Tag Archives: salad

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

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

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.

CIMG4320   flaxseed crackers with roasted peppers and scallion

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

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

Crunchy Red Cabbage Salad

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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I love red cabbage salad.  Growing up my mom made what we called Ketchup Salad every time the ketchup bottle was getting low.  She would add vegetable oil and red wine vinegar to the remaining ketchup (Heinz, of course) in the bottle and shake – great way to use every drop of ketchup – then pour it over shredded red cabbage and shredded carrots – add plenty of salt and pepper and a family favorite was created.  Jump forward 40 or 50 years – I’m working in the soup kitchen and we get a case of red cabbage donated.  I know just what to do with it – Ketchup Salad!  My fellow volunteers were horrified but I stood firm and insisted we add ketchup to the vinaigrette.  Guess what – they all loved it too (except Lenny who wouldn’t taste it) and every now and then one of them announces s/he had made Ketchup Salad at home that week.  So though I don’t have exact proportions of oil/vinegar/ketchup to give you, I encourage you to make up your own Ketchup Salad, if you dare!

Continue reading Crunchy Red Cabbage Salad

Wilted Cucumber Salad

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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This is one of the few Hungarian recipes my mother made that did not start off with paprika, it’s one of the standard recipes to be served on holidays (this month being Passover).  Mom (and probably all my ancestors) used to include one step that, I confess, I am too lazy to bother with.  After salting the cucumbers and onions, she would take small handfuls and squeeze them over the sink until no more liquid would drip out.  The result was cucumbers that were more wilted than ones in this recipe, however, I don’t think this recipe suffers even a little bit due to the shortcut.  This is a refreshing salad, great with any main dish or sandwich (if you eat them).  You can double this recipe easily,  and because it stays “good” in the refrigerator for two weeks or more weeks, you can always have it on hand (though  it will become less green and more wilted). Continue reading Wilted Cucumber Salad