elevating the status of the salad

Magical Creamy Coleslaw

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I made this coleslaw for Father’s Day and have looked forward to having it a snack every day since. It’s a perfect food to bring to a 4th of July BBQ or picnic because it can be prepared ahead of time. The magical thing about this coleslaw is that even though we keep eating it, the bowl is still practically full. I’m not really sure what causes this phenomenon. It’s like the everlasting gobstopper of salads. Anyway, it took about 15 minutes to whip it up in the food processor, and I am grateful for that as well. If you don’t have a food processor handy, you can do all the slicing by hand…but it will be much more time-consuming. This recipe also came from Williams-Sonoma’s Salad of the Day book.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head green cabbage (about 2 lb)
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 small carrots
  • 2 T cider vinegar, or as needed
  • 2 T minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the cabbage through the stem end into wedges, and cut out the core. Using a food processor fitted with the thin slicing attachment, slice the cabbage into thin slivers. Transfer to a (very!) large bowl. Slice the celery crosswise in the same way and add it to the cabbage.
  2. Replace the slicing attachment with the shredding attachment. Halve and core the apple but do not peel. Cut the apple and onion into wedges. Shred the apple, onion, and carrots, and add to the cabbage and celery.
  3. Sprinkle the vegetables with the vinegar and toss to coat evenly. Add the parsley and mayo and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least two hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more vinegar, salt, and pepper before serving. Serve chilled.

Bulgur Salad with Zucchini, Asparagus, and Green Onions

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We’re back!

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly-cut mint and freshly-squeezed lemon to brighten up a kitchen after a long hiatus of take-out. One can only take so much pad thai. 

This salad comes from the Williams-Sonoma Book, “Salad of the Day,” which I received over the holidays. I’m just getting around to testing it out now. Let’s just say things have been a little busy. Anyway, get that grill (or grill-pan for all you indoor cats) going and enjoy this spring salad!

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
  • 2 zucchini, cut on diagonal into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat

For the Lemon Cardamom Dressing:

  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed (I just used ground cardamom)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, including tender green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Put asparagus and zucchini in a heat-proof bowl, pour boiling water over to cover, and let stand for 2 minutes to soften slightly. Drain, let cool, and toss with the 1 tsp oil.
  3. When the grill is ready, put the bulgur in a heatproof bowl and add boiling water to cover by 2 inches. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the asparagus and zucchini, turning often, until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove to a platter and cool slightly. Cut the asparagus spears on the diagonal into thirds.
  4. To make the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, 1 tsp salt, and several grindings of pepper. Add the 2 tbsp oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.
  5. Pour the dressing into a saucepan, add the chickpeas, and warm over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Drain the bulgur. Combine the bulgur, grilled vegetables, green onions, mint, parsley, and chickpeas with the dressing in a serving bowl and toss to coat evenly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Carrot Ginger Dressing

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This Japanese-inspired dressing is good on top of most fresh vegetables. If you use less water, it can make a great dip, too. I used this recipe on Epicurious, and only adjusted the amounts of each ingredient. Also, rather than use both a food processor and a blender, I put all the ingredients in the Vitamix at the same time and blended for about a minute until smooth. 

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh ginger
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water (or more to thin out as necessary)

It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so. The salad in the picture has lettuce, roma beans, cherry tomatoes, sprouts, and thinly sliced cucumbers. I actually think a great appetizer would be thicker cucumber slices with a dollop of this orange gold on top.

Mexican Salad/Cilantro Lime Dressing AND Baked Chips/Cashew Avocado “Cream”

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This post features a bunch of recipes. Not only is there the salad and dressing, but I also want to share  this simple way to make baked chips. I served it with leftover vegan cashew avocado “cream” from these incredible tofu tacos I discovered on Love and Lemons. 

To make the salad (I measured nothing):

Put some chopped romaine lettuce in a bowl.

Top with the following: I chose to do it cobb-salad style, but you can toss it all together, too. Go loco.

  • radishes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • grilled corn (Soak it first for about a half an hour. Grill on medium-high for about 10 minutes, rotating a few times. Then, let it cool and cut it off the cob)
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped red bell peppers
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • drained black beans
  • optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • You can also do: avocado, jicama, etc.

Basic cilantro-lime dressing:

Blend the following until smooth:

  • 2 handfuls of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • a little bit of honey (or agave or sweetener of your choice)
  • salt/pepper
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • water to thin out as needed

For the chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare oil: Mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil with spices of your choice. I did a few shakes of cumin and paprika, and then a few pinches of salt.
  3. Put a stack of corn tortillas on a cutting board and cut them into sixths (first cut in half and then cut each half into thirds)
  4. Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on a cookie sheet (no overlapping) and brush both sides with the oil mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy.
  5. Serve with salad and dip of choice.

Fork-Free “Salads”

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My challenge this morning was to create “salads” that could be eaten on a boat, picnic style. Whether you’re heading to a barbeque, movie night in the park, or any other occasion where utensils are a hassle, here are a few easy ideas:

The first is  caprese salad…on a stick. You need:

  • small mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • a bunch of grape tomatoes
  • basil leaves
  • salt
  • your favorite balsamic vinegar dressing (you can make your own by whisking/shaking equal parts vinegar and olive oil)
  • toothpicks

Assemble toothpicks with the mozzarella on the bottom, flat side down so it can stand. Then, fold one basil leaf in half and put it on the toothpick. The grape tomato tops it off. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Just before serving, drizzle with balsamic dressing.

The other option is chopped up vegetables and some great dressing as dip. I went with Sang Lee’s sweet ginger dressing. The farmer’s market had quite a selection for dippable vegetables today. I went with: wax beans, red and green bell peppers, burpless cucumbers and carrots. I also used some home-grown roma beans.

OK, it may not be rocket science… but it’s August and sometimes we just want to cut vegetables and use them as a vehicle for good dip.

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Grilled Eggplant with Vegan Cashew Pesto

This cashew pesto is really easy, and can be put on anything. It complemented smoky grilled eggplant.

All measurements are approximate, so adjust according to taste.

Ingredients:
1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least an hour
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
A handful of basil
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Water to thin out as needed (1/2 cup?)
1/2 t salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.

For the eggplant…

Turn heat on grill to medium/high.

Slice into planks and brush with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Grill for 4-5 minutes a side.

Wrap in foil for 10 minutes to evenly cook the eggplant.

To serve, spoon some pesto on the plate and place a few slices of eggplant on the pesto.Top with basil or fresh slices of tomato.

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Coffee Ice Cubes

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Nothing beats the heat like a good iced coffee. Except when that iced coffee gets abandoned while you do something else for a while, and then you have more like coffee-flavored water. Not so refreshing. These ice cubes solve that problem. While the coffee beans are not from this borough, I have good reason to include them on this blog. Here goes: The beans are from the Brooklyn Roasting Company on Jay Street in DUMBO. If you haven’t visited yet, I recommend it.  Also, I got the idea to make coffee ice cubes from the geniuses at One Girl Cookies on Dean Street. Since the beans were roasted in Brooklyn and I was inspired by a local establishment, it’s pretty much fresh from brooklyn-esque.

No recipe here. I just used some leftover coffee and poured it into adorable fish ice cube trays (regular ice cube trays will work, but are far less fun). They were ready a few hours later. The next day I did it again, and now I have a bunch of coffee ice cubes that will last a while! 

Keep cool!


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