Posts tagged ‘salad’

November 13, 2012

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

My Thanksgiving came early and complete with stuffing, bourbon maple mashed sweet potatoes, and a pumpkin pie.

Oh and there was a quiz to test my Australian knowledge at a table full of people dressed like the Crocodile Hunter and Dame Edna. No biggie.

I didn’t do too bad, actually. I’ve got the koala key chain and beer koozie to prove it. (Yes, there were totally prizes, even though I was the only contestant.)

But did I mention that there was bourbon maple sweet potatoes? So yeah. No complaints here.

A girl’s got to pay her dues if she’s marrying into an Australian family. Especially if they’ve been so nice as to actually have a Thanksgiving.

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October 30, 2012

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Salad with Peanut Chili Dressing

A good peanut dressing is hard to find. I’ve had quite a few misses that left me slightly nauseous and thoroughly discouraged.

Not to get all Debbie Downer on you, but I had kind of given up on making a good Asian-y peanut sauce altogether. (SO sad, I know.)

But when the mood struck for something a little spicy, gingery and peanutty, I decided to give it another try. And FINALLY, I ended up with something I was pretty happy with.

I thinned out the sauce with a little warm water to use it as a salad dressing (the sauce recipe below ends up on the thick side) over a nice crunchy and fresh mix of carrots, Swiss chard, chickpeas and rice.

This sauce is also great spooned over warm steamed veggies and tofu or as a dipping sauce for rice paper rolls or dumplings. A little swirl of Sriracha with it is pretty killer too.

PEANUT CHILI DRESSING

  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of half a lime (extra to serve)

Heat oil in a small pan over a medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant, add chili and ginger and continue to cook for another minute, stirring.

Add peanut butter, soy sauce , coconut milk and water and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring for about 10 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken. If it becomes too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Allow to cool and add lime juice.

Serve over salad or as a dipping sauce for vegetables or dumplings.

SWISS CHARD AND CHICKPEA SALAD
(serves 2)

  •     1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and dried
  •     1/2 cup brown rice
  •     2 cups shredded Swiss chard
  •     1 medium carrot, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  •     2 green onions, thinly sliced (set some aside to garnish the salad)
  •     1/4 cup chopped cilantro/coriander
  •     1/4 cup chopped peanuts (or cashews)

Place all the ingredients besides the nuts together in a bowl with the dressing and mix well to combine. Top with reserved green onions, chopped nuts and extra cilantro. Spritz a little extra lime juice on there for extra punch.

October 19, 2012

Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Eggplant Quinoa Salad

I have a hard time not buying new notebooks. I’ve gone digital with evernote on my phone, in addition to using another basic list-making app, but I still keep handwritten lists in notebooks. I’m probably just addicted to list-making, but I think it’s got something to do with the notebooks, too. There’s something exciting and satisfying about starting a new notebook that’s addictive.

Just yesterday I found myself fondling a neon hardcover number just minutes after forcing myself to put down a red diary in another shop. (I’m still thinking about the neon one.)

My thing for notebooks is not unlike my obsession with all things related to the Tudor dynasty (books, documentaries, movies…) and British history, in general, which is a little weird. And I can’t say no to ice cream, hot sauce or a cheap sundress to save my life. I would call these things siren songs, but I’m pretty sure they’re the most unrebellious and harmless things that someone could be drawn to.

I also can’t ignore a good spice section in a supermarket – I’m constantly compelled to buy new spices or spice blends just in case. (Incorrigible, I know.)

It’s no secret that I love a good grain salad, and I love getting new ideas for them. This one is from Food & Wine – the combination of warm, Moroccan-type spices, roasted vegetables and red quinoa sounded like something I had to make for myself. I added some roasted eggplant into the mix, because I had one loitering around my crisper.

This is a great salad to make for a potluck or to serve a group. You can also make the batch for yourself and get a few weekday lunches out of it.  Add some chickpeas, white beans or cooked chicken to make it a little more substantial.

Roasted Carrot & Eggplant Quinoa Salad
adapted from Food & Wine

Spice mix:
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt & freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
- 4 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 small-medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 2 or 3 large handfuls of mixed salad greens
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro

Dressing:
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 400 F/205 C.

In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and eggplant with and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mix and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender.

Toast the walnuts in the dry pan over a medium heat until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the oil with 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Add the salad greens and toss to coat. Spread the greens on a large platter. In the same bowl, another tablespoons of oil with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the zest, mustard and 1 teaspoon of the spice mix and season with salt. Add the quinoa, walnuts, cranberries, coriander/cilantro and roasted vegetables and toss well. Spoon the quinoa salad on the greens and serve.

October 8, 2012

Caramelized Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

I’m not going to lie, there was a time not-so-long-ago that I didn’t really get fennel.

Its shape intimidated me and its texture and strong aniseed flavor when raw were kind of turn off.

So I left the cream-colored bulbs alone for a while.

But my curiosity was stoked when Mr. F and I started watching old episodes of Australian Masterchef (you know, to assimilate into this cooking show-loving country.)

Turns out, every chef and judge that came through those kitchen doors freaking loves fennel. It’s the cool, cheffy vegetable that when used, the contestant would get mad props for such “clever cooking” or “understanding flavors.”

Mad. props. yo.

Inspired, I gave fennel another try.

Following my compulsion to roast nearly every vegetable under the sun, I gave it the old…well, roasting treatment. Obviously.

And that’s the story of how I discovered the real-life (non-reality tv) joys of fennel.

Each week when we’re at the farmer’s market, F lobbies for a fennel purchase and I’m always happy to oblige. I kind of love it that he loves this weird-looking vegetable as much as I do. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, somehow.

While my default way to cook fennel will probably always be roasting, I’ve found that pan roasting/caramelizing can be another excellent alternative.

This salad is a great combination of sweetness from the caramelized fennel, tart citrus from the blood oranges, saline bite from the black olives and peppery kick from the arugula. Perfect for your weekly fennel fix!

Caramelized Fennel & Blood Orange Salad
- 1 large fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
- olive oil
- salt
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 blood orange, segmented (juice reserved for the dressing)
- 4 large handfuls of arugula
- 1-2 tablespoons sliced black olives

To caramelize fennel, heat oil in a large skillet over a medium high heat. Add fennel and toss to coat in olive oil. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring only once or twice and adding a tablespoon or two of water if the pan looks dry. You want the fennel to get some nice color on it, so stirring it only occasionally is important.

Allow the fennel to cool and arrange your salad with the remaining ingredients. Toss with Blood Orange Vinaigrette (see below).

Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon blood orange juice (from the pith of the segmented orange)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- salt and pepper

Place all ingredients together in a jar with a lid and shake well to combine. Serve over the salad and store remainder in the fridge for 2-3 days.

July 9, 2012

Warm White Bean, Spinach and Herb Salad with Sumac

It’s Monday. How you livin’?

I’m living slow… Living like the biggest thing I accomplished yesterday was finishing season 2 of Downton Abbey (dang, WWI was an emotional roller coaster!) Living like I was so lazy yesterday that it’s taken the majority of my Monday to pull me out of my laziness slump and get my shizzle together.

I’m getting there.

Real talk: inspiration has been escaping me lately – in writing and in food. I’ve been doing my very best to work through it, but other things have been majorly clouding my head. Important things. Real life things.

But it’s time to get back on track!

Where to turn when I need to look at my crisper drawer with fresh eyes? To the badass vegetable master himself, Yotam Ottolenghi. Half an hour flipping through Plenty can work wonders – with beautiful photos and some fearless veggie cooking, I’m feeling the spark again already.

Warm White Bean, Spinach and Herb Salad with Sumac
inspired by Ottolenghi’s Plenty

- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (or 1-14oz./400-gram can), rinsed and drained
- olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or minced on a microplane
- 4 spring onions or scallions thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro/coriander
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2-1 tablespoon sumac
- salt & pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high heat in a large pan. Add white beans and cook for 4 minutes, stirring only once or twice allowing them to turn golden in places.

Stir in garlic, scallions, chili flakes, spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally – allowing spinach to wilt down. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

Top with parsley, coriander and feta. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkle with sumac. Serve warm or at room temperature.

June 21, 2012

Edamame Sushi Bowl with Wasabi Dressing

I have come to realize that 72% of the time when I think  I’m craving sushi, I’m in fact craving straight up wasabi.

It’s not that I don’t looove sushi in its many glorious forms but it’s the wasabi that really brings the whole thing together for me. I love the stuff. It’s a completely different type of spicy that I totally dig.

I even love that eye-watering moment when you’ve gotten a little too much and your sinuses are magically the clearest they’ve felt in months. Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.

I know not everyone shares my crazylove for Japanese horseradish (I mean, clearly I’m some sort of spice sadist. Whatevs.) But if you do like the flavor, you have to try this salad with wasabi dressing. The dressing isn’t at eye-watering level (I’m not a monster!) but it’s undoubtedly wasabi-flavored.

The combination of traditional sushi roll vegetables like carrots and avocado topped with sesame seeds and a wasabi and soy dressing completely satisfy my sushi/wasabi cravings from the comfort of my own home.

It’s a salad that holds up well if you want to take it as a work week lunch or on a picnic – and it’s best at room temperature.

This version of the salad is vegan-friendly, but I’m dreaming about a gorgeous medium-rare piece of grilled salmon on top of this situation sometime soon.

Edamame Sushi Bowl (serves 2)
inspired by Sushi Roll Edamame Salad from Appetite for Reduction
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 cup shredded kale
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame (defrosted)
- 1/2 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Place rice, carrot, kale and edamame in a bowl and toss well with 1-2 tablespoons of the wasabi dressing (below) top with avocado and toasted sesame seeds and serve with additional dressing (if desired.)

Wasabi Salad Dressing (warning: packs a punch!)
- 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and mix well until everything is blended together.

June 14, 2012

Kale and Quinoa Waldorf Salad

Did I just visit the Wikipedia page for the Waldorf salad? Yes, yes I did. What OF IT?

Truth is, I was trawling for fun facts. I LOVE a good random fact – my favorites are historical and very trivial – making them good for nothing except dominating a couple of Jeopardy categories if I’m lucky.

My limited research on the Waldorf salad didn’t unearth much more than the obvious – that the salad was invented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York around 1896. (By a man named Oscar!)

Useless facts aside, here’s a lightened up version of the famous salad. It still has the signature crunch and sweetness of a Waldorf without the heavy dressing (I used a little Greek yogurt with a Dijon vinaigrette instead of the usual mayo business) and added bonus powerhouse foods like kale and quinoa.

Kale and Quinoa Waldorf Salad (serves 4 as a side)
- 3 cups of kale leaves, de-stemmed and finely shredded
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 small or medium-sized apple (I used a Pink Lady) sliced into bite-sized chunks
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts

Dressing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- salt & pepper

Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or jar and set aside.

Place kale, quinoa, apple, celery and raisins together in a bowl. Pour on dressing a little bit at a time, tossing well to combine. The kale softens a little with the dressing – which is a good thing if using Tuscan kale – so this salad can be dressed for to 2 or 3 hours before serving. Otherwise let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes and top with toasted walnuts before serving.

Make it a meal with: 1/2 cup more quinoa and 1/2-1 cup of chickpeas
Make it meaty with: grilled or roast chicken and/or bacon

April 25, 2012

Lunch Today: Wheat Berry Sweet Potato Salad

with Za’atar and Roasted Garlic Dressing

A full 24 hours of travel awaits me and I couldn’t be more excited.

Flying over an ocean and a whole country to get to the people I love the most, is a small price to pay.

Not to brag or anything, but I’m a good flyer. I kind of love it. I mean, I don’t loooove sitting in the same spot for 12 hours. But I like airports, buying new books and magazines and in-flight entertainment. I like the excitement of going somewhere. Somewhere new or old. Loved or unknown. It’s a thrill.

And going back to New York tomorrow might be one of my biggest thrills yet. We moved to the other side of the world 8 months ago and I’ve missed my side every minute since. Missed my people, mostly.

And now I am bursting with happiness in anticipation of touching down in JFK.

New York or bust.

Za’atar and Roasted Garlic Dressing
- 4-6 cloves roasted garlic (I used 4 abnormally large cloves)
- salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

To roast garlic: Heat oven to 200 C/ 400 F. Chop off the woody bottom of a head of garlic and place on an oiled piece of foil. Wrap the foil around the head of garlic and roast for 30-40 minutes until the cloves are golden and soft.

Squeeze garlic out of the husks and mash up with a pinch of salt. Place olive oil in a small pan over a medium-low heat. Heat until oil is warm but don’t boil. Stir in za’atar and mashed garlic, remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes and pour in a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar.

Wheat Berry Sweet Potato Salad
(serves 2)
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups wheat berries, cooked
- 1 cup kale, shredded finely
- 2 tablespoons feta
- 1-2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Cook wheat berries: Place 3/4 cup dry wheat berries in a sauce pan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40-45 minutes until wheat berries are soft but with a chewy, al dente bite to them. Place wheat berries in a colander over the sink to dry.

Roast sweet potato: preheat oven to 220 C/425 F. Cut sweet potato into 1 inch/2.5 cm chunks. Toss with olive oil and za’atar. Cook for 20-25 minutes until sweet potato is soft.

Mix wheat berries, sweet potato, kale, feta and cranberries together with the dressing, tossing well to combine. Top with chopped almonds and sesame seeds. Serve warm, at room temp or cold.

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