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Archive for the ‘salad’ Category

I’ve never been a pickler or canner, I actually never really appreciated a pickle that wasn’t a really good homemade dill pickle. But recently I’ve been enjoying other random pickled vegetables. I have zero patience for projects where the process takes much planning and where there’s the possibility of contamination or, God forbid, poisoning someone. Still, I really didn’t want to be at the mercy of some pricy restaurant to enjoy pickled vegetables. So, with about 2 minutes of research for basic proportion, and no know-how whatsoever, I thought I would give some quick pickles a try. Here’s what I did, but I would encourage you to experiment. This is in no way a recipe for canning pickles, or producing anything that can be put on a shelf indefinitely. This is a recipe [that’s being generous] for making something resembling pickled vegetables that you make, cool, and consume immediately with friends and some cheese, charcuterie, and wine.

I put about 2 cups of miscellaneous vinegars in a non-reactive pot. It was a mix of cider, red wine, and rice vinegar. I added about a cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of water. I added about a teaspoon of turmeric [I would recommend more like 2 tablespoons], a teaspoon of salt, a few juniper berries, some green peppercorns, a bay leaf, and a handful of sliced ginger. I brought it to a boil to dissolve the sugar then added 2 bunches of small radishes that had been halved or quartered [depending on size] and half a red onion. I let it boil for about three minutes, scooped it into a tempered glass container with a lid, and threw it into the fridge.

They got good reviews. I’m going to try to reuse the liquid… maybe add more vinegar and sugar and adjust the spices; there definitely could have been more kick. I might even throw in a peeled, hard- boiled egg or two to see what happens. Or perhaps do those separately; do you think it would make the vegetables taste eggy??

Refrigerate them and consume them expeditiously! Now, you’re a quickler…

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i’m tired, and i’m phoning this one in, so to speak. i had some girlfriends for dinner the other night and we cooked shrimp, swordfish, and ono on the grill. i served it with a black rice salad, also pretty good.

 

i marinated some large shrimp in some lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, a wee bit of celery seed, lemon zest, oregano, salt, and pepper. after they had marinated for about an hour, i put them on skewers. easy.

along with the shrimp we added some swordfish steaks and ono, seasoned with just salt and pepper… threw ’em all on the hot grill…

RICE SALAD

i made a black rice salad to go with the fish… after i cooked the black rice and cooked it a bit, i added sliced red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, lots of chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and a bit of cumin. really simple.

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fresh cucumber salad

i made this to have with some grilled swordfish; it was really easy and was a nice, fresh compliment — swordfish is so meaty.

i used my mandoline and put it on a very fine setting. it whizzed through an english cucumber in no time. i also did about one- third of a red onion. i added cider vinegar, pomegranate red- wine vinegar [not too much], some water, salt, pepper, chopped dill and chopped italian flat- leaf parsley. i allowed it to steep a bit in the fridge until the cucumbers softened a bit— about 20 minutes [before dinner]. toss it every five minutes or so while it’s marinating.

the drink in the back is grapefruit juice, pisco, a splash of fernet, and some homemade bitters, heavy on the black walnut.

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lunch thursday

for lunch i used the rest of the huge bag of arugula i brought back from the coast. it’s the most beautiful arugula i’ve ever seen with amazing flavor, and i’ve never seen it cheaper. for a town that demands $8 for a lb of butter and $8.50 for the sunday newspaper, i can only assume they mis- marked it.

i washed it thoroughly and found a small slug in the salad spinner. once i put a blow-pop in my mouth that had been on the shelf and it was covered in sugar ants. seeing the slug gave me the same rush of panic and disgust. i sorted through the greens quickly and made a great salad anyway.

there was cold, grilled salmon in the fridge from a couple of nights ago. leftover salmon is great for salads. i just piled up the arugula, broke the salmon up into small pieces, and added a grilled zucchini from the same night. i drizzled on some olive oil, squeezed about half of a small lemon over it, and added a little salt and pepper. sometimes i really enjoy just a simple, clean salad with very few but extremely distinct flavors that compliment each other. i wanted a glass of pinot grigio, but it was only noon and i had work to do…

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this is what i had for easter dinner. i ended up buying a ham at the last minute, but i was alone so i still have a ridiculous amount left in the fridge, even though i managed to give some away. i bought some split peas to make soup… maybe tomorrow. i had purchased a ham through the mail from harrington, but i think this was the first time i had bought one on impulse from a grocer. this ham was smothered in sugar and it was spiral cut… which for some reason took me by surprise. i can see how it allows the sugar better access to a greater surface area of the meat, but it was weird. i put a chunk of ham slices in a pan, poured maple syrup on it, and put it in a preheated 325 degree oven until it was hot. then i put it under the broiler until it was gooey and brown, but before it caught fire.

for the salad, i sauteed crimini mushrooms in olive oil until they were cooked and brown. i tossed the arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. i added more fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the mushrooms and dumped it on top of the arugula. usually i would shave some reggiano on top, but i had a chunk of gorgonzola instead– which went pretty nicely with the sweet ham.

then i called my ex husband and asked him to drop off my daughter– i missed her too much…

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i love, love lebanese food. this is one of my favorite salads made with tomatoes, cucumbers, and toasted pita bread. i’ve had it many places, and it is always different. the traditional way to make it is with sumac, it gives it a very burnt red color; i have never prepared food with sumac and honestly should look it up. the way i make it is the way it was introduced to me in a little restaurant 30 years ago. the italians make a similar bread salad, panzanella.

the following recipe makes enough for two people to have it as a main course:

rip one large piece of pita bread in half, then open up the pocket and split it apart. put it on a cookie sheet and toast it under the broiler until it is well toasted. take the pan out and turn over the bread occasionally, the edges curl up and will burn before the rest of the piece is toasted.

cut up about 2 cups of tomatoes; i used about 7 – 1 1/2″ salad tomatoes on the vine. i’ve said this before, but especially in winter, smaller tomatoes have much better flavor. add about  6″ of a seedless english cucumber, diced; i like the skin left on. add about 1/3 cup chopped mint, and about 2/3 cup chopped italian, flat leaf parsley. you can also add dried mint. some people use only dried mint, but i love the fresh mint or fresh and dried together. add the juice from one lemon, about 1/3 cup olive oil [to taste, really], and 1/2 t sea salt [also to taste]. press one large clove of garlic through a press and finely chop. mix well, then add the toasted pita, broken up into pieces. i leave the garlic out to serve my daughter, then add the clove to what is left, essentially having double the garlic. if you love raw garlic, add two cloves; it fights cancer. so i hear.

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i’m not a huge fan of mixed chicken salad. first, i don’t like mayonnaise much, and second, i like stuff with it that i would not necessarily want to put into one creamy salad mass. i had leftover roasted beets and turkey which are a great combination; but put beets in a traditional creamy salad and the whole thing turns pink.

i like to layer salad on my plate, then add a dressing, or just olive oil and vinegar.
i chopped up a couple of stalks of celery and put them in the bottom of a pasta bowl.
i like the pasta bowl for salad. on top of it i piled a grapefruit, peeled and sectioned with a knife, sliced beets, chopped up roasted turkey, chopped flat- leaf parsley, dried cherries and slivered almonds. i just drizzled olive oil and some balsamic vinegar over it, salt and pepper.

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