Posts tagged ‘Olive oil’

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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May 30, 2011

Holiday Weekend | Greek Mezedes

This started with my current obsession, which is oddly and plainly, roasting potatoes.

From which rose a lovely collection of small plates that we passed and shared over a couple of glasses of wine. Well, Cherub didn’t have any wine.

It was all easily pulled together a Monday night on a long weekend, Memorial Day here in America and Bank Holiday for those across the pond.  It’s a leisurely way to enjoy a meal or entertain.   It’s basically the more familiar tapas only with Mediterranean flair.  In fact many a Greek meal begins and ends entirely with mezedes.

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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 14, 2011

Chickpea Pangrattato | Gluten-Free Italian “Breadcrumbs”

I’ll admit a lack of comprehensive knowledge of  Celiac Disease, although some of my blogger friends suffer from it.  I know it is a terrible thing, leading to a lot of pain if you ingest gluten, which is in practically everything these days, due to cross contamination.  I can only imagine how hard it is to be as careful as you must while still loving food in all it’s glory.

I had a happy accident in the kitchen here recently, which lead me to this tasty discovery of a lovely, crunchy, garlicky substitute for one of my most favorite of Italian toppings: pangrattato.   It is a poor person’s substitute for Parmesan: usually leftover bread crumbs, toasted up in olive oil along with some garlic, salt and perhaps a smidge of chopped parsley.

Pangrattato, and now this clever mimic,  is heavenly sprinkled over (equally gluten-free) risotto.  I vow to make it a replacement topping for the cracker crumbs my Grandmother would fry in copious amounts of butter and smother cauliflower.  I am dreaming up ways to use it.  It is now protein, instead of carb, and one ingredient to the many that are in commercially produced breadcrumbs.  And to be honest, it makes me feel just a little smug with the chef-iness of it all.  A nice perk.

For a quick version, in a food processor, finely chop cooked, drained chickpeas, until they are the size of, you guessed it, breadcrumbs.  In a medium saute pan, add a tablespoon or two of good olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic.  Heat until shimmery.  Add the chickpeas and a bit of salt.  Fry for four to five minutes until a deep golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Allow to cool, then add in a tablespoon or less of chopped parsley and mix.  Top with roasted vegetables, risotto or anything you can dream up.

Playlist included Lovers in Japan, by Coldplay.

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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April 5, 2011

Moroccan Mystique | Orange and Olive Salad

This is one of those things I just wasn’t sure how it would all work.  Oranges and olives?  My goodness, yes.

I will always be impressed that onions, cumin and chili powder lend a North African vibe to this orange salad, but combine the same three flavors with pinto beans and you’ve got yourself the makings of some good beans for a Texas barbecue.  The cooking world is smaller than you think.

This late winter, early spring salad is a blissful marriage of briny, fatty olives with sweet oranges, spicy red onion and crisp mint.  It’s a cinch to put together and uses spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika) that lots of folks already have in the pantry.   It’s a fantastic side for falafels, or spicy chicken and it makes a great lunch on its own.

(Ooo!) Orange, Olive and Onion Salad, serves 6

Inspired by Claudia Rosen’s Arabesque cookbook

4 oranges, supremed or cut into chunks

20 olives, black, green, or a mix, sliced in half or left whole

1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced and then chopped a bit

Juice from 1/2 lemon

3 T olive oil

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t paprika

Pinch of ground chili powder

2 T chopped mint, parsley or coriander, or some combination thereof

Salt to taste

Combine the orange, olives and onion in a medium bowl.  Combine the lemon, olive oil and spices in a smaller bowl, whisk to combine.  Pour over the orange mixture, taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve.

Playlist included There is a Light That Never Goes Out, covered by Noel Gallagher.

 

 

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