Gorgeous photos (taken by my brother’s girlfriend) of the meal we served at my dad’s wedding luncheon.
The salad was not your typical spinach combo. I used a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s second gorgeous cookbook, Jerusalem, which sent me to a specialty spice shop for sumac, an ingredient I had never come across before.
Baby spinach salad with dates and almonds
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
3 1/2 oz pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise (I used craisins instead!)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, roughly torn into 4 cm pieces
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp chili flakes
5 oz baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Marinate the onions and craisins/dates in a bowl with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Mix well and leave for 20 minutes. Then drain excess vinegar.
Heat the butter and 1/2 the olive oil in a skillet and add the pita pieces and almonds. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. (I had trouble getting my pita to become crunchy, probably because I had too much pita in too small of a skillet. I ended up toasting my pita and almonds in the oven to achieve the desired texture). When you have the pita golden brown, remove from heat and add sumac, chili flakes, and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix and let cool.
Just before serving, toss the spinach leaves with the pita/almond mix and add the dates/craisins and onions. Pour in the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and a bit more salt.
That’s it! Not too much work for a beautiful, delicious and unique salad.
Roasted root vegetables with rosemary
This one is incredibly easy. The trick was peeling 12 lbs of vegetables. Thankfully, I had helpers. Since you probably won’t be making this for 40 people, you won’t have to labor quite so much. Even with all the peeling and chopping, the result was worth it. I used a recipe from Feast Magazine to guide me through this, as I wasn’t willing to take any risks! This recipe serves 8.
3 lbs assorted winter/fall veggies (I used carrots, parsnips, and beets)
4 sprigs rosemary
1 head garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
4 lemons (I omitted the lemons)
preheat oven to 450.
toss all of the ingredients in a large roasting pan and roast, uncovered, stirring occasionally until soft and cooked through evenly. Discard rosemary stems before serving.
Orzo salad with tomatoes, basil, feta and green onions
This recipe came from a client of mine who suggested it for its beauty and flavor.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil (or a little less)
6 cups veggie broth
1 lb orzo (I used the tri-colored kind)
2 cups grape tomatoes
7 oz feta
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup chopped green onions
cook the orzo according to directions on package, except use 1/2 veggie broth, 1/2 water
to make the dressing, mix the olive oil, honey, vinegar and lemon juice.
chop the grape tomatoes and green onions, tear the basil into small pieces
add the tomatoes, onions, feta and basil to the cooked orzo and toss with the dressing.
serve warm or cold.