these are our salad days.

edamame and radish salad

My salad days,

When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then! But, come, away;
Get me ink and paper:
He shall have every day a several greeting,
Or I'll unpeople Egypt.

--thus spake Cleopatra in Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra

i would love to tell you this is where i first came across the term "salad days" but unfortunately, it was here:

ah, green bananas probably learned more from the kemp brothers than ol' billy shakes, but whatever the etymology of the phrase, it's still just a little bit odd. i imagine being in the first flush of youth, wading in a tub of rocket and romaine, innocently and non-freudianly nibbling on a carrot.

oh hai. did someone say something about focus?


my metaphoric salad days have become that slimy iceberg lettuce trail in the bottom of the bin, but my literal salad days have only just begun. i am trying to eat healthily, consume more green, less red and white, and i am tired of lettuce. i am always looking for clean, fresh flavours and easy recipes. my favourite cookbook these days is the ottolenghi cookbook, from the café chain in london. (i am not the only one. everyone loves a little ottolenghi.) i have never been to any of the restaurants, but photos on flickr are v. much of the gastropornographic ilk. that's my kinda spread, honey. so i bought the book, which did not disappoint. great photography, a modicum of well-written text, and recipes, recipes, recipes. the focus of flavours is mediterranean, but the recipes themselves are simple in technique and the ingredients are such that i feel comfortable in adapting the recipes to what is available in my tropical marketplace.

'course, i haven't really ventured past the veggie section, but i'll get there.


cucumber salad

guam fiestas are not known for showcasing produce, but if you are going to find a salad it most likely will be one of cucumbers marinated in vinegar and a little sugar, or maybe jumped up with some finadene. it is still my favourite cucu prep, but should you care to dress it up a bit, the ottolenghi approach is not dissimilar; in fact, it is pretty much the same, only with added depth of flavour: add a splash of oil, some fresh herbs, a little crushed garlic, and maybe a seed or two. the cookbook went for olive oil and poppy seeds for their occidental approach; i went with a little toasted sesame oil and charnushka for a more oriental one. a lot of chopped cilantro and some mild chilis completed the salad. it was just that easy and still managed to transform the local staple significantly.

grilled broccoli salad

also just that easy is a grilled broccoli salad which just calls for some broccoli florets placed directly on a hot grill until blackened, then tossed into warm oil in which thinly sliced garlic and chili peppers have been sauteed until fragrant. some slivered almonds add depth, or you can add paper thin lemon slices to lift it.

beet and arugula salad

beets are rarely anyone's favourite root crop, which is a shame. however, you should just boil one up sometime. then slice it up, toss it in some arugula. make a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, crushed garlic and a little maple syrup, sprinkle in some sunflower seeds. you know, how ottolenghi does. if you do not like beets, you might actually enjoy this. if you love beets, you will enjoy this.

my current favourite--photo posted at the beginning of this post--is based on a broad bean sand radish alad which abby from eat the right stuff has so kindly posted the recipe. as broad beans are uncommon here, i used boiled, shelled edamame soy beans, mixed them with red radish wedges, some lemon zest in lieu of preserved lemon, lots of chopped mint, parsley, cilantro and green onion, and dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of cumin. a tahini sauce bumped up with crushed garlic, cilantro and parsley is served on the side. or on top. or all over.


of course, there are other chapters in the book to get through. i'm not eating much animal protein these days, but i can highly recommend the turkey meatballs with sweet corn, served with a roasted red pepper sauce (recipe graciously posted by oh my apple pie!)

turkey meatballs with roasted red pepper sauce

outside of the veggie section, i am drawn to the desserts (derrr). i have an apple and olive oil cake in the oven right now (thank appetite for cake for posting the recipe), and all week long i have been craving the blueberry crumble muffins i baked last week.

blueberry crumble muffin

these muffins are a lesson in happy contradictions: heaving with fresh blueberries and granny smith apples, they are light and fluffy in texture. covered in a sugary, buttery crumble, they are fresh with the abundance of fruit and lemon zest. my only adaptation was the use of white whole wheat flour instead of AP flour, which made it almost healthy. but we won't tell. no reason to shatter that youthful naiveté.


maybe if i keep up with the healthy eating i can have a second shot at those salad days. hopefully they won't go something like this:

ottolenghi--the cookbook. buy it!


I love this book. Love the broccoli with chilli. I've also made the macaroons and the giant meringues, both with much success.

chotda, these salads look delicious, and of course the photos are so ovah! (in the parisisburning sense)..

i need to pick up some edamame this week and pair it with some crunch. i'm liking the looks of that creamy looking dressing too.

it's officially winter cold and rainy in sf, i've limited my raw salad intake to a few times a week. although been doing so much soup. perhaps some pickled salads will perk up my soup-rice-soup-rice habit.

goo cook

Congrats on your healthy eating! Your salads look fab!

It does look wonderful for kids of all ages. Thanks for sharing with salads. I know my grandson will love eating this...as long as he can use his fingers.thank you for shearing your post.


my site