Archive for ‘Salad’

February 14, 2013

Fast Fashion | Five-Spice Duck

This meal is simple enough for a weeknight, but also sexy enough for a date night.

Just like a good pair of skinny black pants.

Duck turns out to cost about as much as a good piece of grass-fed beef.  But somehow it seems altogether fresh and new for a weeknight meal.  Toss in some bulk wild rice and some handfuls of baby spinach and you’ve got yourself something that despite it’s cheap and cheerful cost, almost poses as downright elegant.

Think of it as the H&M of meals.  Fast fashion at the dinner table.

The duck is spiced simply with salt and pepper and a generous amount of Chinese five spice.  Now before you go writing that off with “oh I can’t find that stuff,” know that in addition to you being able to easily grab a bit a your finer spice stores, you can also pick up a jar at your local grocery store because even McCormick’s makes it.  Pan sear the duck, then drain (and save for oh so delicious potatoes) the fat that’s rendered off, then in the same pan wilt down your spinach that you douse with a bit of apple cider vinegar and a generous pinch of sugar.  The wild rice, while it takes 45 minutes to cook, can easily be made ahead of time.  Or you can unwind with some Jesse Ware and a cocktail while that simmers.

I always opt for the second.

Timing is, as it turns out – in fashion and the kitchen – is everything.

Chinese Five-Spiced Duck. Wild Rice Salad. Warm Spinach.  For Two.

For the Wild Rice Salad

8 oz wild rice blend

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May 6, 2012

Almost Effortless | Summer Picnic Slaw

This weekend’s weather made me gear back up in the garden, get back in the kitchen and get my groove back.  Warm weather is all about ease: barely putting a pot on the stove, most things cooked over the grill.  Who needs a mess when the back garden begs you to come and play?  A quick ten minutes of chopping and a quick simmer is all it takes to throw this big-enough-to-serve-a-crowd slaw together.

Summer Picnic Slaw for Friends, serves 6

1/2 c rice wine vinegar

1 T whole cumin seeds

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March 8, 2012

Put It On (Just About) Anything | Daikon Radish Slaw

I’ll admit it: I am already greedily longing for spring and summer, despite the blissfully mild central Ohio winter we have had.

Forgive me.  I grew up in Texas.  And I’m almost certain tomatoes are already in season.  OK, that’s being dramatic.

But this daikon slaw somehow reminds me of summer.  And grilling outdoors.  And warm weather.  And love.

It’s simple to pull together from what has kept well during the still – quite seriously – dark days of winter.  Its Asian flavors make it interesting for topping a hot dog or snuggling up to a nice piece of pan-roasted fish.  It’s as fancy or homey as you want it to be.  Flexibility with flair.

And that tastes great any season of the year.

Pickled Daikon Radish Slaw

1 very large daikon radish, peeled and shredded

1 carrot, peeled and shredded

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January 26, 2012

Why You Always Buy Beets with the Greens | Beetroot and Blood Orange Salad

Beets make me happy.  I know.

But I love their color and their dense, earthy flavor, greatly enhanced by slow roasting them whole for what almost feels like too long.

I make sure to buy them whole, with their greens attached.  Because beet greens are delicious.  I’ll show you an old family recipe for that soon (updated with the addition of some duck fat).  But in the meantime, head out to the store, buy some whole beets and give this simple composed salad a try.  Diana Henry’s recipe will get lots of good vitamins in you during the dark days of winter, good for staving off, the best you can, all those winter colds.

Playlist included Game of Thrones Freestyle, by Gotye featuring Dice Raw.

January 17, 2012

Best Topping for Tacos | Cactus with Prickly Pear Vinaigrette

I was recently forwarded this Nigel Slater article that really drives home the importance of doing some big cooking on the weekend (such as this roast pork shoulder in the article) so that you have enough for several meals that require minimal prep for the rest of the week.  I love cooking in this way.  And pork shoulder is literally one of the most cooked cuts in this house.  It’s economical and super, super flavorful.

Our leftover roast pork was converted into tacos one night.  And one of the things I often find elevates the humble taco is the quality of the crispy cold salad on top.  At good taco stands, you’ll find some cold radishes, or perhaps some chopped onion and cilantro, maybe a bit of lime to squeeze on top of that rich carnitas or barbacoa.  I love the contrast in flavors, textures and temperatures.

This quick cold salad is tasty enough on its own for lunch, but is fantastic on some of that pork.  You can sub some radishes and apples (add lovely sweetness) for the cactus or jicama, if you have trouble finding them.   But the cactus is so full of gorgeous green flavor, and the jicama so sweet and crunchy, do make an effort to stop in a reputable Hispanic market with brisk turn over in its produce department to track some down to try.  Next time I make this, I might also toss in a green onion thinly sliced and perhaps some pomegranate arils for extra crunch.

Nopales and Jicama with Prickly Pear Vinagrette

For the salad:

1 small cactus pad, carefully trimmed well of all spines, rinsed, then cut into small batons

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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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