My friend Mo was nice enough to spend her birthday with our Stitch n’B*tch group so I put together a little vegetarian salad spread for her. Our friend Lauren, who recently moved back to the States, was also in town so it was a double celebration.
Yes, you really can feed 12 hungry ladies with just salads. And I venture to think with these filling and delicious salads even macho men would be happy with this menu.
My friend Mo also loves the color purple (her husband even got here a purple sapphire for an engagement ring–it is STUNNING) so I tried to incorporate purple into the tabletop and into some of the dishes…
The first salad was Fingerling Potato, Fig, and Tarragon Salad, which I found on Garden of Eden, and which Darcy found in In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams by Jody Adams and Ken Rivard. I actually saw fresh figs in a Hong Kong supermarket so I snapped them up instead of opting for dried. The purple in this one was the figs and some of the fingerlings.
One the left: Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Fresh Herbs discovered on Garden of Eden and originally from Molly Wizenberger, the author of the fabulous cooking blog Orangette and the enjoyable book A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table. This salad has become a staple lunch for when it’s just me working at home… it’s so easy, you have everything you need for it in your pantry, and it’s so delicious!
On the right: Barley and Corn Salad with Arugula and Haricot Vert discovered on Smitten Kitchen, but originally from Bon Appetit, July 1998. This is so good with fresh sweet corn and crispy green beans!
On the left (and this may have been the crowd favorite): Ottolenghi’s roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt. I have the Ottolenghi cookbook (thanks to my friend Kirsten’s recc) and I LOVE it. Ottolenghi is a restaurant / deli in London ran by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, who infuse their cooking with references to their childhoods growing up in Jereusalem. All the recipes are pretty simple and insanely fresh! You can find the eggplant recipe here, too though if you don’t own the cookbook. This is a really different take on eggplant… it pairs so well with the saffron yogurt and the sweet/tartness of the pomegranates, which also really checked the purple box.
On the right: Kale Salad with Pears, found by me on Garden of Eden, but adapted by Darcy from this recipe on Food52. It is so healthy to eat kale raw and by letting the kale marinate with fresh lemon juice, you let it really soften up.
And of course no birthday is complete without a cake! Keeping with the light theme, I made my go-to Ina Garten Lemon Yogurt Cake.
My friend Tori passed on this recipe years back and I’ve never looked back. It is so easy (no need to even use a mixer) and so moist and fresh. My only change (and it’s a good one) is to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and I get away with 1/3 of a cup, not 1/2 a cup.