A year later (Berlin, April 1, 2012)

A year ago today I made my first post to sabasalads. Just a few weeks before that I joined twitter and had been trying to tweet recipes for meals I threw together on weeknights. I guess I wanted to document them for future use and I found the idea of a word limit appealing. It turned out to be more troublesome than convenient for my style of recipe-writing though, so I decided to try a blog instead. The name “sabasalads” was kind of a joke and, as is obvious from the recipes posted here, true salads only makes an occasional appearance.

But looking back on a year of recipes, I think that the idea of a salad – a side dish, sometimes transformed into a main course, usually composed of a few simple ingredients where fresh vegetables are emphasized and vinegar-based condiments are almost always welcome- is not so far from the kind of cooking I like to do. One of the best things about this venture has been learning more about what things I like to cook on a regular basis.

Aside from being a convenient way to stash and catalogue recipes for future use, the blog actually changed the way that I cook. I tend to plan ahead more and force myself to try new dishes, especially ones with in-season produce. Otherwise there would be nothing to post. I also pay more attention to the way I plate and serve food now. For a dish to look good in a photo, it needs to have color and texture, it needs to be portioned correctly. I even think that having it at the right temperature makes for a better photo. I didn’t always care so much about these things- things that any professional cook would tell you make a huge difference. Best of all, I started to read some other [great blogs] that inspired me to continue posting.

Today, in honor of one year of salads, sides and other sundries, I have some highlights from sabasalads 2011-12:

Last spring in Chicago, buying interesting seasonal ingredients at Green City Market introduced me to lovage and [cream of lovage soup], one of the most satisfying things that I ate last year, period.

In the summer, there was a very memorable excursion to Poynette, Wisconsin, beginning with the best onion rings I have ever tasted and ending with my [new favorite three-dollar cocktail].

Then there was a [samphire-foraging trip] to an island on England’s North Sea coast shaped like an oyster, [for which it is also famous].

And last fall in Berlin, I stumbled across some new ways to use [bulgur and kohlrabi], now perhaps my favorite vegetable.

What that the second year of sabasalads will bring? Stick around to find out.

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