If you’ve been reading my posts for a while or following me on instagram, you know how much I love to read. One of my favorite ways to relax is to settle in with the latest book on nutrition, food policy, natural beauty, and especially, cookbooks. I treat cookbooks as I do other books, which is to say that I pour over every page and imagine making each meal – how the flavors will pair together, how it will make my kitchen smell, how the food will make me feel. The thing is, I rarely actually cook from them, because it’s more of a mediation and source of inspiration for me.
I was in my neighborhood book store the other day, perusing the vegan and vegetarian section as I usually do, but it was a little crowded. So while I was waiting for the people around me to move along, I started listening to what they were saying about each book they picked up, and it was fascinating. Some were “too complicated” or required “too many ingredients”, but several people at one point or another picked up Terry Hope Romero’s latest cookbook, Salad Samurai, and spent a solid several minutes flipping through the pages, and all I could hear were “ooooooh”s and “ahhhhh”s and “that sounds so good”s. Having already received my review copy, I wanted to quietly tell them, “Good choice! That’s a really great one.” but instead I just smiled to myself.
Salad Samurai is one of the few cookbooks I will be cooking from and not just reading. Similar to Romero’s previous book, Veganomicon (co-authored with Isa Chandra Moscowitz, most recently of Isa Does It fame), you will want to make every single recipe. The ingredient combinations are interesting and new, but in a way that’s still somehow familiar and comforting. It’s perfect for summer, when the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or spend a lot of time fussing in the kitchen when you could be outside taking in the summer sunshine and warm breezes. And if you’ve ever found yourself in a salad rut, this is totally your book.
- 1⁄2 cup unroasted cashews
- 1⁄2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or
- coconut oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons white (shiro) miso
- 4 ears of corn, husks and corn silk removed
- Olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup lightly packed, chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
- 1 green or red jalapeño pepper, roasted or fresh, seeded and minced
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 big red ripe tomato, cored
- and diced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (preferably Mexican, such as ancho or chipotle)
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- Make the dressing first! Soak the cashews in the hot water for 30 minutes, then pulse the cashews and soaking water in a blender until smooth. Add the remaining dressing ingredients, pulse until silky, then chill until ready to use.
- Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the ears of corn with olive oil and grill each ear until the kernels are lightly charred, turning the cobs occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them from the pan to a cutting board and cool just enough to handle. Use a sharp knife with a thin blade to slice the corn kernels from the cob; for best results (and to prevent kernels from taking flight), slice a few rows off an ear, lay it flat on the cutting board, then slice off the remaining corn. Always keep one side of the ear flat on the cutting board.
- Transfer the corn to a big mixing bowl. Add the cilantro, scallions, and jalapeño. Drizzle on the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer the salad to serving dishes. Top each serving with diced avocado and tomato and sprinkle each serving with chili powder. Serve immediately with lime wedges for squeezing over the salad while the corn is still warm!
From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014. Photo by Vanessa Rees.
Disclosure: I received Salad Samurai for free, but as always, all opinions are my own.