Autumn Salad and Black Klansman
Ah, fall. The rainy, dreary, basic time of year wherein people grow scarves out of their necks, consume more pumpkin than they probably should, and get in your face about being registered to vote.
If you nodded your head and sighed while you read that last sentence, I have mixed news for you: the good is that you’re not only getting the typical recipe and book rec today, but a movie rec as well! Wow! Three for the price of one (two?)! The potentially less good news is that I’m going to join the ranks of people who get in your face about voting.
So, let’s intersperse the voting rant with fun things! Starting with #1: it’s my mom’s birthday today! She’s the best, and I know that you probably don’t know her, but if you did, you would think she’s the best too. If you want to give her a birthday shout out, head over to Twitter, where she lurks as @hollys_momma (Holly is our dog, okay?). Cool. Thanks!
Okay, here’s where you can find out where you should vote. Here’s where you can read up on the issues and the candidates. Here’s where you can find out how to help at a polling place to make democracy happen. Here’s where you can learn about what to do if you’re turned away at the polls.
Anyway, SALAD, am I right?! It’s almost that sad time of year when salads lose their spark (aka fresh veggies), so nab this recipe now, nail it, and then figure out how to swap out the tomatoes for sweet potatoes or carrots or whatever else floats your boat. That way, you’ll have something delicious to look forward to this winter diet.
Do it for the ‘matoes.
This salad is probably the last one you’re going to make with those amazing tomatoes, so jump to it and send your tomatoes off with respect. If you have issues with the fact that I use butter in this salad dressing, I offer you this two word defense (brown butter) and this defense: you’ll have finished eating the salad before it even thinks about solidifying.
Makes: 2 servings as a main, 4 as a side
- 1/4 cup plus 1 TBSP of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of hazelnuts, crushed
- 1 tsp each of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp of red pepper, divided in half
- 5 cups of arugula
- 2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup of salted pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
- 8 oz. of goat cheese
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 TBSP of honey
- 1 TBSP of white vinegar
- Melt 1 TBSP of butter in a small saucepan, then add the hazelnuts, which by the way, you should have already pulverized using a rolling pin and plastic bag. Or purchased crushed. Whatever, sissy.
- Toast hazelnuts while stirring, three minutes. If you start to, like, really smell hazelnuts, it isn’t your perfume, hon, it’s the nuts burning.
- Season the nuts with salt, pepper, and half red pepper and dump them on a plate to cool. Don’t wash the pan — it’s not worth it because you’re about to use it for the next step.
- In the same saucepan that you didn’t just bother washing (congrats!), melt the rest of the butter. When it’s all melty, stir it around with a whisk over a medium heat. Then stop. The butter’s going to get a little bit brown. This is good. You might have to whisk and then pause a few times before this happens, then once the color starts to change, you can move on.
- Welcome to the next step! Add the thyme and rest of red pepper to the butter, then stir. Let bubble and brown. Your kitchen smells awesome right now.
- Get ready for some action. Add the honey and vinegar. Things are going to sputter for a second, but once you stir it all together, it should calm down. Turn off the heat, and set the pan aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the arugula, tomatoes, pepitas, and goat cheese. Add the hazelnuts in, then stir.
- Grab the thyme out of the pan, then pour all that buttery dressing over the salad. Mix, then serve warm.
Plot: The first black officer of the Colorado Springs Police Department works on one of the craziest cases ever: infiltrating the KKK.
Thoughts: I committed a cardinal sin here and saw the movie first. *cringes* I know, I know. But, in my defense, it did not replace me reading this book. In fact, it encouraged me to buy it! And I don’t really feel guilty because the book and the movie were two very different experiences.
Let me clarify: both told a great story. Both made me laugh and made me groan over how far we HAVEN’T come since Ron Stallworth’s days as an undercover cop. And I would watch / read both again. So, all good things okay?!
The book is a great foil to the movie, which is, of course, very dramatized and Spike Lee’d. Stallworth provides the nitty-gritty details about the legal and personal risks that he and his fellow officers took to protect the town of Colorado Springs from a group of dangerous, albeit bumbling, domestic terrorists. Stallworth’s conversational writing style and matter-of-fact narration takes this memoir from a story on the page to an adventure that plays out in his voice.
It’s so good. So fascinating. Just read it.
Verdict: Worth a read. Worth a watch. Worth a rec to a friend! Grab it here.