Category:Salads and Dressings’

Panzanella

 - by Elizabeth

PanzanellaI’ve made all types of panzanella, but I think this recipe is really fabulous.  I was traveling in Scandinavia, where the travel author Rick Steves says their favorite vegetable is a potato, and began thinking of my garden back home, wondering how many tomatoes would be ready to pick when I returned.  In scanning the news one morning, The Washington Post published this recipe and I couldn’t wait to try it.  So the first thing I did when we climbed out of our car after our long trip was to check the garden for tomatoes.  But to my horror, the irrigation systems had been shut off while we gone, and my garden experienced the full force of 100+ degree temperatures: it was crispy and no tomatoes.  So I used some high-quality tomatoes from Costco for this dish and it was still good.  I can only imagine what it would have been with my own.

I purchased a sour dough loaf from Trader Joe’s for the bread, cutting off nearly half of to keep to the 8-ounce requirement.

Recipe adapted from recipes by chef-restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola, and from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, culinary director of SeriousEats.com.

Ingredients
3 cups packed, torn pieces sourdough bread (including crusts; from an 8-ounce loaf)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/4 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, hulled and cut into bite-size wedges
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Freshly cracked black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and cut into very thin slices (chiffonade)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the bread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, then drizzle half of the oil over them and toss to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, until the bread is dried and fragrant but not browned. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a colander set over a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the teaspoon of salt; let them drain for about 20 minutes (no more), gently tossing them every few minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a serving bowl along with the cooled bread pieces; toss to incorporate. Reserve the tomato juices in their bowl; there should be a scant half-cup. [Note: I had more, and used it all.]

Add the garlic, shallot and vinegar to those juices, then gradually whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour over the tomato-bread mixture; use your clean hands to gently toss and coat.

Scatter the basil over the salad; serve right away.

Cranberry Sauce, version 2014

 - by Elizabeth

cranberry sauceI wanted to try a new version of cranberry sauce this year, and found this one on the New York Times website.  However, theirs asked for pinot noir and I have no idea what that is, but I think it’s wine.  Since I don’t drink alcohol, I tried it with grape juice and it was still really delicious.  The recipe is still in beta-testing, but I feel reasonably confident about it, so here it is.

Cranberry Sauce
20 minutes, plus cooling 2 1/2 cups
10 whole allspice berries (I took that to mean “whole allspice”; see note below)
10 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 1/3 cups grape juice
splash of rice vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
1 cup clover or wildflower honey
1 cup fresh orange juice
6 strips orange zest, about 1 inch by 3 inches, removed with a vegetable peeler
2 (4-inch) sprigs rosemary
1 small cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod

Preparation

Combine allspice, cloves and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground. [NOTE: So, I just used 1/2 teaspoon each of allspice, cloves and pepper, as I didn’t have a grinder.]

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, wine, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, cinnamon stick and ground spices.

With the tip of a paring knife, split vanilla pod lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds and pod to pot.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until cranberries have burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard zest, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool.

 

Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

 - by Elizabeth

Fennel Blood Orange Salad

I found this on Smitten Kitchen, who found it on the New York Times.  When I went looking for my typed file today, I found that it had been published in 2002.  I can’t believe it took me that long to finally try it and put it up here on the blog.  Well, don’t you wait that long.  It’s easy and quick and has miles and miles of flavor.

FENNEL AND BLOOD ORANGE SALAD
By Kurt Gutenbrunner
Published: January 23, 2002
Time: 30 minutes

1/4 cup very coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon walnut oil
1 medium-large fennel bulb, leaves and stems trimmed off
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 large blood oranges
1 tablespoon paper-thin shallot slices
10 mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest

1. Place walnuts in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Toss with walnut oil, and set aside.

2. Slice about 1/2 inch from bottom of fennel and discard. Slice fennel very fine on mandoline, starting with flat bottom side. Put in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and add lemon juice.Fennel Blood Orange Salad_1

3. Trim all peel and pith from oranges. Holding peeled fruit over bowl containing fennel, use sharp knife to cut sections from membrane. Let them drop into bowl. Squeeze remaining membrane over bowl to add remainder of juice. Discard membrane.  (This is how it looks before tossing it with everything else.)

4. Add shallots, mint leaves, olive oil and reserved walnuts. Toss gently. Sprinkle on lime zest, and serve perhaps as a first course with smoked salmon or as a side dish with grilled fish..

Yield: 3 servings.

 

Roasted Carrot Salad

 - by Elizabeth

Rstd Carrot Salad

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:

roasted-carrot-salad

Cherry-Arugula Salad

 - by Elizabeth

Cherry-Arugula Salad

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

Baby Greens and Quinoa Salad

 - by Elizabeth

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.

Roasted Beets, Citrus and Spinach Salad

 - by Elizabeth

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.

Ingredients

Vinaigrette:

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.

Salad:

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.

Quinoa, Corn and Edamame Salad

 - by Elizabeth

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

Quinoa Lentil Salad with Tomatoes

 - by Elizabeth

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
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
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.

Olive + Gourmando Chickpea Salad

 - by Elizabeth


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
chopped tomatoes
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).