Happy Pride, New York City!! The Empire State Building has been rainbowed all weekend, the March is making its way down 5th Avenue as I type, and here at the leightogreato kitchen we’re celebrating gay pride exactly the way you might expect — with food. When I was growing up, my grandmother, Pud’n, always said that our plates should look like rainbows. Celebrating 45 years since Stonewall, that advice couldn’t be more appropriate!
Pud’n is an artist with a beautiful eye for colors and contrast, so of course, she wanted us to eat from pretty plates. But she’s also a wonderful, healthy eater who taught me great habits growing up — she was into whole fruits and vegetables before they were popular (#hipstergrandma … just kidding, Pud’n hates being called grandma, #hipsterpudn). She loves indulging in a little creamy poblano soup at our favorite sandwich shop in my hometown, but is really good about practicing moderation, even when there is rich, creamy poblano soup in front of her. (I, on the otherhand, scrape the bowl clean with a spoon and then do a finger-swipe to make sure I get every. last. drop.)
But it was Pud’n’s rainbow rule that has really stuck with me. Before I learned to really pay attention to what I was eating, I at least knew that I needed something more than brown and white for a meal. I needed a rainbow.
Pud’n’s rainbow rule is brilliant. It means you have to get something green on your plate, which shouldn’t be dominated by meat and the dreaded white foods (rice, bread, sugar, potatoes, tortillas … basically all of my favorite foods are white). It means you can’t rely on heavily processed fruits and vegetables, which tend to have muted colors. It’s not fool-proof (adding cheetos to an otherwise white meal does not improve the balance) but it’s an easy guideline to keep in mind.
Now when I’m at the grocery store and picking out the ingredients for a salad, I ask myself what Pud’n would think. This tomato-avocado-cucumber panzanella definitely passes the rainbow rule — the tomato was intensely red all the way through (helloooooooo summer!) the cucumber had dark green skin and a nice, pale fruit; the red onion gave little pops of purple; the avocado had an even, medium green; and the bread gave a nice fluffy, white accent on top of the bright, summery salad.
So celebrate pride week the leightogreato way! Treat yourself to a foodie rainbow.
- 1 tomato
- 1 cucumber
- ½ avocado
- ½ red onion
- 4 red scallions (or plain ol' green onions)
- 6-is basil leaves
- 2 T. capers
- 2 T. red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 small foccacia loaf
- Chop tomato, cucumber, avocado, red onion, red scallions and basil leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl with capers, red wine vinegar, and a fat pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.
- Drizzle olive oil over the salad and give it another light toss.
- Just before serving, add the chopped focaccia loaf. (If you add the bread earlier, it will get a little soggy, which is how many italians prefer this salad. But I like the bread dry and a little crunchy -- you could even toast the bread in the oven!)