You know how when you’re cooking something, you start to get a gut feeling about whether it’s going to be any good or not, even without having tasted any of it? This sixth sense is remarkably accurate; usually when I tell Erin “I don’t have high hopes for this one,” it does indeed pretty much suck. I think this sense uses lots of small clues that we don’t consciously think about, like the source of the recipe, the way the recipe is written, and of course, the ingredients and how they look and smell in the dish.
Well this is one time when the sense betrayed me. As I was making this salad, lots of factors started to pile up to make me think it would be just another bland, boring salad. The name of this recipe doesn’t sound overly exciting. Uncooked chickpeas just don’t sound appealing to me, as much as I like them cooked. The dressing is nothing but oil, lemon juice, and coriander. And what kind of salad doesn’t have any leafy greens in it except parsley?
When I told Erin as I set this dish on the table that I didn’t think it would be any good, she reminded me that Fine Cooking recipes are always good (here’s the recipe, by the way). My sixth sense had overlooked the source, probably because I was using a printed-out recipe rather than the magazine! After one bite, it was clear that this salad was a keeper. The dressing was bright and fresh, and the toasted pine nuts and feta just brought everything together in glorious summery harmony. My other fear, that the salad wouldn’t be filling at all, was completely off base as well. Half the chickpeas are mashed up and mixed with the vegetables, giving the salad some serious oomph (and protein) in a small package.
Perhaps best of all, this thing was SIMPLE to make. Chop a few vegetables, toast the pine nuts, mash some chickpeas, whisk the dressing, and you’re done. Twenty minutes, max.
We had the salad with some grilled honey wheat bread from the farmers market. The recipe suggests toasted pita; that would have been good as well. My only problem with this recipe is the amount that it yielded. It claims to serve “four to six as a vegetarian main dish,” but we got only three moderate-sized portions from it. And of course, being the wonderful husband I am, I gave Erin the third to take for lunch today. Grape Nuts for lunch, anyone? If you’re going to make this one, definitely consider doubling it.
Has your sixth cooking sense ever betrayed you?
I’m feeling great after yesterday’s 13-miler, considering that I didn’t feel so good during the run because of not bringing water. I’m not sore anywhere, not even in my quads or calves. I really can’t help thinking that Boston is going to happen this year! Of course, I think that every year… Injury is still my biggest fear, but more and more I’m beginning to think that my body will hold up through this training and I’ll be able to go low at Wineglass. Less than 15 weeks left!
Today is an easy run and foam rolling day. And with any luck, I’ll find some lemongrass at the store and be able to make a Thai soup I’ve been craving ever since I tasted it in a restaurant a few weeks back. Look for that one tomorrow!