As you may have noticed, I love blogging. When something prevents me from engaging in my (almost) daily trio of cooking, eating, and writing about it, I feel a bit deprived. The strangest triggers will spark a barrage of blogging ideas, and then I’m off.
One of the greatest side effects of blogging is that it encourages you to try new recipes. After all, how can you blog about a novel, interesting dish every few days if you eat the selfsame foods day after day?
Still, there’s a certain built-in sense of loss in this pattern. Often, I’ll find a recipe that’s simply spectacular, and the HH and I will devour it with great gusto and appreciation. Then I’ll be struck with a sense of melancholy at the knowledge that I’ll likely never cook that dish again, because I must move on to the next one on my ever-expanding list. It’s somewhat akin to taking a long, boring flight on a business trip and experiencing the serendipitous joy of encountering a soul-mate as a seat-mate; you chat for a while, a connection is made, you open up about your work, you drink three or six of those itty bitty booze bottles of vodka, you spill all about your most intimate relationships. . . and then, as the plane lands, you exchange contact information and bid each other goodbye, knowing full well you’ll never share time wtih that particular individual ever again.
Well, eating this salad was sort of like that. Except minus the alcohol.
Ever since I received my March issue of Vegetarian Times in the mail, I found myself repeatedly eyeing the page with this brilliantly-colored, fresh-faced salad on it. It doesn’t hurt that Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, and that I’ve had green papaya salad many a time (and love it). The magazine presented a vegan version, and one that’s ready in a snap (in fact, I almost offered this as a Flash in the Pan recipe, but it’s just a hair’s breadth too complicated)–well, how could I resist? I had to have it. And so, my friends, I did. And I can only say–hurray! Spring is finally here!
The visual mimicry of green papaya using fresh Granny Smith apples is a touch of brilliance in this salad. And while the apples don’t really taste like papaya–a little too crisp, a little too sweet–they stand on their own as a tangy, fresh first course that’s hard to resist. I made a half recipe (which was supposed to feed four), and the HH and I polished this off between the two of us, even before the main course.
I’ve decided to submit this entry to the new blog event, Bookmarked Recipes, which asks that you prepare and then blog about a recipe you’ve saved from another blog, a book, or a magazine. It’s hosted by Ruth over at Kitchen Experiments. Check for a roundup every Monday.
Mock Green Papaya Salad
from Vegetarian Times, March 2008
This salad comes together incredibly quickly, and makes a fabulous first course that would complement almost any meal. If you prefer, just make this the meal on its own!
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated (6 cups)
[NOTE: I didn’t peel the apples; the skin provides both color and fiber, so why get rid of it? I also used a food processor with a “medium” blade to grate the fruit, but of course a regular grater or mandoline would do nicely. If you use a box grater, peeling first may be the easier option]
1/4 cup (60 ml.) plus 2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
1 bunch (about 5) green onions, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp. or 10 ml.)
2 tsp. (10 ml.) soy sauce [I used tamari]
1 tsp. (5 ml.) chili paste, such as sambal oelek
1 cup (250 ml.) cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
about 6 cups (1500 ml.) watercress or arugula [I used organic baby salad greens]
Toss the grated apple with 2 Tbsp. lime juice in a large bowl to keep from browning. Stir in green onions.
Whisk together remaining lime juice, garlic, soy sauce, and chili paste in a small bowl. Pour over the grated apples and toss to combine. Stir in cherry tomatoes and serve over greens. Makes 8 servings. [May be halved.]
Nutritional info (courtesy of the magazine): Per serving: 61 calories; 1 g. protein; less than 1 g. total fat (yippee!) and 0 g. saturated fat; 16 g. carbs; 0 mg. cholesterol; 64 mg. sodium; 2 g. fiber; 11 g. sugars.