While I (somewhat patiently) wait for both law school to start and my boyfriend to move to Boston, I’ve had a lot of time to (for lack of a better phrase) date myself. I’ve never spent much time living alone–I’ve always been living with teammates or my family. Consequently, I’ve never really gone on a “solo date.” I’ve taken myself to get coffee, shopping, and definitely done some cooking for one. But prior to a couple months ago there was always someone to make dinner with, go to the movies with, or even just sit in PJs and watch Friends re-runs with while secretly wishing you could transport yourself to their alternate reality where you never work but live in a massive and beautiful NYC apartment.
So, this time in Boston has been a big learning experience for me. I’ve been able to connect with and meet LOTS of new people which has been amazing and wonderful, but I’ve also had a good time figuring out how to do some stuff on my own. Example one would be building my own furniture. It may have taken me several tries to get my desk up and running, but I finally got all the screws and washers and pieces in the right order and even knew what a Phillips head screw driver was without googling it (point, me). Example two would be recent solo adventure to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and subsequent showing of “RBG,” the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary.
The documentary was incredible (#girlpower) and the museum exhibits just amazing. I didn’t have oodles of time to explore everything, but ended up spending an hour going through the Casanova exhibit, which was essentially a trip through famous European artwork. The museum tactfully located the gift shop just after exiting the exhibit, and my eyes immediately landed on the cook book section. There were a multitude of cook books all featuring great European cuisines, but I instantly snatched a copy of Plenty, one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s books. He runs several Michelin restaurants in London, and I have another of his books that Thomas gifted me, Nopi. Ottolenghi smashes British and Middle Eastern flavors into recipes that are mind blowing. As Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen recently wrote about a different cookbook, it is the kind of collection you want to Julia-Julie your way through (i.e. cook every single thing in it).
After arriving back home from my first solo movie going experience, I poured myself a glass of red wine and started flagging all the recipes I wanted to make. Lucky for me my brother and his girlfriend were coming over the next evening for dinner, so I had a ready made excuse to make something on the fancier side of basic.
Given the summer produce right now–so many green beans–the green bean and pea salad seemed like a good place to start. I made a couple modifications (I don’t have a mortar and pestle and the Whole Foods didn’t have nigella seeds, and I didn’t see a reason not to time everything so you only had to use one pot of boiling water), but more or less stuck to the recipe. And, it was delicious. Amazing. 10/10 even on day three 🙂
I’m very excited to work my way through the rest of the recipes, and to kick things into gear academically. I’ll be relying on cooking (and running!) as brief respites from the world of textbooks and laws, and I am thrilled to have a new cookbook to explore. And also a new instapot. Things are looking good.
Green Bean and Pea Salad
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Serves 4 as a hefty side or base for crispy eggs.
1 1/4 cups trimmed green beans
1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed
3/4 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 3/4 cups frozen peas
1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
Ricotta Salata (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and a second bowl of ice water waiting in the sink. Timing on this next bit is crucial, so make sure you have everything all prepped! Once the water is boiling, set a timer for 4 minutes. Add the green beans immediately. After 3 minutes (1 minute remaining) add snow peas and sugar snap peas. After 3.5 minutes (30 seconds remaining) add frozen peas. Immediately drain in a colander and transfer to the ice bath to stop cooking and refresh. Dry to the best of your ability and transfer to a large mixing bowl
- Put the ground coriander, mustard seeds, and olive oil in a small sauce pan. Watching like a hawk, heat until the first mustard seed pops and immediately pour over the bean/pea mixture. You cannot miss this, and if you let it go too far you will have mustard seeds popping all over your kitchen. This happened to me once, and I’m still picking mustard seeds from the floor.
- Toss olive oil into the bean/pea mixture, and then add the remaining ingredients. Taste for salt, and serve either cold or at room temperature. I added a little bit of sheep’s milk ricotta salata to the dish right before serving and do not regret it one bit.
keeps well in the refrigerator for up to five days.