elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: dip

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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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Dwight Shrute would be so proud, I just know it. I am really taking advantage of all the beets this season.This recipe comes from Food and Wine’s September, 2012 issue. It has the winning combination of beets and goat cheese, and a spicy kick as well.
Also, I had a lovely experience getting ingredients (za’atar, yogurt, hazelnuts, tomato paste, goat cheese) at Sahadi’s on Atlantic Avenue this morning. The helpful grocer teaching me about za’atar explained that it can also be used as part of a salad dressing. I will have to try that. I’ve only been to Sahadi’s on very crowded weekends before, and it was a joy to be able to peruse without feeling like I was in someone else’s way. Oh, summer! 

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed (I used 4 very large beets)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red chile, seeded and minced (I used dried chile flakes instead)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup roasted skinned hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Warm bread, for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. Peel the beets, cut into wedges and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and za’atar and puree. Season with salt. Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the hazelnuts, goat cheese and scallions on top and serve with bread.

This is a salad adapted from a delicious Mexican Pie Dip traditionally served at my family’s Thanksgiving and famous for spoiling my appetite for dinner several years in a row.

Individual servings of the salad can be made in one bowl (as shown in the picture), or you can make a giant salad in a large pie pan. 

NOTE: If you want to make the dip, it is is made without the lettuce. Instead of crumbling the chips on top, just serve chips alongside the dip.  It also is made with double the sour cream/mayo/taco seasoning mix and less tomatoes.  Really, you can adapt quantity of the different ingredients to your choosing. 

Ingredients:

  • one container of black bean dip of your choice
  • homemade gruacamole (3 avocados mashed up, 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, juice of half a lime, salt and pepper)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 3 cups bibb lettuce (or your favorite lettuce)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 small container sliced black olives
  • 10-15 tortilla chips, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Make guacamole by combining ingredients listed above (or buy store-bought guac)
  2. Mix taco seasoning mix with the sour cream and mayo.
  3. Layer ingredients in a large pan in the following order: bean dip, guacamole, cheddar cheese, taco seasoning mixture, lettuce, tomato, scallion, olives, chips.
  4. Dig in.