I love salads — all the fresh fruits and vegetables!!! — and I’m always in the mood for a salad, a big salad*, at least once a week. It makes me feel healthy even though I tend to overdo the dressing and load it with tons of [not so healthy] stuff.
I rarely write salad recipe posts though. When I make salads for myself I tend to toss together whatever produce I have on hand. There’s not a whole lot to post/write about because face it, you would be inundated with posts that say things like “look what random healthy shit I decided to slap together and call a salad today!” It may sound exciting, creative, or lazy to some, but my salad routine is actually super boring and it’s getting to the point that it’s all starting to taste the same. Hoping to get out of a boring salad rut, I started to look at salads from other countries for inspiration. Salad Niçoise, karedok, horiatiki salata, salpicón de res…I had ground sumac on hand so fattoush, an Arabic bread salad, caught my eye.
A traditional fattoush uses toasted or fried pita bread and a variety of chopped vegetables like purslane, radishes, and mint. The salad is tossed in dressing but the dressing is what makes this salad unique. You get a nice unique tang from the sumac, a purple-ish spice made from sumac berries, that makes every bite savory and refreshing.
To make this salad my own, I added a variety of sliced vegetables (and fruits, if you wanna get all specific), omitted purslane (which I could not find) and made it more about the leafy greens. I also used pita chips instead of toasting my own because I already had pita chips on hand.
It seemed like just yesterday I was wearing sundresses and sandals and now, it’s that weird in-between weather where you have to put on layers (because a coat is still too heavy). My morning routine is twice as long these days because I’ve been wasting time debating whether I should wear a sweater or not. I make the wrong decision 50% of the time anyways because Minnesota weather is very deceptive. It may look sunny and cheery outside but don’t let appearances fool you. NO, I AM NOT FREEZING AT ALL. I’M JUST FINE. SOAKIN’ UP SOME ‘RAYS. THANKS. *shivers*
Because fall officially starts next Tuesday so I figured we should prepare for it by drinking sangria because we all know booze warms you up (uh, sort of).
I know we normally associate this pitcher cocktail with summer but you can totally turn it into a fall drink by adding warm spices and tons of apples.
What makes my sangria really special is the homemade apple juice that goes in it.
Actually, I think it’s technically a cider.
Some of you might be wondering, “Does it even matter?” Yes. Yes, it does. To figure out the difference between apple juice and apple cider, grab a quart of each and compare them! They differ in flavor and coloring; the former tends to be clearer and sweeter while the latter tends to be cloudy and, uh, earthy — in the U.S., cider (pasteurized and unpasteurized) is generally unfiltered while juice is filtered which explains the whole cloudy thing.
Outside the U.S., cider tends to be the alcoholic apple stuff. If you are an EPL watcher then you know that cider is the apple-y fermented drink you have at 9am EST on the weekends *cough* Magner’s *cough*. This kind of cider is known to us Americans as “hard cider” because some branding savvy dude in 1789 was probably like “I’m going to bottle this boozy apple juice thing and sell it under something sexy sounding.” (Note: That’s probably not true.)
The other day, I noticed my sister had the blog Favorited in her browser so I asked her if she actually did read my site. She told me “every couple of weeks” but it may actually be less than that. Some people would be insulted but I can honestly say, I don’t care. To be fair, I care more about genuine interest. I’d rather hear “I love your video about bean farts!” from a stranger than “Oh, Jessi’s sister’s neighbor’s friend loves your blog!” or “Your aunt loves your blog!” from a relative who felt obligated to support me. I mean, I would appreciate it if my mom told me my site sucked instead of saying she liked it only because she gave birth to me. [If you’re wondering what she really does think of all this, I did ask her but all I got was “okay” in an “whatever just don’t do anything reputation-ruining” kind of way.] You might be thinking “Damn, that’s sad” but my mom and I are usually in disagreement anyways so it doesn’t faze me.
For one of my posts, we got into a huge argument over the amount of seasonings. It’s happen several times before so I don’t even bother letting her taste my Asian or Asian-inspired dishes anymore. Last year, I wrote a miso noodle soup post but I wasn’t satisfied with the way it turned. For me, any dish with miso is difficult because I tend to abuse it since I like things pretty salty. I don’t trust my senses with this so I always try to get people to taste for me — asking my mom is very tempting since she’s eaten at quite a few places in Japan. I re-vamped the recipe, and I actually got my mom to try the new version of miso noodle soup. I was terrified that she would say it needed [XYZ] but I got silence instead. That was a good sign.
A very good sign.
I’m normally very organized but I’m really bad about making grocery lists and sticking to the list while grocery shopping. I’ll go to the store for three or four things but then I have this tendency to suddenly space out because I dislike shopping so much and I get overwhelmed by the options. Ho-hum…let’s see…I need two baking potatoes…Uh….*two minutes later*…Tomatoes?
During one of my grocery store moments, I found myself standing in front of fresh and organic juices. One of the products that I found myself staring at was this cold-pressed Fuji apple juice from Red Jacket. I bought a bottle out of curiosity and holy hell, it is so good!
And you know what? It’s even better in a glass of prosecco.