Sunday, August 7, 2016

Thai Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

This salad is a medley of shredded vegetables with a tangy, peanut-y dressing. Add any type of cooked meat, or broiled or fried tofu, to make it a main dish.  I used leftover pork, but chicken or steak - especially if grilled - would be great, too.

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 medium summer squash, shredded
1 medium cucumber, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or Thai basil, or mint, or a combination)
3 cups cooked meat or tofu
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp fish sauce
1-2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp minced ginger
Water as needed

Cheesy Summer Squash with Bacon

This was an inspired variation on my standard Cheesy Summer Squash Saute on a night when I had lots of squash, and an open package of bacon, but no basil on hand. The addition of bacon, along with the cheese, makes this substantial enough to serve as a main dish if you like.

4-6 ounces uncooked bacon, chopped small
1 large onion, sliced
3-4 large summer squashes or zucchinis, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds (or half or quarter rounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Cook the bacon most of the way in a large skillet. Pour off excess fat if there is a lot, leaving a generous amount for sauteing the onions and squash.

Add the onions and squash to the pan and saute over high heat for a few minutes, until they begin to brown on the bottom, then lower the heat to medium and saute, stirring periodically, until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from heat and top with cheese. Cover until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Potato Salad with White Beans and Herbs

This is another simple salad where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It disappeared very quickly at the table. I used a mix of parsley and basil for the herbs, which worked well, but you could also try dill, mint, or oregano.

1 pint new potatoes (ideally small ones)
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini (or one can)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces if needed (leave the skin on). Boil then in a pot of salted water until tender but not too soft. Drain.

Combine the vinegar and olive oil and carefully dress the potatoes, ensuring they are all well coated but not mashing them. Refrigerate until cool.

Combine the cooled potatoes with the beans and herbs and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves about 4.

Chickpea Feta Salad with Dill

I got some great aged feta from Upinngil Farm that I used in this salad. Regular feta would work well, too, but I liked that the aged feta was firm enough to dice and had a slightly milder flavor. This salad is simple but hearty, satisfying, and delicious. It can form the basis for a good hot weather dinner when paired with one or more additional salads or alongside some bread, salami, and olives.

3 cups cooked chickpeas
4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small dice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or more to taste
2-3 tsp lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Garlicky Chard with Eggs and Bacon

I had this giant batch of rainbow chard in my fridge than had been sitting there for multiple weeks begging to be used. This was delicious. You can use the stems or not, your choice. Feel free to swap in cooked sausage for the bacon (chorizo would be especially excellent). Do top with hot sauce if you can stand a bit of heat - it really makes the dish.

Canola oil, butter, or bacon fat for the pan
1/2 - 1 cup finely chopped scapes (or several garlic cloves)
1 large bunch chard (1 - 1 1/2 lbs) leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
1 Tbsp cider vinegar, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped cooked bacon
8 eggs
Hot sauce for topping

If you cook the bacon specifically for this dish, save a bit of the fat in the pan to saute with. Otherwise use a bit of oil or butter.

Saute the scapes in a large skillet or braising pan over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the chard and saute until wilted. Add the vinegar and continue to saute the chard until tender. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, then add the bacon.

Make wells in the chard for the eggs. Add a bit more oil, butter or fat to each well to help keep the egg from sticking. Crack an egg into each well. With the heat on medium, cover the pan and cook until the egg white are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve hot, scooping out an egg or two with plenty of chard for each diner. Add hot sauce at the table if you like heat.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Quick Pickled Radishes

With the heat, our radishes are bolting and turning spicy faster than we can use them fresh. I love the quick pickled radishes that the Brass Buckle uses on many of its dishes so I thought I'd try making some at home. These are not for canning, but they are quick to make and will keep in the refrigerator for some time. I made these with cider vinegar and they were good, but I want to try them another time with white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. It would also be fun to try jazzing them up by adding herbs to the mixture. Try these in salads, on tacos, or alongside grilled meats. If you like these, try my Quick Pickled Red Onions as well.

Quick pickled radishes are a tasty addition to a green salad
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup vinegar (cider, white wine, or red wine)
3/4 cup hot water
2-3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar, making sure the radishes are well covered. Let sit on the counter until cool, then refrigerate.

Steak and Asparagus Scramble with Feta

I waited too long to post this, and asparagus season is over unless you froze some. Oh well, come back to it next year... This is a great vehicle for leftovers. If you don't have leftover cooked asparagus, give it a quick steam or blanch.

1-2 Tbsp butter
8 eggs, beaten
1-2 cups diced cooked asparagus
102 cups diced cooked steak
2-3 ounces crumbled feta
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Mix the eggs with the asparagus, steak, and feta. Add to the skillet and cook over low-medium heat, scrambling the eggs, until the eggs set up. Serve hot with salt and pepper. A nice salad and a loaf of fresh bread wouldn't go amiss.

Serves 4-5.