Category Archives: Salads

Out-of-This-World Company Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~        

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What is company salad?  Salad that is a little too bothersome to make for just myself (too many ingredients, too much prep time, or too expensive) but is perfect to impress company.  So  who did I want to impress with this salad?

Let’s take a step back.  Those of you who know me well may want to sit down before reading on…I went out of town this weekend.  Shocking, I know.  It’s only taken me ten years to leave the city and visit my friend Lorraine and her husband Pete at their home on one of the finger lakes in upstate New York.

I got there Friday night and the visit was timed so I could attend the Howard Day Parade, an annual event that Lorraine, as town librarian, participates in.  It was a short but sweet parade, a bunch of tractors, vintage cars, the library group and a float from the Howard Historical Society.

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The next event was a dance recital followed by cake in the library.  It was fun meeting the library staff and other of Lorraine’s friends.  Following the recital was the annual “chicken lunch” served in a local hall (we took ours home to eat).

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Then Pete drove us to a wonderful farm stand they frequent.  The tomatoes were divine, we bought beautiful wax beans, sweet-sweet blueberries and I can’t remember what else.

Being a good guest, I brought them NYC bagels and a brisket (I think a good brisket is really hard to find).  So Saturday night I was the cook.  In addition to the brisket we had fresh local corn, Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar (that I posted 2 weeks ago) and Company Salad.

When I started to prepare the dinner we discovered that the wax beans (I was using the yellow beans instead of the green beans) had either been left at the farm stand or lost somewhere on the way home.  Pete insisted on going back to the farm stand to get more beans for us.

Lucky for me Lorraine has a home filled with lots of healthy goodies.  She had a pile of beets she had roasted before I came, avocados that were ripe, 2 oranges (though I used just one of them), a few lovely bing cherries, and a box of organic salad greens.  Of course she had lots of other things I could also have used but I was really good about editing myself.

The pistachios were the only thing I wanted that wasn’t in the house so we called Pete and asked if he would pick up the nuts while he was getting the beans.

Dinner was delicious but the star of the show was the out-of-this-world salad.  Hope you love it as much when you make it!
Continue reading Out-of-This-World Company Salad

Red Cabbage and Sweet Potato Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~        CIMG2617-001

Cook outs, picnics, barbecues, pot lucks.  Summer is the ideal time of year for entertaining and parties.   I have a dim memory of having a salad something like this at my friend Paula’s house for Thanksgiving.  She said she was tired of all the standard sweet potato recipes and made this salad instead.  I thought the combination of ingredients was amazingly delicious – which is why I remember it all these years later – but I am sad to report it ‘s not a good vehicle for the roasted marshmallows that usually come along with sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving.

How did I get side tracked from summer entertaining?  I brought this salad with me to a pot luck and it was a BIG hit.  In fact, although I say it serves 6 to 8 – it was completely polished off by six women of a certain age.  The good news is this recipe is easily doubled if you are cooking for a crowd.

Happy summer outing – enjoy!
Continue reading Red Cabbage and Sweet Potato Salad

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~

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I belonged to a book club many years ago.  There were about 7 of us and each month one of us would pick the book and host the dinner/discussion.  The club dissolved with my friend Helen’s quick and very unexpected passing.   Without Helen (whose book choices the rest of us always questioned) it was just too hard to regain momentum.  Skip forward several years and one of the original book club members decided to revive it but with a slightly different cast of characters.  After much debate a book (My Brilliant Friend) and a date for the meeting was chosen.

I confess that, as is/was usually the case, I put off reading the book until the last minute.  Three days before the meeting I started reading – and I’m happy to report I finished it with 2 hours to spare.  The dinner was to be at the organizer’s home and then, of the seven reading the book, only 3 of us (host + me + 1 other) made it to the discussion/dinner.

All this is just leading up to the fact that our host had prepared a wonderful dinner including my new favorite-salad-ever.  She found the recipe on a blog

kale and brussel sprout salad from www.onceuponachef.com
I went to the blog only to find that the blogger, Jen Segall, took and altered the recipe from Bon Appetit  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad
The recipes at both sites use Parmesan style cheese which, being paleo, I omitted.   They both make really big batches (Bon Appetit serves 8 to 10 and Once Upon a Chef serves 6 to 8) and I wanted a more normal sized yield (mine serves 4 to 6).  Proportionally, they both used more dressing, but I honestly feel the amount here is PLENTY!  And, I went with the Bon Appetit choice of almonds rather than walnuts.
Here are some of the things that make this my new favorite salad
It’s DELICIOUS!
It’s easy to prepare – I found already shaves Brussels Spouts and washed and chopped kale at Trader Joe’s, making this salad a snap to make.
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It’s versatile –  add cooked chicken for a whole meal salad; add chopped apples and raisins/craisons/currents for a sweeter version; add beans for a heartier vegetarian/vegan salad
It can be prepared in advance – unlike many salads that just get soggy/slimy when dressed too soon, this one gets even better when allowed to stand
Hope this becomes your most favorite new salad too!   Enjoy!

Continue reading Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Warm Thai Beef and Radish Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Paleo~~

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I’m back!   The restorations to my apartment are done…don’t the floors look great?

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and….I got a new stove!

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And…not least of all…A new look for the blog.  I think it’s a cleaner format and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Now about this recipe.  I’ve taken a booth at an end-of-season party at my CSA pick up location.  I hope to sell a few of the zillions of copies of my books that are taking up space in my apartment.  I was kind of sad to note that most of the recipes in my first two books are made with foods I no longer eat (grains & beans).

One of my favorite recipes in “The Complete Whole Grain Cookbook” is/was WarmThai Beef Salad – but it was made with beef and cooked rice.  I started wondering if there’s something I could use instead of the rice?  The inspiration of using radishes came because I happen to have three types of radishes in my fridge this week (I got black and watermelon radishes from my CSA and I had bought red radishes in the market because they were too beautiful to pass up).  I don’t remember seeing any recipes that call for cooking radishes, but I figured if worse came to worst I could always just throw out the dish and start again.

You must have guessed by now that it worked splendidly or it wouldn’t be the main feature today!  In fact cooking tames the radish flavor considerably.  Look for more cooked radish recipes in the future.

ENJOY!
Continue reading Warm Thai Beef and Radish Salad

Roasted Peppers

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo~~~

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There’s nothing like homemade roasted peppers for making tasty sauces, dips, for antipasto or toppings for bruschetta, in salads or on sandwiches.  The ones you buy in jars pale in comparison to homemade; and they are so easy to do.   Although you can roast green or purple peppers, it is more common to use red, orange or yellow pepper because they have a lovely sweetness once they are cooked.  You can roast peppers on a grill as well as under the broiler.

The first and very important step is to select fleshy peppers.  Unfortunately these are usually the ones that are the more expensive ones from Holland.  You’ll recognize them by the big green stem and they should be heavy when you pick one up.  The peppers that are not as fleshy don’t roast particularly well and I just skip it if I can’t find the fleshy ones.

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Preheat the broiler.  After you’ve rinsed your peppers, cut them in half through the stem

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Then remove the stem, seeds, and any white pith.

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Cut the halves in half to make quarters and place on a baking sheet lined generously with foil.

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Place under broiler and cook until charred.

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Turn and cook second side until charred.

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Immediately roll up the cooked pepper in the foil that was lining the pan.  This lets the peppers steam as they cool, making it easy to remove the skins.

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When the peppers have cooled, open the foil packet and peel the papery/blistered skin from the fleshy part of the peppers.

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Now you have peppers ready to eat or cook with.

My favorite thing to do them them is chop them up; add plenty of garlic, some fresh or dried herbs, and some extra virgin olive oil, a little salt to taste and you are good to go.

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Suya (or Tsire or Chichinga) – Nigerian Grilled Meat Skewers

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Paleo ~~~

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Suya or tsire (also known as chichinga in Ghana) is a Nigerian street food.  The traditional recipe uses roasted peanuts to marinate the meat, but since peanuts are a legume and legumes are not allowed on paleo, I substituted roasted cashews which also gives it a wonderful flavor. On the other hand if you do eat peanuts, feel free to substitute them for the cashews and know that you are having an even more authentic version.  Speaking of authentic versions, although 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne sounds pretty spicy, the truth of the matter is most of the other recipes I looked at used at least 1 teaspoon cayenne – so feel free to increase the cayenne significantly (or decrease it if you are not fond of spicy).   Also, you do not have to limit yourself to beef for these skewers; they would be equally good with chicken, lamb, pork, shrimp, or even goat.

Now you might ask yourself how does a die hard New Yorker, who barely leaves her neighborhood, know of a Nigerian street food?  Good question.  I can’t imagine that I dreamed up the word Suya (or tsire or chichinga) and googled it, nor do I think I googled Nigerian street food – so how did I get there?  I don’t know, but I do know an interesting recipe when I see one and since I’ve been stuck at home with a cold and cough I had time to look for something that piqued my interest.  When I found Suya it struck just the right cord as I generally like to eat really spicy foods when I have a cold because:

a) they are the only thing I can still taste

b) cayenne is excellent to relieve coughs (my home remedy cough medicine starts with 1/4 cup red pepper flakes)

c) I had a defrosted steak and had to figure out something to do with it

So however I got to this recipe I can assure you it was a lucky (and delicious) find.  The salad is completely my own addition – I think spicy food goes so well with light and crunchy salads – and this truly is a dynamic duo (or if you add a beer it would make this a terrific trio).

Enjoy! Continue reading Suya (or Tsire or Chichinga) – Nigerian Grilled Meat Skewers

Brown and Wild Rice Salad for a Crowd

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve ~~~

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I frequently attend “pot luck” lunches, dinners, or parties  – or even if they are not pot luck, I usually volunteer to bring something to help out the host.  My offer is practically never refused; so I have a number of recipes like this that are not too hard to make, can be made in advance, and are always crowd pleasers.  I generally like to bring vegetarian dishes, because I remember the many years I was vegetarian and would have a hard time finding suitable things to eat at buffets.  On the other hand, if you want to bring a more substantial dish, cooked chicken or turkey, shrimp, or ham would also be good in this salad. Although this recipe looks long and has lots of ingredients, you can see that the instructions are really simple.

About the ingredients…tailor this recipe to suit anything you happen to have on hand.  Don’t have dried cranberries?  use raisins, dried currants, chopped dates, or skip the dried fruit altogether.  Want to go more upscale?  use more wild rice than brown or skip the brown rice and make it all wild rice.  use fennel instead of celery.  use pear instead of apple or use jicama if you don’t want to include fruit.  What about the nuts?  any nut will do – or none at all.  Don’t have parsley or mint?  use cilantro or dill or whatever you have on hand.  This is definitely not a recipe you have to follow exactly, but it is one you will be happy to have in your recipe box (so to speak).

Enjoy!
Continue reading Brown and Wild Rice Salad for a Crowd

I Love My Misto – You Should Have One…or Two!

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The Duane-Reade a block away from my apartment closed recently and during the last few days had great sales on stuff they wanted to unload.  That is why I actually bought my Mistos.  They were on sales for $1.19 each.  Who could resist?  At worst I could give them as house gifts (thereby violating my rule about never giving gifts the receiver has to keep).  The deal was so great I bought FOUR!  So now you know a little more about my character…I can’t resist a good sale.

Fast forward a few weeks.  I’m busy in the kitchen and am about to reach for olive oil Pam when I remember I had this new gadget to try.  I take my “good” olive oil and fill the sprayer – I press the sprayer and…Nothing!  I’m a little perplexed, is this a total dud?  Did I waste my $4.76?  Now I’m forced to read the instructions (something I rarely do).  It says “pump top cap until firm.”   Huh???

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I put the cap on and start pushing  1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8..  I get it.  It doesn’t want to be pushed anymore.  Now I take off the cap and press the sprayer – WOW a really fine mist comes out (wish I had a better camera so you could see it better).

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It settles evenly on my baking sheet.  That was easy.

But the question remains was it really worth buying?  I did have Pam why bother with an extra gadget?  Here are the really BIG reasons.

1.  It doesn’t use any chemicals.  I really dislike the smell of aerosoled oil and it always makes me wonder what bad stuff gets in the food (maybe none or maybe – who knows).

2.  You are in control of the quality and type of oil (or vinegar or whatever you want to spray).  I don’t imagine that the corporations that makes aerosol sprays use extra virgin olive oil… I would guess they use olive oil from the second or third pressings.

3.  It’s eco-friendly.

Here are some of the uses I’ve found for it (and I’m sure I will find more uses as I have it longer).

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Perfect for a light salad dressing – and here is where two Mistos are genius…one for oil and one for vinegar.  4 sprays oil; 8 sprays wine vinegar – excellent!

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Perfect for broiling or roasting potatoes or vegetables…spray the pan or foil, spray the veges.

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Perfect to spray the Griddler (post 2 weeks ago) or waffle iron to ensure nothing sticks

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Perfect for low fat sauteeing.

You can buy the Misto probably anywhere and certainly on Amazon.  I think it’s around $10 and it now comes in very sexy colors.  You can check it out at www.misto.com

Happy Spraying!

 

Intermezzo: Apple Fennel Salad with Lemon Sorbet

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So I hosted a fund raiser for my synagogue this past Saturday night.  If I must say so myself; the food was quite excellent.  My personal favorite of the evening was a dish that came about unexpectedly.  I had decided that I wanted to make a salad with fennel and apple, but once I put the menu together I just couldn’t figure out when to serve it.  I already had an appetizer (Salmon Tartare) and I didn’t think that kind of salad belonged at the end of the meal.  But just as I was about to let it go I had the inspiration to serve an intermezzo (small palate cleanser – usually sorbet).  I already had the lemon sorbet (Sharon’s my favorite brand), but what if….what if I serve it on top of a refreshing fennel and apple salad?  Perfection! (Except for my friend Dori, who hated it.  I don’t accept responsibility for that since she doesn’t like fennel to begin with.)

You don’t have to serve this salad with sorbet, although the sorbet certainly does enhance the salad.  Or, you can change the flavor of the sorbet if you like – I’m quite sure that pear, mango, or passion fruit would work just as well.  Either way I think you will love it (unless, of course, you don’t like fennel to begin with – in which case substitute celery for the fennel).  Enjoy!
Continue reading Intermezzo: Apple Fennel Salad with Lemon Sorbet

Pickled Beets

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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Summer is winding down.  All those wonderful tomatoes I have been cooking with are disappearing from my CSA pickup.  The only tomatoes that arrived this week was a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes.  But, sad as the end of tomato season is, other goodies are beginning to appear.  This week we has beets, and squash, and cauliflower.

I love beets.  Generally I just roast them, but this week I decided to venture further than usual and make pickled beets.  I’m kind of forced into this decision as my favorite brand of store bought pickled beets “greenwood” seems to have disappeared from the supermarket shelves and in it’s place is “nelly’s” which has way too much clove for my taste.  Although I do like pickled beets as a side dish by themselves, mostly I use them to make beet horseradish to serve with my (store bought) gefilte fish.  All you have to do is put some drained pickled beets into a food processor and puree them until somewhere between finely chopped and pureed.  Then just stir in prepared horseradish (I use Gold’s white horseradish) to taste.

I served the horseradish with A & B salmon gefilte fish (it’s gluten free) that I buy frozen in a log, then boil according to package directions.  It was a real hit at my break-fast.
Continue reading Pickled Beets