Archive for the 'salad' Category

13
Jun
11

roasted cauliflower salad & lentil walnut burgers.

One of my old college friends is what you would call an Extremist. She’s brilliant in science, the maths, and all other stuff that the right side of my brain atrophied to avoid, and yet she can craft a beautiful essay and color coordinate an outfit like no other. I love/hate her for being so well rounded. She recently enrolled in med school, but she can party harder than, like, Bluto. I once witnessed her spooning with a bottle of Patron because she didn’t want to risk enjoying a next day hair-of-the-dog Bloody Maria with an inferior tequila. That’s only a mild exaggeration.

I’d always enjoyed the sense of superiority I’d gain when calling her an Extremist and telling her I was going to introduce her to my friend, Moderation. It took me years to realize I was projecting and referring to myself, and it was I who needed to befriend Moderation.

And so, Moderation is the name of the game these days. Rather than jump into any workout craze, I am sticking to my midday gymming and going to the occasional dance and yoga class. I just found out that my favorite street jazz teacher will be teaching nighttime classes at the studio near me, so look forward to some West Side Story-friendly moves in the near future. I can finally have that dance fight I’ve always wanted! I’ll say things like, “Take that tour jete, bitch,” and “You don’t even know how high I can arabesque, ho. Now sashay, Shante.”

I turned on the 4 Hour Body nearly as quickly as I started due to its surprisingly restrictive nature characteristic of a diet (subtle sarcasm). I’m staying pescetarian for the time being, but I may move towards meat eventually. I want to be like Giada who eats everything in moderation, and stays just so fit and adorbs. I feel like once I master the long-lost art of moderation I can maybe broaden my horizons? It goes against my binge eating generation’s nature, but I will rise above it.

I made this Cauliflower and Arugula salad I saw Chuck Hughes make on the Cooking Channel:

Ingredients:

cauliflower arugula salad

1 cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small pieces and blanched
2 tbsp butter (he called for 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
4 cups arugula
2 shallots, thinly sliced (he called for one)
olive oil spray (he called for 2 tbsp)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup walnuts (he called for pine nuts)

I just love Chuck with his curiously Midwestern accent and overly expressive eyes when he’s detailing his ingredients. He’s like an aggressively tatted-up puppy. His recipes look damn good, too, and I wanted to pay tribute to him by making one tonight. I changed this one quite a bit due to ingredient restrictions, though, and I’m not proud of that. I left out the bacon to keep it veg-friendly, but carnivores should include.

You start by chopping the cauliflower into florets and blanching them to start. For those unfamiliar with this technique, you start by dropping cauliflower into salted, boiling water for about three minutes. Scoop it out and drop in a bowl of ice water and leave for a few minutes until they’ve completely cooled. This is meant to break down the fibers (I assume) and preserve the color and flavor in the meantime.

Chuck then says to saute in a pan with the butter until golden brown. I found this was longer than the 5 minutes he said and closer to 10, and I threw the first sliced shallot in with the cauliflower. I wanted Shallot City, Population: 1, and so I went there. Then I added honey and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, and cooked for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix together arugula, the shallot, the remaining red wine vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Top with the cauliflower and walnuts, and dinner is served. I really loved this dish, but next time I’m going to add some golden raisins. My sweet tooth is back with a vengeance.

While I’m not crushing fro-yo or enjoying some late-night rugelach, I’ve been countering the excess sugar intake as of late with some beans and greens. One of my go-tos is kale with lemon and cannelini beans, but I’m not sure I’ve ever featured it here. It looks like this:

kale with cannelini beans

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale, chopped and de-stemmed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c dry white wine
olive oil cooking spray
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp ground cumin
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

At some point in her career, Giada made something vaguely resembling this dish, but I’ve distorted it in my hundred or so iterations, so it’s barely recognizable.

I start by chopping the garlic and onion and sauteeing it over medium heat with the cooking spray. I then add about half the can of beans, and simmer for a few minutes. I season with about 1/2 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper, and let the beans start to brown. I then add the kale in batches, and cook it down until it starts to wilt. In this version I added some leftover white wine, and I’m glad I did because it added all kinds of flavor plus a fun sizzling sound upon its addition. I then cook for a few more minutes until the kale is all wilty, and then top with lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and more salt, pepper and cumin. It’s just so damn good, and total Poor Man’s Food so it’s ideal for the early month post-rent deduction scrimping familiar to my fellow New Yorkers.

I made these Lentil Walnut burgers from Whole Foods last week that I was relatively proud of:

Ingredients:

street jazz

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups cooked brown rice, divided
1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed and drained
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

You start by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

You’re then supposed to puree the rice lentils and egg in a food processor, but I have nothing of the sort so I merely mashed them together with a potato masher and some elbow grease. Transfer to bowl with vegetables, add remaining 1 cup rice and stir to combine. Form lentil mixture into 10 to 12 patties, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture to make each one.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Arrange half of the patties in skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat until the patties are done. I served with some sauteed spinach and onions, and it was really tasty. The food processor is a must, though, because my patties had a hard time staying together. I know what I’m treating myself to on payday!

lentil walnut burgers and sauteed spinach

26
Oct
10

farro salad.

I’ve recently fallen victim to habits similar to the Home Decor Obsessive (HDO. Don’t google; I’m pretty sure I invented this disorder, and if not it’s probably an offensive acronym in French or Dutch or something. Bitenuker). I moved just a week ago, and bare walls are not, and have never been, my forte. They’re the equivalent of an undressed salad – ‘taint happening. I’m going to need some extra virgin olive oil or Annie’s Green Goddess immediately. I feel this compulsive desire to get these nakey walls covered by any means possible, so’s not to terrify the occasional visitor by their state of undress. A coffee table can wait. So I don’t have household scissors, refrigerator magnets, or curtains in my bedroom that prevent all of Tomkins Square Park from seeing my business. So what? That’s all secondary. What’s really important is that I just bought this sweet vintage mirror/window combo that’s going to make my living room look like it’s 700 square feet, which I’m pretty sure is a LOT of feet. Also, I bought a gorge piece of art that has gotten like 12 favorable comments on facebook since yesterday. So, win.

That being said, it’s obvious that I can’t afford cable just yet. No matter, for I’ll turn to cooking and exercising for entertainment. More material for the blog, you say? Someone’s astute.

I’m still mid-gym freeze month, and it’s been a feat. I’ve had to turn to the great outdoors more than once for my endorphins fix. How unnatural. I ran outside like seven times last week, which far exceeds anything I did at the height of track fame. I’ve hardly been using those muscles all month due to my trial gym separation, so it actually made an impact on my physique. It turns out I’m NOT dead inside, which was a total relief. I’d made the mistake of thinking so when my body plateaued last month, but all it took was some variety and a temporary stoppage to start responding. My calves are coming back, and I think I saw a quad this morning. Lower abs are historically next, so it looks like I’ll find a use for my 90s baby tees soon enough.

Nothing compliments baby tees like an arugula salad, so I made just that for lunch yesterday.

arugula salad

Ingredients:

2 cups arugula
1/2 block extra firm tofu
1 plum, sliced
1/2 oz brie, chopped
1 tbsp grey poupon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I started by sautéing the chopped tofu in one tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. It’s worth noting that my dad sent me some high quality new cookware courtesy of Rachael Ray, so you can infer that I’m mostly using my new toys from here on out. Oh, also, aren’t my new dishes adorbs? This place is my mecca. While the tofu was sautéing, I laid down a bed of arugula and topped it with the sliced plums and chopped brie. I whisked together the mustard, honey, and olive oil for a tangy homemade honey mustard dressing, and added a little salt and pepper to the mix. Tofu – on. Honey mustard dressing – drizzled. Et voila. One of my more attractive lunch companions.

I just think Giada de Laurentiis is the coolest. Wait, have I mentioned that before? Weird. It’s such a discreet admiration. I made her Mediterranean Farro Salad last night, and it was a hit. With me. I totally approved. It calls for:

my girl Giada

Ingredients:

10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
8 ounces green beans, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips (totally forgot this ingredient)
3 ounces Parmesan, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 small bunch chives, snipped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Start by boiling four cups of water in a saucepan and add the farro. For those just joining, farro is a grain that has the texture of a couscous and the looks of a quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tsp of salt and simmer for 10 more minutes, then drain completely. Meanwhile, boil water in another saucepan for the green beans. Add those, cook for two minutes, and then blanch in ice water. Drain and set aside.

Stir the green beans, olives, Parmesan, and chives into the farro. I also would have stirred in the red pepper, had I remembered its place in this recipe. Fail. In a small bowl mix together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, mustard, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Pour over the farro salad. Combine and consume.

Yeah, Giada wins again. I loved this tangy salad and its good looks too. See below:

Mediterranean Farro Salad

17
Jul
10

beet and rhubarb salad, blackened salmon.

Shame, meet my face. I was someone who prided myself on proper blog maintenance, and I’d rarely go more than a month without a tail-between-the-legs posting about being neglectful. (ie “It’ll never happen again, baby. I stray because I care”). And yet, here I am, two months deep in blogless shame. I never thought I’d join the ranks of the half assed masses.

In my defense, I’ve been making time with San Francisco and Israel during my self-proclaimed “Year of the Vacay,” so I haven’t had much in the way of content these past two months. If I made time to squeeze out a blog between trips, it would have been something like, “I picked up dumplings for dinner and then forced myself to do twenty minutes of cardio.” Laaame.

I was in Israel for 10 days (birthright, obvs), during which time I had about 10 falafel sandwiches and an obscene amount of hummus. We’re talking morning, noon, and night. I lapped it up like a collie. I still haven’t had my fill, because that’s how much hummus and I vibe. Check out the last meal they served us:

Israeli hummus. love.

Amazeballs. The food was like a dream my palette once had. Luckily, my trip was extra outdoorsy, so my sweaty side was able to shine. We hiked multiple times, went cave crawling, rafted down the Jordan River, and went camel riding, all of which beat the hell out of the elliptical and free weights. I returned with a newly discovered desire to marry a mountain man and start, like, kayaking or something. I haven’t quite worked out the details.

I ended up eating out for almost 3 weeks straight, so I was in need of some home cooking upon my return. My mom always hated beets (arbitrarily, because I recently asked her about it and she admitted to never giving them much of a chance), so my sister and I shared the aversion for our entire childhood.

Beets are like last year’s brussel sprouts (aka newly trendy), so I figured it was time to give them a chance. I found a recipe for a beet and rhubarb salad on my beloved Epicurious app. Seriously, that thing is my favorite grocery shopping accessory. I’m not sure what I did before its inception, but I’m pretty sure it was something like walking around aimlessly and drooling.

Ingredients:

orange, beet and rhubarb salad

8 2- to 2 1/2-inch-diameter red or yellow beets, 4 of each color if available
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 large oranges
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon honey
3 cups watercress sprigs
1 1/4 cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about one 7-ounce package)

You start by roasting the beets in aluminum foil in a 400 degree oven  for an hour. Bring water, sugar, and a pinch of salt to boil in a saucepan, and then add the chopped rhubarb. Cook for 1-2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.

Then, you finely grate 1/2 teaspoon of orange peel into a small bowl. Cut off peel and white pith from all oranges, and then segment the oranges into a big bowl. Squeeze membranes to release juice into bowl, and then put 2 tablespoons orange juice to bowl with orange peel. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil into the bowl with orange peel and orange juice mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay out your bed of watercress, and arrange chopped beets and orange segments on top. Add lots of feta and dressing:

The beets were damn good and earthy tasting. They’re almost potato-like, so I’m starting to get why Eastern Europeans lurve them so. My only gripe was the rhubarb, which I’d never cooked with before. I’m not sure if Whole Foods gave me a bad batch or something, but it was waaayy bitter. Not my fave.

I was feeling like some of my faves a few nights ago, so I decided to make blackened salmon, sweet potato fries and mashed cauliflower. Om nom nom.

salmon, pre-blackened

For the sweet potato fries, I mixed together 1 tsp each of fennel seeds, thyme and cumin along with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I peeled the sweet potato, chopped into fries, and tossed in the seasoning mixture with some salt and pepper. I baked in a 450 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, turning once about midway through. Sweet potatoes, check. Onto the blackened salmon.

To start, I put together a mix of paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, Adobo seasoning, and dried basil. Then, I rubbed the salmon until it looked like this:

It was a variation on this recipe. I then drizzled with melted butter, and seared in a skillet for about 3-5 minutes each side. Black and beautiful.

So, I bought purple cauliflower because I thought it would be fun. Once mashed, the end result was a little cartoonish and strange. I’m actually physically uncomfortable admitting this. It started normal enough, when I chopped the cauliflower into florets and tossed in a pot of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. I removed with a slotted spoon, and mashed with some salt and about a pat of butter.

Then things got a little weird…the cauliflower looked like it could be creamier, and I had no milk in the house. The closest milk-like thing in the apartment was my roomie’s vanilla soy milk, and I wasn’t about to go that route. Without fully considering the consequences, I added a ladle of salted water to the mash. So, they turned out slightly watery and weird. Not my finest moment, but they still tasted fine.  Anyways, see below for the final results:

blackened salmon, mashed cauliflower and sweet potato fries




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