Roasted potato and radish salad
September 27, 2010 § 5 Comments
I’ve been thinking about the idea of sabbaticals, or Sabbath (it only occurred to me last week that they have the same root!), a lot lately. I recently had the opportunity to take a few months off from my doctoral work, and the time away proved to be a time of both physical and mental rejuvenation. A lot of growth and exploration. So often we treat a sabbatical as something you have to earn through lots of achievement and performance. Our society tells us you deserve a rest only after you work, work, work. But, I’m coming to realize it’s the other way around, really. That a sabbatical is a time of separating yourself from that sense of needing to produce something, and allows you to come back to your most fundamental self that doesn’t need to perform. It is a quiet place to start from, where you stock up on the energy and strength you need in order to create and do your work.
I’m working with a wonderfully insightful and profoundly thoughtful couple to learn more about my sense of vocation and my work style, and they have asked me to think about the ways in which I create that space, take little sabbaticals, monthly, weekly, and daily. In general I’m terrible at it. I always let the little ‘to do’s’ interfere. Or I get all reactive and testy about the idea of having something that I have to fit in and do everyday (whether it’s journaling, or meditating, or what have you), even while I long for it and love ritual. But, I’ve realized that sitting down to meals, especially with loved ones is very much a Sabbath moment for me, one which I take three times a day.
In spite of the swirl of daily activities, even when I have a mound of work to get done, I find I will not let it invade the space of my meals. I can get almost militant about it! I sit down at a table, I focus on my food – and my company if I have any – and I set aside whatever I am carrying. I take a moment to be really there and profoundly thankful. Carving out these spaces, whether they’re a brief 20 minutes for lunch or a supper that stretches over several hours, allows me feel to feel thoroughly nourished by my food all the way from the wiggle space between my toes to the recesses of my brain. And it brings out the best features of the food I’m eating, transforming a simple slice of good bread and cheese or a salad of freshly picked greens or even take out Thai food into a feast and a gift.
In the very best moments a lovely meal shared with a loved one takes on that kind of poignant, hazy around the edges feel – like a picture printed on watercolor paper or a story by A.A. Milne – everything on the outside fades away so you can enjoy it. The same feeling you might get from a weathered wood table with a checkered tablecloth or from sitting in an Adirondack chair with a cup of coffee watching the sunrise.
We had a supper like that just the other night. A last warm day of summer had popped by like an old friend stopping in for a cup of coffee before they’re about to head out on a long trip, and as we sat and ate supper the warm, golden, million dollar end of the day sunlight streamed across our dining room table. Supper had come together as a beautiful display of colors and textures – grilled steak from farmer Kim, grilled peaches and late season salad greens, and this wonderful roasted potato and radish salad that I cobbled together. (Lest you be too impressed with me and my weeknight menu, I’ll admit to you that the next day I absolutely could not inspire myself to cook, and I insisted that we went out for pizza. But, hey, that was great too!)
The idea to pair roasted potatoes and radishes came from a winning recipe on food52 that tosses the two together with Indian spices. I wasn’t in the mood for Indian flavors however (which is a pretty rare and odd thing – I’m almost always game for Indian, but we all have our days), so I decided to dress them instead with a zesty, tangy garlic, lemon and yogurt dressing. The end product was reminiscent of delicious, golden oven fries with a creamy aioli. Totally delicious. It felt simple yet luxurious, and as we ate it we just basked in the evening. It was great! How do you find that you snatch restful moments during the day?
Roasted potato and radish salad with zesty yogurt dressing (serves about 4)
- 1 bunch radishes
- about 8-10 small potatoes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 Tbs. thick plain yogurt (Greek style)
- the juice from half a lemon (about a Tbs. or a little more)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pounded to a paste with a mortar and pestle
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- a couple pinches of minced chives, optional
- Preheat your oven to 425F. Wash the potatoes and cut them into fairly thick slices (around a quarter-inch thick, I’d say). Toss them with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them for about 10 minutes, then flip them.
- In the meantime, wash the radishes, remove their stems and tips and cut them into quarters. Toss the radishes with olive oil and salt and pepper as well. After the potatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, push them over to the side of the baking sheet and add the radishes to the baking sheet. Roast for about another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes and radishes are getting brown and crispy on the outside.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool until they’re just a bit warmer than room temperature. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 Tbs. olive oil, Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste and the chives if using, then toss the dressing with the potatoes and radishes and serve. Enjoy!