Category Archives: salad

summer salad, oops.

Okay I am really horrible and it’s October and here is the salad I ate all summer and, really, I can’t believe I am quite this bad at blogging, but maybe this salad will make up for all my shortcomings. It would not be the first time I have fixed a problem with avocado, nor will it be the last.

This salad comes via Mark Bittman’s 101 simple salad recipes. I sometimes think Bittman is a bit much, but I do agree with his stance on lettuce (thumbs down!). Lettuce is overrated, and you don’t need it to make a delicious salad.

Basically, this salad tastes like summer and takes maybe eight minutes to make if you have a difficult can opener. It tastes better with fresh, boiled, corn, or, if you are the luckiest, with barbecued corn, but I usually use a can of corn. It works.

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  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 handful cilantro, diced

for the dressing:

  • 2 limes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (This stuff is way easier to find than you’d think, and it is so, so good.  New staple!)
  • a bit of olive oil

This is a salad.  So, you know, toss the ingredients and then add the dressing.  I promise this is such a great salad but also works as a salsa-type condiment, I think I put it on a burger at one point and really congratulated myself on that one.  I guess it’s a bit late for barbecue season but next year, next year.

summer salads

Oh man, summer is seriously here. I say this because I’ve spent a bunch of (amazing) time at cottages, and because we are in the middle of a heatwave, and because it’s just true. Anyway, in the summer, eating gets harder because it’s hot and easy to sit around and eat an avocado and drink a gin and tonic rather than cook delicious things. So, instead of making many exciting meals, I’ve been mostly pouring this carrot and ginger dressing over everything. Tonight, for example, it went over black beans, tomatoes and avocados. Sometimes I dip corn chips in it. Basically, this blog is now boring because I keep eating this salad dressing.

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Anyway, it comes via Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter, which is a super controversial topic and you should probably avoid talking to my roommates about it. But, general consensus: this dressing is great.

  • 2 carrots (regular, kind of puny carrots, or one big one) peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • grapeseed oil (until you hit the consistency you want.  At the risk of sounding like Jamie Oliver, a few glugs or whatever.)

Throw everything in a food processor and add the oil gradually.  Then, dressing!

Now, Goop maintains that this recipe is enough for two salads, but this is crazy.  This makes a tonne of dressing, like maybe 10 salads worth.  Perhaps if Gwyneth Paltrow eased up on the huge salads, she could avoid the juice cleanses she always seems to be on.  Cleanses are for lames!

delicious salad!

Spring is here and I’m pretending it’s summer. Basically, this means bare legs even though it’s too cold, subbing gin and tonics for whiskey, and eating salads so happily. Last week I made this delicious chick pea salad, and then I made it again, and then Annie made it for our cookbook club, and it just keeps getting better. The recipe is from Falling Cloudberries, which is beautiful but, as we decided, very liquidy. Annie and I both judiciously decided to substitute a tablespoon or two of oil instead of using a cup of oil. It works, for real.

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  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 red onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 hot chili peppers
  • 3 scallions
  • handful coriander
  • handful parsley
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 handfuls of feta
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Salads are salads and I don’t really believe in serious measurements when it comes to salad.  Add more of anything you love, and you will probably love it more.  Fry the diced onions, garlic and peppers, season them and let them cool as much as you can.  Add in the chick peas (the author recommends peeling the skins off but that feels like a lot of work for a meal that would otherwise take ten minutes), the chopped greens, the feta and the lemon juice.  I think feta is kind of a lame cheese, so I subbed in oka once, and do not recommend it.  Stick with the feta!  This is a good salad!

panzanella

I used to work at Chez Piggy in Kingston, and learned lots about cooking and working in kitchens.  The big thing for restaurants is trying hard not to throw out food, but at the same time serving fresh food. Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential tries to do a big exposé on daily specials and how they’re just ways to sell ingredients that are about to go bad, but it’s pretty much common sense and you can be the lowly dessert girl (and, later, the lowly line cook) and still see how this works. Or, you know, you can just think about it. Anyway, bread was a hard one at Chez Piggy, there was a sister bakery, where I later worked, that made all the buns and breads for the restaurant, and so there was basically always too much bread. And day-old bread didn’t cut it. One of the ways to get through this was panzanella, a pretty delish bread salad. Sometimes I want this bread salad so much that I can’t wait for my bread to go stale. This happened this week, so I toasted slices of a baguette to dry them out.

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The recipe is easy and quick, but made better if you take some time with it.

  • dry bread (I always vote for a ciabatta, it’s crusty and soft, but this time I used a demi baguette and it was better than okay)
  • two bell peppers
  • tomatoes
  • jarred artichoke hears
  • capers
  • red onion
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

If you’re using fresh bread, toast it, rip it into pieces (rustic!) and leave it out as long as you can.  If you have time, slow roast the tomatoes as long as you like.  I used grape tomatoes, and roasted them with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper for about an hour and a half.  For the last fifteen minutes, I threw in a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Grill or roast the sliced peppers and onions.  Chop the artichokes.  Mix everything together in a bowl.  The oil and vinegar from the tomatoes should be enough to coat everything, but you really want a lot of sauciness.  Add more oil and vinegar if you want more.  I also threw in half an avocado and some cheddar, because everything is better with avocado and cheese.

This gets better after a day or so, and would make a great picnic.  The weather has been amazing lately, so maybe maybe this is a possibility for next week!

lamb salad

I suppose the notion of lamb salad is a bit much, but this is really so good.  Also, it’s an exciting way to eat carrots.  Don’t get me wrong, I am into carrots, but I am really really into shaved carrots, apparently.  Anyway, this salad is a whole meal, it’s filling but not too heavy, it comes via Jamie Oliver (swoon!), and it looks pretty (I think).  Basically, amazing.

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  • many carrots, peeled in long strips
  • garam masala
  • 1 pound ground lamb or lamb sausage
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted if you want
  • a bunch of picked cilantro leaves
  • a bunch of picked mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 shallots, diced very finely
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • olive oil

Heat a large frying pan and and fry the ground lamb with as much garam masala as you want, depending on the spice level.  Stir the lamb and fry it until it’s crispy.  Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the pan, but keep the rendered fat and lightly fry the shaved carrot.

For the dressing, dice the shallots as finely as possible, and add the lemon zest and juice, grated ginger, ground cumin and a bit of salt.  Add as much olive oil as you think you need, and then pour the dressing over the carrots.

Arrange everything on a plate with the mint and cilantro first, then the lamb, topped with the carrots and finally with the sesame seeds.

This is really lovely with naan or a bit of spicy yogurt.

 

seasonal eating?

Okay, so seasonal eating is obviously a good idea for a million reasons that range from general deliciousness to ethical choices. And, it should be way easier, since it is spring and things that aren’t sweet potatoes are finally growing and I have been making weekly treks to farmers’ markets and so on. But, I have also been thinking about the recipe for what Casa Moro calls winter tabouleh for just about ever (or, for three months). And, since Casa Moro is in Spain, maybe it’s safe to say that their winter is our right now?

Either way, I made this awesome tabouleh.

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  • 1 1/3 cups bulgar
  • 3/4 head of cauliflower, cut into little little florets
  • 1 endive, finely chopped
  • 3/4 bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (key!)
  • 1 handful flat parsley, chopped
  • 1 smaller handful of mint, chopped

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • salt and pepper

Let the bulgar sit in water for 15 minutes or so, until it’s light and fluffy, ish, and then drain it. Meanwhile, chop up all the ingredients, make the dressing and toss everything together. Delicious! Pretty fresh, too, particularly for wintertime.  This recipe yields a lot, so maybe half it if you aren’t interested in eating it for four days in a row…  Or, sharing!

amazing salad

I am completely obsessed with this salad. It has all my favourite things: avocado, Jamie Oliver, bread, garlic and cumin. So delicious! It’s also definitely a meal on its own, instead of a “salad” meal that leaves you hungry. I actually can’t say enough awesome things about this salad. I think I’ve made it four times in the last two weeks… but that might actually say more about my willingness to eat the same thing forever than it does about this salad.

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For the salad:

  • 2 medium carrots (not the huge, gmo-style ones, aim for skinny, local carrots)
  • greens
  • hunk of ciabatta, ripped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 avocado

For the dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 2 dried chilies, crumbled
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved

First, set the oven to 350.  Parboil the carrots for about ten minutes while you mix the cumin, garlic and chilies together.  Add enough olive oil so that the mixture is a paste, and then add a bit (2 tablespoons?  I didn’t measure!) of red wine vinegar, and stir up the dressing.  Once the carrots are parboiled, transfer them into a baking dish and pour the dressing over top, coating them.  Add the orange and lemon halves face down on the baking tray.  Bake the carrots and citrus for 25 minutes.  Dice the avocado, rip up the bread and toss them with the greens.  When the carrots come out of the oven, juice the oranges and lemons over top of the carrots.  There should be a lot of dressing.  Move the carrots aside and toss the salad in the dressing, waiting a minute or two so that the bread is nice and dressed.  Add the carrots on top.

Serious salad!