Autumnal Summer Salad

 

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Remember last week, when I crowed about summer finally arriving in Southern Ontario?  Well, little did I know that that single day would constitute the entire season!  As of this week, we’re waking up to a distinct chill under ever-darkening skies;  there’s condensation on my car windows when I slip into the driver’s seat; and the air has that crisp, hollow clarity that seems to catapult sounds exponentially, even across mountains (not that there are any mountains in our little suburb, of course, but you get the idea).

Huh?  Where did our summer go this year?

This type of weather always brings to mind a course in oil painting I took back in tenth grade (my brain tends to free associate that way).  With my high school art teacher’s encouragement and visions of a really hip garret in my mind, I rode the Number 17 bus across town for an hour each way every Thursday evening to sit at my easel and soak up instruction about rendering depth, shadows, perspective. . . and to paint nude models.  Yep, this little 15 year-old moi was mighty shocked, I must confess, at the cavalier nature with which those women threw off their cover sheets and posed in any variety of positions for us novice painters (as I recall, I came down with a cold the evening of the male model class. . .but in reality, I was probably too freaked out to attend.  Ah, sweet and innocent youth!).

One of the things I loved most about oil painting was the pigments themselves, the linimint smell and gooey texture, and the magical, musical names by which they were known:  Burnt Umber.  Burnt Sienna. Cerulean Blue. Cadmium Red. Cadmium Yellow.  Yellow Ochre.  I loved the cadences in the sounds and the appearance of the hues just out of the tubes–deep, intense versions of the real-life counterparts (sort of like using super-saturation when you doctor your blog photos–except real!).  For some reason (perhaps the fact that I was born in the fall), the warming reds, oranges and yellows were most appealing to me, and I often painted with those.

Suddenly, all around our neighborhood are reminders of my foray into oil painting: amid the remnants of green, the trees are beginning to sport their fall finery, festooned with splashes of ochre, rust and crimson, all vying for prominence on the branches.

So when I served dinner to a couple of old friends last night, I thought this warm summer salad would be perfect.  Leaning heavily on the emeralds of June and July, highlighted with the yellows of August and September, this dish bridges the short divide between summer and fall as the weather extends its first chilly grip (or would that be grippe?) on Ontario’s resentful denizens.

Remember that high school reunion I attended back in May?  Well, ever since then, I’ve planned to get together with my old friend The Poet.  The Poet (so named because he penned the poem that graced our yearbook’s cover page) and I were best buds back in high school and through our undergraduate years.  He helped me survive those boyfriendless undergraduate years without feeling like too much of a social outcast, by providing a Saturday night perma-date.  A contemplative, sensitive soul, TP could also be uproariously funny and always cracked me up.

Eventually, we lost touch.  We had neither seen nor heard from each other until the reunion.  Just as Sterlin and I were loitering around the hotel lobby after checkin, I heard a distinctive bellow: “Ricki Heller, I’d recognize you anywhere!” and turned to see none other than TP.  (On one hand, I was flattered to hear this;  I suppose it means I look sort of the same as I did in high school.  On the other hand, I was a bit aggrieved to hear this.  I mean, do I look the same as I did in high school??).

And while many of us that weekend promised to get together once we were back in the city, I really meant it when I vowed to contact The Poet again.  And so, last evening, he and another old high school chum came to dinner.

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This dish was one of the dinner’s highlights. Also featured were a terrific leafy green salad with roasted peppers and “goat cheese” (recipe anon); herbed sweet potato fries; raw almond-veggie pâté; and (for me) herbed walnut burgers (another recipe I’ll post soon) plus salmon for the guys. For dessert, I served the chocolate layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting from Sweet Freedom** and filled it with sweet potato buttercream (a huge hit).

I based this recipe very loosely on one I came across in the Australia Women’s Weekly Vegetarian Cookbooka salad called “Hot Spinach and Pea Salad” (even though the actual recipe lists chard, not spinach, in the ingredients!).  Since I am wont to wax poetic about all things antipodean (I know, it’s more like, “wax pathetic”), it makes sense I’d veer toward this dish.  But I’ve made so many changes to the original, I consider it entirely mine now.

The salad can be served warm or at room temerature (I actually prefer the latter) and features a truly resplendent display of autumnal greens and golds.  The flavors are mild and pleasing, without a sharp sting of garlic or spice; just a flavorsome combination of Asian seasonings, just-soft zucchini, crunchy, juicy beans and plump, sweet peas.

Best of all, it only takes 10 minutes to make–so you can still run outside and catch the last few rays of that elusive summer sun.

**For those of you who have the book, be sure to check the correction here!

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Comments

  1. this sounds like such a tasty way to prepare vegetables. And colorful as well!

  2. wow so much clicking to enter 🙂 I have really wanted to try these bars for a while, but have not seen them in a store around me. I think they are a great natural bar that would be perfect for a runner like me!

  3. Haha so my guess was neither creative nor correct!

    The salad looks beautiful 🙂

  4. Incredible salad!!

    Too bad those bars have soy in them – darn 🙁 Good luck to those who enter/win!!

  5. those bars look great!!! i’ve never heard of them!!
    and your salad is amazing, per usual!

  6. The squash looks sooo pretty in the salad! 🙂 And I would love some bars because I’m starting graduate school in the fall and will definitely be in need of tasty, healthy snacks on the go.

  7. and I tweeted! (@ellie88)
    oh btw i made your zucchini bread oatmeal and it was delicious!

  8. Awww…I should have guessed it was an “available in Canada” item. Not that Larabars aren’t but…y’know. 🙂

  9. kitchenspoon says:

    Whew, quite the dinner menu you whipped up. Everything sounds incredible! Gold & Green Summer Salad…yes, please.

  10. OOH! i wanna try those bars!

  11. These bars sound great! I’m gluten intolerant, and would love to try out a new type of bar! Thanks for introducing them to me even if I don’t win!

  12. I’d love to get a chance to try these! I think the Chocolate Peanut Butter ones sound amazing, but let’s be honest, they all sound good. I’m training for a marathon right now and eat a bar of some type before and during every long run – this seems like a great way to give me some endurance and nutrition at the same time!

  13. Lovely.

    Lucky me; I still get to see and smell those paints daily. I can beat your 15 – I was 12 when I first drew nude blokes. Oy, vey. WHAT a shock.

    Well, offer still stands, darls. You are welcome down here ANY time.

  14. Love the salad!!

    I think I have had one of these… I would love to try more because I’m gluten free! The other flavors sound amazing!

  15. mary richerson says:

    Mmm those bars look delicious! I would love to win these bars because I recently switched from vegetarianism to veganism. I need high protein the the extreme kickboxing classes I take :).

  16. What a gorgeous salad! I love that it comes together so quickly. Using edamame to turn it into a main dish is a great idea!

    I would love to try those bars! They would be perfect to take with me when I travel. Though I suspect I’d munch on them when I’m not travelling too: they sound really delicious! I’ll have to ask my food co-op to carry these: it’s ridiculous that no shop has them in my city (while they can be found in much smaller places in Québec). Thanks to Ms. Richards for giving you the opportunity to introduce us to her bars, and to you for holding the giveaway.

  17. I would love to try these bars. They look delicious and I’d love to share them with my racquetball partner after a game 🙂

  18. Here’s the link to my tweet about your giveaway.

  19. I left a post about your giveaway on my newly formed blog: http://theradioactivegan.blogspot.com/2009/08/sample-some-simply-bars.html
    Thanks! I really look forward to them

  20. First, this salad looks awesome! Love the colors.
    Second, about the bars… well, I’d love to win them. Sometimes I get sidetracked with work (I’m a cook, ironic, hey?) and I just forget about eating. These would be the perfect snack when I don’t have time to make myself a meal.
    🙂

  21. love the colours in the salad – a true work of art – loved hearing about your oil painting classes – I have done life drawing classes in charcoal but most enjoyed classes doing portraits (faces) – I am in awe that you did it with oils.

    Sorry your summer was so short – we have had some nice sunshine but it is harder to enjoy it with all the winds

  22. I’m not quite Martian but I do live as far away as Finland, and I’d love those bars for motivational snacks as I struggle on to find an eating pattern that would suit my picky gut. Playing around with gluten free and approaching vegan at the moment… Thank you for your wonderfully inspirational blog–when I found it not too long ago, I had to go and read all the archives as well! 🙂

  23. I LOVE Simply Bars! I had some sent to be for my birthday and while I adore them, can’t find them anywhere near me. It would be great to have some snacks to take to school with me that aren’t loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients.

  24. I’ve never heard of Simply bars, but I would love to try them. I’m always looking for a good high protein snack that’s not full of weird ingredients.

  25. That salad looks delicious! So does the whole menu, actually. And I’d love some of those bars– they’d be great for work snacks rather than me rushing to the vending machine.

  26. i want to eat this salad right up 🙂

  27. These are my favorite kinds of dishes. Especially for households where 1 person is vegetarian and the others want meat. Make this for everyone and let the carnivores add chicken on top!

  28. OH wait, and I’d like to win your giveaway because I am always running between yoga classes and client meetings and sometimes meals have to wait but my belly is hungry!

  29. I am so enchanted with these photos! Yes, summer really has been a bummer even here in Boston this year. Where did it go?! Feeling the cool chill in the air already too. I’d love to try these bars because I’ve been searching for a new yummy bar and so far haven’t found the “one” yet!

  30. I love summer salads, this one looks amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  31. ” Leaning heavily on the emeralds of June and July, highlighted with the yellows of August and September, this dish bridges the short divide between summer and fall as the weather extends its first chilly grip (or would that be grippe?) on Ontario’s resentful denizens.”

    I love the way you write Ricki. Your descriptions are always so eloquent and paint such vivid pictures. Your salad sounds very tasty…actually your whole menu does. (You had some lucky dinner guests!) I’ve been making a lot of meals like this lately. We’ve got to squeeze in the last of the summer veggies before it’s too late!

  32. oh, and those bars– it is rare to find bars with reasonable calorie content, good amount of protein AND pronouncible ingredients! i’ve never seen them around and would love to try them 🙂

  33. Oh, meeting up with old friends! How lovely, and I would take it as a compliment if you looked like you did in HS, or at least if you were so easily recognizable – I think it’s a good thing!
    Beautiful salad, indeed. I miss collards.
    How cool about the giveaway – healthy and probably delicious, too.

  34. Wow… based on your description, those bar sound delicious! Sign me up for an entry to the giveaway 🙂 I’m always on the look out for a good high-protein bar that isn’t filled with protein powder & chemicals.

  35. I’d like to win the bars because I love having healthy snacks on hand so I’m not tempted to eat something bad when the mood strikes.

    That salad looks SO good!

  36. I tweeted too 🙂

  37. Yay, great giveaway! I am an active person who participates in endurance excercises and I eat grain-free. It is very difficult to find pre-packaged food that meets my needs. Would love to try these bars.

  38. I’d to win to grab a quick grain-free snack for workouts. Thanks so much for holding the giveaway, Ricki!

  39. I would love to have these for meals on the run at college! I’ve been thinking about what I should get for this exact purpose! I’ve never been able to find low calorie, low fat, high protien bars that aren’t filled with stuff I can’t and won’t eat. So this would be great!

    Plus, I posted about your give away here on my site:

    http://foodintolerancescook.blogspot.com/2009/08/giveaway-free-food-gluten-free-dairy.html

  40. i got the faintest hint of fall coming the other day – it made me so happyfaced! tuesday morning i was up @ 5AM & outside warming up for my run – it was about 68 degrees and for a second i thought “it’s almost a tad chilly!” squeeeeeee! while i love all the yummies summer brings, i sure do love the fall root veggies & those cooler temperatures a bit more. but while we’re still enjoying the last bits of summer i’ve gotta try & enjoy your gold and green warm summer salad. (and might i add that’s so awesome you caught up with The Poet. too funny on running into him!) it’s got everything i love the most in it (peas, garlic, green beans, collards)! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

    oh yes – and about that give-away… sign me up for a chance to win! i’m training for my first half marathon (it’s november 14th – i’m so excitedfaced!!!) & since going gluten-free & also needed a little bump in protein (to keep the hunger pangs away & feed my leg muscles) – these would be absolutely perfect! thanks for the give-away, Ricki!

    i hope you have an excellent weekend full of awesomeness!

    happyfaces & lots of w00ts!

  41. Yum!

    This follows my standard supper equation:

    Greens + Beans + Seeds + Love = Happy Belly

    …and uhh, what “transition” are you referring to? “Transition” implies some gentle temperature lowering during an appropriate month, with perhaps some blushing leaves.

    What we got here in Toronto was a temperature hit-and-run!!

    Brrr.

  42. Hahahahaha–I knew they couldn’t be Larabars because they are NOT ACD friendly, but I didn’t want to say anything because so many people had guessed them 🙂 Wouldn’t it be great if you could eat dates on the ACD diet?! Yum!

    This salad looks delish, and I am jealous of your cooler weather! I am sick of hot humid summer 🙁

    Courtney

  43. Oh–oops! I didn’t realize we were supposed to leave why we wanted the bars on this post…I was to busy reading THIS post to follow your link! I followed it after I read 🙂

    Anyway, I would like to win because I NEVER win ANYTHING and also because I am gluten intolerant and think they sound great!

    Courtney

  44. I would like to win these bars because of my daughter’s diabetes- she does best when her snacks have a good proportion of carbs and protein, especially before bed. Thank you!

  45. I would LOVE to try these bars – I’m allergic to wheat and dairy and the bars that I find typically have a gummy texture, lack of crunch, and bland flavor – unlike The Simply Bar, according to your description. The lemon-coconut sound especially heavenly!

  46. Mmm, the Simply bars sound delicious! I would love to try them – besides larabars, I haven’t had much (read, any!) luck in finding a bar that has an appealing ingredient list (have you SEEN clif bars? Eeek!) -Eve

  47. Hi! The salad looks great- yum! Anyways, I’m 15 and a self-driven vegan in a family of carnivores. Between work, sports, AP classes, and cello, a quick snack to eat on the run or replace a meal is always welcome! Plus, I’ve never seen them before and would love to try them. 🙂

  48. I’ll admit I’ve been happy about the weather (I live in Ottawa) because I CANNOT stand the humidity! Plus now I can hike in the Gatineau Parc!

    I would love to try the bars. Recently I have been having stomach trouble and have had to cut a lot of regular foods out of my diet. I’m having trouble keeping up my protein without gluten and am sick a lot. Plus they sound scrumptious!!

  49. These bars sound fantastic! I love natural, healthy bars for running between classes and I just can’t seem to find any that have enough protein. I would love to try these.

  50. One day of summer??!!! I just can’t imagine!

    Your salad looks wonderful. In fact, that whole meal must have been incredible.

    I do believe you should be flattered by TP!

  51. Such a beautiful dish! I wish I could eat it for lunch today.

    I don’t know if I am eligible to win the contest because I don’t twitter? The reason why I’d want to win the bars is because while I love making healthy snacks myself, it’s great to have a healthy prepackaged snack available when I don’t have time to bake myself. Not the most exciting reason haha.

  52. I have just recently stumbled onto your blog through another favorite cooking blog of mine, and am stoked! I will now be using yours frequently. The salad recipe is fantastic. I am also a very health conscious person, who loves to cook and bake. Sounds like we have similar interests. I was intrigued by the Simply Bars. I have really been wanting to make some high protein bars myself with some soy/whey protein powder I got (not for marketing just for us). I would love to try these simply bars!

  53. I’d love to have some for when I’m super hungry and need something quick! Or after a workout 🙂

  54. This salad looks absolutely delicious! It uses so many vegetables I have in abundance, how did you now?

    I’d love to win a box of those bars, they sound delicious. Of course I twittered about this great give-away.

  55. Those bars look fabulous! I would love to win them!

  56. Also twittered about it!

  57. I want to win some Simply Bars because I am stocking up on protein bars for back-to-school. I’m vegan on an un-vegan friendly meal plan which I opted into to save time. Anything easy that could supplement my diet while away would go a longggg way, and oh, how these babies would make my heart sing. SING! I’m so excited about them, I blogged them up on my latest entry: http://xveganxparty.blogspot.com.

  58. Would love to try these out! As a Vegan Physical Education teacher, I try to stay as fit as possible as a role model for my students. I’m always looking for new “Packable” healthy snack to enjoy at school!

  59. I want to win the Simply Bars because I’m vegan and always searching for new ways to get protein, especially without gluten! They would be perfect for breakfast.

  60. These would be perfect in my marathon training program, as I’m allergic to dairy and wheat, and am always looking for a non-dairy high-protein bar!

  61. Those bars look good, I’d love to try them and my boyfriend is gluten free so he could eat them too 🙂

  62. You made us work there a little 😉
    I’d like to try these because they look delicious! 😀

  63. So I’m not gluten intolerant or very much of an athlete, but the bars look great and now that I’m starting a new job, they look like a great snack!

  64. Ashley Mauceri says:

    I’d love to win these bars, I started a new job and I love to snack throughout the day! 🙂

  65. Simply bars…I see them for the first time but they look amazing! yum yum

  66. I would love to try the Simply Bars – I’m always on the lookout for nutritious, yummy foods.

  67. I am currently watching what I eat and would love these high protein bars to substitute for the commercialized ones I have to eat now when I’m out and about.
    They look very yummy!

  68. RE http://bit.ly/1FPONC

    I just tweeted about the contest for the Simply Bars!

    I hope I get to try them 🙂

  69. Well, now, the salad looks delicious, and I wouldn’t mind if someone offered to give one of those away to me right now as I ponder what to have for dinner. But, of course I’d love to have a basket of the bars, too, even without the basket. They just sound so good and…simple. Who can resist a healthy treat?

  70. I have never heard these before and I sure would LOVE to try them out!! Thank you.

  71. wooooo! I want to win! 🙂 Of course, I *always* want to win. These look so good, and also, I’m newly discovering the world of Gluten Free. My cousin got diagnosed with Celiacs, so I’ve been exploring all sorts of GF treats with her in mind!

    🙂

  72. I’d love to win those bars because I’ve tried them before and they’re great! High in protein and they are very satisfying. A welcome change to high-carb ones. 🙂

  73. Hi Ricki!

    I simply need The Simply Bar to carry in my purse. It is something every mom needs to avoid snacking on junk when out & about!

    Also, a little late I know, but I have mentioned your contest on my blog. Post coming Saturday…

    Laurie

  74. I would love to sample these bars–full-disclosure, they just look tasty, I’m bored with Lara bars, and I haven’t seen this brand in my local stores.

  75. These would be a perfect treat for when I need a pick me up.

  76. I’m newly trying my hand at gluten-free (again!) and think these bars would be just the thing to help me stick to it!

  77. I would love to win! I’m gluten free and finding a new and tasty bar would be fantastic. As a student, having an energy bar on hand is SO essential for busy nights!!

  78. I’m a freshman college student, and, quite bluntly, am always hopeful for free food! I’ve been trying to keep mostly-healthy snacks in my dorm room for those weekend mornings when the the cafeteria opens late. And the bars sound delicious–and hand for when I’m biking around the city.

  79. The Simply Bars sound delicious, especially the Cocoa Coffee! They sound like the perfect in-class snack when my tummy is grumbling in the afternoon!

  80. I’d love to try the bars… trying to keep gluten at a minimum these days. These fit the bill!

  81. My husband is always eating nutritionally horrible granola bars. I would love to try these to see if I could get him onto something healthier but still tasty!

  82. The bars would be perfect in my household–between my needs (vegetarian yoga teacher) and my husband (stressed medical student who is trying to eat healthier and lose weight).

  83. these bars look like they would be good for those mornings when I have to rush off to school, or afternoons when I need a little wholesome snack to get me through the rest of the workday. Thanks for the contest!

  84. Those bars look yummy! Perfect for a snack during my long hours of college classes.

  85. Wow – what a yummy looking salad!!
    I would LOVE to win these Simply Bars! They sound fantastic and they look like something I might be able to eat after preschool instead of the interesting snacks the kids bring in!! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  86. These would be perfect as a post-workout snack! I usually eat granola bars or protein bars, but unfortunately, it is very difficult to find any that are even slightly nutritious where I live. Most of them are packed with sugar and nasty additives. I love that they’re grain-free too, as I’ve been trying to cut down on my intake of grains. Plus, non-GMO soy… I’m in love! 😀

  87. I’ve been dabbling in gluten-free food these days and I woul love to try these bars!

  88. one word:

    YUM!

    i totally want to try those bars. I lift a lot so I need the protein. I also manage a learning disorder through my diet and to do that, I have to eat natural foods (like simply bars)!

  89. I would love to be entered in the giveaway! The bars would be great to have around for myself and family because we are all so busy, and I try so hard to find things my mother can have to feel good about herself and have enough energy to get through her stressful day, I just want her to be healthier. Plus, they sound SO delicious!

    P.S. That salad looks mighty tasty!

  90. i would love to try out the Simply Bars — i am vegan (mostly due to allergies) and recently found out that my body isn’t exactly fond of gluten either (i think it just likes to hate everything!). One of the hardest things is to find good snacks to throw in my bag for those days i’m too busy to pack myself a lunch in the morning or when my stomach is rumbling between classes. I no longer can have my little stash of pretzels always in my bag to eat before going to work at the lab!

  91. I just happened to stumble across your blog today. I read that bit about being able to stop by Ambrosia Natural Foods to say hi and was like “hey, that could have been me!” But alas, I have to work tomorrow…vacation hours and what not but still, I could have said hi.

    Anyway, I have a couple of friends who are gluten-intolerant and are runners who I think, would really enjoy these bars. I would also like to enjoy bars that do not taste like cardboard and such.

  92. I would love to try these bars! Thanks for the reminder about the giveaway!
    The coconut lemon and the mocha ones sound amazing. I travel a lot for work and always make sure to stash tons of bars in my suitcase for hotel snacks and in between meals. I also have a hard time keeping weight on and relying on meals out always ends in weight loss so the more snacks I have the better. And the healthier the better!

  93. The Simply Bars sound amazing! My older sister and I are both gluten intolerant college students so the bars would be perfect to snack on in between classes or after working out!

  94. I would love to win those bars because as a vegan college student, it’s always great to have something healthy that I can eat on the go