Still Cooking…and Running

On Saturday I read Michael Pollan’s new book Food Rules.  I suppose I like to read him as much as I do because he supports in his writing most of my personal food philosophies, and does so with both scientific backup and panache.  I cannot help but be a little envious of his success, but perhaps he is more disciplined than I in corralling his writing and annotating his research.   Reading Food Rules made me think of my grandmothers and the way they shopped, cooked, and ate.  It made me pretty glad I got to have them as grandmothers, too, because they taught me what I know about food— well, at least the basics.  They were the ones who invited me into their kitchens and showed me how to clean Brussels sprouts, how to scrub a potato, how to shell fresh peas and hull strawberries.  They were the ones who had the time to cook all afternoon and turn out soups and stews, jams, jellies, green tomato piccalilli, yeasty and sweet breads, and simple, seasonal salads.  My mom didn’t really like to cook; she has always made a mean pot of soup, though, and killer cookies when she feels like it.  When Michael Pollan talks about eating only what your grandmother would recognize as food, I can just picture my Nana standing with me in the A & P across the street from her house.  She was wizened and bright-eyed, and scrunched up her nose to see exactly what was in that frozen dinner I might be begging for,  telling me we could make it better ourselves.  I turned off my Kindle and with my memories fresh in my mind and headed into the kitchen to see what I could make for dinner with what was already in my pantry and fridge.

I found a piece of white Stilton cheese with dates and orange in the cheese drawer.  I immediately begin to dig around in the veggie bins to find just the right ingredients for a salad to complement my little speckled treasure.  I think of dates and walnuts together, and since  orange was also in the cheese, I zested and and juiced a sweet orange for a simple dressing.  I had apples, wild rocket salad, and a couple of  sweet potatoes. I found an bright orange pepper.  My dinner menu already included baked whole grain ravioli with tomatoes, mushrooms, and baby spinach, so a sweet salad to start seemed just right.

Wild Rocket Salad with White Stilton and Orange Dressing

Ingredients:

3 – 4  oz. wild rocket salad (baby arugula), washed and spun dry

2 – 3  oz. white Stilton cheese (I had date and orange; any will do)

4 large dates, pitted and chopped

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 an orange bell pepper, cut into medium dice

1 sweet apple, scrubbed, cored, and diced

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed

zest and juice of 1 large sweet orange

4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 dashes tamari

fresh coarsely cracked pepper (I used 1/4 tsp. rainbow peppercorns)

Method:

Preheat oven to 425º F.  Toss cubed sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp. olive oil on cookie sheet and roast about 20 minutes, turning twice, until tender and browned.

While potatoes are roasting: combine greens, walnuts, dates, apple,  and orange peppers in a large bowl.

Make dressing:

In a small bowl, combine orange zest and juice, remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, tamari, and cracked pepper.  Whisk until combined.

To complete the salad:

Add the warm sweet potatoes to salad.  Pour dressing over salad and toss gently but well to combine.  Break up cheese and sprinkle it evenly over salad.  Serves 6 as part of a meal, 4 as a meal itself with warm crusty bread.  Sourdough is particularly good!

My son suggested subbing a ripe pear for the apple.  Sounds like an excellent idea for next time…

So food does rule, at least in my house, although that is not the intended meaning of the book.  Maybe I should write Fitness Rules and start to compete out there in the writing world.  In the meantime… as for fitness, I ran  both Saturday and Sunday mornings, took Monday off, as per The Plan.  Last week totaled 33 miles.  There were no twinges from the knee region, so The Plan seems to be working so far.

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One Comment on “Still Cooking…and Running”

  1. Pat Says:

    Go for it !! Write that book We ALL could use it–one way or another :>)


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