Rice Salad w/Nuts and Sour CherriesIndeed, the Ottolenghi recipe for “Rice Salad with Nuts and Sour Cherries,” from Plenty More, calls for many pots and pans, but his cute apology at the outset pardons him, I say. This recipe is fun to pace: the grains (wild rice, basmati rice, quinoa), the nuts (almonds, pine nuts), the onions. It’s a marvelous mix of textures.

I love the Ottolenghi method of toasting nuts in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil. He’s done this to me before and it’s brilliant. The almonds and the pine nuts provide the meatiness in this salad.

Be dazzled by all the herbs: parsley, basil, tarragon. Delight in the fried onions. Feel the zing of the rocket (I used arugula) and the dried sour cherries. All good.

Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho w/Cured AsparagusReady to celebrate the season of “blender food,” I’ve also made the “Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus,” from the April 2015 issue of Saveur.

This recipe asks us to toast the nuts and toast the cubes of sourdough bread, but that’s it for the cooking. Your blender is the workhorse, here.

The nuts, bread cubes, and water fill the blender to the top. The blender grinds and finally wins. I chose not to remove the crusts from my bread, because I like their flavor too much.

The olive oil emulsion, with the macadamias, is magical, rich, and creamy: lots of “wow.”

I enjoyed not cooking the asparagus. Pickling them added a welcome grassy crunch to the top of my gazpacho.

PRICES:
Onions (2) = .86¢
Basil (2/3 cup) = $2.23
Tarragon (1/3 cup) = $2.23
Lemon (1) = .44¢
Raw Unsalted Macadamia Nuts (3 1/2 cups) = $13.36
Lime (1) = $1.01
Asparagus (10 oz.) = $2.38

PREP TIMES: if all your pots and pans are working at once, you could pull this salad together within an hour (but it will sit and wait for you to eat it); the blended soup needs time in the fridge to chill
TASTES:
a salad with everything: meaty nuts, sharp greens, textured grains; gazpacho, creamy with macadamias and olive oil, with a highlight of grassy asparagus

Next time, I want to treat myself to the “Almond Butter Quinoa Blondies,” from the March/April 2013 Eating Well. Grinding raw quinoa into a powder? Wow. Come back to my site next week to marvel with me.