elevating the status of the salad

Category Archives: 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.

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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.

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After a recent encore viewing of Forks Over Knives, several of us were inspired to cook some plant-based foods last night. On the menu were spicy peas, sweet corn salad with cucumbers and tomatoes, and this grilled corn, zucchini, and bell pepper salad with black beans and barley. Thanks for Oh She Glows for this recipe. If you dice instead of chop the vegetables, you can have more of a relish/salsa for chips. Because everything is better on a chip. 

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 3 bell peppers (any color–I used a few beautiful purple peppers that turned an unappetizing gray after grilling)
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 6 ears of corn, husk removed
  • 1.5-2 cups cooked black beans (or one 15oz can)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked wheatberries (I used barley since that was available)

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes) I’m sure lemon works too
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro (or herb of choice)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

 Directions:

1. Preheat the grill over medium heat. When it’s ready add the corn, rotating every few minutes. After about 10 minutes, add the zucchini and bell peppers. No need to chop the peppers, you can leave them whole. Grill for another 10 minutes, rotating frequently, until lightly charred.

2. Meanwhile, cook your grains on the stovetop (if using them) according to package directions. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and adjust to taste.

3. When vegetables are done on the grill, cool, and then remove corn and chop the peppers and zucchini. Mix the drained and rinsed beans, grains, dressing, and vegetables together in a large bowl. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper, to taste. Will keep for a few days in the fridge.


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It was one of those perfect-weather weekends in Brooklyn. Even though yesterday included a devastating playoff loss for the  Nets, nothing was going to bring me down. We were so inspired by the weather that we grilled for the first time. You can roast this asparagus in the oven if a grill is not nearby. This recipe makes more than enough dressing for 1 bunch of asparagus, and I figure it would taste great on any green salad throughout the week. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T honey or brown sugar
  • 2 T peeled and minced ginger (I’m a big fan of the ready-to-go minced ginger in glass jars)
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • sesame seeds, for garnish (optional) (Really, everything is optional…let’s be honest here)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed

Directions:

  1. Heat a grill to high heat.
  2. Place the first 7 ingredients (through the sesame oil) in a food processor (a mini one works) and blend until smooth. Add water to thin out if necessary. Set aside.
  3. Lightly coat asparagus with cooking spray or a touch of olive oil, and put in a grill basket. Heat on a grill for 2-4 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice, until spears are slightly tender and starting to brown. Remove from grill.
  4. Place asparagus in a large bowl, and coat with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.

This salad was a huge hit last night. Perhaps it was the backdrop of a beautiful sunset that swayed people’s opinions, but I’m going to give all the credit to the dressing. I’m not typically a ranch dressing kind of gal, but this one was tangy (I was a bit liberal with the vinegar) and not too heavy. This recipe made a good amount of dressing for 4 cups of thinly sliced green cabbage, 2 chopped tomatoes, and 1 jicama peeled and cut into 1/ 2 inch cubes. However, it would be great over any vegetable with a good crunch factor that you have lying around…do I hear the kohlrabi from last week’s CSA calling to you? 

I found this gem of a recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and it originated from Gourmet magazine.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients through the sugar.

2. Once the sugar is dissolved, stir in the chives.

3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Hooray for the CSA!

This sweet and spicy combination is also a combination of two CSAs.  (For my original post about the CSA, click here).For the past few years, I’ve been a member of Dumbo/Vinegar Hill’s CSA. I loved so many things about it: Sang Lee’s incredible organic vegetables, the serene location in Phoenix House’s courtyard, and the neighborhood friends I made while volunteering at weekly pick-ups. I also loved the convenience factor; the pick-up location was just a short and cobblestony walk along the river from my apartment. 

Within the last year, I moved a few neighborhoods away, so I knew I would have to switch. I did a little research to find CSAs near my new place (ok fine, so I just read a sign posted outside Stinky). I was intrigued by Local Roots’ slightly different model for CSAs: For example, instead of joining for June-November, the season is broken up into Summer and Fall. There are other differences as well. I also liked the idea of picking up at 61 Local, the locavore-friendly (where I once spotted a dog sipping her weekly Guinness, and was assured that she prefers stouts and only has one per week) bar/restaurant just off Smith Street. Their vegetables come from Rogowski Farm, located in Orange County, NY. We also signed up for a meat share, which will come from Arcadian Pastures. Some friends in the neighborhood also got their fruit share, and I hope to get a sampling of that as well 🙂

And so, although I felt a little bit like I was cheating on Sang Lee, I went ahead to pick up my first share of the season. The vegetables have been delicious so far. The spicy greens are, in fact, very spicy. This strawberry dressing is an interesting contrast. The dressing recipe is from Sang Lee’s recipe blog, so I think of this salad/dressing as a CSA merger. 

I used the spicy greens mix from the CSA share, and topped it with some goat cheese. I actually halved this dressing recipe and it was plenty for the week. Since I went a little overboard on strawberries from the farmer’s market a few weeks back, I had fun with canning and freezing a few quarts.

By the way…Do you know that to freeze strawberries you just chop off the tops, lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer with none touching overnight? Then, put in a freezer bag and they will stay good for up to 6 months)

I just let a cup of the frozen guys thaw for an hour or so before starting the recipe. 

Strawberry Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey (I used honey)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons or more good vinegar — wine, sherry, rice, balsamic–preferred for this recipe (I used balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 pieces of mint, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Dice your strawberries and add the sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Muddle them together until somewhat liquid. In a blender, add all other ingredients(imersion blender/food processor work too).
  2. Then add the strawberry mixture and blend for a few minutes to immulsify everything and make the strawberries smooth.

Here is another take on lemon dressing (remember the first one?). This one is Alice Waters’ version, and is great served on something as simple as romaine leaves alone. It involves heavy cream, but don’t be scared–just a small amount goes a long way.

One of my favorite stops at the farmer’s market is Milk Thistle . They have different types of milk, yogurt, and cream, all served in glass bottles that you return to them. Also, once I tasted the freshness of their products, I realized what milk is supposed to taste like. Now I understand that milk is much more than just an excuse to get a milk moustache.

Since this recipe requires just a touch of heavy cream, what can one do with the rest of the bottle? Perhaps add a bit to a tomato sauce for pasta, or to pureed carrot ginger soup (recipe to come in fall…) Also, you can quickly and easily make fresh butter or sweet whipped cream. Here’s how:

1. Butter: Pour room temperature cream into a jar with a secure lid, at least double the size of the cream. Start shaking. Keep shaking. With Milk Thistle cream, you only need to shake for 5-10 minutes. (I have tried this with store-bought mass-market cream and it takes longer. I have also tried this with 26 5th graders from NYC and they think it is the absolute best thing ever.) Then, the cream will turn into a ball. Shake a few more times. Then, strain out the liquid. That liquid is buttermilk, which you can reserve for pancakes, dressing, etc. Now, get back to shaking. Strain out more liquid. Add a few tablespoons of water and shake some more, then strain (once you add water you will not save that liquid anymore). Add water, shake and strain 2-3 more times until liquid runs clear. Optionally, add salt. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate. 

2. Whipped Cream: Pour cream into a large bowl, and start whisking. Keep whisking until it starts to get very thick. (Apparently, peaks will start to form but since I don’t bake I just know to stop when it starts to get thicker and a bit harder to whisk.) Then, add a a little bit of vanilla and some sugar depending on how sweet you like it, and whisk a little bit more. DO NOT overwhisk or it will basically turn into butter. This whipped cream is delicious of fresh berries or any other fruit. 

And now, the Creamy Lemon Dressing Recipe!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Stir together vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  2. Whisk in olive oil and heavy cream. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  3. Toss with greens. Optionally, top with chopped herbs you have on hand, such as basil, chervil, chives, and tarragon.