Salad Rules: Chickpea and Radicchio with Tahini

So we know Ina and Martha are in a battle for the number one spot in my kitchen.  But clearly, there’s another queen of daytime television (maybe not the Food Network, but she HAS been dubbed the “queen of all media”) that we’ve been neglecting.  I’m talking, of course, about Oprah.

I was never a big Oprah Winfrey Show fan.  There was something a little too voyeuristic about the emotions and tears shared and shed on air (that might be the New England in me).  But I will admit it: reading O Magazine has become a huge (if guilty) pleasure.  This recipe from the January issue (with a few tweaks, of course!).

Chickpea and Radicchio Salad with Tahini Dressing

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly chopped (white parts discarded)
  • a big handful parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • handful ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons or so olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons or so tahini
  • 1 head radicchio, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced (because the number one rule about salad: it’s always better with avocado)
  1. Put chickpeas in a saute pan and pour enough water to cover them, just barely.  Bring to a simmer over low heat and heat all the way through.
  2. While chickpeas heat, combine scallions, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.  Mix in the tahini and coat with the olive oil.  Drain the chickpeas, add them to the bowl, and give it a good toss.
  3. Add the radicchio to the bowl and toss with the chickpea mixture.  Serve with parsley, avocado, and a few turns of cracked sea salt.
avocado makes everything better.
avocado makes everything better.

The Verdict:

Um, hello, Oprah!  (Or rather, Deborah Madison, who wrote the recipe.)  I once read somewhere that radicchio is “bawlingly bitter.”  That’s a bit true – and this salad would probably be even better if I had done a quick toss of the radicchio and olive oil in a warm saute pan.  But even as is, this was completely delicious.  A definite repeat!

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Go-to Dinner for One: Panini with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, and Cheddar

I have a confession to make: I eat lunch every day at 10:30 am. And I love it. For years I would be hungry at 10:30, but I would spend a famished hour and a half watching the clock until noon, the socially-approved lunchtime. Or, I would eat an unfulfilling snack at 10:30, and I would still spend an hour and a half hungry. It just felt gluttonous to eat a full meal at 10:30 – hadn’t I just had breakfast?

Finally, a couple of months ago I decided to give in to the 10:30 lunch. The babies were hungry at 10:30, so I decided to eat a meal along with them. It felt so right diving into a turkey sandwich or a big bowl of stew at this time. Why hadn’t I just let myself eat lunch at 10:30 before? A 10:30 lunch, followed by a snack at 3:00 or so, seems to fit with when I am naturally hungry.

I am sure I am not the only person who has battled a 10:30 case of the hangries (that’s hungry + angry, for you superhumans who have never encountered this emotion). In fact, I have a feeling that I am on to a revolutionary idea. Who decided on this three meals a day thing anyway? I am now firm believer that there should be four meals a day: Breakfast at 7:00, Lunch at 10:30, Hearty Snack at 3:00, Dinner at 7:00. I think four meals a day would make the world a nicer, more satisfied place. Who’s with me??

Clearly our 11:00 lunch was too late for JJ. And for me.
Clearly our 11:00 lunch was too late for JJ. And for me.

Tonight’s dinner doesn’t really even need a recipe, but I’ll give you one anyway:

Panini with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, and Cheddar

-Sourdough bread (I manage to eat this in at least two of my three four daily meals)

-Tomatoes

-Cheddar cheese

-Avocado (I highly recommend Costco avocados- stick them in the fridge and take them out one by one to ripen overnight)

-Schmear of choice: I went with a honey Dijon dressing, but you could use mustard, balsamic dressing, apricot jam, or really any sort of tasty spread you have on hand.

  1. Warm a skillet or griddle pan on medium heat, slather some butter on there.
  2. Slather bread with schmear and place dry side-down on skillet.
  3. Add whatever fillings you have available. Tonight it is avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cheddar cheese.
  4. Place second piece of bread on top. Put something heavy, like a pot, on top of the sandwich to smoosh it all together.
  5. Flip when bread is golden brown and warm the other side.
Melted cheese, avocado, tomato. Yum.
Melted cheese, avocado, tomato. Yum.

The Verdict:

Paninis are a my go-to dinner for one. They feel a little more official than a cold sandwich, and who doesn’t love melted cheese? Because they are so versatile, they make a great clean-out-the-fridge meal. The key to the panini is the schmear – that’s what gives it flavor.

I promise, I will have a more official recipe tomorrow. In fact, here is a teaser of the prep I did tonight…

Yes, those are two whole garlic cloves. Get excited.
Yes, those are two whole heads of garlic. Get excited.