Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jicama & Radish Salad

Okay, enough with the wrap-up. This is a recipe deserving of its own post, mostly because it came out of nowhere and I really like it.

We had our friends Reed & Courtney over for dinner tonight, and I'd been wracking my brains all week to figure out what to make. I had half of a giant jicama left that Mom had sent me (the package came to my office, and one of my coworkers said: "Your mom knows that we have jicama here, too, right?"), and some limes that were on the verge, and then I thought some more, and then I came up with this recipe. I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but I got some nice ones along the way.

The Dressing

Squeeze one lime, hard, and get all the juice out. If you have two limes, squeeze them both. But maybe, like me, you discover that one of the limes is old and hard. That's okay. One will work. You want to squeeze the juice into a medium-sized jar.

Add 2 Tbsp. Sesame oil and 2 Tbsp. Flax oil (or 4 Tbsp. sesame oil. I added the flax for nutritional value). Add 1 tsp. Tamari. Put the lid on the jar and shake it. Emulsify!

Add a generous pinch of black pepper. If you have a pepper grinder, you should grind some fresh pepper in here. Shake the jar again. Yum.

You could use lemons, but you should probably make lemonade with those. Add basil or mint to the lemonade, and a couple squeezes of agave nectar. Later, before dinner, spike this lemonade with gin and add a splash of tonic. Then remember that you have blueberries in the fridge. Add some blueberries and muddle. This drink is so totally refreshing it almost makes you forget the stupid humidity.

The Salad

This salad is way too much of a hassle unless you have a food processor with a grating element. Or if you love grating things, or cutting them into matchsticks. I have a food processor with a grating element, which is why this recipe was born.

Grate your jicama.

Mine was really giant, which is why it filled the entire bowl of my food processor. That was only HALF of the jicama! I know. I hardly believe it myself.

Then grate a bunch of radishes from the farmer's market. Toss the two together in a bowl with the dressing (shake the dressing again first! emulsify!). I didn't get a photo of this, but it turns a little pink.

You can set this aside for as long as you want. Prepare ahead and assemble the salad later, like this:

Get out your nice salad bowl and line it with a mixture of baby arugula and baby spinach. The spinach is optional, but the arugula is kind of necessary. I suppose you could sub with watercress. Both have a little bite, which is nice here.

Put the jicama and radish mixture on top and toss together.

Wash and quarter some fresh cherry tomatoes. If you have a garden, I hope these come from it. Otherwise, farmer's market. Or, okay, wherever you can find them. There is a blight and all. Add them to the salad.

Dry roast some pepitas on the stovetop. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds, the shelled kind. They're green and cute and puff up when you toast them. Just put them in a dry skillet over medium heat and shake them around every now and then until they get toasty on their bellies. Top the salad with these.

You could probably double the dressing recipe, if you wanted to dress the salad some more, but I liked it a little subtle. I imagine this would be tasty if you added some cayenne to the dressing too.

We served this salad with two items from Veganomicon: The old standby, chickpea cutlets, and the new favorite, lemon roasted potatoes. Except Pete forgot to add the lemon. That's fine, though, because I want to make more of that lemonade, and they were still perhaps the best, creamiest, most sublimely tasty potatoes I have ever eaten.

We also made some vanilla ice cream based on this recipe from Vegan Dad, to which I added NM red chile powder (just a smidgie) and some cinnamon-vanilla spiced sugar. I used hemp milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. Decadent! We have big plans for our ice cream maker based on this experience. Next on the docket: Peanut butter, carob & chile ice cream! (I really think I could have used more chile powder on this batch.)

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