So I have this idea – let’s start a support group for people who can’t stop collecting cookbooks. We can all join and try to help each other through our obsession, but we’ll all just end up swapping cookbooks and recipes anyways. Deal?
In today’s post I’ll be talking about Near and Far, a beautifully written and photographed cookbook by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. Having followed Heidi’s blog for some time now, I was so incredibly excited to get her book and see what sort of recipes she featured. While Heidi isn’t entirely a plant-based cook, all of her recipes include natural, whole-food ingredients and are always vegetarian. As hinted in the title, her style of food in inspired by the places she’s traveled, both near and far from home. This is exactly the type of cooking I’ve been into lately – getting a little out of my comfort zone, and experimenting with new cuisines and cultures.
I was so excited for the book to come in the mail that as I was waiting, I hungrily searched for other reviews online (to get a sneak peek). Mostly the reviews were positive, but there were a few complaints about difficulty sourcing ingredients, and some “impracticality” of the recipes themselves. And while I definitely understand that perspective, I don’t necessarily agree.
Here’s my deal – if I bought cookbooks with ingredients I’ve seen before and techniques I’ve already used, I’ll never grow as a cook; I’ll never learn about other cultures. And what makes Heidi different as a cookbook author is that she’s not afraid to use the real, authentic ingredients indigenous to the culture from which the recipe was inspired. And while finding umeboshi plum vinegar might require a bit more effort than a trip to your local market, I for one am more than up to the challenge. I love seeking out new ingredients and foods and flavors. It is, quite literally, the spice of life!
So when I opened up my copy of Near and Far, I was thrilled to see things like Beghrir (Moroccan semolina panckes), Nori Granola, and Rasam (a South Indian Soup) – containing ingredients and combinations I had never used before. The recipe I chose to feature is one I would have scoffed at when I was much younger…. Fruit in a salad? Garlic AND mint?? Once these flavor combinations seemed so foreign to me. I chuckled a bit reading this recipe, imagining my reaction to seeing this recipe as an 8-year-old. Fortunately, since then my mind has opened and my palate expanded.
Now I’d probably call myself a flavor junkie. I’m always looking for new and exciting tastes, and I think this salad really delivers on that. The recipe calls for cara cara oranges (my favorite), which are pink and slightly sweeter than navels but just a little tangy. However, they won’t be in season until the winter, so I subbed regular navel oranges. Paired with luscious greens sautéed in toasted garlic, zingy mint, and a mouthwatering honey-lime vinaigrette – this salad is a definite palate pleaser.
Cara Cara Chop Salad | From Near and Far
- 1/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
- 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt I used Himalayan
- 1/8 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 Tbs Honey I used local, ethically-sourced honey
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tbs Garlic finely minced
- 4 Cups Chopped Radicchio I used curly kale, but frisée or any hardy green would work as well
- 1 Cup Celery cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Chives
- 1 Cup Cara Cara Orange Segments I used about 2 navel oranges, and supremed mine, halved
- 1/2 Cup Roughly Torn Mint Leaves I used spearmint
- 1 Cup Peanuts I used slivered almonds instead, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Start by making the dressing. Combine lime juice, black pepper, and honey. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic, then carefully tilt the pan to pool the oil and toast the garlic. When the garlic begins to color uniformly, after a couple of minutes, turn off the heat - medium toasted is what you're after, not burnt. With a slotted spoon, remove the toasted garlic to a paper towel and allow it to cool, preserving the garlic in the oil.
- Using the same pan, dial up the heat a bit more, and when the oil is hot add the radicchio (or your type of greens). Stir every 10 seconds or so until the radicchio is slightly wilted but still crunchy, about 1 minute total. Remove from the pan.
- Just before serving, combine the celery, chives, orange segments, mint, and peanuts (or almonds) - reserve a bit of each for finishing - on a large platter or bowl. Add the radicchio, toasted garlic, and dressing to the bowl and toss to coat. Finish with the reserved celery, chives, oranges, mint, and peanuts.
Get your copy of Near and Far on Amazon!
I received this book from Blogging for Books to review! All thoughts and opinions remain my own.
KathrynOctober 5, 2015 at 4:57 am
I’ve seen so much good stuff about this book – I love Heidi’s previous books so I’m sure I’m not going to be able to resist buying this one for much longer!
SarahOctober 5, 2015 at 9:12 am
I would definitely get it!! It’s such a great book! And there’s a lot of baking recipes too ;)
Maya | Spice + SproutOctober 5, 2015 at 9:36 am
Yum this looks amazing! Definitely wish I had a cookbook collection haha :) I am working on it! What is the background you are using for your photos Sarah? It’s so beautiful and really makes the colours pop <3
SarahOctober 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm
Thanks girl!! It’s a piece of slate, actually! :D
Rebecca @ Strength and SunshineOctober 5, 2015 at 9:46 am
I would so join your group ;) I can never have enough cookbooks!!! I just love them all…even ones I would never eat anything from! Haha! It’s just such a lovely medium to continue sharing the passion and art of food and cooking!
SarahOctober 5, 2015 at 1:01 pm
It is!! I just love reading the recipes and looking at the photos… it’s addicting!
Natalie | Feasting on FruitOctober 5, 2015 at 3:44 pm
This is stunning! It’s a good thing oranges are a winter fruit, we need something juicy, sweet, and colorful in the winter :) And while I don’t have a huge shelf of cookbooks that is only because of great restraint! I love that you are adventurous with your cookbook collection too!
SarahOctober 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm
Thanks girl!! :D
Jessie Snyder | Faring WellOctober 6, 2015 at 10:23 am
Looks like a lovely cookbook <3 such a great idea with recipes from "near and far". Thanks for sharing it with us Sarah! Hope you're having an awesome week – xo
SarahOctober 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm
Thanks girl!! Hope you have a great week as well ;)
AlenaOctober 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm
Cara cara oranges? I need to look for those guys asap! I also agree with you on using unusual ingredients that might be hard to find for some- it really does expand your palate and cooking “toolkit” to be able to use ingredients like umeboshi, which by the way I only discovered a few weeks ago while learning about it in culinary school, and now I’m totally obsessed! I actually wrote about it in yesterday’s post :) Great post as usual, Sarah!
GraceOctober 7, 2015 at 2:59 pm
A cookbook collecting support group is a brilliant idea! I just got a copy of this one too and I’m in love and so inspired! I want to dog-ear every page! I love the recipe you chose to highlight – gorgeous pictures girl!
Sus @ roughmeasures.comOctober 7, 2015 at 3:48 pm
I would definitely join the club! My bookshelf is overflowing with lovely recipe books, and more keep getting released. This one is on my Christmas list hehe. Your photos are gorgeous Sarah!
Kelly // The Pretty Bee: Allergy Friendly EatsOctober 16, 2015 at 10:33 am
This is a lovely salad! I love cara cara oranges, they have the best flavor!
SarahOctober 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm
Thank you Kelly!! :D