salad and a nuttier flavor but is not necessary. Stir in the bulgur wheat and combine well. Add your lemon juice and olive oil, plus salt to taste. Add more oil if the bulgur seems dry.

Three Bean Salad
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Another pantry salad. Frozen edamame is widely available and easily stored.

1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 small clove garlic, grated
Fresh lime juice from two small limes
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Run the frozen edamame under hot water in a colander until defrosted, or heat in the microwave. Combine the edamame, drained and rinsed beans, onion, celery, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper then gradually stir in the lime juice, to taste. Combine well.

Red Cabbage Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine 

After making this salad many times, I’ve found that green cabbage tends to be bitter so, unless you’ve got a particularly good cabbage, stick to red.

One medium red cabbage, outer leaves removed
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cut the cabbage into four wedges and remove the white core from each wedge. Shred the cabbage as finely as possible by cutting each wedge into thin strips widthwise. In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, and olive oil. Toss the cabbage with the vinaigrette and parsley and let the salad sit for about an hour before eating.

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