Archive for the ‘salad’ Category

Favorite Things: No-Cook Summer Suppers

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Our favorite things week continues with a non-recipe — because I don’t spend much time developing new recipes here at the close of summer. Pretty much everything found at the market or in our CSA bag can be served fresh or quickly grilled with a little cheese and few slices of bread. Why make things complicated?

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Here we also added some prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and watermelon from the CSA, and peaches from southern Maryland. The tomatoes and fruit were sprinkled with champagne vinegar, and the mozzarella drizzled with olive oil. A pinch of salt and pepper and we were set. Oh, and a loaf of Atwater’s sourdough, also from the farmers market. The boy still doesn’t like tomatoes, so I composed the ingredients as shown above and let the kids mix as they desired.

We’d been to a Good Food Awards tasting earlier in the day, where the kids went nuts over this champagne vinegar. Really. {Kimberley Wine Vinegars from California. Check ‘em out.}

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The tot stopped to say hello to one of her pickle ladies, aka Sarah from Gordy’s Pickle Jar. They had run out of her sweet chips, though, so I had promised her we’d have some at home (fortunately we still had a jar in the fridge). So, this was her dinner creation, titled “The Pickled Lady”:

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We may have eaten this meal a few more times this week…. and then we got more tomatoes and watermelon in our CSA bag yesterday, so I moved on to gazpacho.

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What’s your favorite no-cook supper?

Apple Cranberry Kale Salad and Kale Day with October Unprocessed

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

We love our kale in the foodie tots’ house — yes, even tofu-fearing husband has learned to appreciate it — so of course we had to jump on the Kale Day bandwagon on social media today. You see, the blog Eating Rules has an “October Unprocessed” challenge, now in its third year.october unprocessed 2012

The challenge urges people to go one month without processed foods, using a simple “kitchen test”: if the item you’re buying contains only ingredients that could be made in a home kitchen with whole ingredients, it’s okay. This rules out artificial colors and flavors, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup, for starters. It’s a great way to jump start a change in your family diet, if you’ve been contemplating a switch to real foods, or just follow along for a ton of great information and recipe ideas. And, as part of the real food love fest, founder Andrew Wilder declared today International Kale Day. Kale is a superfood packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K, and most of us could stand to eat a little more of it.

Like the classic lemon-parmesan version, making this apple kale salad begins by massaging kale with salt. (Kids love to help with this step.) Let it stand while chopping the apple and nuts, and whisk together a quick dressing of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Toss it all together and let it sit while you finish up the rest of dinner. The salt and dressing help tenderize the kale, and the finished salad is simple and full of fresh fall flavors. (Credit is due to my friend Jill, who first turned me on to the apple-kale combination.)

apple cranberry kale salad

Recipe: Apple Cranberry Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch black pepper, optional

Instructions:

1. Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Massage salt into kale for two minutes.

2. Whisk together maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and olive oil (and pepper, if using–I usually add to the adults’ salads later). Add apples, cranberries and pecans to kale, add dress and toss gently to combine. Let stand 5 to 15 minutes before serving.

Check out the link round-up for more kale inspiration — and feel free to add a link of your own. Happy Kale Day!


At Market: Apple Fennel Salad

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

These early days of September are full of mixed messages at the farmers market. Summer peaches can still be found, but are quickly edged out by the teeming bins of apples. Cherry tomatoes and okra share table space with the first acorn and butternut squash. Rosh Hashanah is quickly approaching (September 16) — the Jewish holiday that is marked by apples dipped in honey to symbolize the wish for a sweet new year — but when the temperatures are still topping 90 it’s hard to even think about baking with apples just yet. And so this apple fennel salad is the perfect cooling dish when summer heat is overstaying its welcome. Serve alongside fish or even hot dogs on the grill. Simplicity is key when coping with the end-of-day exhaustion of freshly back-to-school kids (and their parents).

apple fennel salad

Recipe: Apple Fennel Salad
Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Honey crisp apples
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

1. Thinly slice the apples and fennel, cutting down to bite-sized 1/2-inch pieces if serving little ones. Place in salad bowl.

2. Whisk together salt, honey, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

3. Drizzle dressing over apple and fennel and gently toss. Garnish with a little of the leafy fennel fronds, if desired.

september at ballston freshfarm market

These particular apples were purchased at the FRESHFARM Ballston market, held Thursdays from 3 to 7pm just across from the Ballston Metro station. (Wondering why the honey crisps are more green than red this year? Blame the heat, says Mrs. Wheelbarrow in the NY Times Diner’s Journal.) We stopped by to sample the new goats-milk cheeses from Peachy Family Dairy in Pennsylvania (the foodie tot was smitten with their Lady’s Gouda Blessings, an almost candy-like treat), picked up some skirt steak from Gunpowder Bison, and sampled the new Savvy Popsicles). Local favorite Westmoreland Berry Farm is there, and Shells Yes!, a Maryland “true blue” certified crab company who makes a fresh and tasty crab and corn hummus. (And crab cakes, of course.)

What’s your favorite food at the market in September?

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

I once had the fortune to ride out a Florida hurricane at my great aunt’s house. How was this fortuitous, you may ask. Well for starters, I was with my uncle and aunt. Like any good son of an Italian mother, my uncle cooked up a storm as long as the power held out — there was pasta, scallops, and more. And in the backyard of the house, there were avocado trees. The fruits were strewn across the yard after the storm passed (thankfully, there was no serious damage in the neighborhood), and I flew back home several days later with a suitcase partially filled with fresh fallen avocados. If you’ve never had a Florida avocado, they are quite different than the standard Californian/Mexican Haas avocados found at supermarkets. They are several times larger, lighter colored and smooth skinned, and I find they have a fruitier flavor.

Once home with my hurricane souvenirs I set about to recreate a salad I first fell in love with on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico: the grapefruit avocado salad. The salad is simple to throw together, full of bright flavors to add cheer to cold winter days, and the healthy fats in the avocado help make it deceptively filling. Sometimes I just drizzle my grapefruit and avocado slices with straight olive oil, but it doesn’t take much longer to whisk it with lemon juice for the dressing.

Even when I have to make it with California avocados, it still serves to boost my mood during the dreary days of January.

grapefruit avocado salad

Recipe: Grapefruit Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 1 large Florida avocado or 2 Haas avocados
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • sea salt

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil to make dressing. Set aside.
  2. Peel grapefruit and separate sections.
  3. Halve avocado(s) lengthwise and remove pit. Cut into thick slices, still in the skin, and gently scoop the slices out with a spoon.
  4. Arrange grapefruit segments and avocado slices in bowl or serving dish. Drizzle dressing over salad and then season generously with sea salt.

Makes 2-4 servings.

There are a number of ways to build upon this recipe — adding fennel or seafood, for example. Do you have a favorite version?

Spiced Pecan, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This is my favorite holiday salad — fresh pomegranate arils sparkle like little jewels to make any meal festive. It was my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (at my brother and sister-in-law’s new home), and will likely make a repeat appearance on Christmas Eve as well. If you have time, roasting the pears makes it even better.

Recipe: Spiced Pecan, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 pears
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the arils from a fresh pomegranate)
  • spiced pecans (see below)
  • French dressingFor the Spiced Pecans:
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions: Thinly slice the onion and cook in a skillet or saute pan over medium low heat, with a drizzle of olive oil, until golden brown. Meanwhile, in another saute pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the sugar, salt and seasonings and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pecans have darkened. Remove to a wax paper or parchment lined plate to cool.

To assemble salad, tear the Romaine lettuce into small pieces and place in your salad bowl. Top with onions, sliced pears, pecans and pomegranate arils. Serve with French dressing. Makes 6-8 servings.

Note: I use the under-water technique to seed a pomegranate, as seen at Steamy Kitchen.

P.S. FoodieTots is joining other bloggers to host a holiday progressive feast for Share our Strength – sharing a virtual meal to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger. Check back Friday for our official contribution, or go straight to the menu at SOS to find today’s salad dishes.