Recipe: Spinach Fig Salad

First and foremost, your favorite bummed out baker (I hope that’s me) is PUBLISHED! I tied for third place in a flash memoir contest (750 words or less) put on by Writer Advice. I wrote about the last time I saw my brother, which was about ten months ago. I visited him under the bridge he was living under. Read my piece called “The Bridge” here.


Greetings! If you live in NYC you know spring has semi-sprung, but who knows. I’m actually still bummed out about the fact we didn’t get a terrible, north-of-the-wall-type winter including several feet of snow that requires staying indoors for unending weeks of darkness and the family golden retrievers to high step around in the snow shoes they hate, (deep breath) but I’m trying to get on board with sunny weather.

I know I’m a bit premature on the fig scene (optimum time = summer), but this salad is so simple, lovely to look at and tasty and can inspire your salad creations for months to come. It’s an easy, healthy recipe and the dressing is so good it makes me mad. I licked the spatula. :(

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 c walnuts, roasted
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T dijon mustard
1 t maple syrup
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 big, giant handfuls fresh spinach
4 figs, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced
~1/4 red onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and roast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for five minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, maple syrup, sea salt, and pepper in a blender and set aside.
  3. Assemble salads, dividing ingredients evenly between two plates: spinach, figs, avocado, onion, walnuts and, finally, drizzle it all with dressing. Serve immediately.
undressed (just like that MTV show from the early 2000s)
dressed to impress
tastebuds will be wilin’

Serves two, or perhaps one ravenous person.

There will be leftover dressing, which is something to rejoice about. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week for future salad concoctions, or drink it straight.

Adapted from Spinach Fig Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.


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Recipe: Borscht Topped With Sour Cream

Normalizing psychiatric care is vital and there are some things everyone should know.

Stigma

Look, not all of us with mental health issues are blatant, eating other people’s faces on the side of a highway in Florida. Most people who seek or are in need of psychiatric care are average folks you interact with regularly: your colleague, your grandchild, your mail person, your stepdad, the person two people behind you in line at the grocery store, yourself.

Unfortunately it’s common for a lot of people to suffer in silence and confusion. Not only do they need care, but they also often have no idea where to begin in terms of finding the right doctor, are overwhelmed by the expense and, most unnecessary of all, have to deal with the crippling stigma attached to mental health issues.

I think a lot of de-stigmatizing begins with open, judgement-free discussion. There is no shame in seeking mental health care you need, just like there is no shame in having to use a crutch, getting braces, having LASIK, etc. There is no shame in getting help with or correcting something in order to have better quality of life. Empathy and understanding surrounding mental health are paramount. Let’s start today.

Now… borscht!


Borscht is a fabulous, flavorful soup (stew?) that is a staple to the good people of frickin’ freezin’ Russia. So, if you’re weathering frightful weather this February this is a good option. If it’s not cold where you are this soup is A) red and therefore on brand for the month of February and B) a good excuse to pair a meal with vodka. * shrug *

Ingredients

Borscht:
1 T coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 t caraway seeds
4 carrots, thinly sliced
3 beets, peeled and diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 c red cabbage, shredded
6 c vegetable broth
1 T apple cider vinegar
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
cashew sour cream
fresh dill, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped

Sour Cream:
1 c cashews
1/2 c water
1 T lemon juice
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t Dijon mustard

Instructions

Borscht:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in caraway seeds, cooking for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add carrots, beets, potatoes, and cabbage to pot, stirring to combine.
  4. Pour in vegetable broth and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. (I found beets to be the last to cook and the best veggie to test for doneness.)
  5. Stir in apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and pepper.
  6. To serve, top with cashew sour cream, fresh dill, and parsley.

Sour Cream:

  1. Cover cashews in boiling water and let sit for an hour. Then, drain and rinse.
  2. Combine cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, and mustard in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Top each bowl of borscht with a generous dollop. Store leftover sour cream in an airtight container in fridge.

Serves 6-8.

Adapted from Vegan Borscht and Vegan Sour Cream.


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get new recipes emailed to you every Monday – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for beautiful food pics and BTS