Very rarely are things as bad as you predict them to be. For the past week a certain someone has been freaking out big time about starting a new job. A job that will only run for three weeks. A meager 21 days. To the point at which she’s had enough kittens to fill a cattery several times over. Fluctuating between being snappy at everyone/thing, mega-hyper and sitting listlessly on the couch morosely contemplating her ‘bad decision’, this certain someone hasn’t exactly been bundles of fun. However, as most first-days tend to prove, over-thinking is never helpful – it often leads to negativity and catastrophising. You see, the job really wasn’t all that bad. Yes it was a 10 hour shift, yes the only time one sat down was to go to the bathroom twice (over-sharing? Ah well), yes one has a blister forming from cutting so many vegetables/chicken/herbs etc. And yes one has a nasty burn on her forearm (the customary welcome-back-to-the-commercial-kitchen present), but all-in-all the shift was fine. Quite fun actually. My oh my, who would have guessed?
Ironically the only allocated day off for the next three weeks is today – i.e. day two. Huh. No point complaining though – might as well make the most of it before the 10 hours a day, every day until the 1st of Feb truly begins! He-llo Australian Open. What’s that you say? No cooking today? Uh-huh. There’s breakfast-on-the-go and post-work snacks to be made. However, working with food for extended periods, immersed in the various smells of food cooking is a sure-fire way to reduce your appetite to the size of a mouse. And that’s not to mean you only want to eat a small mouse – you only want to eat as much as a small mouse would. Good, we’ve got that cleared up. You also crave fresh food. At 8 hours in, when the smallest glimmer of hunger appeared on the horizon it was the fruit salad that looked the most appetising. Not the slow-roasted beef ribs or the chicken roulade, or even the brown rice and vegetable risotto.
This Strawberry, Asparagus, Avocado and Almond Salad is just what the doctor ordered. It’s fresh, crisp and crunchy (yes there’s a difference) due to the baby spinach, basil, asparagus and almonds. A hit of creamy avocado contrasts delightfully with sweet, juicy strawberries (roasting does wonders to them). Honestly, what more could you want in a meal? Hot summer and/or post-sweating-your-butt-off-in-a-commercial-kitchen nights come at us…
Oh, and roast extra strawberries. Trust me.
Strawberry, Asparagus, Avocado & Almond Salad
250g strawberries, hulled
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 big handfuls baby spinach
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
½ avocado, thinly sliced
10 basil leaves, torn
¼ cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
Preheat the oven to 175C. Line a small baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
In a small bowl toss the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar and set aside to ‘marinate’ for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus and cook for two minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of iced water to refresh.
Roast the strawberries for 20 minutes or until they just begin to release their juices. Set the pan on a wire rack and leave to cool.
To assemble: Scatter 2/3 of the baby spinach leaves over a plate and top with 2/3 of the asparagus, half of the avocado, basil and strawberries. Top with the remaining spinach, then the asparagus, avocado, basil, strawberries and finally scatter with almonds.
Serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Source: A tastewithoutwaste original.