Each year, Spring sprinkles stardust over Washington, turning it into the most beautiful city in the whole world.
Okay, I haven't seen the whole world, but you get my drift? There isn't a better time to be here than right now, when temperatures are in the '70s, the thundershowers are too brief to spoil a whole day, and flowers paint an elaborate rainbow of colors across every street and yard.
Lawns have magically gone from brown to emerald green, the oaks and the maples are rapidly filling up with squeaky-new leaves that weave into a deep canopy over grey roads, and the dogwoods and azaleas are flaunting their short-lived but gorgeous blooms.
Spring's my favorite season, as it probably is everyone else's, because it's time to emerge from the chrysalis of our winter-weary homes and enjoy the greatest miracle we'll ever see-- the renewal of life. I, for one, can't help but feel a little stab of wonder each time I see a tiny green stalk push its head out of the earth, eager to breathe and grow.
It's also, of course, time to start pulling out all those weeds that have taken over the flower and vegetable beds and get bitten by little insects hiding in the grass, but let's not get into that here.
Coming to the point of this post, Spring is the time when all sorts of fresh veggies start crowding the market, making it a vegetarian or vegan cook's paradise. And although I am not a huge salad person, it's a time when I actually feel like mixing up a salad-- or two.
One of my favorites is this Thai salad, which has a healthy and robust peanut-butter dressing, is bursting with veggies and protein and is really good for you. Cutting all the veggies into juliennes or matchstick-sized pieces is a little time-consuming, but it is also therapeutic and if you make the effort you won't be sorry you did.
Enjoy, everyone, the recipe and the beautiful Spring!
This salad goes to Priya of Akshayapaatram who's this month's guest host of It's A Vegan World: Thai and who's been cooking up some of the most delicious Thai food I've ever seen. And it's great eye candy too!
Thai Vegetable Salad With Peanut-Butter Dressing
Shred into thin, matchstick-sized pieces and place in a large bowl:
1 yellow squash
1/4 head of cabbage
(Feel free to use more or other veggies. Peppers of any color, scallions, green beans steamed until just tender, and even broccoli would work here)
Sprinkle over the veggies 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
For the dressing:
Place in a blender--
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1-2 tsp hot sauce like Sriracha
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
Give it a stir, adding some water to reach a pourable consistency.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and toss to coat.
Shred 10-12 leaves of basil or chop 1/4 cup of coriander/cilantro leaves and mix in.
I also added some tofu to the salad to make it a complete meal. It is optional. I boiled firm tofu in 1 1/2 cups of water to which I'd added a 1-inch piece of ginger, shredded, and 2 tbsp soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes, then cut into cubes and toss into the salad.
Let the salad stand a few minutes before serving.
I have finally added a recipe index in the top right corner to help my readers better navigate the blog. All my recipes are now listed on one page. It's a work in progress, but it's a beginning and something I wish I had done a long time ago.
Now here's a picture of Lucy in her favorite perch. All the pictures, as usual, were taken by Desi.