I actually think this is one of my favourite salads that we make. As many times that I have had it, I am always surprised by the punch of flavour that I get with every bite. I think that the genius of this salad is that you add flavour to each component and don’t actually make a dressing: the vinegar in the red onion and dates give the acidity and sweetness, the butter, sumac and chilli in the almonds and bread are the spicy and oily bit, and all the final dish needs is a squeeze of lemon and you’re good to go!
There are some stores where it’s just wise to hand out samples. When we were in Vancouver a few months ago, we stopped at a store that sells dried fruit and nuts. We went specifically for their vegetable chips (which I have tried to replicate, unsuccessfully), which are amazing. The first time we tried them was actually when we were leaving Vancouver, snacking on them on the car-ride to Calgary, wishing that we had discovered their glory earlier when we could still buy them whenever we wanted. Regardless, as we browsed around the store, one of the guys that worked there was handing out samples of all sorts of flavoured nuts. We tasted the garlic roasted almonds and couldn’t resist. We left with a bag that we have since treasured as it slowly dwindles down to nothing.
Hooray for CSA! This is the first summer that I’ve signed up for a CSA box (i.e. Community Shared Agriculture). How it works is that at the beginning of the season you purchase a portion of a local farmer’s produce and you get one box a week of whatever is fresh and ready to go for the entire growing season. I can’t tell you how excited I was to start getting the deliveries. Besides the fact that I would have fresh produce at my fingertips all summer long, I couldn’t wait to get some vegetables that I wouldn’t normally buy myself and have to come up with some recipes on the fly. Unfortunately, our deliveries were slightly delayed because a freak hail storm destroyed a lot of our farmer’s crops mid-June. It’s amazing how much damage 20 minutes of hail can do! It was a real reminder that nature actually dictates how a harvest will fare, which was easy for me to forget when I’m just buying imported goods from the supermarket most of the year. Luckily, they recovered well and I just picked up my second box yesterday.