I was making Deb Perelman’s ricotta blood orange cake on Monday when I noticed something troubling. My oven was too hot. 75 degrees too hot, to be precise. I spent the whole time that it was baking fiddling with the nobs and opening the oven door to regulate the temperature. It was one of the more stressful cakes I’ve made in recent memory. It turned out beautiful, and was devoured at the dinner party we attended. But it was not an experience I was keen to repeat.
One email to my landlord and one landlord visit later I got good news. We’ll be getting a new oven, to replace our ancient one. In a week. Or two. I’m beyond excited, but still
have want to feed myself and Aaron while we’re waiting on our new oven.
Ironically, this is close to a repeat experience from our old apartment, where our oven also ran 75 degrees too hot minus the caring landlord. I’m casting back to those ideas for ideas on how to feed ourselves in the next week. We used to eat, and will be eating a lot soups, and stews. I’ll turn on the oven for things that like high heat and don’t need pr, like roasted vegetables, and maybe even pizza. There are worse ways to suffer.
I braved the oven to make this sweet potato and buckwheat salad for an easy lunch. It’s a riff off of a butternut squash and buckwheat salad from Anna Jones’ very smart A Modern Way to Eat, which I’ve visited here for her hot chocolate before. Sweet potatoes and red onions get roasted with coriander seeds and blood orange juice, and then tossed with earthy buckwheat and a riot of parsley and cilantro. The result is bright from the coriander and cilantro (which are the same plant, just the bud and leaf respectively), slightly sweet from the blood orange juice, and nutty from the buckwheat. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cook with one unfamiliar ingredient a month, and January’s was buckwheat. And after some misses (soggy kasha, I’m looking at you), I’ve found a great vehicle for the malty, rich flavor of buckwheat to shine through.
Sweet Potato and Coriander Buckwheat Salad
adapted from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones
The blood orange gets juiced twice here- once over the vegetables before they are roasted, and once over the finished salad after the orange itself has been roasted. The two additions add a nice, layered sweetness, and I’ll be repeating the gesture when I make this salad again. If that seems too fussy for you, it would still be very tasty with the orange added either entirely at the beginning or entirely at the end.
Serves 2 for a lunch
1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 blood orange
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
a large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
a large handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes and red onion. Cut the blood orange in half and squeeze juice over the vegetables. Add in the coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper. Stir well so that everything is coated together. Turn out onto a cookie sheet or two, add in the blood orange halves, and roast until the onions are fragrant and the sweet potato is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the buckwheat groats. Toast, stirring frequently, until the buckwheat begins to smell malty and small brown dots begin to appear. Place the buckwheat in a small pot.
Cover the buckwheat with 1 cup of hot water and bring to a boil. Turn the pot down to a simmer and cook the buckwheat, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through and no longer chalky tasting. This should take about 15 minutes, but take care to watch the pot and add a quarter cup or so of water if necessary. If the buckwheat has cooked through while water still remains, drain the water.
In a serving bowl combine the roasted vegetables, the buckwheat, and the chopped herbs. Carefully squeeze the rest of the blood orange juice over everything. Drizzle over the final tablespoon of olive oil and the last 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir well and taste, then adjust for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.