Showing posts with label Salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salad. Show all posts

September 17, 2017

Salade Niçoise et Libanaise

Having recently come to appreciate a perfectly cooked green bean, I have been keen to find interesting ways to serve them. This dish contains the wonderful arrangement of Salade Niçoise, along with the Lebanese-type tahini dressing. It was a perfect confluence of tuna dishes that I wished to make, namely samke harra (a sesame-smothered fish dish from Lebanon) and the classic salade composée from Nice (whose ingredients are a hotly debated subject anyway).

I was sorely tempted to name it Salade Libaniçoise.

You can pretty much see everything in the picture, but I'll lay out the recipe for your entertainment, anyway. The tuna and the capers are the only elements served warm - I used the same skillet for both - the other parts can be prepared in advance. The purple potatoes are a type called Quartz, here in Germany, but you can of course use any kind of waxy potato that you like. These were too pretty not to showcase.

Salade Niçoise et Libanaise

Serves 2

150 grams mixed greens (I've used lambs' lettuce with arugula and shreds of beetroot)
2 eggs, boiled
125 mL Niçoise olives, stones in
30 mL capers, rinsed & fried in olive oil
100 grams potatoes, boiled, cooled, & sliced
100 grams haricots verts, or other fine green beans, steamed and quick-cooled in ice water
a few cherry tomatoes, halved
200 grams of tuna steak, pressed with sesame seeds and lightly seared on all sides (do not overcook!)

Tahini Dressing

45 mL (3 tablespoons) tahini, stirred well
big pinch of coarse/kosher salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
15 mL olive oil
cold water, if necessary, to made a thick salad-dressing consistency

In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, mixing well with a fork or stick blender. Add a little cold water, a tablespoon at a time, and stir until it becomes creamy and the texture of pourable salad dressing.

Layer the ingredients onto the platter. If you green beans are still wet, lay them on some paper towel to dry off, so they don't sog out the salad. Arrange the greens around the bottom, and then place the potatoes, egg halves, beans, and tomatoes, however you like, but leaving a space to put the tuna. Tumble the olives into all the nooks and crannies between the other elements.

As soon as the tuna and capers are added to the platter, drizzle the dressing as artistically as you can manage over the various elements of the salad. I see from this that I really need to invest in a sauce bottle with a nozzle, so that I can better control the flow - this one got a bit blobby-looking.

It was really quite filling, and completely delicious.

July 08, 2017

Peanut Chicken Salad Bowl

Every summer, I make some version of this salad. Sometimes it has rice noodles, sometimes it has rice instead of noodles, and sometimes it has dried ramen (not the instant ones) or mie noodles. But you can vary that bit to your heart's content. The important thing to remember, if you're using noodles of any kind, is to quick-chill them in an ice water bath as soon as they're cooked (otherwise they soak up all the sauce, leaving your chicken and veggies high and dry).

Like many great recipe notions, this is infinitely customizable. The varieties of vegetables are completely up to you - what have you got in your kitchen today? I particularly like zucchini bâtonnets in this salad, although I didn't have any zucchini on hand when I made this particular one. And even the chicken - poach some freshly to shred for the salad, or use last night's roast chicken leftovers. Roasted peanuts give a satisfying toasty crunch that is entirely different from the fresh crunch of the cabbage.

So what's in this one bowl?

Peanut Chicken Salad Bowl

1 nest of non-instant mie or dry ramen noodles, cooked
1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
1/3 cup purple cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 red bell pepper, finely sliced
1/2 green onion, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 medium carrot, shredded on a box grater (large holes)
3 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts
lime wedge
1/2 recipe Peanut Dressing (see below)

If you are starting with raw chicken breast, place it in a shallow pan half-filled with cold water (or chicken stock), and bring to a simmer. If you have some fresh ginger, you might want to throw a couple of slices into the cooking liquid. As soon as it simmers, turn the chicken over, cover tightly with a lid, and turn off the heat (you can leave it on the same burner, though). Set the timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the chicken from the liquid, and shred using two forks or your fingers (it will be a bit hot). This can be done ahead, if you like, and stored tightly covered in the fridge.

Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water, and when they are done, drain them and plunge them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. The noodles can stay in the cold water while you prepare the vegetables, but then you want to drain them really well in a colander before assembling the salad. It's okay if they're still damp, but you don't want them dripping liquid.

Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces (I shred the purple cabbage as though making coleslaw).

To assemble the salad, I like to put a small spoonful of dressing in the bottom of the bowl, and then add the drained noodles. Arrange the chopped vegetables and shredded chicken however you please, adding the peanuts last. Drizzle with remaining dressing, and serve - each person can mix up their own bowl as they see fit.

Here's my foundation recipe for the dressing - it too mutates from time to time, but this is my gold standard.

Peanut Dressing for Salads & Salad Rolls

Makes enough for 2 salad bowls or six summer rolls - a bit more than half a cup.

60 mL (1/4 cup) unsalted smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 medium lime, juice only, about a tablespoon
1 tablespoon brown or raw sugar
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha
60 mL (1/4 cup) water

Place all the sauce ingredients in a blender cup and process until smooth (I use my stick blender for this, but a mini-prep or small-cup blender would be fine). Drizzle over composed salad for individual diners to mix as desired, or serve in small bowls for dipping summer rolls.

As you can probably imagine, this salad travels well for work lunches or picnics. It keeps well in the fridge overnight if you're a meal prepper, too - just hold off, ideally, on the dressing until ready to eat.

May 13, 2017

Chicken Salad with Feta & Mint

The combination of yoghurt, feta and mint give a bit of Persian flare to this salad, and make it so fresh tasting. You can use leftover roasted chicken if you like, but I like to make this with chicken breast that has been steeped or gently poached in chicken broth (or stock) for the juiciest, most tender chicken salad imaginable.

It's important to use a yoghurt whose flavour you like. If you choose a very sour yoghurt, that will be reflected in the finished salad. If you think your yoghurt might be a bit too sour, you can always cut it half-and-half with a mayonnaise or crème fraîche, to soften the flavour - although that will of course make for a richer salad overall.

Chicken Salad with Feta & Mint

Makes about 2 cups

225 grams cooked chicken breast
50 grams plain feta cheese (not marinated)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup julienned de-seeded cucumber
1/4 cup plain Mediterranean-style thick yoghurt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Salt to taste, if necessary
Ground sumac to finish (optional)

If you are freshly cooking the chicken just for this recipe, set it aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Finely dice the chicken breast and heap it into a mixing bowl. Crumble the feta over the chicken.

Cut a 5-6 cm piece of cucumber, and slice it into quarters, lengthwise (if it is a thick-skinned cucumber, peel it). Slice away the seeds from each quarter, and then finely julienne the remaining cucumber flesh (you don't want the pieces too long - very short lengths work best. I usually eat the seeds while I'm doing this, because they're tasty, but they are too wet to leave in the finished dish. Blot the sliced cucumber pieces dry with a bit of clean kitchen towel, and add them to the bowl with the chicken and feta. Sprinkle the white pepper over the chicken mixture, and use a fork to thoroughly stir everything together.

Add the yoghurt and the chopped mint, and stir through. Taste, to see if it needs salt (if your feta is very salty, it probably won't, but if it's milder, it might). Cover tightly and refrigerate for an hour or so to give the flavours a chance to meld. Use as a sandwich filling, or simply scoop it onto some greens for a light meal.

If you happen to have some ground sumac, sprinkle a bit lightly over the filling before closing up the sandwich. The lemony-earthy note of the sumac complements the other flavours very nicely.

While it works very nicely in a traditional two-slices-of-bread sandwich, it is also excellent as a wrap filling (I've used both tortillas and lavash to great success), or stuffed into a pita. As you can see, I fill my sandwiches quite generously, using about a cup of salad per sandwich, but if you are doing flatbread roll-ups to accompany a soup, you might want to make them a little smaller.

This salad keeps well overnight in the fridge, but you probably don't want to leave it longer than that, or the enzymes in the cucumber will start to break down the yoghurt, making it watery.

April 22, 2017

Pear and Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts & Pomegranate

Pears are one of my favourite fruits for flavour and texture. The fact they work so well in salads is a wonderful bonus.

The name of this salad was long enough already without mentioning the sherried walnut vinaigrette, but I really do think that's the element that really ties it together. It's quite fragrant, and the saltiness and hint of garlic and mustard nicely offset the sweetness of the fruit.

This recipe was developed to use what I had on hand, and I'm so happy with the result that it's now on my favourite salads list. If you have some pomegranate seeds leftover from making Harak Osba'o, this is a good thing to do with them.

Pear and Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 2

100 grams arugula, washed and dried well
1 Bartlett pear, cored and sliced
2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2-3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Sherried Vinaigrette Dressing (see below)

You can clean the arugula, toast the pine nuts and prepare the pomegranate seeds in advance, but the slicing the pear is best left until just before serving.

To toast the pine nuts, I use a small dry skillet over low heat, shaking gently from time to time, until the kernels turn slightly golden and you can smell the toastiness. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a small bowl to let them cool without risking burnt nuts.

I like to slice the pear in half, and then use a melon-baller to remove the core. Then, a couple of quick v-cuts with a sharp knife to remove the blossom-end and the tough stem-thread. Then you can easily slice into very tidy and elegant strips.

It makes sense to have the arugula on the bottom, but otherwise arrange however you like on a small plate or salad bowl. Spoon the dressing over just before serving. If you're making this for a crowd, and have one of those long, trencher-style serving plates, this would look very elegant served that way, too.

Sherried Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 2

1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon Condimento Bianco (or white wine vinegar with a pinch of sugar)
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch salt

In a small bowl (or small plastic cup with a securely sealing lid), combine all of the ingredients. Whisk well (or shake vigorously, holding the cup tightly closed) until emulsified into a pretty pale yellow. Taste, and adjust for salt (or more sherry!) as needed. Drizzle over salad just before serving.

I note that you can use sherry vinegar, if you're lucky enough to have some on hand, instead of the sherry and condimento listed above.

January 14, 2017

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing

Ginger salad dressing is so fresh and delicious tasting that it can make even the saddest pile of limp iceberg lettuce palatable. It turns out that it's even better when homemade and you can control the sweetness, so you may need to forcibly restrain yourself from just drinking it down like a smoothie.

I find a lot of the ginger salad dressings I've a had in restaurants to be a bit too sweet for my taste, so I've put very little sugar in this one. If you like your dressings sweet, you might want to taste it after it's made up and then add a bit more sugar and give it a final blitz. This recipe was synthesized from myriad online sources, but none in particular. There are some surprising ingredients, but go with it.

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing

Makes 2/3 cup

1/4 cup peanut oil*
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 - 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger root (or finely minced)
1/4 cup sliced green onion - white parts only (about 3-4)
2 tablespoons finely grated carrot
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon less-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of ground white pepper

*If you don't use peanut oil, for whatever reason, be sure to use a neutrally flavoured vegetable oil. Strong-tasting oils like olive or walnut are out of place here.

I used a microplane-type grater for the carrot and the ginger, and everything else was just finely chopped by hand. I like a strong ginger flavour, so I used the full 2 tablespoons, but you can scale it back to one if you're feeling mild.

Place everything in the order given in a cup suitable for an immersion-blender (or the cup of your blender or food processor), and blend on high until mostly smooth. This dressing has a lot of body for a vinaigrette, so it will still have a little bit of texture, but that's fine - it's how the dressing is usually served in restaurants, too.

Cover well and refrigerate for a couple of hours before use if possible - but use it up within three days.

To use, simply give it a stir (or a shake, if it's in a jar) and spoon over your composed salad. It can also be used to dress thinly sliced cucumber on its own, or plain, finely shredded cabbage to make a sort of gingery coleslaw.

November 23, 2016

Moroccan Eggplant Salad/Dip: Zaalouk

One of my favourite dishes from Marrakech was an eggplant salad called Zaalouk (also spelled Zalook, amongst other variations). Moroccan cuisine is very big on salads, both raw and cooked, and this is a particularly popular one. Although you can find zaalouks made from other vegetables than eggplant, it does seem to be the one most commonly seen in the wild. Sometimes it simply showed up unannounced alongside whatever tagine I had ordered, and sometimes I selected it (along with one or two other options), from a menu. Every time it was a little bit different, and every time it was delicious.

It's pretty easy to make although it does take a bit of time, but since it is usually served either cold or at room temperature, you can make it in advance. The preparatory stages up to frying the eggplant are pretty much the same as the Turkish Eggplant Casserole that I was raving about last summer (and still make often), and it's not impossible that both dishes are related to the Afghani dish Burani Bonjon. It's flavour profile is quite different from Baba Ghanoush, the eggplant dip/spread that North Americans seem most familiar with these days, but it can fulfill a similar role.

This recipe was adapted from Fleur d'Oranger, Masala & Co's traditional recipe. I made mine a bit coarser, because that was the way I usually received it in Marrakech, but really you can make it as coarse or as smooth as you like. This makes a small batch, but can be easily doubled.

Eggplant (Aubergine) Zaalouk

Serves 2 - 4

1 medium, firm eggplant
Kosher or coarse sea salt
Olive oil (about a quarter of a cup, total)
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon (sweet) paprika
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la vera (or other smoked paprika)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
small handful cilantro leaves (optional)

Prepare the eggplant by removing the cap and slicing lengthwise into 1/2 centimetre thick slabs. Dissolve a generous tablespoon of salt in hot water, and then add cold water until you have about six cups in a large bowl. Add the eggplant slices and allow them to brine for 10 minutes, or up to 8 hours (cover them with a plate or otherwise keep them submerged in the brine as much as possible). Drain, rinse, and press the slices firmly with paper towels or fresh linen towels to dry them out.

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it just shimmers. Tilt the pan to ensure the bottom of the pan is well coated. Have a receiving plate standing by. Brush the first few (dried, pressed) slices of eggplant with olive oil, and fry them in batches, repeating with a little extra olive oil added between each batch, until golden on each side and very soft - about three minutes per side, depending on your heat level. Remove them to the nearby plate as they finish to make room for the next pieces.

Into the empty skillet, heat a bit more olive oil, and add the diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add a good pinch of salt, and stir through. Add the tomato paste and stir through. Add the spices and the tomatoes with their juices, and stir through, lowering the heat to medium-low, and continuing to stir, scraping the bottom of the pan clear as you go. Cook and stir for about another five minutes. If you want to add a hot chile pepper or even just a pinch of pepper flakes, now is the time to do that.

Place the fried eggplant on a clean cutting board, and chop roughly. Add the eggplant back into the skillet, along with any accumulated juices/olive oil that might cling to the cutting board or plate. Add the cilantro, if using. Stir everything together and continue to cook, breaking up pieces and mashing lightly with your spoon or spatula. If it looks too dry, add a bit more olive oil.

When everything is nice and tender and any excess water has evaporated, about 10 minutes if you fried your eggplants thoroughly, remove from the heat and scrape into a serving bowl (taste-test a piece of eggplant to make sure it's cooked through with no hint of raw flavour). If you prefer a smoother dip, you can blitz it quickly in a mini-prep or with a stick blender or even vigorous use of a potato masher. Add a tiny drizzle of olive oil to the top, and set aside to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not using within an hour or so.

Excellent on flatbreads or crackers, or on any plate-side. I tend to use it almost like a chutney, dolloping it onto my plate alongside other dishes.

March 13, 2016

Moroccan Shredded Carrot Salad with Lemon Dressing

As I mentioned in the post on Preserved Lemons, we went to Marrakech last December. It is all still in my head, especially the flavours and sounds and scents of the markets and street food, and I am continue to investigate recipes for dishes that we experienced, as well as those that I regret missing the opportunity to experience.

This carrot salad is modelled after the one that was served to us upon arrival in our riad. As we were scheduled to arrive quite late in the evening, our host offered us the option of booking a dinner so that we could relax and enjoy our first evening, without struggling out into a very unfamiliar sort of place late at night after a day of travel. We gratefully accepted, and were sent a menu to pre-order from. The dinner included a choice of three salads from a list of about seven choices, one two-person tagine from a half-dozen compelling possibilities, and a dessert from again, a handful of options. Bread was of course served automatically on the side (Morocco likes to have bread of some sort at every meal) and wine was also available, despite the riad's owners/operators being muslim themselves.

One of the salads we chose was a shredded carrot with lemon, which arrived neatly domed on a plate. I remarked on how finely grated the carrot was, and how wet the dish overall appeared, as we dug into it. We were delighted with the intensity of the lemon flavour, and it automatically went into my mental "make this!" file. While Morocco is famous for its use of preserved lemon, this recipe uses fresh lemon juice only.

Moroccan Shredded Carrot Salad with Lemon Dressing

Serves 4

3 large or 4 medium carrots
2 tablespoons cilantro or parsley leaves
1 large mint leaf
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (honey would also be fine)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika

Peel and finely shred the carrots, and put them in a non-reactive bowl (note that the carrot juice might stain plastic, so best use a glass or ceramic bowl). I used the fine side of a big box grater to do the shredding, which takes a while. If you have a mandoline or other fancy slicer, do whatever gets you the finest possible cut without turning utterly to mush.

Finely chop the cilantro (or parsley) and mint leaf, and stir through the carrot shreds until well distributed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice with the olive oil, salt, sugar, garlic, cumin, and paprika. Taste the dressing and add more salt if needed. Pour the dressing over the grated carrots, stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, to give the carrots time to soak up the flavours.

Spoon onto plates, or pack into a teacup or measuring cup (or small bowl) to make a tidy presentation. The juices from the salad may seep out from the edges quite a bit, so be prepared to blot the plate if you want to keep it clean. In the riad, this was served Moroccan style, meaning one each salad was served on a separate plate, from which we served ourselves, rather than the individual portion you see here.

July 18, 2015

Chickpea & Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing

We're well into salad season. Every thought of actually cooking something when the temperature keeps spiking outside is accompanied by a shudder, and a look around for alternatives. Alternatives such as letting someone else do the cooking, perhaps, or maybe just preparing something that doesn't require heat.

This simple salad works really well as a dinner salad, or as a take-to-work/school lunch, takes very little time to prepare, and lets me continue my love affair with tahini unabated.

You could, of course, cook the chickpeas yourself, in which case do that however you like best. In the interests of a no-heat meal, however, this recipe is made with canned chickpeas (or, if you've got some home-cooked ones stashed in the freezer, by all means use those instead).

Chickpea & Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing

Serves 2

1 400 gram can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
50 grams of grated carrot (about 1 medium)
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 cup loose-packed cilantro, washed and roughly chopped

Tahini Dressing (only half needed for this recipe)

3 tablespoons tahini (stirred well)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed or pureed
1 tablespoon olive oil
cold water, if necessary, to made a thick salad-dressing consistency

This should all be pretty self-explanatory. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients (I hold the cilantro to the very end, though, and add it after the dressing).

In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, mixing well with a fork (or one of those mini-whisks, if that's what you like). I didn't need to add water, here, but if you find your dressing is too thick or is clagging up (as often happens if you're down at the bottom of the tahini jar), add a little cold water, a tablespoon at a time, and stir until it becomes creamy again.

Add half the dressing to the chickpeas, carrots, and green onion, and stir through. Add the cilantro, and stir through again. Serve immediately, or transfer to a sealable container and chill until you're ready to eat.

If you happen to live near a Turkish bakery, or are feeling extra industrious and unafraid of baking during the heat, I highly recommend picking up a nice cheese or spinach gözleme (soft flatbread with baked-in filling) to have alongside this.

October 15, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Yoghurt & Lime Dressing

Composed salads like this one are dead easy to figure out without a recipe, so consider the ingredients I've chosen as a mere guideline for your own favourite roasted vegetables and flavours. I like to season one or two of the roasted vegetables each a little differently, to add depth and warmth to the flavours. As a bonus, if you make a big batch they make a wonderful side dish for dinner the night before, which means you get to be virtuous by using up leftovers to make this tasty salad.

I've chosen cheese, nuts, and (optional) egg to boost the protein and give staying power to this salad, but you could definitely omit the egg, sub out the cheese, and go vegan with chickpeas, or maybe marinated tofu. The egg in the ingredient list is purely optional and is not shown here, but was included in the version of this salad that my husband took to work. He also topped everything with a squirt of Sriracha sauce, so there you go.

Beyond the selection of vegetables and accompaniments, the dressing is what brings this sort of salad together. In Germany, yoghurt-based dressings are very popular, so I've been experimenting with them more than usual. This one is Yoghurt & Lime dressing, and we liked it so much that it's sure to appear again very soon. For vegans, I'd switch the dressing for something sesame or tahini based.

Always In The Kitchen Roasted Vegetable Salad

Romaine Lettuce, raw, coarsely chopped

Vegetable Rows:
Purple Cabbage (raw, thinly sliced)
Roasted Butternut Squash (seasoned with cayenne)
Roasted cauliflower (seasoned with cumin or curry powder)
Roasted Beets, diced

Walnut halves, toasted
hard boiled egg, sliced (optional, not shown)

To roast the squash and cauliflower, I cut them into bite-sized pieces, toss with a mixture of a little water, a little olive oil, some kosher salt, and the seasoning of choice. Toss thoroughly, then tip out into a roasting pan in a single layer (include a tablespoon or two of the oil/water liquid), and roasted at about 425 F for 20 to 30 minutes, as needed. I prefer not to mix the vegetables before roasting, but your mileage may vary. For the beets, I top-and-tail them, quarter them, and wrap them, skins on, in a package made of aluminum foil with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. I roast them for about an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove them from the foil (carefully! That steam is hot!) and the skins should rub right off with a paper towel (or clean j-cloth). Then simply dice them to the size you want. You can also use Orange Flower Glazed Beets instead, if you're lucky enough to have some leftover.

Yoghurt & Lime Dressing

Makes 3 servings

150 grams plain yoghurt
1 large clove garlic, pressed/minced
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
zest of one lime

Combine in a small bowl and beat with a fork until well integrated. Taste, and adjust for salt and garlic, as desired.

Place the lettuce in a bowl, and arrange the roasted vegetables, raw cabbage, and whichever accompaniments you choose in rows over the lettuce. Drizzle generously with dressing. Eat as is, or toss first, if you want the dressing more evenly distributed.

Add a drizzle of Sriracha, if that sounds good to you.

June 22, 2014

Schweizer Wurstsalat (Swiss Sausage Salad)

This is an enormously popular salad in this part of Germany, and while variations are also enjoyed in Switzerland, Austria, and the Alsace, this particular version of Wurstsalat (which also goes by the names "Straßburger Wurstsalat" and "Elsässer Wurstasalat") is often referred to as "Schweizer", meaning Swiss, because of the inclusion of Emmental cheese. It's a common summertime snack (as you can imagine, it goes rather well with a nice glass of beer) or light lunch, and easy to pack for a picnic.

As with the Rheinischer Kartoffelsalat, in my last post there are many, many iterations of this salad, and you can easily customise it as you see fit. As previously, I'm posting a fundamental version for your consideration, but feel free to adjust the proportions of the key ingredients — as I served this with the potato salad as linked, I kept the number of pickles somewhat discreet, although I have seen some versions that boast almost as much pickle as meat, and ones with a shocking amount of onions. There are versions with or without cheese, and versions with mayonnaise instead of marinade. Some delis here will have two or three different versions, so you can choose depending on your mood. So feel free to let your own needs and preferences dictate the balance of the various ingredients.

One thing that I appreciate about grocery shopping here is that there tends to be no real difference in price for "format shifting". That is to say, if I buy my cheese or meat as a block, or in slices, or shredded, it costs pretty much the same, priced by weight. Since I can buy pre-julienned sausage here, too — available, I'm sure, expressly due to the popularity of this salad in these parts — this dish comes together in a snap. You'll see that the marinade is quite similar to that of the potato salad, but has less liquid, since none of the marinade gets absorbed.

Schweizer Wurstsalat
Swiss Sausage Salad

Serves 4

300 grams thinly julienned sausage (recommended: Schinkenwurst or Lyoner sausage)
1/4 - 1/2 medium yellow or red onion, finely sliced
6 - 8 cornishon-style pickles, julienned
3/4 - 1 cup grated Emmental cheese (or Edam, or Gouda)

100 millilitres vegetable broth or stock
1/4 cup finely sliced green onion
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hot mustard
3 tablespoons neutrally-flavoured vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or coarse sea salt
ground white pepper to taste

Heat the vegetable broth/stock until not-quite boiling, and remove from the heat. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine the green onion, parsley (finely minced), vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and white pepper and whisk. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking, to bring the marinade together. Add the julienned sausage and stir well, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight. Stir periodically, if convenient.

When you're ready to finish the salad, give it a quick stir, and then add the yellow or red onion, the pickles (julienned), and the grated cheese. Toss lightly to ensure that the marinade (I guess it's a dressing, by this stage) gets evenly distributed, and serve with buttered bread on the side.

One of the attractive looking versions that I've seen includes tiny bits of red chile peppers (and possibly also chile flakes). You could also use paprika sausage (which is essentially Lyoner sausage with pepper flakes) for all or a portion of the meat. I wouldn't use a super aged or smoked Gouda here, as it might overpower (or, go ahead, but maybe use half the amount of cheese to start, and adjust as necessary). While this salad is normally served without greens, you could certainly serve it on a bed of baby lettuces, for a sort of chef salad effect (with or without the hard-boiled egg). You could probably also use it as a basis for a pasta salad, although I think you would need quite a bit more marinade, and maybe more parsley.

June 19, 2014

Rheinischer Kartoffelsalat (Rhineland-Style German Potato Salad)

Summer weather has arrived in Rheinland-Pfalz, and with it many restaurants have switched over to their summer menus. Oh, not to worry, you can still get the heartiest of hearty items (Sauerbraten, Rinderrouladen, Goulash, etc.), but the seasonal offerings have definitely shifted. This includes a fundamental shift in the lunchtime menus from fried potatoes (that is, bratkartoffeln) on the side, to potato salad.

I was a pleased and surprised, here in the heart of sweetened mayonnaise country, to discover that most of the potato salads in this region are marinated in a vinaigrette as opposed to a creamy dressing. What didn't surprise me, however, is the lack of crumbled bacon in the salads. Oh, a lot of them have pork in them, but it's ham. Tiny, tiny cubes of fried ham. Also, not every potato salad, even the Rheinisch ones, contains pork - although plenty of them do. But it is definitely not the crumbled bacon, or even bacon bits, that so often comes with the "German Potato Salad" label in Canada. I chose to make this one vegetarian, simply because I was serving it as part of a duo alongside a sausage and cheese salad, and decided that my meat requirements were being well met already.

At its most plain, this potato salad omits the radishes, and at its most fancy (known as Bunter (colourful) Kartoffelsalat) it will have not only the radishes, but also a sparse inclusion of red and/or yellow bell pepper pieces, and possibly fresh cucumber to go alongside the pickles. The fun thing about salads is that it's very easy to customise them to your personal tastes. So, by all means, feel free to add the extra vegetables. Or tiny cubes of fried ham. This ham-free version is vegan.

Rheinischer Kartoffelsalat
Rhineland-Style German Potato Salad

Serves 4 - 6

2 kilos waxy potatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion
4 cornishon-style pickles
4 large radishes

200 millilitres vegetable stock or broth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hot mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
white pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley (and/or fresh dill)

Boil and peel the potatoes in whichever order you choose. Allow them to cool, and then cut them into slices. Some of those slices will break up a bit - that's supposed to happen, and if it doesn't happen now, it probably will when the remaining ingredients are stirred in. Put the potatoes in a bowl with a bit of extra room (to allow you to stir).

In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable stock or broth (or heat up some water and add vegetable base as is appropriate). Add the vinegar, mustard, salt and white pepper, and whisk to partially integrate. Finely dice the onions, and add them to the stock, simmering very briefly - not for more than about two minutes. Pour the onion-stock mixture over the potatoes, and stir through. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then stir in the parsley. Cover and place in the fridge. Let the potatoes soak up the liquid for at least an hour or two, then thinly slice and add the cornishons and radishes, and any of the optional additional ingredients that you like. Taste, and add a little extra vinegar if you like (places around here serve it extremely tart, which is very refreshing in hot weather) and more salt if needed. Allow the salad to chill again, covered, for about half an hour, and serve. If you like, you can garnish with wedges of hard-boiled egg or tomato. I like to do a final pass with freshly ground black pepper to serve.

Coming soon: Swiss-style Sausage Salad (Update: Now posted!)

May 18, 2014

Kohlrabi Carrot Coleslaw

This salad is best made a bit in advance, as the kohlrabi has a bit of a starchy flavour when raw. Once it has had time to marinate for a little while, that off-note completely disappears. I liked this salad just fine on the first day, but on the second day it was absolutely fantastic.

While a lot of salads are at their best when prepared just before eating, this dish not only keeps well in the fridge, but actually improves with a bit of time. That makes it a perfect choice for any dinner where the other dishes demand all of your attention (or workspace, or time, or last-minute fiddling), and also works beautifully as a take-along or picnic dish.

Kohlrabi Carrot Coleslaw

Serves 2 - 4

1 large kohlrabi
1 large carrot
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Peel away the thick skin of the kohlrabi, remove the fibrous top bit and trim the root end (as though you were trimming an onion) and grate on the large-hole side of a box grater (or equivalent). Peel and trim the carrot, and grate it too. Combine the grated vegetables in a bowl.

Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, wine vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl, and whisk (or beat with a fork) until it is emulsified. Pour the dressing over the grated vegetables, and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or better still, overnight.

Stir through once again, correct for salt (you may need a little extra on the second day), and add the black pepper just before serving. The starchy rawness will have disappeared, and overall the dish will appear a bit more...pliable, but the vegetables will retain a lovely, delicate crunch in the middle.

June 27, 2013

Orange Flower Glazed Beets

Beets have a bit of that love 'em or hate 'em thing going on. Judging by the lingering trend of beet salads in restaurants along the west coast, I'm guessing a lot more people love them than not - although I'm betting certain vegetarians I know are a little tired of beet-salad-as-token-veggie-item on the menu.

Happily, there are other things you can do with beets other than salad-izing them (although this recipe would be awesome as part of a salad. I'm just saying). Borscht is a perennial favourite, of course, and pickled beets are still a very good plate-finisher, for those times when you just want a little extra splash of colour and another vegetable on the plate. While technically still a salad, Ethiopian Beet & Potato Salad is a very different creature from the leaf-based beet salad offerings in these parts, which may or may not sport feta, gorgonzola, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or all of the above.

Orange flower water gives this a slightly exotic, yet hard to define quality that feels quite elegant. Orange flower water can be found at most Middle Eastern groceries, and some regular supermarkets, too. It is usually stored right next to the more commonly known (around here) rose water, so if you ask for it and get a blank, ask for the rose water, and then look to see what else they have. Come to think of it, these might be pretty good with rose water, too. Hmm.

These are pretty easy to make, and best of all, they are delicious hot or cold, so go ahead and make a full batch.

Orange Flower Glazed Beets
Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 pounds red beets, small or medium in size
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange flower water
pinch of white pepper

Wash your beets and peel them. I recommend using a good vegetable peeler or small sharp knife, and peel them under running cold water, collecting the peels in a sieve or colander. Then, simply shake the excess water off of the peelings, dump them into your compost bucket (or a bag to go into your garbage, or however you dispose of such things).

Slice your beets into wedges, and lay them out on a big sheet of heavy duty foil that has been lightly oiled with olive oil. Sprinkle sparingly with salt, and fold the foil sheet into a pouch, sealing the edges well. put the pouch on a big baking sheet (if you're clever, you might start with the baking sheet already under the foil), and pop it into the oven for 45 minutes at 400 F, or until the beets are tender. Test them at that point by sliding a knife into one (right through the foil) to see if they're done. If not (unlikely) let them cook another fifteen minutes, and try again.

When the beets are done, take them out of the oven and peel back the foil so that they start to cool down. Be careful about the steam when you open the foil - it can burn you quite badly. I use a long handled fork to tear my foil open.

While the beets are resting, put the vinegar, sugar, orange flower water, a pinch of salt, and white pepper in a skillet, and cook over high until it becomes thick and glaze-like. Turn off the heat, and add the beets to the skillet, stirring them gently around until they are completely coated with the glaze. Taste, carefully, because liquid sugar is really darn hot, and adjust for salt if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm, or allow to cool, and chill until needed.

June 13, 2013

Persian Carrot & Apple Salad

I found this recipe online whilst looking for a side dish to serve with a Persian chicken and mushroom stew. It is very quick to make, and falls somewhere into coleslaw territory. It is a little sweet, from both the natural sweetness of the main ingredients plus a little added sugar, but it balances a savoury meal beautifully. Using a vegetable peeler to shred the carrots is surprisingly time consuming and fiddly to do, as you get down to the last bit, but it makes such pretty strips of carrot that it is hard to resist doing it that way. Do not be tempted to add salt to the dressing or salad, as it will pull all of the moisture out of the carrot and apple, pooling into a soggy mess.

Persian Carrot & Apple Salad
adapted from Persian Style Carrot Salad recipe on

Serves 3

2 carrots, peeled and shredded with a vegetable peeler
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded
30 grams slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler, then continue to use the peeler to take long thin shavings of carrot until the carrot is completely shredded. Peel the Granny Smith (or other tart, green apple) with a knife or peeler, and shred on the coarse side of a box grater.

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon and sugar. and pour over the carrot and apple mixture. Toss well with a fork (or two) to ensure that all of the strands are coated with the seasoning mixture.

Toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant. Sprinkle over the salad, and serve.

If you are making the salad a few hours ahead, reserve the almonds until you are ready to serve, so they maintain their crisp texture.

March 10, 2013

Kale Gomaae

I've always loved the enticing little dishes of blanched spinach dressed with sesame that one finds in Japanese cuisine. My earliest attempts at making them at home were somewhat laughable - I firmly believed that I shouldn't need to cut the spinach, despite all evidence to the contrary - but what I really disliked was the step of squeezing the water out of the cooked vegetable. I didn't like the squeezing, and I didn't like the look of the spinach after I was done. I was doing it utterly wrong.

Happily, this recipe does not require squeezing of any kind. I make no claims for culinary authenticity, of course, and I must confess that this is ultimately an outgrowth of an Italian recipe for balsamic-glazed kale with pine nuts, of which I am also very fond. I can say without hesitation that this dish is both a delightful addition to any lunchbox that wants a little extra vegetable, and a perfect companion to a rice or noodle based dinner. There are many different dressing recipes for a Japanese gomaae, so if this one doesn't strike your fancy, I suggest that you keep the method and substitute the dressing of your preference.

One of the delightful things about kale is that it is quite sturdy. While it does require a bit of preparation to clean, remove central stalk, and slice the kale (see below), you can do this ahead and keep it crisp and ready for a few days, in a sealed container in the fridge. Then, dishes such as this become a snap to pull off at the last second when you decide that you really should have some sort of vegetable with your chicken teriyaki or tonkatsu, or even miso halibut cheeks.

Kale Gomaae

Serves 2 - 4

250 grams lacinato kale, cleaned and prepared (see below)
1 tablespoon lower sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon honey (or agave)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and honey/agave with the crushed sesame seeds. Set aside.

Run cold water over your prepared kale, drain immediately. The water still clinging to the leaves is desirable, to provide steam. In a medium skillet or wok (I use a 9" steel skillet - nonstick is not necessary), over high heat, place the prepared and drained kale and begin to move the kale around as it wilts (I use a silicone spatula). If necessary, sprinkle a little more water over the kale, and continue to stir it around until the leaves start to become tender, but are still bright-looking (well, as bright as "black kale" gets, anyway).

Add the combined sauce mixture, and continue to stir until the dressing has been evenly stirred through and each leaf is lightly dressed. Remove to serving bowls, and garnish with extra sesame seeds.

The kale can be served warm or cold.

I plan to serve it the next time I make the Miso Halibut cheeks mentioned above, in fact (which is likely going to be soon, because that sounds really good). Incidentally, you can see one of my messy spinach gomaae attempts over in that link, too.

How To Prepare Lacinato Kale - in pictures

For long leaves, I cut them in half to make them easier to manage

Cut along the spine of the leaf, as close as you possibly can

Turn the leaf around, slice the spine off and discard

Repeat with the other half of the leaf

Stack the leaves and slice into ribbons

If you want to store them for a few days, use a container with a good seal, and place a dampened paper towel on the top before closing. Store in the crisper of your fridge

Ready to go!

January 18, 2013

Winter Salad: Fennel & Radish Salad

Sometimes, I feel an urge to add more vegetables to my dinner. This happens most frequently in the winter, when I'm not gobbling down fruit by the handful, and when summer salad vegetables are both more expensive and no longer at their peak. By late December, I've given up hope on fresh tomatoes until next year.

Salads can feel a little boring, in the winter. The summer vegetables are just too tired to make it through the winter (even if they're available, they have only a fraction of the flavour), and sometimes I forget that there are other kinds of "pure" vegetable salads - that is, without added pasta or grains - than garden, Greek, and chopped.

There are others, sure: there's roasted beet salad (delicious, but which takes quite a bit of time, plus use of the oven), and pear-walnut-blue cheese (costly ingredients, none of which I am likely to have just lying about on any given day), and cabbage slaws (arguably more of a summer salad), and these are all delicious. But this little number here, hand shaved fennel and thinly sliced radishes with an utterly basic vinaigrette - this becomes a winter salad that is fresh, crisp, simple, and something very much to look forward to, during the winter months when fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is at its peak. Quick and easy to make, this plays nicely as a side dish for those winter dinner blues. Since it's January right now, I might as well also note that this is a nifty little number to help bulwark any resolutions about healthy eating that we may be tempted to let slide right about now...

Fennel & Radish Salad

Serves 4

1 fennel bulb, trimmed of stalks and fronds
8 radishes, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

If you have a mandoline or v-slicer, you can make very quick work of slicing the fennel bulb. Otherwise, I recommend trimming and quartering the bulb, removing the v-shaped core, and then slicing very thinly on the diagonal. For the radishes, slice them in half pole-to-pole, then slice them into very thin half-moons.

Toss the vegetables in a salad bowl (or layer them, which is pretty in a glass bowl). In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar and salt, and blend thoroughly. Pour over the fennel and radishes, and refrigerate for 15 minutes (or up to an hour). Decorate sparingly with fennel fronds, if you like. You can eat it right away, of course, but it seems to benefit from a quick chill.

I think making it with sherry vinegar has the best flavour (white wine vinegar was not quite as perky), but it will discolour the crisp whiteness of the fennel, ever so slightly. White balsamic, or champagne vinegars would be good substitutes, if you want to keep the fennel from taking on a beige tinge.

Another addition that would be quite lovely is thinly sliced green apple - added just before serving to prevent discolouration. I think the sweet-tart of the apple would offset the fennel and radish beautifully, and that's how I intend to serve this, next time around.

November 11, 2012

Couscous with Lemon & Mint

This works as either a cold salad or as a hot side dish (add some chickpeas either way, to make it a main-course in itself). It is both very easy to make, and very quick. As you can imagine, the lemon and mint flavours conjure the mediterranean climate, so let that be your guide for choosing something to serve with it - a nice Greek salad, perhaps, or some falafel patties, or perhaps a braised lamb shank or a merguez tagine. Its low effort requirement make it perfect for either summer nights when you don't feel much like cooking (or turning on the stove), or as a last-minute way to round out a bit of leftover stew that seemed smaller than you remembered when you pulled it out of the freezer.

I recommend using any bell pepper except green, here. The red, orange, and yellow peppers are much sweeter, and complement the flavours of the mint and lemon. The green bell pepper would impart a more bitter, vegetal flavour - not necessarily a disaster, of course, but less harmonious for the dish overall.

Couscous with Lemon & Mint
Serves 4

1 cup coarse dry couscous (not Israeli style)
1 yellow bell pepper (or other sweet pepper), finely diced
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 - 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh mint chiffonade
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 cups boiling water

You need to make this dish in a container with a tight fitting lid - you can either use a metal saucepan (heat the water, remove from heat, add the salt, sprinkle the couscous evenly over the surface, cover, wait), or a ceramic or tempered glass bowl with a lid (heat the water separately, pour into bowl, etc.) but if your lid is not tight-fitting, you may want to drape a heavy kitchen towel over the top. Make sure you allow room for the couscous to expand - allow at least four times as much room as couscous.

Whichever method you choose, prepare the couscous and let it stand, covered well, for about ten minutes, while you prepare your lemon, mint, green onion, and bell pepper.

Combine the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, and cumin, and whisk together as if you were making a vinaigrette. Place the chopped bell pepper into a serving bowl with the sliced green onion, and pour half of the vinaigrette over top. Prepare the mint chiffonade and set aside. When the couscous is ready, remove the lid and fluff carefully with a fork - be patient, and scrape the tines of the fork over the surface, going increasingly deeper, until you have loosened all of it. Add the fluffed up couscous to the serving bowl, and pour in the rest of the vinaigrette. Stir with a fork to combine thoroughly, letting the couscous soak up the liquid from the lemony dressing. Stir in the mint, and serve (hot), or chill for an hour or so to serve as a cold salad.

This dish is tasty whether you are eating it hot, warm, room temperature, or cold. If you are going to add chickpeas, add one cup of cooked (drained) chickpeas to the bell peppers and vinaigrette, tossing well to coat. If you are intending to serve the dish hot, you may want to heat the chickpeas up first.

I love having leftovers of this for my lunch - it packs really well, because the couscous absorbs all of the liquid, making for easy, mess-free transportation.

September 14, 2012

Summer Rolls, While We Still Can

Before I move entirely into my autumnal kitchen habits, here's one more dying-light-of-summer dish that I simply must share with you.

For years, I'd avoided summer rolls (aka salad rolls, aka fresh spring rolls), because the initial ones I'd tried were not really all that good, dry and bland, relying heavily on a giant wodge of unseasoned noodles to make up their bulk, and requiring constant, nay, desperate dipping into peanut sauce simply in order to swallow each bite. When I discovered, years later, that most summer rolls are in fact delightful treats, I felt rather foolish for avoiding them for so long.

Most of the versions you see in my neighbourhood tend to be either vegetarian or, more likely, prawn-centric, with a few veggies, a bit of (seasoned!) noodle, and a smart row of precisely lined up prawns down the centre. The dipping sauces tend to be a peanut affair (spicy if you're lucky), or nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce made primarily of fish sauce, lime juice and rice vinegar, with some chiles and herbs thrown in. You can really use whatever dipping sauce you like - any Asian-style dumpling sauce is probably going to work fine, or plum sauce, or coconut chutney...even just painting a stripe of sriracha down the side before you dig in is going to work.

What made me actually decide to make these myself was the sudden, thunder-struck notion that coconut-lemongrass chicken would be really quite good in these. However, I've never seen such a thing for sale. The only solution was to get some rice paper wrappers, and start rolling my own. After that, I made some more, minus the chicken and coconut, and with double the vegetables (all nicely seasoned with nuoc cham, prior to rolling).

The following, consequently, is more of a general guideline, than a recipe, really. Vary them as much as you like - you're the one who is going to be enjoying them.

Lemongrass Chicken Summer Rolls

Makes 6 rolls

6 Banh trang rice wrappers
125 grams rice vermicelli, cooked
200 grams chicken breast
60 mL coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon lemongrass powder
1 carrot, shredded
8 centimetres English cucumber, matchstick cut
fresh Thai basil, shredded
fresh mint, shredded
2 tablespoons nuoc cham or lime juice with a pinch of salt

Cook the chicken in the coconut milk with the lemongrass powder. Remove the chicken from the coconut milk, and shred finely. Add the noodles into the coconut milk, and toss well to coat. Toss the cucumber and carrot with the nuoc cham, and allow to drain.

Dip one banh trang wrapper in water (or run it briefly under the tap) and immediately lay it flat on a wooden cutting board. In the bottom third of the circle, lay some of the chicken, some of the noodles, and some of the vegetables, as you would for making a burrito. Top with the shredded herbs. Cilantro is also a nice addition here.

Lift the bottom edge of the wrapper (which will now be pliable) and wrap it upward until it just covers the filling, and hold it there with one hand. Using your other hand, fold the sides inward, and then continue to roll from the bottom up until the roll is complete. Put aside on a plate and chill while you make the rest. Wrap tightly, so they hold together while you're eating them, but not so tightly that you tear the wrapper. A little practice will make them just right.

Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice - more nuoc cham, or peanut sauce are classics, but I prefer a nice, spicy, peanut-butter laced vinaigrette. You can always go crazy and have more than one, sauce, of course. Why decide?

For vegetarian/vegan summer rolls, simply omit the chicken, lemongrass, and coconut milk and increase the vegetables - you might want to add thinly sliced daikon or zucchini, or other crisp raw vegetables of your choice, to round it out. You could also add a julienne of spicy tofu. You may want to season your noodles with a little Nuoc cham (a vegetarian version, of course) if you're going all veggie. You can really put whatever you like in them.

These will keep until the next day, assuming you don't get up in the middle of the night and devour them. I'm just sayin'. Two rolls makes a good, light supper.

August 04, 2012

Ethiopian Beet & Potato Salad (and Bento)

Ethiopian cuisine has wonderful salads. The cool lemony character of this one is quite refreshing, and the two-tone pink and purple appearance is pleasingly cheerful. This recipe is adapted from Meskerem Restaurant (Washington, DC), by way of Epicurious, as well as local versions of the dish as served here in Vancouver. It is vegan, gluten-free, and great for picnics, bento, or any other packed meal.

Ethiopian Beet & Potato Salad

Serves 8 - 10
Total Prep & Cooking Time: 1 hour

450 grams yellow potatoes
450 grams red beet roots
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons peanut oil*
1/2 onion (yellow or red), finely diced
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely diced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
Pinch ground fenugreek seeds

Wash and trim the beets, and simmer in a medium saucepan for about 35 - 45 minutes (depending on size), or until tender. Remove the beets from the liquid, and slice in half. Use a paper towel (or three...or a dexterous use of spoons to be waste-free) to remove the skins from the beets – they should just rub right off. Dice into bite-sized pieces. You may want to protect your cutting board from the pink dye in the beets – a couple of layers of waxed paper, or waxed paper over newspaper should work. Protect your hands, too, or you will have pink fingers/nails, although it comes off in a day or so. (Note: you can also roast the beets in foil or parchment instead of simmering them, especially if you happen to have oven on for some other purpose.) Wash all cutting boards etc. right away to minimize stains.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, gently simmer the peeled and bite-sized diced yellow or white or red-skinned potatoes for 20 – 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes, and let them dry out a little in the warm pot.

While the beets and potatoes are cooking, dice the onion and jalapeño, and place them in a large serving bowl with the lemon juice and peanut oil. When the potatoes have dried off a little, add them (still warm) to the onion mixture, and gently combine. Add the beets, and stir through until everything is a lovely pink shade. Toast the yellow mustard seeds just until they start popping, then pour them over the salad, along with the salt and fenugreek powder. Stir well to combine. You can make this ahead by a day or three. Keep tightly covered in the refrigerator.

* For peanut allergies, substitute the mild-flavoured vegetable oil of your choice. Canola works well.

My International Bento: Ethiopian edition, contains Berbere-baked chicken drumsticks, Ingudie & Yellow Peas Wat, and Beet & Potato salad. Hearty, and delicious!

June 30, 2012

Lentil Walnut Salad, and new book review!

I've finally written another diet book review - this time for "Slimmer - The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight" by Harry Papas, over in my Much Ado About Diet blog.

Go check out the lovely Lentil Walnut Salad recipe!

Gluten-free tag disclaimer: obviously, leave out the croutons, or choose a gluten-free version, and otherwise label-read as usual.