elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: ginger

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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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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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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.

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Here’s another vegan winner from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. It was refreshing and well-balanced, with a little bit of heat (especially since we kept all the seeds in the serrano pepper). This salad can be a meal by itself, but we had some edamame with it for a little more protein.

Ingredients:

  • One 8-ounce package of buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1/2 cup thinly shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly julienned
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly julienned
  • 1/4 cup thinly julienned snow peas
  • 2 carrots, thinly julienned, or shredded
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat sprouts, sunflower sprouts, or pea shoots (my choice), plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted (just realized I didn’t toast mine…oops!), plus more for garnish

For the dressing: Whisk the following ingredients in a small bowl and set aside:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons agave (I used honey, so this recipe is only mostly vegan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • a tiny bit of minced chile pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the buckwheat according to the package instructions. Do not overcook; buckwheat is very temperamental and falls apart if cooked too long. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the noodles from cooking further. 
  2. Toss the cooked noodles with cabbage, red and yellow bell pepper, snow peas, carrots, sprouts, and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Set aside some sprouts and sesame seeds for a garnish.
  3. Pour the dressing evenly over the salad, toss gently, and serve.
  4. Before serving, garnish with leftover sprouts and sesame seeds.

Sang Lee Farms never ceases to surprise me. Even Irene, the tropical storm which left towns flooded and people without electricity, was not enough to stop them from delivering these gorgeous carrots to the DUMBO CSA.  I love how the carrots I now eat are orange, yellow, and purple. Bugs Bunny would be so totally jealous.

Do you have leftover cilantro and ginger from that chilled soup? You’re in luck: this salad can help you use up the rest of it. Are you genetically predisposed to think cilantro tastes like soap? You’re in luck: you can use parsley instead. Thanks to Alice Waters and The Art of Simple Food for this recipe!

Baton Disclaimer: Waters suggests cutting the carrots into little batons. How lovely. Perhaps when I one day get my dream cutting board named Fred will I make beautiful batons as she suggests. For now, my carrots will have to settle with being simply “batonesque.”

Ingredients:

  • 4 large carrots (I used 7 smaller ones)
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cumin and coriander, toasted and ground
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

Directions:

  1. Peel carrots and cut into little batons (see baton disclaimer above) about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch square. Cook in salted boiling water until carrots are almost tender; they should be pliable, but still crisp in the center. (This only took a few minutes) Drain and season with salt. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, ginger and cayenne. Pour over the warm carrots and toss gently. Marinate for a few hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Just before serving, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and parsley or cilantro. Pour over carrots and toss gently. Taste for seasoning and add salt or lime juice as needed.

The evenings here in Brooklyn have been crisp and breezy; a reminder that fall is just around the corner. This soup is perfect for these last weeks of summer because you can enjoy it hot or cold. It is delicious served with a crisp tortilla layered high with sauteed eggplant, tomato and goat cheese.  Thanks to Jack Bishop, author of A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen for this and so many other tasty recipes, including the crisp tortilla one I just mentioned. 

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon gingerroot
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (I had a red curry spice mix which I added to the original curry in give the soup some heat)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces starchy potato (either 1 large or 2-3 smaller ones)
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the squash and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and curry powder and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, potato, and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potato is very tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Puree the soup in batches in a blender (or use an immersion blender) until very smooth. Adjust the seasonings. Transfer the soup to an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least several hours (unless you want to have the soup hot!). The soup can be refrigerated for several days.
  3. When you are ready to serve the soup, puree the cilantro, lime juice, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a blender until smooth. Add salt to taste.
  4. Taste the chilled soup and adjust the seasonings, adding salt as needed. Ladle the soup into small bowls. Drizzle some cilantro puree over each bowl and serve.

If you want to use up a bunch of your root vegetables but don’t feel like turning on the oven, this is the perfect dish. You can make it in under 10 minutes, and can pretty much use any vegetables you want. The two key tools here are a mandoline and a mini food processor (You can use a blender, too). To make this salad a meal, serve it with the second recipe below, Quick Sesame Peanut Noodles. 

Here are the vegetables I used:

  • 1 harukei turnip
  • 1 red beet
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash

Other vegetables you can substitute are: carrots, kohlrabi, any other type of beet…

Use a mandoline to thinly slice all of the vegetables and combine in a large bowl. Then, make the dressing:

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Place ginger and garlic in mini food processor and process for a few seconds. Scrape down sides if necessary.
  2. Add vinegar, soy sauce and honey in food processor and blend for another 30 seconds or so.
  3. Slowly drizzle in oils. I use the itty-bitty hole at the top of the mini-prep so that I can continue to process while adding the oils.
  4. Pour dressing over salad and combine. Serve immediately.

Bonus Recipe: Quick Sesame Peanut Noodles

 

Ingredients:

  • Banh Pho Noodles (wide, flat rice noodles–I used about 1/3 of the package of the very wide kind, like the type of noodle in Pad Thai)
  • a handful or two of raw unsalted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of scallion, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. I put mine in boiling water for about 6 minutes and then drained. Then I returned them to the pot.
  2. Blend noodles, tahini and soy sauce in a food processor for a 1-2 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary.
  3. Place peanut mixture in a bowl with 2-3 tablespoons warm water. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour mixture over noodles and add the scallions.
  5. Heat up the noodles over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, and serve immediately.