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We make salad for Sara Forte, serve it on plates instead of bowls, and have a great lunch anyways.
Sara Forte cooks the way we always intend to. Both her blog, Sprouted Kitchen, and her latest book, Bowl + Spoon, are colored with seasonal produce: Her recent blog posts include recipes for nectarines with burrata, mushroom spring rolls, and grapefruit agua fresca. So when deciding what to make for her lunchtime visit to the office, the Union Square Greenmarket was a no-brainer place to start. But when editors Ali, Sarah, and Caroline met at the market this morning, they didn't have a plan outside of making a big salad to pair with Sara Forte's own tahini-honey dressing.
At the market, Caroline headed straight to her favorite greens vendor for inspiration, where, in her words, "they have giant tubs of a million kinds of greens, even funky ones like 'buckwheat sprouts'." Back at the office, she grabbed the editors to help her assemble the greens—wild spinach, sunflower shoots for texture, some toddler arugula, and red lettuces—into a salad with her other greenmarket finds including peaches, tomoatoes, and potatoes (which she snagged for a grand total of $40 to feed 12 people). What follows is a minute-by-minute account of the preparation and the lunch, as captured by Home Editor Amanda Sims and inspired by a very accurate timepiece donned by one of our interns, Gabi:
10:29 Ali chirps up on our editors' chat room to see if anyone wants to start prepping lunch.
11:00 Ali begins to fry zucchini halves; Caroline delegates prep of remaining vegetables.
11:21 Kenzi pulls props and styles place settings just so.
11:42 The last batch of potato slices hit the oil for "salad chips," or last-minute "croutons" à la Amanda.
11:56 Amanda stashes fried potato slices in salad, rearranging tomatoes on top so nobody knows.
11:59 Leslie realizes we're making lunch.
12:05 Sprouted Kitchen on the premises, greeted by a throng of editors at the elevator doors.
12:12 Crowd of editors assembles around the table, snapping pictures left and right, overhead, and at each other.
12:23 Caroline announces the menu, and Sarah (the editor) points out that we got "pasteurized cheese" to the first of many laughs (Sara Forte's pregnant!).
12:27 Talk turns to Ramen. Sara wants to eat some in New York; it's her husband's favorite. Where to go?
12:28 Sara leaves the table to got take a well-lit picture of her plate.
12:28 to 12:30 We sit in silence. (Just kidding!)
12:30 Sara returns to the table and everyone smiles.
12:33 Sara says, "The only vegetables we ate growing up were tomatoes and ranch."
12:37 Ali declares, "If I could, I would cover my home in aluminum foil."
12:41 The salad bowl starts making its round for seconds; tahini dressing follows at a slow pace because the other end of the table is enraptured by Sara and does not know the dressing is over there by them and does not see Amanda's hand signals behind Sara's head.
12:48 to 12:56 We get disctracted by good conversation and take no notes; Ali tells us about the cheese she smuggled home from Rome.
1:01 The brave begin to get up from their seats, clearing plates and cleaning up.
1:08 Most of the table is gone, and Sara is drawing her favorite food (a lemon!) at our request.
What are some of your favorite Sara Forte recipes? What's your go-to salad dressing? Tell us in the comments below!