Summer summer summer salads!! Gurkensalat.

My father’s family is from a tiny, tiny town in Ohio. Often in the summer, we would go “back east” to visit. My paternal grandparents were wound pretty tight; I never felt comfortable when I was there. But my Grandmother Charlotte always made two things that stuck in my mind: cucumber salad, and huge soft lemon sugar cookies.  Those are my favorite memories of those trips; well, those and fireflies. Being from the desert, fireflies have always fascinated me.  As far as the victuals, to this day I’ve not found the equivalent for the cookies but I have for the cukes!  Thank you, interwebs.
GurkenCollage

This is simple. And quick. And so very yummy and cool, and great with summery foods like picnics and barbecues.  It pays to make a big batch; it will keep in the fridge for at least a week. Unless you live with me; then it’s two days, tops.

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The only thing is, you really do need a mandoline for this. Unless you’ve been to chef school and have the mad knife skills to slice a cucumber in to wafer thin slices.

 

Gurken6med

 

I really hope you try this one. It’s tangy, sweet, savory and crunchy.
For the marinade
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. white vinegar
For the salad
1/2 English cucumber, washed and sliced wafer-thin on a mandoline
1/4 Sweet white onion like a Vidalia or a Maui Sweet, sliced wafer-thin on a mandoline
1 Tbsp. dried dill weed, or 2 Tbsp. minced fresh.
Instructions
Put the marinade ingredients in a sauce pan or in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring to an almost boil, until the sugar is dissolved and set aside to cool.
While the marinade is cooling, wash and slice the veg.
In a tall, wide-mouthed container, put a single layer of cukes, a single layer of onion and sprinkle of dill.
Continue until all the stuff is in the jar.
By this time, the marinade should be about room temp. Pour it over the ingredients in the jar.
Refrigerate.
If you can contain yourself, these are best eaten after a day.
Notes
You can also make this with crème fraîche instead of the marinade. Just mix it all together. Nerms.

Servings 4
Calories 114
Fat 0 g
Sodium 5 mg
Carbs 28 g
Protein 0 g

Nectarine Sorbet: Hello, summer!

 

Another three-ingredient miracle thanks to magic of the season.

NectarineSorbet5med
Ever have one of those recipes in your mind, and you can just imagine and taste how it will be. And then you make it, and it’s good. It’s yummy.  It is just not the mind-blowing deliciousness you had in mind? Yeah – that’s me this week.  But this was still a yummy treat, and it froze and reserved beautifully.

Nectarine Collage

My only complaint is I thought this would have a deeper nectarine taste. Then I remembered the ice cream Alton Brown lesson – d’oy – if it’s going to be frozen, it needs to be super-saturated in flavor and sweetness or it won’t taste right at the end.

Nectarine1med
See how the color lightened up, and it looks fluffy? That’s done!

 

That said, we totally ate this. It was delicious. Next time, I might try roasting the nectarines like the pears.

NectarineSorbet3Bmed

Or maybe leaving the fruit out until it is almost too ripe. Time will tell – stay tuned!

I am just not happy with shots for this post. Dammit. The pear shots turned out so great, and these are….meh. 

Kvetching aside, Bon apétit.
For the frozen nectarines
6-8 just ripe to almost too ripe nectarines.
1 lemon, washed and chopped in to chunks.
¼ c sugar.
For the sorbet
You *may* need a couple Tbsp of simple syrup or fruit juice.

DIRECTIONS
Blanche/peel the nectarines. Cut in to chunks (Mine were not free-stone, so I cut them up like a mango). Squeeze the lemon chunks with the sugar in a big bowl. Toss in the nectarines, and mix to coat with the lemony sugar mixture.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Spread out the coated nectarine chunks in an even layer. Put the tray in the freezer, and freeze until they’re hard. Remove from the parchment, and keep in a zip bag in the freezer for up to a couple months. (Ha! Yeah – like they’ll last that long)
OK – to make it, set in the cuisinart for 10-15 mins.
Once you’v tempered the frozen fruit, you just pulse it until it is creamy and lightens in color. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of simple syrup (or apple or orange juice).
Be sure to pulse – because one second you’ll have crumbles and then whoosh it comes together.
Fantastic fluffy texture using this technique
Could you do this without peeling the fruit? Totally – it will just have tiny flecks of skin throughout. I’ve tried it that way, but didn’t like the texture.
I thought this would be awesome in a bellini, btw. Haven’t tried it yet.

Servings 4
Calories 54
Fat 0 g
Sodium 1 mg
Carbs 14 g
Protein 0 g

Roasted Pear Sorbet

Dude – this has four ingredients. Four. And it is AMAZING. Remember those roasted pears from last week?

PearSorbet2Cmed

 

So, I put some in the freezer. Yes, fine, so I wouldn’t just eat all of them in one sitting. You got me. Then I started to think of that awesome banana “ice cream” you can make with just frozen bananas, and thought, “Hey! I wonder if I could do that with that bag of frozen roasted pears?”

 

 PearSobet3Cmed

The answer is YES.  It was amazing. But himself was not impressed. So, I added some minced candied ginger – and pop! He liked it!  I’ve read about this flavor combo tons, but never thought I’d like it so didn’t try it. This is delicious!

PearSorbet4Cmed

 

There isn’t really a recipe for this – take the Roast Pears post from last week, freeze it and then puree it in the Cuisinart. Stir in some candied ginger and serve. I can’t tell you if it freezes well at this time because….uh…..there wasn’t any left. Yeah. Try it, tell me what you think. 

PearSorbet1Cmed
And, hey! That garnish is those Martha pear chips I linked to last week.

 
Ingredients
1 batch roasted pears (peel/core/cube 4 pears, toss w/ lemon juice & sugar & roast 375* 40m), frozen
2 Tbsp. minced candied ginger
Instructions
Put the frozen pears in the food processor. Spin till a beautiful soft serve is formed. Stir in the ginger, and serve in frozen dishes.
Servings 4
Calories 2
Fat 0 g
Sodium 1 mg
Carbs 7 g
Protein 0 g

Avocado, Blood Orange & Fennel Salad

Could you hear me squeal all the way to your house on  Saturday? That would be when I saw the blood oranges had arrived at Sprouts.  I just love their color. Of course I had to wander around the produce department after that, looking for something to make with them. The avocados looked amazing, and that sealed the deal. 

A blood orange, a bulb of fennel and thou....
A blood orange, a bulb of fennel and thou….

This is a delicate salad, with very subtle flavor.  Make sure your avocado is absolutely prime.  

AvocadoFennel1cMED

This is rich and smooth with the lovely anise crunch of the fennel. I liked it best after it had sat for about an hour, to let that nice heat from the jalapeno really soak in.  We have some left, and I am on my way to the store to get some shrimp to grill and serve with rest. Dang I wish I’d thought of that first.

AvocadoFennel3cMED

 

And, here’s a cheat on how to peel the oranges.
Ingredients
1 small bulb fennel, sliced in ¼” crescents
1 avocado, in ½ ” dice
3 blood oranges, peeled and sliced in ¼” crescents
1 tangelo, peeled and sliced in to ¼” crescents
¼ cup red onion, in ¼” crescents
1 Tbsp. jalapeño, in wafer-thin crescents
¼ c. minced italian parsley
Drizzle olive oil
Drizzle sherry or rice vinegar
S&P
Instructions
Assemble.
Chill for an hour.
Eat!
Notes
Would be amazeballs with some fat gulf white shrimp, grilled over mesquite. Served with a blood orange mimosa, of course….

Servings 4
Calories 202
Fat 8 g
Sodium 39 mg
Carbs 27 g
Protein 3 g

Purée de choufleur à l’ail et aux fines herbes

When I was growing up, mashed and vegetables together meant one thing: potatoes. Then I went to Paris – they call it a purée there. And you can purée lots besides potatoes – carrots were quite popular. Then I had a friend from New England tell me how her family always had mashed turnips instead of potatoes for the big feasts.  Food is so awesome – a virtual root cellar full of possible variations.

Take one bag of frozen cauliflower....
Take one bag of frozen cauliflower….

Forgoeing mashed potatoes when Himself had to change his diet was probably the most traumatic thing for me. Mashed potatoes are their own food group in my family. But, luckily there’s the interwebs. And friends.  Through some trial and error, I’ve come up with a great flavorful creamy purée that we look forward to at our house.  I’ve had a couple friends ask for the recipe, so here it is – Purée de choufleur à l’ail et aux fines herbes.  Although we just call this cauli mash at our house.  I was hoping if I fi-fi-chi-chi’d up the name a little, it would fancify things a bit.  Now, before you go any further please take heed: this is not mashed potatoes.  Let me repeat:  this. is. not. mashed. potatoes.  If you want something that tastes like mashed potatoes, you will need to actually eat mashed potatoes.

What this IS (caveat aside) is a delicious, rich, smooth purée that captures the slight sweetness of the cauliflower and garlic and which has a lovely creamy texture that goes great with roasted or grilled meats. 

CauliMash1MED
A little butter, a little garlic, a little sour cream, some herbs ….with and “h”.

 

Honestly, if we could eat real cheese in our house, I would totally put this in a buttered casserole and toss it in the oven with some cheddar on top. That would be freaking amazing. … …. if we could eat cheese. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Cheese. Damn my dairy-rejecting genes. Bastards.

CauliMash3MED
With a little daub of Kerrygold butter, of course. Because butter.

 

 

I really hope you try this one. If you like cauliflower, this is an awesome and fast side dish that will fill the craving for creamy spudnicks without a starchy overload. And remember it has herbs. With a fucking “H” in it. Try it!

Ingredients
1 20oz package generic frozen cauliflower
1 fat or 2 small cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sour cream or cream cheese (or, if you live at our house, Tofutti sour cream)
2 tsp. Penzey’s “Buttermilk” seasoning blend (or italian herbs if you don’t have Penzey’s lying about.)
Instructions
Put the cauliflower and the garlic in ‘wave safe bowl, covered, in the microwave on high until it’s quite soft and hot. That takes 9 minutes in my wave. Drain off any water that come out during cooking.
Put that and the rest of the ingredients in the food processor. (Or the kitchen robot, if we keep up our Frenchie trend.)
Pulse until it’s a delightful smooth concoction; you may need to stop and scrape down your sides. Don’t go too far, I’ve heard you wind up with a gluey mess. I’ve not experienced that, but best to stop before that happens

Servings 3
Calories 138
Fat 10 g
Sodium 66 mg
Carbs 11 g
Protein 4 g

Cucumber Watermelon Salad with Dill and Mint

CukeMelonSalad2Cmed
Sweet, salty, savoury, crunchy.

 

Are you ready to taste summer? I am. I have found myself daydreaming about the bounty to come – piles and piles of tomatoes and squash and melon. And the salads. Oh, the salads.  I find myself rejecting recipes of late if they involve turning on the oven.  Mind you, it’s not super hot yet. Not at all. It’s just that I’m ready.

So it’s safe to say the baking tornado of the last few months at The Yum are at an end. Which left me, well, idea-less for a post. After much guilt, I gave myself permission to say fuck all and go out for the day. Stop #1 – Za’atar for a falafel breakfast.  I fucking love that place.  Hopped over to Caravan while waiting for my order, and he had these gorgeous crates of mint and dill and cucumbers and eggplant and lemons and ……aaaaaah. I had to have some.

Those, some olives, some fig jam and sesame candies for Himself and away I went.

CukeHerbCollage

When I saw the watermelon in the fridge as I was putting things away, I knew what to make. And then immediately consume.

This is fast, and should be served and eaten immediately.  I even got to feel all fancy-pants when I rolled the dill up in the mint leaves for a quick chiffonade.  (Thank you, Sarah Moulton and FoodTV!) This baby is all about the fresh and crunch. Mmmmmm. Chompa-chomp-chomp.

You could totally add some cubed feta and a wedge of bread and call this summer supper (just leave out the salt if you do).  I inhaled mine as a snack. Couldn’t even wait to grill some chicken or something to eat with it.

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Come on, Summer. This just has me wanting you more.
Ingredients
2 c. watermelon in ½” dice
1 c. jicama in ½” dice
1 c. cucumber in ½” wedges
1 thin slice red onion, separated in to rings
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of white balsamic or wine vinegar
Four or five fresh mint leaves and a thumb-sized sprig of fresh dill, chiffonaded
Dash of S&P
Instructions
Toss together and eat.

Servings 2
Calories 83
Fat 1 g
Sodium 6 mg
Carbs 20 g
Protein 2 g

Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette

So, this week I’m making what every French child knows how to make by the age of 8. (Right before they start smoking and after they’ve been drinking wine, of course….)

Red wine vinegar, dijon, minced shallot and black pepper.
Red wine vinegar, dijon, minced shallot and black pepper.

Why do we all buy salad dressings? Sometimes when I’m on auto pilot at the grocery and find myself reaching for a bottle, I stop to think, “you idiot.”

Seriously – is there anything easier?  Make it at home – control what’s in it.

mincy mince mince
mincy mince mince

 

Why not try making your own?  Fresh, easy, delicious; and you probably already have all the ingredients and don’t even know it. Play with the ingredients, too – leave out the shallot, add tarragon. Or leave in the shallot and add parsley and thyme.  Or cracked green peppercorns. Whatever. Just play with your food.

Seriously wish you could smell this right now...
Seriously wish you could smell this right now…

This is a big batch – fills a whole bottle from Cost Plus. Feel free to halve or quarter it, or double and give some to the neighbors…..

And, I whisked it – but of course later remembered this great tip from Cooks Illustrated – just put everything in a jar with a lid and shake it til it’s emulsified.  Remember those Good Seasons italian dressing cruets when we were kids? Like that…..
Try it! Share how it turned out.
Ingredients
¾ c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1.5 – 2 c. good oil.
Instructions
In a large bowl, or blender, or 4-cup measuring cup, whisk together everything but the oil.
While you’re still whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil until you get an emulsion. (It will thicken, and become dull instead of shiny.)
Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.
Notes
Play with the ingredients, too – leave out the shallot, add tarragon. Or leave in the shallot and parsley and thyme. Or cracked green peppercorns.
For the oil, I like to go half plain veg oil and half extra virgin olive oil. I think going all olive overpowers this. Save that for the balsamic vinaigrettes – they can handle it.
Serving size is 2Tbsp – or 1oz.

Servings 24
Calories 28
Fat 28 g
Sodium 47 mg
Carbs 0 g
Protein 0 g

Blueberry Cheat-a-Granita, or Dessert in 60 Seconds

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It was Mother’s Day dinner. I’d thought to skip dessert, since Bill is supposed to be avoiding sugar and flour and all that. But as we sat talking after our meal, it just felt weird without dessert. Then I remembered that HUGE bag of Costco blueberries in the freezer and thought of something I’m betting thousands have thought of before: run those fuckers through the food processor. Put Bill’s in a dish, and then do it again with some sugar for me and mom.  It was awesome – but the sugar was grainy, so it was time to refine.

When I redid it for this post, I thought I’d try it with my favorite liqueurs and some powdered sugar to avoid graininess.
BlueBerryGranita6medOut of the liqueur round, the Chambord won hands down. The Grand Marnier overpowered the berries.  But, honestly, I liked the powdered sugar the best. Although I bet a drizzle of Chambord topped with some sweetened whipped heavy cream….well, that will have to wait for another post.

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It took longer to assemble the equipment than it did to make dessert. And, it keeps in the freezer if you make too much. Please try this – it’s a new favorite at our house.  Himself sprinkles on some Truvia, I sprinkle on some powdered sugar and it’s dessert all around.

Blueberry Cheat-a-Granita
Serves 4
Granita in 60 seconds
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60 calories
14 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
0 g
117 g
1 g
10 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
117g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 60
Calories from Fat 6
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 1mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 10g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
1%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 c. frozen blueberries
  2. Sweetener to taste
Instructions
  1. Dump the berries in the food processor.
  2. Whir until it looks like granita.
Notes
  1. Serve and sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle with Chambord and top with whipped heavy cream.
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calories
60
fat
1g
protein
0g
carbs
14g
more
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/

Swiss Chard Polenta Tourte

 

Creamy, sweet, chewy, nutty. The best of everything.
Creamy, sweet, chewy, nutty. The best of everything.

I am obsessed with cashew cream.  Having been dairy-deprived for so long, the ability to have creamy sauces with that rich mouth feel makes me so fucking happy I could danse.  So, I saw this lovely spinach polenta tart on Tastespotting or Foodgawker, and really wanted to try it.  Then, when we went provisioning and Sprouts had this gorgeous rainbow chard, I knew it was a done deal.

This is recipe isn’t hard, but it does have a couple steps.  I made it on a Monday night, but it totally lends itself to doing part one night (the polenta and the onions for example), and then finishing it the next.

Bon appetit – and by the way, just the chard was fantastic on its own. I could have eaten the whole damn pan. By myself.

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A couple stages, but sooooo tasty.

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Swiss Chard Polenta Tourte
Serves 4
Sweet and creamy chard and buttery sherry onions atop seared mushrooms and a polenta base, with toasty pine nuts. This is heaven in a pie.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
353 calories
29 g
12 g
21 g
13 g
5 g
398 g
441 g
4 g
0 g
14 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
398g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 353
Calories from Fat 178
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
32%
Saturated Fat 5g
26%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 12mg
4%
Sodium 441mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 29g
10%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 4g
Protein 13g
Vitamin A
91%
Vitamin C
42%
Calcium
7%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the base
  1. ½ c. polenta
  2. 2 c. stock
  3. 1 tsp. butter
  4. ½ tsp. TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute
For the cream sauce
  1. 1/3 c. cashews, soaked overnight or simmered for 15 minutes
  2. 1 c. stock
  3. ½ tsp. nutritional yeast
  4. 1 tsp. corn starch
For the topping
  1. 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 bunch swiss chard, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  4. 1 medium white onion, cut in to rings
  5. 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  6. 1/3 c. Amontillado dry sherry
  7. 1/3 c. raw pignon nuts.
Instructions
  1. Cook polenta according to package directions.
  2. Grease a 10” quiche pan or pie pan or springform pan and spread the cooked polenta evenly. (I did this the night before.)
  3. Preheat your oven to 375*
  4. In a medium nonstick skillet, sweat the onions, until they are translucent and just beginning to turn golden and caramelize.
  5. Remove the lid and add the sherry and let the liquid cook off.
  6. While they are cooking, get the olive oil very hot in a large sauté pan, and sear the mushrooms for a good brown sear.
  7. Lower the heat to medium low and spread the mushrooms on top of the polenta base.
  8. To the still-hot skillet, add the stems of the chard, a layer of salt and pepper, then the leafy bits with another layer of S&P. Cover tightly.
  9. While the chard is cooking, make the cashew cream sauce.
  10. In a good blender or food processor, add the drained soaked cashews, the stock, yeast, corn starch, and a couple of the rings of cooked onion.
  11. Purify for (seriously) 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until the mixture is silky in texture and no longer grainy.
  12. Check the chard – it should be tender and deep green. Raise the heat to medium, stir in the cashew cream and cook for a minute or two until the sauce is thickened. It should look like creamed spinach. Spread this on the mushrooms.
  13. Turn off the onion pans, and spread the onions on top.
  14. Sprinkle with the pignon nuts.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes, until the chard is bubbly and the nuts are browned.
  16. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Or, make the night before and then slice while cold and reheat or serve at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Serve with a nice big salad.
  2. Serves 4 for dinner, or 6 as a starter course.
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calories
353
fat
21g
protein
13g
carbs
29g
more
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/

Socca: One More Thing off the Cooking Bucket List

Socca. I’ve always wanted to try it. 

So I finally did. 

The maiden voyage results...
The maiden voyage results…

 

 

This will be a quickie post – not a lot to it.  Got the recipe at Marmiton [link removed 6/1/24 – it is getting me spaminated]. Used a cast iron skillet in a 500* convection oven.

It was….fine.  And, btw, that cheese wedge is that new vegan brie-compatible,White Alder. It, too, was…fine. Had it not cost the week’s coffee money (since it is only available at Whole Paycheck), I might have been more impressed.  But, to be able to have a cheese-like substance in our house is a good thing.

 

Good for a quickie afternoon snack.
Good for a quickie afternoon snack.
Socca Niçoise
Serves 4
Essentially a chickpea flour pancake.
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
149 calories
13 g
0 g
8 g
5 g
1 g
50 g
310 g
2 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
50g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 149
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 310mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 2g
10%
Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 c. chickpea flour
  2. 1/3 ice water
  3. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  4. 2 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Put a cast iron skillet in the oven, and preheat it to 500*. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk til smooth - should be the consistency of crepe batter. Add more ice water as needed.
  2. Once the oven's hot, take out the skillet, brush some olive oil to make a thin coat. Pour in half the batter and smooth it out - it should not exceed 1/8" thick.
  3. Bake about 7 minutes - you'll know when it's done. The edges will pick up and the top will be dull and perhaps golden. Pop that bad boy out of the skillet, oil it again and put in the second half of the batter.
  4. Eat immediately, cut in to squares and liberally sprinkled with fresh ground black pepper.
Adapted from Marmiton online recipes
beta
calories
149
fat
8g
protein
5g
carbs
13g
more
Adapted from Marmiton online recipes
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/