February Tuesday night cook book club with Hetty McKinnon

February is usually the hottest month of the year in Australia so a perfect time to being out the salads and what better way than to comb through Hetty McKinnon’ s three recipe books to find inspiration.

I first heard about Hetty when I was following one of my favourite bloggers  Lorraine Elliott with her notquitenigella daily blog about food related stories.  Lorraine mentioned meeting a woman in the centre of Sydney who started delivering freshly made and healthy salads by bicycle.  Professionals who worked from home who wanted a delicious meal with having to spend time and effort leaving their office. years or so on and we find Hetty, her husband and three children relocated to Brooklyn in New York city and the author of three wonderful cookbooks ‘Family’ ‘Neighbourghood’ and ‘ Community ‘.  Though I am not sure in which order they were released though I do know ‘ Community’  has just been rereleased with stories and interviews with some of her long term followers.

These vegetarian salad recipes are stand alone meals and not something to accompany a barbeque or lamb roast.  So what did we have?

I made a salad with frozen peas, roasted baby potatoes and boiled eggs all bought together with a fabulous chimichirri and because I love roasted cauliflower made one with lemon, pine nuts, parsley all bought together with a whipped feta and  lemon dressing.

Roasted eggplant with sofrito, chickpeas and almonds was a favourite and my friend who travels from out of town with her delicious roast pumpkin with chick peas and pepitas.  I know the dessert wasn’t in any of Hetty’s books but everyone made salads so I quickly made a buttermilk panacotta with a fresh fig compote.

I was interested to read that Hetty has a formula in which to make your own salad which covers the necessary components to make it  substantial that I thought I would share with you. To start choose one or two vegetables and team with a hearty legume or grain (and not be afraid to use a can of lentils, chickpeas or butter beans).  Add some leaves for greenery (I notice she used spinach and kale often)  then herbs for freshness and nuts and seeds for freshness.  The crucial elements is the salad dressing and Hetty uses yoghourt, lemon, ricotta,  olive oil, garlic, capers, & feta plus salt and pepper of course.  And always a fried egg on top of a leftover salad is a fabulous idea (and one I use often!)  Don’t be afraid to roast vegetables to bring out flavour.  I personally love roasting pumpkin, carrots, beetroot, fennel, eggplant…..enjoy!

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