SUMMER! The rains are finally here. It took a long time this year, so long we began to wonder if they would ever get here. But now it is officially summer. Hot, sticky days beg for cold, crunchy salads.
You know how much I love me some carrot salad. It’s a summer staple in our house. I made this one for my mom’s birthday lunch, and loved it so much I’ve made it again and again.
This is an easy-peasy salad, almost like that carrot raisin salad from childhood, but with a grown-up (and mayonnaise-free!) twist.
1# fresh carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 to 4 c.)
¼ c. dried figs, sliced in thin rounds
¼ c. toasted pistachio meats, coarsely chopped
Zest of ½ lemon (1 tsp.)
Juice of ½ lemon (2 Tbps.)
1 Tbsp. agave sweetener (or sugar, or honey)
1 Tbsp. mild vegetable oil
Use a food processor to grate the carrots. Or use children – free labor, quick healers, and all that.
In a medium-sized salad bowl, whisk together the lemon, agave, oil. Dump in the rest, stir and serve. Or, you can stick it in the fridge and eat it later. It is good both ways: crisper with less sauce the first day, crunchy and juicier the next.
This is fantasic for picnics and barbecues (no mayo!), or with a sammie at lunch.
Going with four servings, the calorie calculator at verywell.com says each serving has:
and…..632% of your Vitamin A for the day!
2016. It’s been a slog of year, honestly.
I removed my self-imposed deadline of a post a week, so this year saw only 20 or so recipes and about 5,000 views, which brings the historical total to 15,000. Inspiration has been elusive, and it is, alas, the impetus for a new recipe worthy to shoot and write about.
I still have the goal of self-publishing a cook book. I still have the goal of increasing readership without resorting to all those awful, grasping ads so many foodbloggers whore themselves out for. We’ll see, I guess. If I could find a way to unobtrusively and tastefully do them, I may be forced to eat some crow. Himself would love to see my hobby offset some of its own costs.
The omelettes, of course, have five times the number of hits as each of the others (since they were picked up in an article at Daily Burn about a year and a half ago.) But hell, who knows why one thing hits more than others. Maybe it’s just the red plates.
Let us see where 2017 takes us. I wish us all health, happiness, prosperity and balance. And thanks, you guys. It is just lovely to share with others who also love to eat good stuff.
Brightest blessings for the coming year,
Chopped Satay Salad
If you are like me, and when you go out for a specific kind of food – you order the same baseline item to gauge if you’ll like the rest: Chips and salsa, eggs benedict, fried rice, fish taco. When we go out for Vietnamese or Thai food, we always get the rice paper rolls and peanut sauce. Oh, that sauce. When it is good, I just want ask for a bowl of it and a spoon.
It dawned on me this weekend that (duh!), there is probably a good recipe for it online. And there is – I made this recipe from SheSimmers.com, and it is AMAZEBALLS. Instead of just eating it with a spoon (and believe me, I can neither confirm nor deny that happened), I thought I’d get out the rice paper and make some spring rolls with tofu. Then as I was slicing the jalapeno and the cilantro, I got lazy and said ah, hell. I’m just going to make a chopped salad and dress it in the satay.
Holy Peanut Sauce, y’all. This is yum. Just so much yum.
Make the sauce – it takes all of five minutes and you will be SO HAPPY.
1 c. chopped green cabbage
1 c. diced extra firm sprouted tofu
½ c. chopped broccoli
½ c. celery
½ c. diced jicama
½ c. diced cucumber
¼ c. diced red pepper
¼ c. chopped cilantro
2 radishes, sliced thin
¼ jalapeno, sliced thin
1/8 sweet onion, sliced thin
½ c. satay sauce
Toss it, serve with lime wedges and the sauce and some sesame seeds if you feel fancy.
If you don’t like tofu, do chicken. Or grilled fish or shrimp. Or,a add some cold rice vermicelli as a base. That would be delicious, too.
Originally I was calling this post: Blanched Green Bean Salad; or, that didn’t exactly turn out….
We went to Willcox yesterday, in our annual pilgrimage to farm country. Loaded up on fresh peaches, squash, eggplant, roasted green chile and of course the green beans. I was blanching them this morning, munching on one and thought – hey, this would be yummy in a salad besides salade niçoise.
I was extremely disappointed when I first put it together – even himself was not enthused. It just tasted like raw green beans and dijon mustard. Yuck. I was so sad – I mean, come on! Green beans, bacon, onion, almonds – what could possibly go wrong??
But the next day? It was pretty yummy. Only thing is, leave green beans in a acidic solution like that vinaigrette and they lose that pretty green in the pictures and become a more olive green, less fresh, appetizing color so I feel as if my pictures are false advertising now.
So…..make this the day before you intend to eat it; perhaps if your garden is drowning you in green beans.
1 tsp. bacon fat
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp canola oil
½ tsp celery seed
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ c. rice vinegar
2 c. freshly blanched green beans, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 celery stalk, thinly chopped
2 Tbps. thin sliced white or red onion
1/4 c. almond slivers
1/4 c. minced parsley
1 slice cooked bacon, chopped
This all started when I saw gluten-free ramen at Costco. You know, that den of the budget-killing impulse buy. It’s freakin’ hot, but I thought they might make a nice cold salad – you know how you have cold soba noodles? Then of course I Google to see if this an original idea, and nope. It’s called Hiyashi Chuka, but looks like there has to be corn and slivered egg to be called that. Or, I could be wrong. But man there are some tasty-sounding options out there!
This is really best with these noodles just cooled to room temp (since they’re rice-based. You know how rice noodles get hard when they’re ice cold), and all the other ingredients icy cold.
Cook, rinse and cool the noodles according to package directions.
While that is happening, slice up:
leftover steak (or shrimp, or tofu)
In a small dish, mix together:
1T soy sauce or tamari
1 T rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Serve hot chili oil on the side
Oh, that you could taste this right now. Icy cold, crisp, slightly sweet – with accent of fresh basil leaves and lemon and the slightest drizzle of honey. I am in heaven.
I absolutely love those yellow melons at Costco – I think they’re called sunshine? They’re amazing – the flesh is mostly like a honeydew. If they are not super ripe, they are crisp and still sweet. When they are ripe, they are a dripping juicy mass of honey sweetness. It’s a win/win.
Dammit, I love summer. Make this – you will be so happy.
There isn’t really a recipe, per se. Just this:
Cube or ball as much melon as you’ d like to use.
Peel and dice an equal volume of English cucumber. (If you use the normal kind, I’d seed it.)
Toss in a bowl.
Rinse and chiffonade a couple of basil leaves (more or less to your taste).
Zest some lemon on to the mix, and then squeeze in a little lemon juice.
Drizzle with some honey.
Toss and eat.
I’m ready for something light. The comfort foods of cooler weather just seem heavy and unappetizing now that the days are longer and the sun is shining. Well, that plus the candy fest that seems to run from St. Valentine’s day through Easter. Ugh. No more sugar. Please.
Shaved squash is all the foodie rage of late, and at first I thought, “uh – no.” But then I tried it. I must confess, it’s tasty. It is actually tender-crisp, mild, and ever so slightly sweet. And with some lemon? YUM! So today’s salad is a super light, marvelously crunchy concoction – it would be great as a big lunch salad, or as a side to some grilled chicken, fish, or tofu.
There is so much crunchiness going on – the tender crisp of the squash, the moist snap of the celery, the toasted earthy crunch of the toasted walnuts. Combined with the freshness of parsley and lemon, and the tangy creaminess of some fresh goat cheese and you are going to be so happy you made this!
Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette
Serves 2 as a side, or one for lunch
1 c. walnuts, toasted
1 thin zucchini, shaved in to strips.
2 stalks celery, sliced thin at an angle
½ shallot, minced
2 oz. chèvre
¼ c parsley, minced
Zest & juice of half lemon (about 2 Tbsp. juice)
¼ c. (or so) good olive oil
salt & pepper
For the walnuts:
These must be toasted. Heat the oven to 400*. Put the walnut halves on a baking sheet. Put it in the hot oven, and turn the heat off. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes (you should smell toasty nuts.) If they don’t smell toasty, leave them a few minutes more. Let them cool.
For the dressing:
Combine lemon juice, zest, mustard and shallot in a bowl. Whisk these with some salt & pepper until homogenous. Then, whisk in the olive oil just until it emulsifies.
For the salad:
Plate this just before eating it. Arrange the celery, then the squash, parsley,nuts and use a spoon to make little dollops of goat cheese. This might look pretty done Cobb-style with each ingredient in its own row, but I haven’t tried that. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!
This adventure all began because I asked my lovely husband to pick up some sliced roast beast for sammiches at The Costco. When he got home, I realized we didn’t have any horseradish. Now, to most households that is probably meaningless. But, at ours, we have to have horseradish on a roast beast sammich. Anything less is uncivilized. So, no horseradish. But, hey! I do have wasabi in the fridge – maybe I’ll make some wasabi mayo. Then the work week happened. I started to have guilt about making my low-carb man have a sammich. I started to think about that roast beast in cute little rolls on a salad. Plus, I had some gorgeous avoschmados. Mmmmmm. Wasabi vinaigrette! Our Google overlords proved it had been done, and that was all she wrote.
It turned out fantastic. Truly an outstanding salad. Totally making this again. As I was eating, it helped me figure something out. I love sushi. But I hate raw fish. This little salad adventure made me realize what, exactly, made me like sushi. It’s a combination of flavors – the creamy beauty of ripe avocado, the salty soy sauce, the piercing wasabi, the sweet crispness of ginger, and the crunchy nuttiness of sesame. Ok, flavors and ironically, textures. (Since I hate the texture of raw fish.) All the interwebs used this kind of dressing on a seared ahi salad. Living in the desert, I save the seared ahi for our trips to San Diego. Plus, this is much less expensive. I also think cubed firm silken tofu would be awesome on this salad if you’re not in to the whole beef thing.
What a fantastic dinner, with a gorgeous bowl of miso soup. (Wait. What? You don’t know how to make miso? Ya gotta be kiddin’ me! Easiest soup EVER. Seriously – do this, too!
2 Tbsp prepared wasabi
1/2 c rice wine vinegar
¼ c low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar or honey
About 1 c. lightly flavored oil
Put everything in the blender (or your smoothie maker) and pulse a few times
This is a rip off of a Turkish recipe that I came across in a Pinterest link/interwebs rabbit hole at the beginning of the summer that I cannot find again. (Shouldapinnedit).
Charred eggplant and red pepper are chopped, mixed with parsley, garlic confit, olive oil and lemon juice.
This is really best served room temperature or ever so slightly warm.
Gorgeous with mezze, or alone with some warm pita, or as side with roast chicken or kebabs.
2 med eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
6-8 cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 pignon nuts
1/2 c. parsley
Fire roast or broil the eggplant and the red pepper, turning until all sides are blackened.
While those are cooking, put the olive oil and the garlic in small sauce pan on very low heat.
Cook until the garlic is soft. It should not brown.
When the veg are blackened all over, put on a plate and cover with a bowl to loosen the skins.
Peel and coarsely chop the eggplant and the pepper.
Coarsely chop the confited garlic, and the parsley
Mix everything in a bowl and season with s&p to taste.
This dressing! I want to drink it! Those figs! They’re like candy!
Is this post about the dressing, or the figs? I honestly cannot decide so we’re going to say it is about summer.
Trader Joe’s had these fun striped figs last night, so of course we had to get them. Because cute food. When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about a spinach salad I had planned for the blog, one with an orange vinaigrette, and those figs just matched perfectly.
This dressing is saturated in orange flavor goodness. It is delightful, and would be good on any spring green salad, or grilled chicken, or asparagus, or…well you get the idea. Make this. It’s delicious. It’ll easily keep in the fridge up to a week. I wouldn’t go longer because of the parsley.
My goodness, but this was delicious.
zest of an entire navel orange (about 1Tb)
juice of the orange (about 1/4c)
¼ c. cider or rice vinegar (or enough to bring juice up to ½ c)
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp minced shallot
2 Tbsp minced parsley
2/3 – 1 c. mild oil (canola, light olive, etc.)
Whisk together everything but the oil. Then, slowly drizzle in the oil while still whisking until it emulsifies.
Add or subtract honey depending on your preference. Use the rice vinegar if you like things a little less zippy.
Need to see the whisk/emulsify technique? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdhpIZqUAJ4
By Karen Maginnis