Salad

Zoodle Me This

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Salad | 0 comments

 

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Last summer, I zipped up squash noodles from our garden crooknecks using a mandoline; which I fear.

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My crook-pasta partnered with a small sum of cooked linguini and tomatoes for a simple June supper.

Flash forward to zucchini noodles trending on food magazine pages, challenging gadget manufacturers, home cooks, and appealing to healthy, gluten-free and carb-flee-diners.  MP bought an attachment to our Kitchen-aid stand mixer which enables the machine to peel and spiralize hard vegetables and some fruits into various widths and shapes.

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As of late, I lovingly stirred shoestring zucchini into soups, but blanching the renegades and getting them quickly drained for salad seemed elusive.  Food and Wine featured Kay Chun’s, Zucchini Noodle and Chicken Salad with Ginger this month.

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We were disappointed in my execution, resulting in soggy noodles; which seemed waterlogged and naked of dressing.

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On another occasion, I diligently blanched the zoodles, drained, and brilliantly spun the lengths in a salad spinner, forcing, at least, ¾ more cups of water down the drain.

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Choose evenly shaped squash, cutting into straight pieces which fit the attachment; then work in batches.

 

You’ll have waste (center and end) of the zucchini; which I donate to compost; or,

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you could make little imaginary palm trees for a crudité platter!

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Working quickly, drop squash strands into salted boiling water for 30 seconds;

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drain immediately and transfer to a water bath. No time for photographs unless you have people.

 

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As soon as the squashfetti is chilled, drop it into the basket of a salad spinner and whirl, baby.

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I wrapped the zucchini in a dish towel and stashed it in the fridge to absorb more water while I made the dressing.  The recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of canola oil of which I used 4 and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil to carry the ginger theme.

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Watercress is the leafy green I used for round one with all the strands; arugula was available for my second salad when I used only half the prepared zucchini saving the rest. for another day.

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Because this was dinner, a few tidbits like MP’s pickled golden beets and onions, Pinkerton avocados, black sesame seeds plus, bright arty pickled eggs found a nest too.

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It may seem fussy; but, plan ahead, use rotisserie chicken, and other salad bits you love. Surprisingly, it’s a lot like eating gingery, fresh and well-- healthful pasta salad!

What shall I spiralize next?

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The Magic of Eggs

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Salad | 1 comment

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This is a no-brainer.  If you are crazy about deviled eggs, fond of egg salad, adore warm vegetable salads of every sort, and auto-check bean-hugger, you will adore this Roasted Broccoli and White Bean Salad with Dijon-Caper DressingI have included a Real Simple Magazine link here-- and my adaptation to the recipe as I prepared it-- at the bottom of this post.

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Simply because my hiking group took up a hearty portion of the day, I messed around with preparation to fit my schedule and our tastes.

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Canned white beans, like soft cannellini, are easier, but since I had some favorite dried heirloom lima beans, I soaked them overnight and cooked this type for our salad.

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In addition, I always blanch broccoli for two minutes; then set the color and crispness in a water bath before draining and storing in the refrigerator until I roast them.

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This speeds up the roasting time to 10-12 minutes when dinnertime arrives.

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Hard-cooked farmers' market eggs with bright yolks (the basis of the dressing) as well as the dressing itself can be whipped up earlier.

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Combine the eggs, lemon juice, and Dijon in a processor and zip until smooth.

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After it was smooth, I added dill and capers; then, pulsed a couple of times.  Because MP and I like our dressings on the acidic side, I omitted the water and used all lemon juice and only 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Taste and adjust to your liking along with some salt and pepper too.

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When the broccoli is charred just so—

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coat it with some of the dressing; lay out a platter with spinach; arrange broccoli, and beans adding more dressing as you wish.  A few of MP’s pickled golden beets with onions landed on our dinner salad as well.

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A multitude of hashtag-worthy cravings like healthy, veggie, crisp, charred, creamy, eggy, briny and beautiful are fulfilled and so are you!

Roasted Broccoli and White Bean Salad with Dijon-Caper Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 large head broccoli, trimmed and cut into large spears
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons drained capers, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for garnish
  • 1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3-4 ounces baby spinach, stemmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the broccoli, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and the salt on the prepared sheet and toss to evenly coat. Roast until golden and tender, stirring halfway through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, mustard, and eggs in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until the dressing is smooth. Stir in the capers and dill. Scrape half of the dressing into a large bowl. Add the warm broccoli, beans, and spinach and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm, sprinkled with more dill. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
  4. --adapted from Real Simple by Kay Chun
http://cococooks.net/the-magic-of-eggs/

 

 

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Oh, “Yessss”

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Asian and Vegetarian, Salad | 2 comments

 

Cynthia, my sister-in-love posted a Tasty BuzzFeed Facebook page video, popular for its fast motion bird's-eye view snack, dinner, and instant gratification dessert assembly, which I find decidedly engaging. Each snippet is impossible to pass by; and so it was when Peanut Noodle Pasta Salad scrolled by.

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I think of them as Cold Sesame Noodles, a puddle of peanut butter, jacked up with plenty of Asian influences, creating a rich, salty-sweet and aromatic sauce to pour over pasta strands, then tossed with slices of cool cucumber, carrots, scallion, and bright peppers too.

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The dish is potluck (ish) since the noodles lap up the sauce for an hour or so. And, this platter of savory spaghetti is gluten-free by swapping out a few ingredients, honoring gluten-free sensitive guests.  Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta take the lead, and Tamari replaces soy sauce.

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Oh, yessss, use two tablespoons of Sriracha!

Peanut Noodle Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup Tamari Sauce
  • ¼ cup natural rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 pound gluten free pasta (such as Trader Joe’s Brown Rice and Quinoa Spaghetti)
  • 1 Tablespoon unflavored oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2-3 Turkish cucumbers, thinly shaved
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ cup green onion, sliced on the diagonal
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run cooked pasta under cold water to cool. Place pasta in a large bowl and toss with unflavored oil to coat; this keeps the strands from sticking together.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together, peanut butter, Tamari sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, water, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar.
  3. Combine the pasta with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss well. Let the pasta cool slightly before covering and chilling for at least one hour before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro, peanuts, and sesame seeds
  4. --adapted from Tasty
http://cococooks.net/oh-yessss/

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The Singing Pumpkin

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Salad | 0 comments

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Shiny off-orange persimmons, stately blushing pomegranates, and chameleon tinged pears are edging out juicy stone fruit at the farmers’ markets alongside new crop autumn apples and those amazing healthy jujubes (Chinese Dates)—for which I lack appreciation--yet.

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In so many ways Cali produce is available year round;

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some summer produce wanes to summon pumpkin, gourds, and big bossy squash varieties.

Saturday, one particular veg that inspired me was the charming pumpkin I like to call a fairytale pumpkin which I simmer into a curried white bean and spinach soup. Recipe here:

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However on this particular Monday, I approached a 3-pounder differently.  Inspired by cheffy squash salads, I attacked the punkin-chunk with a machete-like knife, slicing it with the groves—kinda.  Well, not exactly Zen; but task completed.

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Rather than roast the pieces I placed the slices on a foil-lined sheet; tossed in three cloves of smashed garlic and a handful of rosemary, drizzled it with a splash of olive oil and kosher salt.

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Then, I sealed it with more foil.  In this manner, the pumpkin steamed attracting robust aromatic flavors.

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It took about 45 minutes but emerged intact; scooped (actually spatula-ed) to rest over spinach leaves tossed lightly with zesty Cider, Maple Walnut Vinaigrette; more dressing is poured lightly over the pumpkin. Scattered jewels of dried dark cherries and toasted walnuts, plus Pecorino-Romano cheese create a lacy crown.

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Quick take a photograph as the cheese melts and

the pumpkin sings—just like in a fairytale.

Cider, Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 5 Tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced shallots

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except oil and shallots in a small bowl. Whisk to combine; then whisk in the oil one tablespoon at a time until slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings and stir in shallot.
  2. Makes about ½ cup
  3. Keep unused walnut oil (like other delicate oils) in the refrigerator as it becomes rancid at room temperature.
  4. © Copyright 2015 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  5. All Rights Reserved
  6. http://cococooks.net/
http://cococooks.net/the-singing-pumpkin/

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The World is Your Oyster

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Salad | 1 comment

So hey, MP and I zigzagged through the Saturday morning farmers’ market assaulted by crazy heat, mishandled carts, and wonky shoppers lollygagging in troupes.  Vendors rapidly replenished mounds of fine stone fruits, figs, squashes, green beans, peppers and brilliant heirloom tomatoes; peak August bounty.

 

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Reining myself in from Dragon Fruit—hoping to stick to a loose plan guided by our path led me to a box of dark burgundy wrinkled fruit (I assumed), the general size and shape of a lime. Picking several up, one at a time, and rolling each around offered me no additional clues; except some seemed heavier and others, rather hollow.

Simply because he looked cheffy, I turned up to a focused young man sorting through gnarly turmeric roots and said, “What are these?”

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Jumping in with full knowledge and eagerness to share, the curly haired blue-eyed cook demonstrated how to choose passion fruit, slice and scoop flesh for proper sauces.   The pesky wrinkles don’t matter much (music to my aging ears) but, heavier fruit is fuller and ripe with lush flesh. Not knowing what the heck I would say to appear creative, I mentioned that maybe it would emulsify a vinaigrette.  I chose two dark hued slightly withered beauties and a bag of zesty shishito peppers for a pizza.

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Later that day, I rinsed a passion fruit and sawed it in half with a serrated knife as instructed.  With my audible surprise, which I never imagined, the pod opened and released a full on exotic fragrance dripping of sweet floral, honey-ness; filling the too hot kitchen with a heady note I knew –but from not where.  Certainly this ripe, dense flesh would replace Dijon.

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With a pinch of salt, a turn of pepper and a spoon of red wine vinegar and olive oil, Passion Fruit Vinaigrette was nobly birthed. Or so it seemed.

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Our salad platter included peppery wild arugula tossed with my conception and shards of Parmesan cheese.  Hmmm… the flavor and subtle fragrance were enchanting, but little did I expect the little dark seeds would crunch like gravel in our mouths!  Denied by one pod; I intend to stay in my lane, use a pulverizing mini prep and begin again.  Or, suck it out like an oyster!

ba-dum-bum-CHING…

 

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Pathways

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Salad | 0 comments

Beefsteak Short Stack with Avocado, Buffalo Mozzarella, Arugula, and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

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Engaging our creativity, whether by coloring, cooking, making business deals, or sculpting a work of art, enables us to be more ourselves than at any other time in our daily routines. In losing ourselves in a creative act, we find our true self as well as a pathway to experience the presence of God. In the creative act, whatever the medium, we mirror God's creativity.

-- Karla Kincannon in Alive Now Magazine, published by

The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.

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