Chasing Away The Blues: Pink Salad?

Today could have been rotten or fantastic, depending on how you look at it.

My veg peeler was missing, I sliced off the tip of my left index finger (it wouldn’t stop bleeding!), and had to visit the bank after school because some jive turkey (yes, I said it!) skimmed my bank card number, along with the numbers of a lot of other people, and stole several hundred dollars.

Fortunately, one of our teachers found the peeler, I was still able to help complete moules et frites (mussels and fries) while stopping the blood flow thanks to my kind, wonderful and helpful stovemates, and by being calm, rational, and even a little funny, everything at the bank turned out fine and Even Steven. That last one was scary and stressful, though (I was pretty mad when I received the call, because it was the third time that this has happened!), and I hope that identity thieves everywhere quickly receive the karma equivalent of a swift kick in the babymaker from someone in pointy-toed boots.

There were many more things to be grateful for today, so I decided to keep a smile on, and went to a nearby produce store to get happy again. I had to lose myself in the sights, smells, and textures of spring and think of some fresh ideas to get pumped so there was nothing left to get pissy about. If the house isn’t on fire, you don’t have to go looking for the hose and the axe.

Earlier today I had a talk with a friend about how the things that hurt can hold us back from getting what we want. There are good types of distraction (like produce shopping) and awful types (the toxic thoughts that dominate your mind and infect everything that you touch). It’s very easy to spread venom everywhere. It’s near impossible to keep your head on straight when you’ve become a walking virus, so in times of huffiness, a conscious decision and double effort must be made to stay positive.

While on the topic of things that hurt: I wanted to close up the wound on my fingertip so it wouldn’t be a hindrance in a few weeks when we’re bustling during the 4-day practical final exam and cauterized it in heavily salted water at home. Imagine grating your knuckles and then purposely dumping lemon juice on it. Eeeeeyaaaaaaaiye!!

Easter is coming up and I don’t celebrate it but do enjoy all of the fun colours and bunnies (marshmallow Peeps are pretty nice, too!), so here is a little something to get you in the spirit: A beautifully bright, juicy and refreshing salad that is full of texture and has a little bite of spiciness and acidity. There’s even a cartoon for the first couple of steps because I got a little excited and forgot to take photos. My sister and I used to draw them for each other all the time and laugh like crazy, so it was nice to try doodling again.

“Brighten Up, Bunny!” Salad
Serves two hungry humans

1 medium beet, roasted, peeled, cut into chunks (see drawings below)
2 pears, divided in half (slice two of the halves thinly)
1/8 fennel bulb, shaved with a veg peeler or meat slicer
1 small orange, zested, cut into supremes and held in its juice (see below)
1/2 a lemon’s juice
1 Tbsp honey or 1 tsp agave syrup (vegan option)
1 Tbsp dried cranberries, rehydrated in hot water until soft
1 Tbsp almond slivers or other nuts, toasted
Salt and crushed black pepper for seasoning

Grab a snack if you're hungry when making this salad, because you have to preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit...

...because roasting beets takes a while! So this picture explains itself. FYI, when choosing beets, you want the little root NOT to be hairy or else it's gone tough. And if you buy them with the stems and leaves attached, cut them off and leave an inch of stem intact to save the colour but keep the moisture from all going into the leaves, which are edible. Keep 'em!

Make sure there is more than enough to wrap the beet fully!

Have a big puff of foil around the heavier end of the beet, flip it over, and bake. The extra insulation against direct contact with the glass or metal keeps the beet from burning!

Unwrap carefully (look out for steam!). At 400 degrees, it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to have it piercable with a knife or skewer. Peel as soon as you can handle it, to retain max nutrients! Gloves are a good idea, unless you like pink hands, but if you don't have any kicking around, lemon juice helps get rid of the "I just killed somebody" look.

Real-life roasted beet.

That's me with crazy hair, not a talking strawberry.

Your main salad ingredients. Beauty!

This photo reminds me of Disney's Alice in Wonderland when all of the card soldier guys were flapping over. To cut out supremes (segments) from citrus fruits, cut off the top and bottom, then go around and slice along the rind to reveal a naked fruit. Carefully cut between all of the membranes to loosen the slices, and wherever you're keeping them, squeeze all of the juice out of the membrane overtop.

Gently toss all ingredients together, except nuts and reserved pear halves. Season with salt and pepper, marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes! This is a between-steps photo. Look how feathery and beautiful that fennel is. Wow!

Scoop out the insides of reserved pear halves, fill with salad, and top with toasted nuts. Making 2 pear slices look like bunny ears is optional.

In school we often have to cut all of our ingredients to be the same size, but when I eat a salad I like having big contrasts and fun pieces to pick up. Maybe it looks messy, but at home it makes me eat slower and enjoy the food.

Other Ideas: Try this salad with ginger juice, coconut juice, a touch of sesame oil, melon, strawberries, different pears (ya, Asian, bartlett, bosc), apples, berries, other dried fruit, or yogurt. It was really hard not to go crazy and drag home 2 boxes of strawberries and a mini-watermelon in addition to what I picked up, because it might be better to wait until a little later in the season. Next time!

Eat well!


PS: Here’s a little something else that made me laugh today because sometimes I’m like a beet…

“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent and not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” — Tom Robbins

…I also turn everything pink. Oh my!

This entry was posted in Appies & Sides, Gluten-free, Healthy, School, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Wheat & Fibertastic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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