Monday, August 30, 2010

Peach, cucumber, black bean salad/salsa

This one might sound familiar... at first I was going to title it "peach and cucumber salad," but being different by only one word from the previous post is unacceptable. So I aggrandized it. Also I realize every August post is a salad. But that's how it's supposed to be in the summer right? In reality, this salad is totally different, even from the previous peach salad. And, it would be just as great as a salsa to serve with chips, over fish or chicken, in a burrito, you name it. I would just recommend chopping everything a bit smaller if you are going to dip into it. I'm going to give you recipes for the full menu, although the salad was really the winner on the plate. The menu:
~Peach, cucumber, black bean salad
~Shredded cabbage w/lemon and cilantro
~Sliced raw beets w/lemon and chile

Peach, cucumber, black bean salad
3 peaches, chopped
1 cucumber (medium to large sized), half-peeled (leave alternating stripes of peel) and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 t. salt or to taste
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime and one lemon (I probably would have used 2-3 limes instead of 1 lemon and 1 lime, but I only had 1 lime)
2 squeezes of honey
2-3 T. canned chipotles in adobo, very finely chopped
1 T. olive oil
Optional: shredded cabbage

1. Combine all the chopped things together, as well as the beans.
2. Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk: salt, lime zest, juices, honey, chipotles, olive oil. My measure on the chipotles is approximate - they have a little heat, so adjust to your liking. When I open a can I put the rest in the freezer and then use a knife to cut off however much I want from the frozen chipotle block. Then I microwave it, and I chop it finely enough so that it's almost a liquid consistency.
3. Toss dressing with the fruit mixture, let stand for 20 minutes before serving. Serve on top of or next to a bed of cabbage if you like, or even better, citrusy-cilantro-y cabbage (see below).

Shredded cabbage w/lemon and cilantro
Green cabbage, sliced very thinly (I used about 1/3 a head)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T. chopped cilantro
One squeeze/glug/choose-your-verb-inspired-measure of olive oil

1. Toss them all together. Season.

Sliced raw beets w/lemon and chile
, a recipe from The Kitchn.
2 large beets, sliced as thinly as possible
Juice of 1 lemon
A few shakes good quality chili powder (discussed here)

1. Toss them all together.

Quesadillas - don't need a recipe for these - but I like a simple white Vermont cheddar (mmmm Cabot) on corn tortillas.

The green stuff you can see in the picture (on top of the quesadilla) is a chutney I made to go with some saag paneer a week or two ago ... it was loosely based on this recipe, but I don't remember exactly what went into it.

Some of the things in tonight's dinner came straight from today's haul of the CSA. I thought it might be fun (for me at least) to write down what all the things in one week's CSA went into. And this was a particularly good-looking and large haul (which was quite interesting to bike home with), so I set it up for a photo shoot. Keep an eye out for that in a coming post.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Peach and tomato salad

I saw two recipes in one day for salads featuring peaches and tomatoes. One was here (via Saveur) and the second was from a cookbook I got for my birthday from Andy's parents: Fast, Fresh, and Green by Susie Middleton. The flavor combination struck me as a little strange, but I've certainly had both tomatoes and peaches alone in caprese salad type dishes, so they're probably good together, right? And since I had some awesome tomatoes and some awesome peaches, I decided to give it a whirl with whatever else I had in the kitchen. I think this would be great with some fresh mozzarella next time. Would also be good with basil, that's what the original recipes called for, but is not what I had.

We had this last night with some grilled chicken sausage and zuchinni, and a potato, pea, and mint salad with a yogurt-mayo-lime dressing that was also from Middleton's book. Yum.

Juice of one lime
1 t. soy sauce
2 t. balsamic vinegar
2 t. white or rose wine
2 T. olive oil
2 amazing (large) tomatoes (or equivalent of small or cherry tomatoes), chopped
2 amazing peaches, chopped (you can remove the skins if you want, I did not)
0.25 c. parsley, chopped
0.25 c. mint, chopped
Freshly ground pepper

1. Shake or whisk together the dressing ingredients
2. Toss with tomatoes, peaches, and herbs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mint-cilantro quinoa salad

This is a particularly good, very herby variation on my framework summer grain salad. I probably mentioned it on that initial post, but a recipe like this is my go-to for any summer potluck or barbeque. Especially when it’s a barbeque-centric potluck cause although there are tons of great vegetarian grillables (and BBQ tofu is a favorite of mine), I don’t love a lot of more typical barbeque fare: meats, veggie burgers, potato salad, etc. I really try to avoid store bought veggie burgers when I can (homemade is another story).

I made this particular salad a while ago and don’t have any pictures, but you can guess what it would look like. This recipe makes A LOT.

3 c. quinoa (uncooked)
1 bunch cilantro
about 1 c. mint leaves
2 bunches scallions
1-2 packets sun dried tomatoes
8 ozs. sugar snap peas
8 ozs. feta cheese
Juice of 5-6 lemons
Olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper
Optional: lettuce, and nice chopped romaine would be great

1. Rinse (if necessary) and cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
2. Roughly chop cilantro (stems okay), mint (no stems), scallions, sun dried tomatoes, and peas. Put in serving bowl.
3. Cube feta cheese, add to veggies.
4. Juice the lemons and mix together with about 0.5 c. of olive oil.
5. Toss quinoa and veggie-feta mixture with the dressing. Add salt and pepper, and more olive oil and lemon juice if desired.
6. Serve on its own or over some fresh lettuce. It’s really good on some very crisp chopped romaine.

Aioli-dressed cole slaw

The CSA has been giving us a cabbage a week lately, which is about a cabbage a week more than I would normally eat. I like cabbage just not quite enough that I am super inspired every time I see it. And I don't often buy it in the grocery store. But the point of the CSA is to eat seasonally and locally, so instead of relying on my tried and true cabbage preparations (like this one and this one), I looked for outside inspiration. Specifically, I sought the advice of high school kid from Pennsylvania. It's kinda funny/weird, but I really like this kid's blog, Foodie at 15 (now 17). I love his passion for cooking, curiosity about methods and ingredients, and the fact that he is not averse to using candy corn as an ingredient. It's a nice voice in the sometimes snooty world of self-righteous foodies.

Anyway, the other day he was doing a "live chat" on the website of a WHYY, Philadelphia public radio, cooking show. So I decided to ask him about my cabbage Here's the "transcript":

So I decided to take the advice of my favorite not-so-celebrity chef, just for kicks, and it was pretty good. Mayonnaise and aioli are really pretty easy to make in a blender or food processor, and a food processor makes cutting the veg a snap. And while I still wouldn't say cole slaw is one of my favorite dishes, a homemade sauce is a vast improvement on the original. Here's the recipe, but keep in mind that the amounts of the vegetables is completely tunable to your whims, this is just what I used.

Ingredients, slaw:
1 to 1.5 heads of green cabbage
3 large carrots
4 small turnips
1 bunch parsley

3 cloves garlic
4 egg yolks
4 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. dry mustard
a small squeeze yellow or dijon mustard
0.5 c. olive oil
0.5 c. neutral oil (vegetable or canola)

1. Prepare vegetables. I used the slicing attachment for most of the cabbage (I think it gets a little too texture-less and watery if you use the grating attachment), the grating attachment for the carrots and turnips, and the normal blade for chopping the parsley. No need to clean the work bowl in between vegetables or before the next step...
For the dressing:
2. Chop the garlic in the food processor till it's quite fine. Then add the yolks, lemon juice, and mustards and process till combined.
3. Combine the two oils in a measuring cup. With the processor processing, pour in the oils in a slow, steady stream. This should take almost a minute.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and a little extra lemon if you feel it's necessary.
5. Toss every thing together, add a little more salt and pepper if you like.

PS - my posts have been slowing down, eh? I have 8-10 recipes scrawled out on paper and may get around to posting them. I'll at least try to post the better ones. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Citrus and grated beet salad

There's lots of recipes out there for raw, grated beet salad. I don't see how you can go wrong with any of them. They're all super easy, fast, healthy, and tasty. I think the tastes in raw beets go really well with citrus, especially oranges. And this salad was really pretty! I had one yellow beet and one red and white striped beet. Grated together they looked like a party. The picture here doesn't really do justice.

I had been planning on putting some chunks of feta in the salad. But then decided against it in favor of just serving it aside some plain cheddar cheese quesadillas on corn tortillas. I'd also been planning on putting it atop some super fresh, tasty lettuce from the CSA, but in my excitement over the beets, I forgot. I think the salad would be good with cheese in it (what's not?), but actually, the clean, fresh taste of the other ingredients really makes it great without.

A side note - I had forgotten about the pictures I took of 5-green saag paneer and poached fish with lettuce sauce. I just found the pictures on Andy's camera, so those posts are updated with pictures now.

2 medium to large beets (get two different colors if possible!)
2 oranges
1 lime
2 T. olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 to 1 serrano pepper (or jalepeno, serranos are a little spicier), seeds discarded and chopped very finely
1/3 c. roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper to taste
sliced avocado (optional)

1. Peel and grate beets (I used the food processor for the grating.)
2. Juice ONE of the oranges, and the lime. Toss the beets with the juices and olive oil.
3. Peel and cut up the other orange. Toss the beet mixture together with the orange, cilantro, chili pepper, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Season with S&P to taste and serve with some sliced avocado on top!