From Bad-luck to Potluck
“Bring a potluck dish to the party, a food that really feels like the cuisine of the Bay Area to you”
Instructs ‘Gluten Free Girl‘ – Shauna James Ahern, in her last blog post plotting her Californian road trip potluck meet and greet adventure. Mariposa Gluten Free Bakery in Oakland was to be the second stop on their adventure, which coincidentally is just 10 minutes walk from my house (yes I am a regular…). This on the same day my bike saddle was stolen which meant I was only capable of getting anywhere by foot. That’s either fate or karma working in my favour.
To me the cuisine of the San Francisco Bay Area is anything colourful, flavourful, seasonal and bursting with nutrition. Before hitting the grocery store (supermarket) for supplies I was thinking along the lines of a simple roasted root veg and greens salad, since I seem to me making rather a lot of them at the moment. I decided to follow my senses, and grabbed some of my favourite ingredients – sweet potato and rocket. Adding pomegranate seeds was a pre-checkout after thought – when you’re cooking for other people you want that pzazz, that X factor. T he little red jewels of the pomegranate fruit were going to do my salad perfect justice, and along with a killer dressing this had to be a winner. With a lack of time to research a recipe, shop and cook on a busy day (which also involved ‘bikesaddlegate’, shall I start a hashtag?) I was satisfied with my lot. Cook beautiful, local, seasonal ingredients simply and let the flavours speak for themselves – Joyce Goldstein’s recent book Inside The California Food Revolution, has hugely inspired me on this journey, and I hope to continue to explore this theme in my dishes when I return to London in a few weeks.
Arriving home that day, post #bikesaddlegate in what could only be described as a bit of a grump, having uttered more expletives than I care to remember, taking a little time to cook food to share with other people made me remember why I love cooking so much. It planted a huge smile back on my face and well into the evening.
I hope this salad embodies the way I like to cook. Colourful, seasonal, incredibly healthy – yet also simple. Was so lovely to meet Shauna, her husband Daniel the chef and everyone else who made it to the event. Such gorgeously friendly people – who all brought along such delicious gluten free food !
- 2 medium sweet potato, small dice
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- pinch salt
- 3 cups (3 large handfuls) of rocket (arugula)
- The seeds from 1 pomegranate
- Tbs pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 2 Tbs walnut oil
- tsp red wine vinegar
- tsp maple syrup
- ½ clove minced garlic
- pinch salt, twist of black pepper
- pre-heat oven to 400F / 200C
- Toss the potato cubes in the olive oil and salt, and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until fork tender
- When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven transfer to a cold plate and let cool.
- Meanwhile make up the dressing. Place all ingredients in a jar, screw up the lid and shake as if your life depended on it.
- In a large bowl toss the rocket (arugula) in the dressing making sure all leaves are fully coated, then toss in the cooled potato, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. You may like to reserve a few of both the seeds to top the dish when you've transferred it to its final serving platter.
- Eat straight away, or store in the fridge to eat up to to 3 days later - the rocket does have a tendency to wilt over time.
As an alternative butternut squash would be fantastic instead of sweet potato