Tuesday, January 5, 2010

California Winter Wonderland

I am so happy. I love where I live. California rocks. Seriously.

View of the Pacific Ocean from Point Lobos

Over the weekend, I headed down the coast for a super secret mission that involved a trip to the Monterey Aquarium, wine tasting, and all sorts of adventures from San Francisco down to Monterey. There was Whale Spotting from Point Lobos Wildlife Reserve, Porchetta Sandwiches from Roli Roti and a Saturday night picnic of fresh greens, pickled vegetables (Happy Girl Kitchen), and roast chicken & potatoes (also Roli Roti) from the San Francisco Saturday Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Lunch in Santa Cruz at Walnut Ave Cafe of tofu scrambles and potatoes. There was a perfect run up the Skyline-to-Sea trail and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean. I am sure I am missing a fresh from the market persimmon and loads of Jer's Chocolate Peanut Butter in there too. It was fantastic. It was the kind of weekend where at the end you sigh and say, "wow, we live in an amazing place". I ate good food, ran in amazing places, slept in the biggest bed ever, and pulled off the birthday surprise of the century. Ok, well maybe not the century, but I kept a secret for like a month and that is a big deal. While the weekend sounds packed, it was actually the most fun relaxed weekend I have had in a long long time. After the stress of the holidays, we all need a little vacation right?

Looking up and forward to the new year.

After the weekends activities, actually for about a week before and even now, I have been seriously hankering for hearty, pickled vegetable laden salads. Probably post-holiday balancing after eating a few things my body doesn't like (gluten). I ate really healthy and light for most of the holiday season, but ate my mom's Stollen that she makes every year and a super secret sugar cookie or two as well. As we were driving back, salad was on our minds and I suggested a salad I had been playing with over the course of the week. Fresh greens, arugula, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, roast onion and a very bright herb dressing. After a bit of brainstorming, we decided that the additions of a nice soft cheese and avocado would take it to the next level. It was awesome.

This salad balances the light crisp flavors of the greens, dressing, sauerkraut and arugula with the hearthy, warm winter vegetables of sweet potato and roast onion. Profoundly good for being profoundly simple. This salad is a keeper.

Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato and Roast Onion Salad

5 cups salad greens
3 cups arugula
2 sweet potato
2 small red onion, sliced
2 cups sauerkraut
2 small avocado, chopped
½ cup soft cheese, crumbled
red wine vinegar
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Baked Sweet Potatoes until tender. With about 10 minutes left before the sweet potatoes are done, roast red onions on a baking sheet with parchment paper until tender.

Compose salad in large bowls. Toss greens and arugula with red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients to taste.

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