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Lockdown leaves from a non-plantita

By JOHANNA GARCIA, The Philippine STAR Published Aug 12, 2021 6:00 am

And, just like that, we’re back in lockdown. We’re all filled with frustration, anger, and a sense of despair and déjà vu, probably because we thought that we’d put the worst behind us. 

At first, I thought I would share a long, involved recipe — a lockdown project. But I realized that most of us had not only successfully found our own lockdown projects, but also incorporated our new passions into our lives.

We grew plants, baked sourdough and did yoga. We joined community groups on Viber, WhatsApp and Telegram, where we sold each other what we made, cheered each other on, exchanged tips, recipes, recommendations, information, jokes, news and fake news.

Passion projects weren’t the only way we transformed during lockdown. Many people went through an editing process of sorts. People whipped both their surroundings and their bodies into shape.

I stepped up my kitchen skills and baked cakes, donuts and breads, as well as cooked up a storm. I experimented with new recipes several times a week instead of my usual once or twice a month.

There was something so deeply therapeutic about creating good food and feeding dear friends who volunteered as guinea pigs. The wins ended up in my product line, which evolved more in the past year than it had for the last six. And when the experiments were less than successful, well, they were very dear friends.

  I stepped up my kitchen skills and baked cakes, donuts and breads.

Passion projects weren’t the only way we transformed during lockdown. Many people went through an editing process of sorts. People whipped both their surroundings and their bodies into shape. They pivoted as necessary and found either alternative ways to work or alternate careers altogether.

I closed down an unprofitable business venture and walked away from people and situations that no longer fit. And because nature hates a vacuum, I found more profitable revenue streams and business models, as well as connected and reconnected with people I loved, trusted and respected, with a new appreciation for who they were and what they brought to my life.

No matter what we did, there seemed to be a common theme of finding our ways back to our authentic selves, remembering who we were, what we stood for and what really mattered to us.

No matter what we did, there seemed to be a common theme of finding our ways back to our authentic selves, remembering who we were, what we stood for and what really mattered to us.

So, really, we don’t actually need any help figuring out new lockdown projects. Instead, I’m hoping to provide you with a recipe to help you keep the next couple of weeks light, easy and (mostly) healthy. Something slightly different but still easy to source, prep and tweak to suit your mood and tastes.

Spinach, Bacon and Mushroom Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

This French-style spinach salad hits all those points. Nutrient-dense raw spinach is made tasty with mushrooms, bacon and basic vinaigrette flavored with curry powder.

The dressing recipe below is for classic vinaigrette. You can experiment with other flavorings by changing up the greens or the vinegar you use, adding herbs or even a sweetener like honey.

Omit the bacon to make the salad vegan, or add other proteins like chicken, shrimp, beef or tofu to make it more substantial. Either way, try not to worry. You’ve got this, pardon the pun, on lock.

(Yield: 4 servings)

Ingredients:

60 grams bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices

6 cups baby spinach

100 grams button or Portobello mushrooms (or any other mushroom of your choice) cut into 1/4-inch slices

Curry vinaigrette (recipe below)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Curry Vinaigrette

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon curry powder

In a dry skillet, heat half a tablespoon of curry powder over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Take care not to burn the powder. Add to the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Procedure:

  1. Sauté bacon in a frying pan or bake in the oven until crisp.
  2. Stem the spinach, then wash and dry the leaves thoroughly.
  3. In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, bacon, mushrooms and vinaigrette. Toss well.
  4. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with lemon juice (if using) to taste. Serve immediately.