Archive for ‘Olive Oil’

July 11, 2011

Summer Salad | Pickled Cherries and Serrano Ham

I adore the big pots of mesclun that have been moved to the shadier spots in my backyard now summer is in full swing.  A few snips and I have the base for a fabulous summer lunch.

There’s no real dressing to make, just assembling a couple of ingredients, including a few slices of Serrano ham, shavings of Parmesan and a handful of yellow cherries pickled with Chinese Five Spice.  Somehow these three things paired with just picked lettuces and tender herbs result in a taste greater than the sum of their parts.

The cherries were the result of about an hour in the kitchen over the weekend.  Now preserved for the dark days of winter, I couldn’t help but crack into one of the jars for this salad.  And I’m glad I did.  I have to make more of these while cherries are still in season.  I did not make enough.  These cherries are not only wonderful in this salad, but perfection with a cheese plate.  I want to have plenty on hand to dish out with nibbles of cheese when friends pop in for a cocktail.

For the salad, combine

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June 20, 2011

Strawberry Week | Panzanella Salad

This past weekend, Cherub and I, along with some Slow Food Columbus members and friends descended upon Schacht Farm Market for the last weekend of you-pick strawberries.  I left with ten pounds.  Ten pounds.

I knew there would be jam, cobblers and desserts in store, but I wanted some for lunch.  And it wasn’t like I had to worry if there would be enough.  There were obviously plenty.

I quickly cobbled together a strawberry panzanella salad that just hit the spot after a morning’s work of picking.  It didn’t hurt that we had a bit of past its prime ciabatta that made the base. And growing the in back yard is plenty of basil, parsley and mint.  I sliced up some green onions I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, although I do prefer and adore red onion in this salad.  As for a dressing, a generous drizzling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, few twists of pepper and a pinch of salt are all you need, lemon if you have it.  And of course the berries.  Lots of those.

Strawberry Panzanella Salad, Serves two (plus a little four year old)

2 c slightly stale bread, cut into large cubes (I used ciabatta)

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April 20, 2011

Backyard Foraging | Violet Salad with Goat Cheese in Phyllo

It’s early Spring, and there is an abundance of all sorts of young herbs, lettuces, and edible flowers.  They are tender, beautiful and delicious.  This is clearly the beginning of salad season.  Just pick, tear, and drizzle with the best possible olive oil.  Tonight I used dill, mint, picked thyme, parsley, baby lettuces and, as the pièce de résistance, purple and white violet flowers.

No need to source them, if you live in central Ohio and aren’t obsessive about weeding your lawn, you’ve probably got them snuggling in shady spots.  They are a most remarkable addition to a salad.  The ones in my backyard

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April 17, 2011

A Cheerful Starter | Golden Beetroot and Radish Salad

This is a joyous way to start a meal.  It’s a beautiful salad, with ribbons of fresh golden beetroot, bold red radishes, freshly picked mint, and wild and aromatic dill.  There’s an Eastern European soul in there, but those delicious and time-honored ingredients take on a brighter, more modern tone.  It’s very simple and unfussy to prepare, and it made me very happy to eat it.  All that’s left to be said is that it was inspired by a Michael Symon recipe in Vefa’s Kitchen.  Yes, that’s the Bible of Greek cooking.  No, borders don’t mean a whole lot when it comes to food.

As with any salad, there aren’t too many rules.  Peel the woody exterior off of 2 smallish golden beets.  No need to even cook them!  Then just shred them into ribbons using your peeler.  When the piece you’re holding becomes small enough, eat it.  Do the same with 2 largish radishes.  Then add your herbs: tear mint, parsley and dill roughly and in the proportion of your choosing.  Finally, make a simple dressing.  I would suggest 4 T of olive oil, 1 T of apple cider vinegar, 1 T of good mustard, a drizzle of honey or a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix the dressing into the veg and herbs to coat evenly.  Enjoy as a starter or a light lunch.

Playlist included For What It’s Worth, by the Cardigans.

April 11, 2011

Meatless Monday | Orecchiette with Leek and Pea Shoots

It’s been so rainy today that everything in sight is a variation of green: the yet-to-be-mowed grass.  The budding trees.  The trembling stalks supporting the heavy heads of daffodils.  My dinner of orecchiette bathed in butter, chartreuse leeks, backyard mint and verdant parsley.  Tiny pasta ears cradle pale green edamame, the whole bowl crowned with pea shoots.  It was as close to a taste of spring in a bowl as I’ve come in a long time.  It is long overdue.

Orecchiette de Aprile, serves two, plus a little one who’s almost 4

1/2 pound orecchiette pasta

2 T butter

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March 29, 2011

A Classic Revisited | Sea Bass Salad

The birth of this post comes from a piece of bony fish.

I had a lovely piece of sea bass that would have made a gorgeous steak all seared off and pretty, ready for it’s close up.  But darn it if I couldn’t pry loose some stubborn pin bones.  Many people wouldn’t bother with such a thing,  but as it turns out, I have a thing.  I really can’t stand bones in a fish.  I know.  Hush.

So, I poached it instead.

And after its warm bath, the fish easily gave up all those bones just with a bit of light flaking into a bowl.  This salad is wonderful in its traditional forms: on a croissant (from Pistacia Vera?), over a salad of spring greens, on toast (from Omega Bakery?) or, as I did, in lettuce leaves that rolled up into little roulades.  Add in a few strong, non-traditional ingredients (olives, capers, a brunoise of red bell pepper) and you’ve got something that a lady who lunches or a fish phobic person (I’m not fish phobic, I’m bone phobic) will really enjoy.

Sea Bass Salad Roulades, serves 2

2/3 pound sea bass (although salmon would also be just marvelous in this, come to think of it)

6 olives, sliced

1 T red bell pepper, minced

1 T capers, drained

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 T parsley, finely chopped

2 T olive oil, plus more to taste

1/2 lime, juice and zest

Salt, pepper

4 large lettuce leaves, washed and dried

In a small pot of simmering water add in the fish and cook at a gentle bubble for 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Drain and let rest on a paper towel.  While the fish is cooking, combine all other ingredients in a small bowl, except for the lettuce leaves.  Flake in the fish with the dressing, gently stir to incorporate.  Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper or olive oil to taste.  Divide the salad amongst the four lettuce leaves.

Playlist included Second Chance, by PB&J (Peter, Bjorn and John).

February 14, 2011

Are you awake?* | Cacio e Pepe

Late the first night in Rome many years ago, Hades and I wandered.  Blinking in the bright lights of the wedding cake, looking for a spot to grab dinner, tired from our long trip, still adjusting to the time change.  We came across a tiny nameless spot, umbrellas still up outside, despite the late hour.  We stopped in and ordered the first thing on the menu. It was this: spaghetti, copious amounts of finely ground black pepper and pecorino romano.

It is a go-to meal for tired people. It requires not so much thought, but pristine ingredients. Perhaps, when you’re home late one night, don’t have much in the fridge and don’t care much for thinking about what’s for dinner, you’ll give this a try.  You may choose to add a bit of guanciale, or pancetta if it’s lying about.  Perchance an egg yolk.  No one in Rome would approve, of course, but do as you please, it’s late after all.

I am tired.
I am true of heart!

And also:
You are tired.
You are true of heart!**

Cacio e Pepe, serves 4

1 pound of fresh spaghetti, otherwise good quality dried

1 c grated pecorino romano

1 t finely ground black pepper

4 T good quality olive oil

3 egg yolks (optional, make sure they’re good quality)

1/4 c crisp guanciale or pancetta or bacon (optional)

handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente.  Drain, but reserve one and half cups of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot, and the remaining ingredients, as many or as few as you wish, adding pasta water as needed to create a silky sauce.

* Playlist included Are You Awake?, by Kevin Shields

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