Mexican Spicy Carrot Pickles

Mexican Spicy Carrot Pickles
(Zanahorias en escabeche)

I love the spicy carrots on the salsa bar when we go for tacos. So much so, a couple years back I asked The Google for some recipes. I found one that was okay at the time, but haven’t made it since.
We’re having a Fiesta Friday potluck at the office this week. (Because although we appreciate the alliteration of a Taco Tuesday, none of us has the time for an office party on a Tuesday.) I made carnitas and wanted some cebollas en escabeche to go along. That got me thinking about those carrots again. YouTube is overflowing with awesome home cooks making their zanahorias. I always wondered why there was a tiny bit of oil in the pickle juice – and now I know. The veg are lightly sauteed before adding the vinegar. Dur. Makes perfect sense.

My searches also garnered the Spanish dish by the same name, and it was interesting to see the differences – thyme and pimenton, cook the carrots a little longer. No hot peppers. I’m thinking the Mexican version is a post-colonial smoosh – but, hey. I am no food anthropologist. Anywho, this was maybe twenty minutes start to finish. I bet you have the ingredients already. These stay good a couple weeks in the fridge – if they last that long. Make some today to have ready for your Taco Tuesday. You can totally eat these the same day, but they certainly get better the longer they soak in that gorgeous escabeche.

Zanahorias en escabeche
Makes about 3 cups.
1# carrots, peeled and sliced in to ¼” thick diagonal ovals.
3 jalapenos, halved
½ large white onion, sliced in ¼” thick half-moons
3 cloves garlic, slightly smooshed with the flat of your knife
½ tsp. black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Mexican oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ½ c. white vinegar
1 ½ c. water
(sal al gusto)

In a large non-reactive skillet on medium, heat the oil, pepppercorns, bay, oregano, and the garlic until you can smell the garlic. Then, add everything but the water and the vinegar. Stir around (you do not want this to brown) for a minute or two until you see the onions are starting to soften. Pour in the water and vinegar, and simmer until the jalapenos are done – they will change from a deep green to an olive green.
While that is simmering, prepare your container. You want something that can handle hot liquid – I used glass with those snappy silicone gasket lids. Just be sure to heat up the container with some hot water before you dump in your pickles. (Just imagine cold glass and hot liquid. Yeah.)
When the jalapenos are done, scoop all the veg in to your prepared container. Then, pour in just enough of the liquid to cover them. You will most likely have extra liquid at the end. Toss it. Or use it to make a vinaigrette.

That’s it. You’re done. Cool it. Label it & pop it in the fridge and enjoy.
PS – all the recipes I saw added salt to these puppies, but I think this is plenty flavorful without. But add some if you like!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the red onion and the chile de arbol in the knolled pic – I made some cebollas en escabeche at the same time. But those are already a blog post…

Parsley Pasta Salad With Chickpeas

If you like real tabbouleh, I think you will love this. The parsley is the star. This was just going to be Saturday lunch and a way to use up a half bag of the TJ’s grilled veg, so of course I have no knolled ingredients or process photos to include. But, this was yummy enough to warrant a share – so forgive me.

This is hearty, and fresh, and makes for a filling lunch. You could add some tuna to boost it up, if you wanted. Or just serve it as a side to some rotissimat chicken you picked up on the way home.
If you are lucky enough to be able to eat cheese, some chunks of feta in this would push it into the orgiastically good zone.

Try this – I am totally loving it, and I think you will, too.

Parsley Pasta Salad With Chickpeas in Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette
Salad Ingredients
½ pound rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and peeled
1 small bunch ruffled parsley, chopped coarsely. (About 2.5-3c.)
12 ish pitted kalamata olives, sliced laterally in half
1/2 small white onion, diced
1.5-2c chopped grilled vegetables (I used ½ bag of the Trader Joe’s misto alla griglia – it is red bells, eggplant and zucchini.)
Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette
3 fat cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
A ton of freshly ground black pepper.

Directions:
Ok, while the water is boiling for your pasta, make the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together everything but the oil, then drizzle and whisk it in last until you have a nice emulsion. Pour half of the dressing into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. This dressing is really intense, do not panic. Once is mixed with everything it will mellow out.
Peel the chickpeas, put them in the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Microwave for one minute, stir and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, chop your vegetable and layer them on top of the dressing in the bowl (but do not mix!) and put that in the fridge to wait for the last step.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and then immediately put the hot pasta in the bowl with the chick peas and give it a stir.
Once the pea/pasta mixture has cooled to room temperature, toss it with the rest of the ingredients and it is ready to eat. Or, stick it back in the fridge. Because you coated the beans and pasta with that super-strong dressing while they were hot, you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to enjoy this. It is ready right now.

This makes 4 meal-sized portions, or 8-10 sides.

Nutritional Info
for the meal size, verywell.com says each serving has:

927 cal
38.7g fat
123.8g carbs (fiber 21.9g, sugar 12.5g)
29g protein
Plus – 110% Vitamin A, 93% vitamin C and 56% Iron.

Jalapeno Cilantro Slaw with Lime


My new favorite coleslaw is easy, fast, zesty and bright. And easy. Wait, I said that. Oh! And no mayo! This is zippy the day you make it, the next day it will have more juice from the cabbage and it will be hotter because the jalapeno has been infusing everything.

We love this with grilled chicken, or pork. As a side with tacos, and actually ON fish tacos. It is super yummy.
You ready? Let’s do this!

Whisk together:
3 Tbsp. mild oil
¼ c. agave sweetener (or 2 Tbsp sugar)
¼ c. freshy squeezed lime juice.
Pour over:
3 c. napa or green cabbage, chopped for slaw
¼ c. chopped cilantro
¼ c. white onion in wafter thin crescents
½ to 1 small fresh jalapeno, in wafer thin rings or crescents.
Toss. Eat. Add S&P to taste.

Nutritional info for four servings (according to verywell.com recipe analyzer).
Cal 164
Fat 10.3g
Carb: 19.1g (sugars 17.2g)
Protein: 1g
Vitamin A 79%, Vitamin C 49% of daily allowance.

Lemony Carrot Salad with Fig & Pistachio


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:
Calories 163
Fat 7.3g
Carbs 23.9g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 14.8g
Protein 3.1g
and…..632% of your Vitamin A for the day!

The Yum’s Top Posts 2016


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.

But the food! Far and away, my favorite recipe this year was the tacos de camotes. The interwebs had a different take, though. The lemon pistachio scones were finally edged out of the top three. (Two years running ain’t bad, gals. Good job!) This year’s top are:

Mini Oven Omelettes
Sweet Potato and Kale Skillet
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

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,
KPM

Chopped Satay Salad

Chopped Satay Salad
Salad with Satay Sauce
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.
chopped salad with satay

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.
So tasty
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.

Mix together:
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.

Crunchy Green Bean Salad

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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.
GreenBean1Med

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??

GreenBean3Med
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.
GreenBean4Med

Whisk together:
1 tsp. bacon fat
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp canola oil
½ tsp celery seed
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ c. rice vinegar
Stir in:
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

Make the day before. Serves 2-4.
Bon apétit!

Cold Steak and Ramen Salad

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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.
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So…..
Cook, rinse and cool the noodles according to package directions.
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While that is happening, slice up:
cucumber
green onion
leftover steak (or shrimp, or tofu)
mushrooms
RamenSalad2Cmed
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
Mix it.
Eat it.
The end.

Share if you try it!

Melon Cucumber Basil Salad

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.
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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.
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Dammit, I love summer. Make this – you will be so happy.
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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.

Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette

ShavedSquash3
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.
ShavedSquash1
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.
ShavedSquash5
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!
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Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette
Serves 2 as a side, or one for lunch
Ingredients:
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!