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Dave and I have gone twice to Sycamore Kitchen in Los Angeles for lunch, and had two different kinds of salads, with a sandwich. Everything’s been top-notch. I wanted to try and replicate the Roast Carrot Salad we had, as it was so unusual with its carrots peeking out from a frothy mixture of greens and toasted pecans. I could tell the carrots had some sort of marinade on them, so started hunting on the internet for something comparable. To my surprise, Sycamore Kitchen had posted their recipe on a Meatless Mondays column, written for the LAWeekly blog.
It has a really mellow flavor, this combination of avocado and roasted carrots, and I was happy to recreate it from their very own recipe, which is below.
Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Pecans
From: Karen Hatfield
Serves: 4-6 people
2 ounces ginger root (I used a lobe about the size of my entire thumb)
1 ounce peeled garlic cloves (I used about 3-4 large cloves)
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon chile flakes
24 young carrots with tops (about 1-inch in diameter, about 8-inch in length)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 Hass avocados
4 cups arugula
2 cups tatsoi (didn’t have this, so substituted some baby spinach leaves)
2 heads red Belgian endive
12 large basil leaves (Opal basil recommended)
24 mint leaves
Lemon juice and olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper
1 cup toasted pecan pieces
1. Cut the ginger into 1-inch pieces. Using the back of a sturdy saucepot crush ginger and garlic and place in a large mixing bowl. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, dark brown sugar, and chile flakes in a bowl; whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Reserve at room temperature for up to 4 hours. This will be the marinade for the roasted carrots.
2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel carrots and trim the tops to leave only one inch of green. Wash the area where the top meets the carrot as this is where dirt is the trickiest to remove. Dry well and spread carrots on a sheet tray (or two if needed) so that they are in a single layer, not touching.
3. Drizzle vegetable oil over and lightly season with salt (not too aggressive, the soy sauce with contribute more salt later). Roast the carrots in the oven until tender, turning only when the bottom side takes on a deep caramelization. The time will depend on the oven, but it usually takes between 12 to 25 minutes.
4. When the carrots are cooked, transfer them to a roasting pan large enough to snuggly fit all the carrots in a single layer. Pour marinade over and allow the carrots to stand in a warm place (like on top of the oven) for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, peel, seed and slice avocados to about ¼-inch thick and reserve. Trim the red endive and separate into leaves. Place endive leaves in a bowl with the arugula and tatsoi. Tear the basil and mint leaves into large pieces and add to the lettuces. Season all with a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss gently
6. Divide the carrots evenly among serving plates keeping them together and parallel. By now, the marinade should have coated the carrots; but if desired, spoon a little extra over the carrots, being careful not to include the crushed ginger or garlic pieces.
7. Place avocado slices on top of the carrots. Carefully arrange the salad in a perpendicular row over the carrots so that the tops and bottoms of the carrots are still showing. Sprinkle the toasted pecans over the whole salad and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top to finish. Serve immediately.
The biggest time-consuming part was the prep of the marinade, in terms of my labor. The rest was merely waiting for the carrots to roast (I had to turn the oven up to 450 for the last few minutes to get them to carmelize properly). You could do the carrots ahead of time, but after their resting time in the marinade, I would drain them if you are going to store them in the fridge overnight. Trust me, the taste is still very strong, even without the soaking in the marinade. We had more carrots than needed for our salads (I halved the recipe) and I enjoyed them as a snack, right from the fridge the next day.
The photo above is the one I took on the day we ate there. Here’s the photo they submitted with their recipe:
Bedridden from a foot surgery, I fantasized about getting up and cooking and about what I’d make when I could finally get out of bed. An article in the New York Times about cherries was published just about that time, and a friend picked up the ingredients for me to make this creation from Martha Rose Shulman (whose recipes I generally adore). It was just the ticket for bringing some new flavors to our menu which had been, for a week or more, built around prepared freezer meals from the grocery store. It was wonderful!
It has a strong flavor so don’t serve something delicate with it–to go along with this, try seasoned barbequed chicken thighs and a sturdy side dish. But the combo of the tangy vinaigrette alongside some brilliantly flavorful cherries and creamy chevre was heaven.
1 6-ounce bag baby arugula
16 cherries, halved and pitted
Scant 1/4 cup pistachios or almonds, (about 1 ounce), lightly toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Combine the arugula, cherries, half the nuts and the tarragon in a large bowl.
Whisk together the vinegars, salt and pepper and olive oil. Toss with the salad. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle the goat cheese and remaining pistachios over the top, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.
Cook’s Note: I didn’t have sherry vinegar, so I used rice wine vinegar with about 2 teaspoons sugar, for a substitute.
Nutritional information per serving: 212 calories; 18 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 10 grams monounsaturated fat; 11 milligrams cholesterol; 9 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 87 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 6 grams protein
On our regular Friday night date, we went to California Pizza Kitchen to share a salad and a mushroom pizza, our usual. But CPK had a new salad on the menu, and I came right home and tried to duplicate it, with a couple of twists. Since I didn’t measure too many of the ingredients, a lot of this is sort of “throw a little of this in, then throw a little of that.” If you want the original, head to CPK, but this is a good approximation.
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
Cook the quinoa in the water, according to package directions. Rinse under cool water, then drain. Alternatively, you could cook the quinoa ahead of time, then chill it before use. It also freezes very well. [Check other salads on this site for more detailed directions on how to cook quinoa.]
Place the quinoa in the bottom of a large sloping bowl, suitable for tossing a salad. Douse the quinoa with some dressing: you can use any vinaigrette from this site, or any purchased light vinaigrette would do. For this salad I used Brianna’s Real French Vinaigrette and added a splash or two of red wine vinegar, as I think the ratio of vinegar to oil is a bit too low in many commercial dressings. I buy both of those things at Ralph’s.
To the bowl, add the following:
About 2-3 cups baby greens, loosely chopped
1 large tomato or three medium on-the-vine tomatoes (from Costco), chopped
1/2 small jar of sun-dried tomatoes (about 2 ounces, from Trader Joe’s. The variety I chose were already cut into strips so I just threw them in.)
1-2 ounces (about a handful) of toasted pine nuts (also from Trader Joe’s. You can buy regular pine nuts, then toast them slightly either under the broiler and a watchful eye, or tossing them lightly in a non-stick skillet)
2 ounces feta cheese–I buy mine in a brick (keeps fresh longer) lop off about an inch worth and crumble it by hand
Chopped red onion. I cut off 2 slices for a large salad, each slice about 1/4″ thick. Then I chop those slices into a medium dice, of about 1/4″
Then I tossed everything lightly. Check for the salt/pepper balance. I found it needed quite a bit more salt than pepper. Since I always like to heighten the flavors a bit on grain salads, I used a light shake of cayenne powder, then tossed really well. My cayenne is on the old side, so I use two light shakes. To make sure I know how much is going in, I “shake” it into the lid, check (that I haven’t dumped half the bottle in), then sprinkle it over the salad. Serve with a La Brea baguette, or some other fine piece of bread.
I think you could add some deboned rotisserie chicken to this, if you want to move it beyond vegetarian. I always have some chicken in the freezer, ready to go, but it’s really a fine salad by itself.
This recipe, originally from Bon Appétit (February 2011, by Myra Goodman and Sarah LaCasse; their photo is being used) was the salad I chose to use for our Valentine’s Day Dinner this year. I don’t know why we didn’t go out. We both seemed to be moving at glacial pace at home, with job and church responsibilites sapping all our energy to look up a restaurant, make the reservation, change our clothes, pay 60 bucks a person for a Valentine’s Day meal of some significance. We could have paid only 20 bucks a person at Chili’s or something, but just try and have an intimate conversation in THAT place.
Yield: 4 servings – Active Time: 20 minutes, with Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (includes roasting and cooling time) We found that this filled us up quite a bit–if I were to use this as a first course again, I’d eliminate the feta cheese.
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
2 teaspoons finely grated grapefruit peel
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
To make: whisk vinegar, mustard, citrus peels, and honey in small bowl. gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4 2 1/2-inch-diameter unpeeled beets, tops trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
2 small pink or ruby grapefruits, all peel and pith cut away, segments cut from between membranes
2 oranges, all peel and pith cut away, segments cut from between membranes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss beets and oil in large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in foil. place directly on oven rack; roast until tender, 60 to 70 minutes. I ended up roasting mine about 90 minutes; somewhere I read that the more the merrier as it carmelizes the sugars in the beets and makes it incredibly delicious. Agreed! Open foil; cool 30 minutes. Rub skins off beets; cut each into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If your beets are big, you may want to cut them in half.
Place spinach in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide among plates. Add beets and citrus segments to same bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange beet mixture atop spinach; sprinkle with cheese and chives. Serve, passing any remaining vinaigrette.
I first read this recipe in the New York Times, in a special article on summer salads with recipes by Martha Rose Shulman. I subjected Dave, my husband, to a series of these, and he declared this one to be a winner. It’s pretty–green and red–and crunchy, but not a wildly out of control crunch–just pleasant fresh vegetable munching. While this is a summer salad, I could also see it served as cold side dish at a holiday buffet, as the colors are so beautiful. Regarding the “optional” feta cheese: we tried it both ways–with and without. Adding the feta cheese brings a creaminess, a certain “mouth” satisfaction to the dish. I recommend it.
For the salad:
1 cup quinoa, cooked (I made it with chicken broth, but water works as well. Click **here** for basic quinoa cooking directions.)
1/2 of a 16-ounce bag of WHITE frozen corn
1 small red onion (about 1/3 cup), cut in small dice
1 red bell pepper, cut in small dice
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, from the tender inner stalks
4 or 5 radishes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen edamame
2 ounces mild feta, cut in small dice (about 1/2 cup), or crumbled. I buy the bricks, then crumble it.
1/2 jalapeño chile, seeds and membranes removed, minced finely
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 small lime, depending on size)
1 garlic clove, finely minced or pureed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Soak the onion in cold water to cover for five minutes. Drain, rinse and drain on paper towels. **I have no idea why this step is here, but I did it. Must be some kitchen chemistry.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad. Serve.
Yield: Serves four main dish, and six side dish servings.
Advance preparation: The quinoa freezes well and the assembled salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator.
Here’s our version. I served it with a delicious foccacia from the local bakery, which was topped with tomatoes, potatoes and dill. We were full after our meal, and our leftovers the next day were even better.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 359 calories; 18 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 43 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 25 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 10 grams protein
First off, this is taken from the Los Angeles Times, from an article written about the Immaculate Heart Center and their new cookbook. That’s just to keep the copyright gods squared away. I think I’d like to buy this cookbook as this recipe was such an intriguing and interesting standout, that I can’t wait to try some of their others.
I’ve cooked so much with the Lemon Vinaigrette recipe on this site, that the shift of the acidic flavor in this one to an apple cider vinegar was very refreshing and I quite liked it. Where to buy Lentils de Puy, the small French lentils called for? Amazingly, my Ralph’s supermarket has been carrying them in the specialty food section. They cook up quickly and keep their shape. I’ve become a fan. If you want to store this for another day, I’d not add the tomatoes until you serve it.
Total time: 50 minutes, plus cooling and chilling times
1 cup French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, plus more for drizzling
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and strained
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 cups cherry or other little tomatoes, halved
Place the lentils in a large saucepan and fill with water to cover by 2 inches. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, then drain the lentils and transfer them to a medium bowl. Season the lentils with one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper and drizzle over about 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Taste the lentils, and adjust the seasoning or vinegar, or both, if desired. Set aside the lentils to cool, stirring occasionally.
In a large saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cooking until the grain is soft and translucent, about 15 to 20 minutes. The water should be absorbed; if not entirely absorbed, drain any excess. Remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of oil on the grain and stir gently.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, one-fourth cup vinegar, one-half cup olive oil, one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon pepper. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired.
Stir the cooled lentils in with the quinoa in the large bowl. Stir in the dressing, then cover and chill the salad for at least 1 hour.
Just before serving, stir in the mint, parsley and tomatoes and check the seasoning. Drizzle with a bit more vinegar and oil.
Each serving: 387 calories; 13 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 202 mg. sodium.
“A Place at the Table” is available for $35 plus shipping at http://www.immaculateheartcenter.org.
It was about 104 degrees that day in Montreal. We were pretty weary tourists and it was only one o’clock in the afternoon. We found Olive et Gourmando (351 rue St-Paul ouest) and stood in line only briefly before being awarded a table. Then we went up and chose from the menu written above the counter on a blackboard, or looked at the specials lined up in their case. We both pointed to this salad because it looked so fresh, so refreshing. We handed them our ticket with our table number written on it, and in about 5 minutes they delivered our food. I took a photo and hoped to recreate it at home. I think I have a reasonable facsimile. It goes together in about 10 minutes. Serve with a good French loaf, or that package of mini-pita pockets from Trader Joe’s from the back of the freezer (which we did).
Have on hand:
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 medium zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ chunks
thin slices from the end of a washed fennel bulb, about 3/4 of a medium bulb
red grapes, about 15, sliced in half
roasted red peppers in a jar (from Trader Joe’s, or equivalent)–about 3-4 pieces, julienned
feta cheese, about one-half of an 8 oz. brick, crumbled and rinsed (about 1 cup’s worth)
flat leaf parsley (also called Italian parsley), chopped coarsely
curly leaf parsley, chopped finely
one recipe of Lemon Vinaigrette
extra olive oil for sauteing
As ingredients are assembled, place into medium bowl (in no particular order), although you may want to keep the tomatoes separate and put on top, in case you want to keep this for another day.
In a small skillet, pour 1 Tablespoon olive oil and lightly saute the zucchini until just barely golden. You want them firm, but with the edge of crispness taken off. Repeat for the fennel slices, so they are on the verge of soft. Place into bowl. Add in all of the rest of the ingredients; toss with vinaigrette and serve.
This is mine, below. Theirs is above (and prettier, with all that parsley).
When I was in high school, our Spanish teacher, Miss Azevedo, corralled the class to join her at another teacher’s house for some real paella. She’d provide the ingredients, one of which was saffron. We talked about this spice as she stood and stirred the seafood, the broth and the rice together, and she admitted that she couldn’t afford the REAL saffron. Instead she had a packet of “fake” saffron that she’d bought in Spain on her last trip home and brought it back with her.
That idea–that saffron was expensive beyond belief–stuck with me for more than 40 years. This belief was confirmed by sightings of jars of saffron in the store–a regular sized jar with a thread or two of saffron for a whopping price. It never made it into my spice cupboard, until one day in Trader Joe’s I saw Spanish saffron in a small jar with a cork for a lid at a very affordable price. I bought two.
So when I went hunting for a new recipe to make tonight with my frozen Costco halibut steaks, I found this in Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything. Creamy Saffron Sauce. Given that I was now the proud possessor of some actual saffron threads (as well as having leftover Greek yogurt from dinner at the beginning of the week) I was in business. We enjoyed it–hope you will too, as it’s another quick and easy dinner.
1 cup yogurt, preferable whole milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
small pinch cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste (roughly 1-2 Tablespoons)
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with some salt and pepper, the cayenne and the shallot. Rub the saffron threads between your fingers to crush them, then stir it into the yogurt miexture. Let sit for about 20 minutes. [It's like watching a Polaroid photo develop--the sauce starts to turn this fabulousy yummy shade of yellow from the saffron. I kept giving it a whisk or two to help it along.] Alternatively you can let it sit for up to 2 hours in the refridgerator. Just before serving, add the lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning. It mainly needed more salt, in my estimation.
2 halibut steaks (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
If halibut is frozen, let thaw, then rinse and pat dry.
Sprinkle the halibut with salt and pepper. Put the butter and olive oil in a large [nonstick] skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, swirl it around the pan, then add the fish and cook gently, turning once or twice until a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance when inserted into the thickest part; this weill generally be less than 10 minutes.
Note: we served this with Baked Asparagus and Pearl Couscous with Pine Nuts and Sultanas.
Sometimes before I have to start cooking dinner, I’ll lazily browse through the website Epicurious.com, as it’s easier than browsing through all my Gourmet cookbooks, and the website has pictures. This recipe is credited to an Ian Knauer, first published in Gourmet in July 2009.
I’d tucked this recipe away, saving it for a day I was intent on barbecuing–thinking it would be a nice addition to a summer meal. The only thing I have to say about this is it takes more salt to balance the flavors than you think. I’d also put the salt shaker on the table, even though we’re not supposed to in this day and age. I’d also cut back on the chopped celery to 3/4 cup. A bit too much, if you ask me.
The flavor of this is light–not heavy–made even lighter by the use of Light Mayonnaise (NOT the Low-fat variety–ick!), although I’m sure that’s sacrilegious in some households (Dad?). If you decide to go this way, look for the blue lid and blue label. It’s tastes pretty close to the original, with less of the nasty stuff.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
Active Time: 15 min, Total Time: 45 min
3 pounds small boiling potatoes
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 ribs–again, I’d use only 3 ribs)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
Cover potatoes with water in a large pot and season well with salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, 12 to 20 minutes. While potatoes cook, stir together celery, mayonnaise, chives, lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Drain potatoes and cool completely, then halve or quarter. Add to dressing and toss to coat.
NOTE: I chunked up the potatoes before I cooked them, cutting them into pieces as shown above in the photo. The trick to not having your potatoes fall apart, I think, is not BOILING them at a full boil overly long. Just SIMMER them, barely bubbling. Mine cooked in about 12 minutes after they came to a boil; yours may take longer.
Gourmet says that the potato salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving. (Just be cautious about leaving out the mayo-based food for too long; food poisoning, you know.)
Part of our Memorial Day dinner was this salad, with LOTS of vegetables in it. You can’t really taste the “secret additions,” but it adds crunch, texture and moisture to a standard tossed green salad. I learned to add these while in Italy, staying at an Albergo, or hotel, on Lake Maggiore that had a restaurant attached. Actually I should say the hotel was attached to the restaurant, because the food side of things had been going strong for about 120 years (the hotel had been built only a few years earlier).
So, in a large bowl place:
a varitey salad greens, cut into slices rather than torn
Chinese cabbage, sliced very thin, then cut into 2-3″ strips
1/4 zucchini, grated
I also like adding:
a handful of pinenuts
a handful of craisins
Toss with tongs (or your clean hands) to mix all the ingredients.
Then, over the top, pour anywhere from 3 Tablespoons to 6 Tablespoons olive oil, depending on the size of the salad you are making. The one above, for 4-6 people, had about 1/4 cup oil drizzled over the top.
Give several shakes of red wine vinegar over the top of that. Then grind on some salt–6-7 grinds (don’t skimp on this–it interacts with the vinegar to made it really yummy) and then grind on some pepper.
Toss it all again to coat the leaves.
I know we all used to use balsamic vinegar, but unfortunately the balsamic vinegars I can afford are much too strong, so I found the red wine vinegar to be a good substitute. Now if your budget allows for the $15/bottle balsamics, use that instead.
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