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!
ShavedSquash3

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!

Herbed Biscotti. With an H.

Holy herbacious goodness, Batman!

HerbBiscotti4Cmed
Rosemary, thyme, parsley, pignolias, shallot,  and lemon zest make these scrumptious. Good Lord, I just wrote “scrumptious”.

 

Still hunting for redemption after the Taralli failure, and started wondering about making a savoury biscotto. Did it exist?

HerbBiscotti1Cmed

Google says yes! At least, yes one time thanks to La Bella Giada and all who have copied her, which would now mean me as well.

HerbBiscotti2Cmed

Hey – there’s that darned spicy cherry tomato jam again! Forgive me. It is its swan song –  I am down to my last two jars. As yet this season I’ve not found more toms cheap enough to justify making them in to jam.  

HerbBiscotti3Cmed

These lovely crunchy-but-not-too-hard biscuits are complemented beautifully by the spicy sweetness of the jam and the salty creaminess of the Manchega añejo. 
Ingredients
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. goat cheese
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1.5 Tbs minced fresh rosemary
1.5 Tbs minced fresh thyme
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp minced shallot
2 Tbs sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ c. raw pignon nuts
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Put everything but the eggs and the pignolias in the mixer bowl (paddle attachment) and mix until it is a fine and crumbly.
Add the eggs, mix just till cohesive.. Then do the same for the nuts.
Split the dough in half. It should be just this side of barely holding together.
Barely dust your work surface with some flour.
Take each half of the dough and gently roll it in to a log about 12” long and 2” in diameter. Repeat w/ second log.
Put them both on the lined baking tray.
Flatten the logs ever so slightly, so the are more ovoid than round.
With a lame or a sharp knife, very lightly score the down the middle down the whole length of the logs. This dough splits a little when baking, the scoring helps you control where it splits.
Bake 30 min at the 350*.
Remove from oven and cool.
Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs in to ½” thick slices, and place them flat on the parchment.
Bake again about 15-20 mins until they are just barely golden and nice and crunchy
Notes
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for weeks. (Ha! Right! Like they’ll last that long.)
Serve with soup, on a cheese board, with antipasto, or just plain.

serves 36
calories 68
fat 4mg
cholesterol 17mg
sodium 57mg
carbs 7g
-fiber 0g
-sugars 1g
protein 2g

Orange Vinaigrette … …. and figs

This dressing! I want to drink it! Those figs! They’re like candy!

Figs2med

Is this post about the dressing, or the figs? I honestly cannot decide so we’re going to say it is about summer.

Figs1Cmed

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.

OrangeVinaigrette1Cmed

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.

OrangeVinaigrette2Cmed
Can you find the special treat I did when I sat down to lunch after taking the pictures? Oy.

My goodness, but this was delicious.
Ingredients
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.)
Instructions
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.
Notes
Need to see the whisk/emulsify technique? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdhpIZqUAJ4
By Karen Maginnis
serves 14
calories 114
fat 11g
cholesterol 0mg
sodium 6mg
carbs 5g
-fiber 0g
-sugars 4g
protein 0g

Roasted Beet, Chèvre & Escarole Salad with Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

 BEsalad2MED

Creamy goat cheese, earthy sweet beets and crunchy bitter escarole topped with a strong vinaigrette is one of my favorite salads.

BEingredMED

 

First up – the beets.  Peeled, cut into 8ths. Mixed with some olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence.

BEbake3I roasted them for 45-60 minutes at 375, with a parchment hat. That probably has a technical chef name for it, but I don’t know what that is.  I still had to check halfway through and add some water. (When are they done? They’re like potatoes – test ’em with a fork.)  When they’re done, they’re hard to resist – little earthy bites of candy.

BEbakeD1MED

 

While they cooled, I made the dressing:  Mix a teaspoon of good dijon mustard, a pressed garlic clove, salt, pepper and a 1/2tsp of sugar with 1/4 c. good balsamic vinegar. Then, slowly drizzle in about 1/2c. good olive oil until you get a nice thick emulsion.

Vinaigrette

Alrighty, salad time!  I chopped up the escarole and sliced some medallions of chèvre.  Next come those cooled beets and a drizzle of dressing and it’s time to eat! This is also really good with some added hard boiled eggs, or chicken. We’ve even skipped the goat cheese and used cubes of the apricot stilton from Trader Joe’s. Deelish!

BEsalad1MED