elevating the status of the salad

Category Archives: produce

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Although this salad doesn’t highlight local ingredients (for those of us in the northeast), it is a great way to beat the winter blues. To turn it into a meal, try adding some chopped avocado and putting it over a bed of farro. Happy New Year everyone!

From Food and Wine, December 2012 (makes 8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oranges
  • 2 red grapefruits
  • 2 limes
  • 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream (I used Vermont Creamery’s crème fraîche)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully peel the oranges, red grapefruits and limes, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a small bowl to catch the juices from the fruit, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Cut the lime and grapefruit sections into thirds and leave the orange sections whole. Transfer all of the citrus to a serving bowl and add the sliced shallot and chopped parsley. Reserve the citrus juice for another use.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk the lemon zest with the lemon juice, crème fraîche, maple syrup and poppy seeds. Season the dressing lightly with salt. Pour the dressing over the fruit, toss the salad gently and serve right away.

This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine. It’s a perfect addition to a fall meal. It brightens up the plate and has a great flavor.

All of the herbs came from my garden. However, the cilantro was special. A few months ago in the heat of summer, I was frustrated that my cilantro kept bolting. I decided to let it flower and turn to seed so I could make my very own coriander seed. Once the plants got to the right point (for us, the right point was when we were sick of the constant swarm of bees who adored our cilantro flowers), I cut and then dried the plants in a paper bag. Then, I hung the bag inside for a few weeks. After a few weeks, I gave the bag a few shakes. Amazingly, there were some coriander seeds at the bottom of my bag. However, the yield was less than I hoped for: just a few tablespoons. I think I should have waited a bit longer to chop down the flowering cilantro before letting it dry.

Rather than save the coriander, I continued on with my experiment. I planted the coriander a few inches deep in the empty pot that used to house the cilantro. A few week later….little baby cilantro plants started popping up. I watered them gently at first. A few weeks later than that…carrot salad with a hit of heat features my very own “circle of life” cilantro. I know this is basic stuff to some people, but I was amazed that this process actually works. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 4 cups coarsely grated carrot (about 1 pound)
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)

Directions:

  1.  Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add carrot and salt; toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes. Just before serving, add cilantro, mint, and chives, if desired; toss to combine.

This soup is smoky and spicy. (To turn down the heat, use less chipotle chili powder). You can make a meal of it by serving it with a crusty bread and a green salad. I found the recipe in Williams Sonoma’s catalog. It is called, “Sussman Brothers’ Roasted Corn Soup with Tomato.” I did a little research and learned that Eli and Max Sussman are the chefs at Mile End and Roberta’s, two of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn. It is no surprise that this recipe was a winner. I had never cooked a red pepper as described in this recipe. I was doubtful, but it turned out well. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes
  • Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn (about 3 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sliced avocado for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Paprika for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°.
  2. Put the tomatoes in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Roast until the skins darken and the tomatoes are caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Spread the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the edges begin to turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard. Set the flesh, with the juices, aside in the baking dish. Remove the corn from the oven and let cool.
  4. Place 1 bell pepper on each of 2 gas burners. Turn the burners on high and sear the peppers directly over the flame, using tongs to turn as needed, until the skins are blackened all over, 10 to 15 minutes total. (Or place the peppers under the broiler and broil, turning as needed, until charred and blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes.) Transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag and close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes, then remove the peppers from the bag. Remove and discard the skins, core and seeds.
  5. In a soup pot, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow and red onions, garlic and corn, reserving a handful of the roasted corn for garnish. Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and salt.
  6. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. While blending, slowly drizzle in the cream. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish each portion with a couple of avocado slices, a few drops of olive oil, a scattering of the reserved roasted corn and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Cue the old school Zelda theme song, because I’m on a quest: make a canning salsa that is spicy enough for my husband to enjoy the heat all winter long. This recipe came from the Food Channel. The result is a salsa with a decent amount of spice (but my quest is not over yet). I know that I can just add some habaneros for some serious heat, and that would be great for a salsa to stick in the fridge and eat within the week. However, whenever I want to put tomatoes in the cabinet for a year, I am wary of playing with the ingredients. That’s because I know that it has to have the correct level of acidity, etc. in order to avoid spoiling the food. Does anyone out there know of a tested recipe for a spicy canning tomato salsa? I think there are a still a few weeks left of tomato season, and I would like to give it one more try.

That being said, this salsa is fairly easy and pretty delicious. Adjust the number of jalapeños, or take out some seeds if that’s your preference. This recipe could also use a bit more salt, but I would taste it first and decide what you want to do. These tomatoes came from a farm stand in Amagansett, and the jalapeños came from the rooftop garden.

One more note: My makeshift canner holds 4 pint jars at a time. I only processed 4 jars and put the other two directly in the fridge. Then when I noticed how the salsa wasn’t salty, I started to doubt that it would stay good in the cabinet. The next day, I noticed some air bubbles in a few of the jars, so I decided put three more in the fridge. I didn’t want to take any chances. I only have one jar left in the cabinet. I will open that one in a few months and let you know if it worked.

For more information about canning, you can check out my other experiments:

Peach Salsa (this one has details about how to can)

Applesauce

Jalapeño Jam

Pickled Green Beans

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds of tomatoes
  • 10 jalapeños, chopped (seeds included)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 9 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 onions (preferably 1 white, 1 yellow, 1 red)
  • 6 pint jars (either small mouth or wide mouth is fine)
  • Lids and rings
  • Water bath with rack
  1. Sterilize jars and seals. (I did this by putting them in my dishwasher which gets super hot. Some dishwashers have a sterilize cycle, and that would work, too.)
  2. Start heating up your water for your water bath, if canning
  3. Put clean tomatoes in boiling water for 30-45 seconds, and then plunge them into ice water. The tomatoes will be easy to peel as a result.
  4. Peel tomatoes and cut out cores or bad spots. Chop the tomatoes to desired size (they will cook down so leave them slightly larger than you want them to be in the salsa).
  5. Mix tomatoes, garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin and bring to a boil.
  6. Add onion, peppers, and cilantro. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 7-10 minutes.
  7. Remove 1 cup of liquid (to thicken the salsa).
  8. Put salsa in sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. (Stop here and put lids on if you are not canning)
  9. I did not do this, but I will next time: Use a chopstick or knife to slide around the jar to get rid of air bubbles.
  10. Wipe the rim of the jar, place sterilized seal on jar, and tighten the ring.
  11. Place jars in water bath for 15 minutes (time depends on altitude – more time for higher altitudes).
  12. Remove jars and let stand for at least 24 hours. Remove rings (optional) and store. If the jar did not seal, place it in refrigerator and use within a week.

Guest blogger day! My mom sent me this beautiful and tasty-looking recipe. One thing that I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t include a ton dried spices, so you won’t find yourself running to 12 different stores trying to find 1 teaspoon of some random spice that you will never use agin.  She said that this recipe filled a quart sized mason jar perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1  3X1/2″ strip lemon peel (NO WHITE, just yellow)
  • 12 oz little tomatoes (any kind) (I mixed!)
  • 1/4 Cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used 4)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Pour vinegar and water into saucepan. Add salt, sugar and lemon peel. bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Let cool 20 minutes.
  2. Pierce each tomato 2 times with slender wooden skewer or toothpick. (I did 2 pierces, making 4 holes, and I cut the bigger ones in half)
  3. Toss tomatoes with dill, garlic, and crushed red pepper in large bowl.
  4. Add cooled vineger mixture.
  5. Let stand at room temp at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

These can stay in fridge about 2 weeks.


 

The roof is exploding with spicy peppers. My tomatoes are not doing as well, so I have only been able to make small batches of salsa. What to do with excess jalapeños? Poppers! Thanks to my friend BC for introducing me to the site Skinnytaste, where I got this recipe. Skinnytaste has a variety of light recipes, beautiful step-by-step pictures, and clear directions. Of course, I have this bad habit of taking a low fat recipe and adding some more fat into it. However, the only real difference between her recipe and mine is that I used regular rather than light cream cheese. These poppers would make a great appetizer for a party because you can prepare them in advance. 

Ingredients:

  • 12 jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4.5 oz cream cheese
  • 5 medium scallions, green part only, sliced
  • 2 oz shredded low fat sharp cheddar (I used Cabot 50%)
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters or egg whites, beaten (I used 4 egg whites)
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • spray oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Wearing rubber gloves, cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane.
  2. Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine panko, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another bowl.
  4. Fill peppers with cheese filling with a small spoon or spatula.
  5. Dip peppers in egg beaters.
  6. Place pepper in panko mixture, using a spoon to make sure all the seasoning doesn’t fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Spray a baking pan with oil spray. I lined my pan with parchment for easier cleanup. Lightly spray the peppers with a little more oil spray.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cheese oozes out.
  9. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Serve hot.

 

This is a basic tabbouleh recipe that does not require a lot of ingredients. If you are looking for more of a meal, check out my tabbouleh with chicken and tahini recipe here. This week, we got a lot of parsley from the CSA, and tabbouleh is my favorite way to use it all up. Thanks to Simply Recipes for the original recipe. I revised the amounts when I made it myself. Feel free to increase the herbs and decrease the bulgur or the other way around, depending on the ratio you prefer. (I like more herbs when eating it with pita, more bulgur when eating it as a stand-alone salad). Do you have another favorite recipe that highlights parsley? Send it along!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  •  1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 5-6 Roma or plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used about a cup of mixed tomatoes, including cherry tomatoes–but I left the seeds in the little guys)
  • 2 scallions, chopped, including the greens
  • 1 1/2-2 cups parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the bulgur in a medium sized bowl. Bring water and the teaspoon of salt to a boil, pour it over the bulgur. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, bulgur and mix well. Add in all the other ingredients and mix to combine.
  3. Taste the tabbouleh, and add more salt, olive oil or more lemon juice to taste. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Will keep chilled for several days.

 


 

 

These are like little salads you can eat with your hands. You can really improvise and use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Also, you can add shrimp, chicken, or tofu to these for some more protein. However, I liked them nice and light for these hot summer days. You may have to go to a larger store or an Asian market to get the rice paper wrap. The 3rd store was a charm for me–I picked some at at Pacific Green on Court Street in Cobble Hill. As a bonus, I also picked up some of their wonderfully fresh-cut watermelon for dessert.

These fresh summer rolls (as opposed to deep-fried spring rolls) are great to bring to a picnic or anywhere else. Just put a layer of damp paper towels on the bottom, seal them tightly with saran wrap, and they should be good to go a day in advance. If you want to store them in layers, put a layer of paper towels between the layers of rolls to keep them from sticking to each other. 

 

The quantity of the ingredients list is flexible. It depends on your preference: you can make each roll with as much of each ingredient as you choose. One cucumber and one carrot will be good for about 8 rolls, which are each cut in half. 

 

Ingredients:

 

For the rolls:

 

  • 1 package very thin rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half cross wise and then into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 radishes, cut into matchsticks (First cut the radish into thin slices. Then, cut each round slice into strips.)
  • 20 or so whole basil leaves (fewer if your leaves are bigger)
  • 20 or so whole cilantro leaves
  • 20 or so whole mint leaves (fewer if your leaves are bigger)
  • 1 package rice paper wrappers: they look like this

 

For the dipping sauce:

 

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • water as needed to thin out the sauce
  • optional: one clove or garlic, minced

 

Directions:

 

  1. If you did not cook the noodles ahead of time already, get those going according to package directions.
  2. Prepare the dipping sauce: mix all ingredients together. Thin out with a few tablespoons or water at at time until you get your desired consistency. I added a bit more vinegar as well,so just taste and keep adjusting the amounts until you like the flavor.
  3. Fill a large sauté pan with warm water. Hopefully it is large enough for you to quickly dip the wrappers in without crushing them. The wrappers I got this time were HUGE (larger diameter than any of my pans) so I just dipped one half at a time. Here’s how it works: The wrapper needs to sit in warm water for a just a few seconds to become pliable so you can actually wrap with it. Then, you need to work fairly quickly but carefully so that you don’t tear the wrapper. Just do one at a time.
  4. After softening the wrapper, place it carefully on a work surface. Fill the middle with the goods: a small handful of noodles, a few cucumber sticks, a few radishes, a few carrots, a few of each: cilantro, basil, mint, whatever else you feel like.
  5. Then, get rolling. Fold the top and bottom up to close off the edges of your roll. Then, start wrapping from one side until you get the shape you want. You’ll need to be a little forceful with your vegetables to get them into roll-shape. Its ok, they can handle it.
  6. Cut each roll in half, and serve with dipping sauce on the side.

 

 


That is not a typo. This is Mexican Street Corn made with Indiana Sweet Corn. I had my first Mexican grilled street corn in Red Hook by the ball fields several years ago, and now I’m hooked.   Clearly not the healthiest of side dishes, it went really well with a lighter grilled tequila lime Amish chicken breasts. (Let me know if you want that Barefoot Contessa recipe)

To make it into a much-less-messy-salad-version, just follow all the directions below and then cut the corn off the cob once it is cool enough to handle. Otherwise be sure to have lots of napkins nearby. 

This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated’s Summer Grilling 2011 issue. 

Ingredients

  • vegetable oil for cooking grate
  • 1/4 cup regular or light mayonaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons juice from 1 lime
  • 1 ounce queso fresco or Cotija cheese , crumbled
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 large ears corn, husks and silk removed

 Directions

  1. Turn all gas grill burners to high and heat grill with lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape and oil grate (Dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate.)
  2. While grill is heating, combine mayonaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, lime juice, and cheese in large bowl; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oil, salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Brush the oil mixture onto the corn.
  4. Grill corn over high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides, 7 to 12 minutes total. Remove from grill and place in bowl with mayonaise mixture; toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Thanks to Local Roots NYC CSA for posting this recipe from Kitchn. Here is my adapted version of it. Clearly, I’m on a lemon yogurt kick. I made the farro a day in advance to cut the prep time tonight. With that prep out of the way, the salad took me about 15 minutes to make. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 cups water
  • salt
  • 1/2 pound peas, shelled
  • 2 baby leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly washed (I like to soak it them in a bowl of water a few times)
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt (I used Stonyfield Organic Low Fat)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • black pepper

 Directions:

1. Soak the farro in water for 30 minutes. Then, rinse and strain. Bring farro, 2 cups water, and salt to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until water is absorbed and farro seems to be a good consistency. (I just keep tasting it to see if it is the right chewiness for me, which last night was about 30 minutes). Then, spread the grains out on a rimmed baking sheet and allow to dry for an hour or so, stirring once or twice so the grains dry all around. You can store the farro overnight in an airtight container.
2. Prepare a small bowl of ice water. Boil water in a small pot, and add peas. After 30 seconds, remove peas with a slotted spoon and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain peas.
3. Slice leeks in half lengthwise, and then chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Saute leeks in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft.
4. Prepare dressing in a large bowl: whisk yogurt, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and a some freshly ground black pepper.
5. Add farro, peas, and leeks to the dressing, and stir to coat. Enjoy!