elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: cooking

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.
Advertisements

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.

 

 

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.

 

 


 

Here is Part 2 of my preserving projects from yesterday. This jam is an addicting combination of spicy and sweet. We had it with crackers and cheese last night, and a lot of people recommend serving it with cream cheese. Do you have any other good ways to serve jalapeño jam?

This recipe came from the Pick Your Own site. It is such a detailed recipe, including the canning method, that I am not going to attempt to repost it. Just check out the link. It’s an extensive site if you are interested in other preserving projects.

A few notes about my own experience with this recipe: I only had 12 peppers from the garden ready to go, so I halved the recipe. Also, I did NOT use food coloring, but I love the amber color that naturally came through. Finally, I did not use gloves. Big mistake. Big. Huge. Putting my contact lenses in this morning was torture. I recommend gloves when dealing with this many hot peppers. 

 

 


Here’s another version of the classic Caprese salad. This one takes a little bit more prep work than the original post, and it’s a welcome variation because you can eat this one without a knife. Sometimes, the fewer utensils the better, especially when having to carry everything up and down a spiral staircase. This is a delicious side dish for a summer BBQ. To make it a hearty main dish, you can add couscous or quinoa and some toasted pine nuts.

The cherry tomatoes and basil came from my garden in the sky. I was pretty excited that I grew enough tomatoes to make a salad that fed 5 people!  

Thanks to The Curvy Carrot for this fantastic recipe.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about three tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Toss the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the sugar in a medium bowl.  Set it aside and let stand on its own for 30 minutes.

2. Transfer the tomatoes to a salad spinner and spin them for a few seconds to remove the seeds and extra juice.  Make sure you conserve the juice.

3. Put the spun tomato juice/seeds through a fine strainer to reserve the juice and discard the seeds.

4.  Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat on the stove.

5.  Add 1/2 cup of the tomato liquid, the shallot, and vinegar to a simmer.  Let simmer until the mixture is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. (I didn;t have that much tomato liquid so I just let it simmer for a while and then decided it was done when I felt like it)

6. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cool to room temperature.

7. Whisk in the oil and salt and pepper to taste.

8.  Add the basil and the mozzarella to the tomatoes. Toss gently to combine.