Radish Slaw with Remoulade and Pistachios

Looking for a light, refreshing summer salad? This the answer to any steak or other rich, red meat dish that needs a zesty sidekick (though this also went very nicely with salmon).screen-shot-2017-06-03-at-8-57-20-pm-e1496538875297.pngWe made this originally to pair with our steak with corn salsa, and then quickly realized it went well with an assortment main meats.

Ingredients

Remoulade

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp coarse grain mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp cornichons
  • 1/2 tsp liquid from canned chipotles in adobo sauce (optional but if you have the chipotles from the steak recipe then why not?)

—–

  • 1 large daikon radish, about 8 oz, peeled and dice
  • 1 bunch red radishes, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • (optional but good if you’re repurposing leftovers) handful of mixed greens

Directions

  1. Place the egg in boiling water for 90 seconds using a slotted spoon.
  2. Take the egg out of the water, let it cool slightly. Tap the top of the egg to peel of the top of the shell and using a small tsp, carve out the egg from the shell (think of it as a flash soft boiled egg). Add to a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon juice, mustard, salt and the pepper and pulse or blend. With the motor running, add the olive oil until it is emulsified.
  4. Add the tomato paste, parsley, chives, capers, cornichons and the chili liquid and keep processing until well mixed.
  5. Separately, combine the radishes and celery in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the remoulade to coat completely and mix. (Save the remaining remoulade for seafood dishes or sandwich condiment. We still haven’t figure out what to do with our leftovers quite yet. Mainly because we forgot about it.)
  6. After mixing thoroughly, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  7. Prior to serving, add the pistachios and mix.

Adapted from the Wine Lover’s Cookbook.

Easy Feta and Roasted Tomato Salad

Light salads often feature as a first course in our more elaborate dinners on the weekends.  Oftentimes I know I want to make a green salad but am never sure what to throw into them.  The best salads, though, are often when you discover leftover bits and pieces in  your fridge, that when assembled look picture perfect.  This was one of those.

_mg_6692

I happened to have a bunch of roasted tomatoes leftover from a previous brunch, and so decided to throw them into this light salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 block of feta cheese
  • 5 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 lb arugula
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your tomatoes in half and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with foil with the flesh sides up.   Season with salt and pepper and oregano.  Bake for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes look slightly browned.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Cut the block of feta cheese into 2″ squares and set aside.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done, let them cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Assemble the salad by placing the arugula in a shallow bowl, followed by an arrangement of feta and tomatoes to your taste.
  6. Serve immediately!

Moroccan Beet Salad (Barba)

Moroccan beetsFor those of you who read my post on Moroccan Chicken, you would have seen that it was served with several salads, as is traditional in the Middle East. One of my favorites is Moroccan Beet Salad. I have made it totally from scratch by cooking my own beets and I have made it using canned beets as well as the pre-roasted and peeled beets that you can now buy in most produce sections of the bigger markets. Unless you REALLY love to roast and peel beets or want the beet greens to make another Moroccan salad, I frankly don’t taste any significant difference in the more convenient beets I have used. And let’s face it, with most of us also working, I’d rather spend my time creating great meals with totally acceptable short-cuts than proving how authentic I can be. This salad can be made doubled or tripled or cut in half. Once you learn what goes into it, you just adjust the seasonings. It will last up to a week if refrigerated, although we generally eat it up long before that.

Moroccan Beet Salad

Yield: About 12 portions as a salad with other salads

Ingredients

12 beets, cooked and peeled and cut into strips (I slice the beets and then cut the slices into strips)

1 rounded teaspoon minced garlic

About 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste

Kosher salt to taste

About 2-3 Tablespoons EVOO

Juice of one lemon

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced

Directions

Gently toss all of the ingredients together and adjust seasonings to suit your taste. No one ingredient should overwhelm. Make this several hours ahead to improve flavor. Just before serving, scatter some additional chopped fresh parsley on top.

Simple Goat Cheese and Orange Salad

At some point when I first started cooking, I loved using Mark Bittman’s books.  He was all about only using a few ingredients and trying to distill complex recipes into simple ones.  I bought a book that focused on easy meals and nearly forgot about it until I was digging around for something else and found it.

thumb__MG_6017_1024

This is an easy salad that again just proves that a few ingredients can make for a delicious and impressive starter.

Ingredients

  • Bunch or box of arugula or spinach
  • 3-4 oz goat cheese (I like getting the herbed goat cheese logs)
  • whole pecans or crushed pecans
  • 1 orange, and its zest
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Set the oven to broil.  Slice goat cheese into slices and press the crushed or whole pecans into the slices.  Put the goat cheese and pecan slices on a pan and into the oven and broil until the tops of the pecans look charred, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the arugula (or whichever greens you choose) with the zest of an orange, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Peel and slices the oranges and toss in the salad.
  4. Serve the tossed greens and place the goat cheese slices on top.  Serve immediately!

From Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Light Salmon Salad

Sometimes all this cooking means that I end up feeling like I just need something very light and healthy, and at those times this very simple salmon salad hits the spot.  We had one of those weekends where we met up with friends and ate delicious Korean BBQ, but of course this meant that we felt stuffed even the next day and needed something to cleanse the palate.

salmonsalad

While I love making salad, it always feels like a “boring” dish to make, so I started avoiding making it as a main when Matt and I got married.  I assumed that Matt would need to have hearty, large meals, but had forgotten that this was healthy Matt we were talking about.  After he asked me the other day about why we weren’t making salads anymore, I decided to put this back into the rotation.  Is it very exciting and amazing and new? Not really, but sometimes the simple dish is all you need for a workday dinner.

Ingredients

1 lb salmon
1/2 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (optional)
parmesan cheese for grating
slivered almonds (even better if toasted)
EVOO
1 tsp bread crumbs
salt, pepper
1 bunch of arugula
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Put salmon flesh side up on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle about 1 tsp of bread crumbs, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While salmon is baking, take a medium sized bowl and toss the arugula with fennel, shaved parmesan, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Serve on a dish and top with salmon, and serve.

Serves 2

Horta Salata: Fancy Salad

While I love eating kale prepared by someone else, the thought of prepping kale always made me sigh and then shrug and then pass in favor of arugula, spinach, or another green leafy plant to base my salads on.  Also because whenever I would discuss prepping kale with friends, it sounded so laborious: “you have to massage the kale and then let it rest.”  After a few of these conversations, I decided that any leaves that needed this much TLC was not worth working with in my kitchen.

_MG_5927

This weekend however, I was at a restaurant with Lisa that advertised “Tuscan Kale Salad” and I had to order it, and it was gobbled up very quickly by everyone at the table.  I also ranted about how hard it was to prepare kale given all the steps I described above, and Lisa reassured me that I really didn’t need to do all that.

_MG_5923

Re-inspired, and thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t let kale get the better of me, I decided to try a kale salad recipe that I had come across some time ago in a lifestyle magazine.

_MG_5924

While there were a lot of steps to making it, the end result was a very filling salad thanks to the pureed split peas, and I fell back in love with kale.

_MG_5925

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • salt
  • 7 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and rinsed
  • 3 dill sprigs, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp roasted walnuts
  • 6 Kalamata olives, tossed with paprika

Directions

  1. Add split peas to a small bowl and cover with cold water and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and add to a small pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer, skimming froth from the top.  Add onion, garlic, saffron, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
  2. To a food processor, add cooked peas and blend, drizzling in 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and cooking liquid as needed until smooth and thick.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, remaining 4 tbsp lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper.  Continue whisking while drizzling in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the split pea puree on the bottom of a bowl.  Toss the kale, dill and onion together with the dressing and place on top of the puree.  Garnish with walnuts, olives, and lemon zest.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Shape magazine’s “Horta Salata from Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.”

Greek Eggplant Dip: Melitzanosalata

While traveling through the Peloponnese, we were always surprised by how delicious the food was.  Which… after the first three places we ate really should not have been a surprise.  However, we discovered early on that there was a tasty eggplant dip that seemed so simple in nature that we decided we had to try making it when we came home.

2015-08-30 06.25.17

I avoided eggplants for years.  Growing up in a Korean-American household, we often would fry the eggplants with some batter (which actually was delicious) but we more often would just steam the eggplant.  The minute I walked down to dinner and saw the steamed eggplant, the ungrateful teenager that I was, I would grumble and denigrate the unassuming eggplant.

Then Lisa introduced me to the world (a better world) where eggplants were steamed and diced and chopped with red peppers and the like, and a newfound stage in my eggplant relationship began.

In Greece we frequently came across the English menu that said “Aubergine salad.”  Being ignorant of what that could be, I could only think… well… I’ve bought some “Aubergine” colored clothing, so by similar process of elimination that must be… Eggplant?   And sure enough it was.

This is all to say, if you were an anti-Eggplanter as I once was, give it another chance.  It might just surprise you!

Ingredients

  • 4 large purple eggplants
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 125 ml olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (I used a ton of parsley, but this is really up to you)

Directions

  1. To prepare this super easy melitzanosalata recipe (Greek eggplant dip), start by baking the eggplants. You could either bake them whole or sliced, depending on the time you have available. If you choose to bake them whole, use a fork to make some wholes on the aubergines, place on a tray and bake for about 1 hour. Alternatively for a quicker version of this melitzanosalata recipe, cut the eggplants in slices and place them on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Coat with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper and add 1-2 cloves of garlic. Cover with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. For this melitzanosalata recipe you need to use only the flesh of the eggplants. Peel the eggplants and dice the pulp.
  3. Place the pulp and the other ingredients in a large bowl and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon. (If you prefer your melitzanosalata to have a creamier texture, then add the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse, adding the olive oil gradually on a steady stream. Alternatively mash the eggplants using a fork). Let the melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip) cool down and put in the fridge to allow the flavours to mingle.
  4. Serve the melitzanosalata in a small bowl garnished with a whole black olive. Enjoy!

Adapted from “My Greek Dish.

Peach, Tomato and Mint Salad

When I first started cooking, I was enchanted by the idea of “Oh! It’s rhubarb season” or “Oh! It’s butternut squash season!”  Having grown up in California, also known as the land of plenty, it was so strange to start cooking on the East Coast where there was one time of year that butternut squash “made sense” to cook.  A few years snowy winters and melting summers, the whole food and season connection finally makes sense to me.

IMG_5802
For example, I spent the last couple of months waiting for rhubarb season, only to go on vacation for much of June and coming back to find that the rhubarbs had moved on (without me!).  So when I started reading that “it’s the last of peach season” I hurriedly ran out to the store and stocked up on peaches.  I’m already dreaming up peach cobblers and peach cakes but for today, I thought a simple peach and tomato salad with some fresh mint leaves would be a nice starter for a steak dinner.

_MG_5796
It’s so easy to throw together, and the blue cheese and mint add some nice flavor.

Ingredients

3 tomatoes
2 peaches
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp sliced mint leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
pepper to taste

Slice tomatoes and peaches into wedges.  Add the blue cheese, mint leaves and toss with olive oil.  Add pepper to taste.

Serves 2 for starters

Moroccan Carrot Salad

I think one of the first big family meals with Lisa and family involved this delicious carrot salad that she had made.  It was so flavorful and pretty and this was one of the recipes that kickstarted my love of cooking and recipe swapping with Lisa.  (Plus she promised it was easy to make and so I was sold!)  This is one of those refreshing salads that is much more exciting than a salad of greens (though those can be delicious as well) and pairs extremely nicely with hearty meat dishes, such as the Siniyeh that I’ve posted about.

MoroccanCarrots

Ingredients

    • 2.5-3 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices about ½” thick (for speed, you can purchase carrot chips)
    • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • ½ cup Balsamic Red Wine Vinegar
    • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 4-5 large cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped
    • 2T ground cumin
    • 2T sweet paprika or Spanish paprika which has a smoky flavor
    • ½ T Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
1. Cook carrots until tender but still firm
2. Whisk together all other ingredients and toss gently but thoroughly with warm carrots.

From Lisa!

Green Fattoush Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

IMAG0523This weekend in Chicago it’s in the 90’s and humid. It’s also the annual Air and Water Show so the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time slaving over a hot stove. I was at the farmers’ market and they had gorgeous fresh mint and arugula which reminded me of this wonderful green salad – full of flavors and incredibly satisfying. If you wish to make it for vegans just leave out the feta cheese. For the rest of us – buy a full-fat feta. It won’t kill you since the amount you will have is small and taste is, frankly, so much better. You can use either a sheep’s milk or goat’s milk feta for this dish. Just make sure that all of your greens are very fresh and bright. If you can’t smell the freshness please don’t buy them. Fattoush is essentially a Middle Eastern Panzanella. Since it physically hurts me to throw away bread – possibly because I love to bake bread and know what goes into making it – this is a wonderful way to use up left-over pita or lavash.

Green Fattoush Salad with Mint Vinaigrette adapted from Einat Admony

Yields: 4 generous servings

Ingredients:

1 large English (seedless) cucumber or 3 small Persian cucumbers, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds or 1/2 moons

1 ripe avocado, peeled,seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2/3 cup roughly torn fresh mint (spearmint – not peppermint) plus about 10-12 additional leaves for the vinaigrette

2/3 cup roughly chopped or torn flat-leaf parsley

3 cups torn arugula

2 cups torn watercress (Really try to find watercress for this recipe. If you absolutely can’t, just use more arugula.)

3/4 cup crumbled feta (do not buy crumbled feta – buy the chunk and crumble it yourself)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey (I love Greek honey, but any good quality honey will do)

Kosher salt, to taste but about 1/2 teaspoon. It will partly depend on how salty your feta cheese is.

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1.2 cup EVOO (If you have a good quality lemon enhanced EVOO you can use that. Personally I can never get enough lemon.)

About 1 cup of toasted pita chips or lavash (You can make your own or buy store bought)

1/4 teaspoon sumac (optional) If you choose to buy sumac (and you can get it at Middle Eastern markets or online at Nuts.com you will find lots of uses for it, especially in Mediterranean cooking. It looks a bit like paprika, but it has a wonderful fruity, citrusy flavor and goes great with chicken.)

Directions:

  1. In a large salad bowl, toss everything that is green together. This can be done ahead and covered with a damp towel. If left in a cool room, it can be left out for several hours. If you have room in your fridge, you can store it there in a plastic bag. (DO NOT ADD avocado if making ahead. Only add it when ready to eat along with the feta.)
  2. If using feta cheese, add it when you are ready to serve  the salad.
  3. Make mint vinaigrette: In a blender, puree the mint leaves that you set aside earlier with the lemon juice, mustard, honey, salt and garlic until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the EVOO and process until emulsified.
  4. Toss salad with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. (Save any left-over dressing in a glass jar in the fridge for use within 2 days.) Toss in the toasted pita or lavash. If using sumac, sprinkle it over the top.