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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Chopped Carrot Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Nuts

Here's a great salad for when summer heat slows down lettuce production. It's also good in cool seasons, too.




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Chopped Carrot Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Nuts


Source:  Cook's Illustrated 
Serves: 4-6

3/4 c hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, or you can use pecans and skip the work of skinning
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/2-1 teas salt 
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
1/4 teas grated orange zest plus 1/3 c juice
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved and cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pd carrots, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 c fresh chives (or as much as you can come up with


Cook's Illustrated suggests you leave the peels on well-scrubbed carrots because they add flavor. 

Place the nuts in a food processor and chop coarsely, about 10 pulses. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and orange zest, and juice. In the empty food processor, chop the fennel coarsely, 10-20 seconds, and scrape the work bowl if needed. Place the chopped fennel into the large bowl with the dressing. Then chop the carrots in the food processor, running it 10-20 seconds. Place the carrots in the bowl with the fennel. Stir well. Add half of the chives and nuts and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the remaining chives and nuts. Or divide the salad among individual plates and top with the chives and nuts before serving. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Corn and Cucumber Salad

Nice for summer time, especially when it gets so hot that the farmer's markets have a lower supply of lettuce. The very flavorful dressing recipe could be used for other salads.




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Corn and Cucumber Salad


from Cook's Country Magazine
Serves 4-6


1/2 c olive oil
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
salt and pepper
5 T lime juice (3 limes) (or you can substitute lemon)
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, halved, seeded and sliced thin (optional)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 c)
1/3 c fresh basil leaves, torn or cut in chiffonade (thin strips)

 In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat bring 1 T of the oil to the point that it shimmers and add the corn, 1/4 teas salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the kernels become tender and display some brown spots. Transfer to a large bowl and place in a fridge to allow to cool completely, about 45 minutes. If you don't have that amount of time, spread the corn on a baking sheet to cool before placing in the fridge.

In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk the lime juice together with the remainder of the oil (7 T), another 1/4 teas salt, and 1/2 teas pepper. Reserve 1/4 c of the lime mixture in a separate bowl and add the onion and jalapeno to what's left of the mix. Stir well and allow the onions and jalapeno to sit for at least 15 minutes while the corn is chilled. To the reserved vinaigrette add the sour cream, stir well and set aside.

When the corn is chilled and the onions have rested, mix the cucumbers into the corn, add the onion-jalapeno mixture (including the juices) and toss until all ingredients are coated. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if needed. Stir in basil leaves. Plate or serve, passing the feta and the sour cream dressing.

Note:

The amount of dressing is small so allowing diners a free hand may delete your supply before it makes it around the table. 

The magazine suggests serving this salad from a platter which allows you to top with the feta and the dressing before passing it to diners. If you know you won't finish the salad in one meal and hope to save left overs, don't add the basil, feta, or dressing. Refrigerate with those ingredients held separately, although you should wait to cut the basil until just before serving.

Zucchini, Chard, and Onions

This is a good time of year for this tasty side dish. 





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Zucchini, Chard, and Onions

Adapted from: Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy
Serves 3-5

The zucchini can be cut in large chunks or into logs. Using zucchini of varying colors results in a very attractive dish.

3 T olive oil, plus oil to finish
1 onion, sliced a scant half in thick
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 T chopped marjoram or oregano
1 1/2 pds zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks, or logs about 2-inches in length
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 chard leaves, stems removed and leaves chopped, coarsely
1/4 c water or stock
Lemon wedges for serving

Use a wide pan that can hold a good deal with a tight fitting lid. An 11-12-saute pan works great here. Over medium heat, cook the oil  for a minute or two and add the onion, garlic and half of whichever herb you chose. Stir occasionally while it cooks for a few minutes until softened. Place the zucchini chunks into the pan; add  half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper to taste  and stir until the oil coats the zucchini. Lay the chopped chard on top of the zucchini and season it with a couple of pinches of salt. Pour in the water and cover the pan.  Lower the heat to medium low. 

Cook at a gentle simmer until the zucchini is tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir the chard into the squash taking care not to smash things up. Add the remaining herb and cover and cook for another a couple of minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges. If you prefer, you can squeeze lemon juice right in the pan.

Notes:

The original recipe called for a half cup of water which left me with swimming vegetables, so I have reduced the amount called for. You may want to check it half way through the cooking time to see if you need to add a little more.

Consider experimenting with other veggies.

Use fresh dill and dill seeds in place of marjoram or oregano.

Add a handful of small halved grape tomatoes in the last few minutes.

If you want a contrasting texture, top with some toasted bread crumbs.

For a main dish, add some cooked pasta or tortellini.


Savory Crunch Topping

I like this to use on a savory breakfast such as Greek yogurt and cucumbers or avocado toast. It would be good on a savory oatmeal, too.




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Savory Crunch Topping


The creator of this recipe calls it "Decidedly Not-Sweet Granola"

Adapted from Alison Roman's Dining In

3/4 c rolled oats
1/3 c finely chopped walnuts
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c buckwheat groats
1/2 c flaxseeds
1/4 c black or white sesame seeds
2 T nigella seeds (if unavailable, use more black or white sesame seeds)
2 T fennel or caraway seeds 
1 T Aleppo pepper, optional
1/2 teas freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 large or extra large egg white
3 T olive oil, peanut oil, or grapeseed oil
2 T maple syrup
1 T soy sauce
1 1/2 teas kosher salt

Heat oven to 325F. Oil a baking sheet. 

Pile the oats, walnuts, all the seeds and spices in the middle of the baking sheet. Give it a stir. 

In a small bowl beat the egg white, oil, maple syrup, soy sauce and salt. Drizzle over the top of the mix on the sheet and with a rubber spatula mix until everything is coated. 

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and break up any large clumps. I store half of this in the fridge and try to use it in a few weeks and the other half I keep in the freezer until I move it into the fridge.



Yogurt Saffron Sauce for Trout or Halibut (and probably others)

My favorite way to eat fresh trout is to panfry them and drizzle the cooked fish with a melted butter with a pinch of saffron. Saffron and trout are a match made in heaven but I am limiting how much butter I consume. I was happy to find an alternative sauce which may be somewhat healthier. 




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Yogurt Saffron Sauce

Source: NYTimes Cooking
Yield: about a cup, I usually half the recipe for the two of us


1 c plain yogurt, preferably full-fat but homemade low-fat works well, too
salt and pepper
1 large pinch Aleppo pepper or a small pinch cayenne
1/2 teas saffron threads
juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

Place the yogurt into a small bowl and add salt, pepper, Aleppo or cayenne pepper, and the shallot. Stir. 
Crush the saffron with your fingers and stir it into the yogurt. Set aside while cooking your fish, or about 20 minutes. It can sit in the fridge for up to 2 hours. Add the lemon juice just before serving; stir and taste and add seasoning if you need to.

Hot Chicken Salad

I recently sorted through my old recipe card files as well as my mother's and was reminded of dishes that once were served regularly at my table. But as kids grew up and my interests changed some dishes faded from my memory. It was a reminder of how time pressures and the tastes of a larger group directed my cooking in the past. Here is one vintage dish that was a favorite for a while; I believe it was the potato chip topping that tasted best to kids. It's quick and easy and a one dish meal if you figure celery counts as your vegetable. 



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Hot Chicken Salad


This was served to me at a church ladies' luncheon and probably originated with Martha Johnson, my good friend and mentor.
Makes a 9X13 pan

4 c cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
4 c chopped celery
1 3/4 -2 c mayonnaise (I prefer the lower amount)
1 c sliced almonds (or slivered if that is what you have)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
4 teas grated onion
1 c grated cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed potato chips

Preheat your oven to 400F. Combine the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, almonds, lemon juice, and onion and place in a buttered  9X13 pan. Top with cheese and then with potato chips.

Bake for 15 minutes until heated through. The celery will be quite crisp-tender. If you prefer the celery to be softer, cook a bit longer.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Roasted Leeks and Cauliflower

 A yummy cauliflower variation.



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Roasted Leeks and Cauliflower


Adapted from: The Washington Post
Serves: 4

2 medium leeks, (white parts only), trimmed
1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 pd)
1 teas brown mustard seed
1 teas caraway seed
1/2 teas salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Heat the oven to 425F.

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and place under running water to rinse thoroughly so all dirt is removed. Cut into quarter inch slices. Spread on a kitchen towel to allow to dry as much as possible while you prepare the cauliflower.

Core the cauliflower and cut into bite-size florets. Spread over a rimmed sheet pan. Add the leeks as well.

Place the mustard and caraway seeds with the salt and a pinch of black pepper in a mortar and pestle. and coarsely crush them. Sprinkle mix over the vegetables and drizzle with the olive oil. Mix well to coat the vegetables. Place in the oven.

Roast until the cauliflower is slightly charred and the leeks have browned about 20 minutes. Halfway through, remove the pan from the oven, turn the vegetables over with a spatula and return to the oven reversing the pan's position.

If desired, season with more salt and pepper and drizzle with more olive oil.

Notes: 

If you don't have leeks, this can be cooked with diced onions (large) but it isn't quite as good nor is there any contrasting color. If onion is what you have, top with chopped chives when you serve it.

If you have a larger head of cauliflower, increase the amounts of oil, seeds, and seasonings.

If you can't bring yourself to heat your oven in the summer, you can use these seasonings on cauliflower that has been pan fried, steamed, or boiled. The texture of the vegetable changes, but the seasonings work well whichever way you cook it.