Orange Vinaigrette … …. and figs

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Posole’s Pork-Free Cousin

I want posole. But It’s hot.  I don’t want to have the oven on for six hours to roast a pork shoulder.  Plus, pork sounds so heavy. But I want posole.  I wonder how it would be w/o the meat? …..

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Answer: fucking delicious. And, as a bonus, totally crockpot-able. Hells to the yeah!

What makes this posole-esque is the puréed chile and the hominy in the broth, then serving it with the crushed red pepper and mexican oregano, shredded cabbage, lime, radish and tortilla strips.  Plus we added some avocado (because avocado!). 

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With all those lovely condiments, this is just scrumptious!  I used chicken broth, but use veg broth if you want to go 100% vegetarian.

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Please make this. You will be so happy!

 
Soup
2 celery stalks, in soupy size chunks
½ white onion in ½’ dice
1 carrot, in ½” dice
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 fat zucchini, in 1“ dice
5 or six button mushrooms, quarted
1 can no salt diced tomatoes
1 can hominy, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. mexican oregano leaves
2 chile california or guajillo, seeded, soaked and puréed in the blender
2 quarts chicken broth
Garnish
tortilla strips
radish slices
cabbage shreds
lime wedges
cilantro
mexican oregano
red pepper flakes
olive oil
avocado slices
Instructions
Plug in the crockpot.
In a big microwave safe bowl, bring 2 c. of the stock to boil. Toss in the seeded chile pods and let them soak a half hour.
Chop all your veg, throw them and the rest of the soup ingredients (except the soaking chiles) in the crockpot.
Throw the chile and liquid in the blender and puree. Mine takes about 2 minutes.
Strain the chile puree in to the soup.
Set on high for 2-3 hours, or low for 4-ish.
Serve with the selection of garnishes.

6 Servings; 194 calories, 7g fat, 881 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 10 g proteinn

Salads! Asian Flavors Cucumber Salad

So….I may or may not have purchased one of those spiral slicers. 

This week it’s another cucumber salad, this time with salty sesame flavor. Yum! 

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It’s ok to make the sauce ahead of time, but you should really toss it together and then eat it right away. It’s best when the cukes are super crisp as opposed to marinated. It seems like a lot of ingredients, but it’s not super hard: some rice vineger, mirin, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil along with some minced ginger, a dash of white miso and some black and white sesame seeds. 

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Garnish with some pickled (unsweetened) ginger, and away we rock and roll.

I thought this would actually be awesome with some cubed avocados and some tuna, but haven’t played with that yet.

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Hope you enjoy it!
For the sauce
1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. mirin
1 tsp. minced ginger (I used a Dorot cube)
1/2 tsp. white miso
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. each white and black sesame seeds
For the salad
1/2 english cucumber, sliced on a spiral slicer**
For the garnish
Pickled, unsweetened ginger (those red sticks)
Instructions
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce.
Pour the sauce over the cucumber.
Garnish with the red ginger.
Inhale.
Notes
**If you don’t do the spiral bit, 1/8″ thick half-moons will do just dandy.
Servings 4
Calories 47
Fat 4 g
Sodium 103 mg
Carbs 2 g
Protein 1 g

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.
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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.

 

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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

Roast Pears

Damn you, Costco. Damn you and your cute food. I can never resist the bags of those dainty and delicious Forelle pears. They beckon me, in their out-of-season-shipped-from-Chile voices. Pear bastards.

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Next to nectarines, pears are my favorite fruit. Fresh, they are a dream. But when it comes to cooking, they just lose their essence. Their delicate flavor is lost and a mealy texture remains. I thought when I discovered Pear Honey it would be the solution, but that’s just so damn sweet. (Yes, I see the word honey in the title. That stuff is amazingly delicious, btw, and you should make some immediately. But I digress.) 

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So, I’m walking past three pounds of pears on the dining table for a week, waiting for them to ripen. The magic day arrives – and I realize I have to eat three pounds of pears in the next 48 hours or they will go bad. What to do, what to do. 

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With spoonful of plain yogurt, a drizzle of honey and some fresh thyme. (Himself called that gilding the lily, and prefers them plain.)

 

So last night, I got out the mandoline and made some pear chips. (Thank you, Martha.) Yum! Need some chèvre to eat ’em, though.  This morning I woke up and said, chuck all – I will just toss them in lemon juice and sugar and roast them all. 

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All in all, this was pretty easy. Any pear would work for this, although personally I wouldn’t use a Bosc. Mainly because they are a pain in the ass to peel and cube with that long skinny neck. D’anjou and Bartlet will do just fine, or the Farelle.

So, why roast? It cooks out some of the liquid in the fruit, and concentrates the flavor. That, with that tinge of caramelization makes for a more pear-tasting pear. Trust me, this is delicious.
Ingredients
4 large or 6 medium pears, just barely ripe
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ c sugar
Instructions
Heat oven to 375*.
Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Peel, core, and cube the pears.
Toss with the lemon juice and sugar.
Spread out evenly not touching on the baking sheets.
Bake about 40 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. The bottoms of the pears should be just barely caramelized, and the top edges tinged golden.
Ways to eat them
By themselves, straight off the tray.
With plain greek yogurt (or crème fraîche), thyme and honey.
With whipped cream and sprinkled with chopped candied ginger.
On top of vanilla ice cream.
On top of yogurt.
Frozen and pulsed into a sorbetto/granita hybrid in the cuisinart with chopped candied ginger.
Baked in to a coffee cake.
Pulsed with some fresh pear cubes and a little simple syrup and made in to popsicles.

Servings 4
Calories 182
Fat 0 g
Sodium 3 mg
Carbs 48 g
Protein 1 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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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.
beta
calories
353
fat
21g
protein
13g
carbs
29g
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