It has been technically three, or maybe four, but certainly 8 years, since I had fully embraced the plans carefully laid out for me. I'll go with the safe answer that it's been eight years. I had met my then-to-be-husband on a faithful sunny afternoon. On an unavoidable encounter as can be, there I was hoping, hoping for some unbeknownst reasons that he would someday become my husband. And though I knew little of what was to come, I knew with a half hearted certainty that leaving my old habits of skewed eating would reward me generously. I didn't know, at the time, that many chapters of birth and transition would penetrate the cocoon I was comforted by all those years. I didn't know, at the time, that the craft of food could actually be labeled as that--a craft. That the inner (and sometimes gluttonous) inclinations I upheld since childhood could lead me to create, relish, and share everything that the epicurean world could handle. Though it's hard to say that food was at the center of everything, I guess what I can say is that it became a significant way of life. Without the outlet I've been given here, every chapter of life would have been slightly more challenging. I wouldn't have allowed creativity to run free and as a result, I don't think I would be so free to eat and try different cuisines.
The past few months have been so rewarding in the simplest of ways. While I admit that these blessed transitions--one of which I'll be sharing very, very, very soon--have been paramount to growing my faith and teaching me to let go of 'me, myself, and I' more than I'd anticipated, they've taught me also that it's completely sane to assess priorities because first of all, Selah just started preschool this week. The process could not have been smoother and her teachers could not possibly be more saintly in my maternal eyes. And when adult (more specifically motherhood) responsibilities seem to sneak up on us even when we think we were mentally ready to take the trials, it is essential that we take care of ourselves as well. And that is why I felt the urge to share this shaved asparagus salad recipe. Not just any old salad, mind you. And not just a mishmash of ingredients haphazardly thrown into a bowl. But I like to think this has been carefully thought out, tested over the course of several weeks, and happily devoured by me on an every-other-day type basis. Besides more frequent walks in the cozier areas of Torrance, this salad has provided a modest way for me to nourish my body while aiming to stay emotionally grounded.
When eaten raw, shaved asparagus is much more forgiving in terms of texture and absorption of flavors than consuming the whole stem. The crunch from the slim, fibrous shavings meld so beautifully with cooked beets, chewy kamut grain, earthy edamame, pungent scallions, and the rich aroma of black sesame dressing. Black sesame, in my opinion, is superior in taste than its yellow counterpart and when paired with rice vinegar for that ultimate tang, the result is a wonderful dressing that is to go on salads or as a dip for toast. I hope you give this recipe a try and that you will reap the same positive benefits.
Shaved asparagus and kamut grain salad with black sesame dressing
Makes 2 servings
Time: 15 minutes
Equipment: box grater on the largest setting, mixer or blender
Ingredients for salad
1/2 cup cooked kamut grain***
12 stems of asparagus
5 scallions, roots removed
3/4 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup cooked shoestring or sliced beets (I used canned)
Ingredients for dressing
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
***For the kamut grain, I highly recommend soaking it overnight to speed up the process. This also ensures that you get chewy, soft, and perfect texture every time. Simply put the soaked kamut in a medium pot with 1 1/4-1 1/3 cup water, bring it up to a boil, and lower the heat so it simmers for 25-30 minutes. Drain the liquid, set aside to cool.
Using the largest setting on a box grater, shave the asparagus into a large bowl of plate. Do the same thing with the scallions, but be careful since scallions can slide more easily on the box grater. If this is too difficult, do your best to thinly slice them with a good knife. Add edamame and beets. Move on to the dressing. First grind the sesame seeds until they're pulverized into fine powder. Blend in the rest of the ingredients and drizzle into the salad. Toss it together and garnish with shavings of parmigiano.