July 2, 2012
At least once a week we opt for a dinner salad. Tired from a long day of work or summertime adventures as it may be, dinner can be on the table in minutes with just a bit of forethought. Our secret… grill enough meat on the weekend to have hearty leftovers. Perhaps it is a breast of chicken spared from our ravenous tots or a generous morsel of salmon craftily hidden from my husband’s lunch, or as the case was last weekend, a nice piece of hanger steak. Steak salad takes on endless incarnations, but this is one of our favorites from Sunset magazine years ago.
Thai-Style Steak Salad bursts with flavor from a mixture of fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, salty peanuts, and a tangy dressing. Using leftover grilled meat makes it a cinch to pull together, but you could certainly grill up a steak for the occasion. The dressing is super light and oil free helping this dinner balance out the indulgences of the weekend. The chili garlic sauce is spicy so adjust the amount to your own taste.
April 8, 2012
Spring is officially here. Time for fresh potatoes, crisp peas, and tender greens. This dish celebrates them all. With no resemblance to its more traditional mayo-based cousin, this potato salad is fresh and crisp with a delicate balance between marinated potatoes, plump peas, crunchy toasted walnuts, and peppery arugula. The whole lot is tossed in a simple mustard vinaigrette to make an uncomplicated, appetizing side dish for any spring meal.
January 22, 2012
The first time I ate this rice was at a park potluck picnic. A number of families gathered with our very small children trying to eek out some semblance of a dinner party while our children ran wild over, under, and around the play structure. It truly is the perfect potluck dish- full of interesting flavors and textures, stays well at room temperature, and is quite easy to whip up in advance. Since that night, this dish has become my secret weapon. It starred at not one, but three baby showers that I threw over the last few years, pairing beautifully with an Asian chicken salad. It has also been a hit at multiple potlucks.
Curried Mango Rice with Cashews could not be easier to make. Cook up some brown rice and let it cool. Mix together a dressing with curry paste and lime juice. Then toss it all together with diced mango, toasted cashews, and crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Since the dressing is not cooked, it is important to use curry paste, instead of dry curry. The paste has been cooked a bit in oil in advance. Regarding the mango, this time of year it is easy to find fresh mangos in the market, but to save time or make this out of season, look for mango chunks in the freezer section. We buy them at Trader Joe’s to make in this rice and add to smoothies or oatmeal.
January 5, 2012
This has been a cleansing week. No work for me and no school for the kids means that we had a lot (too much?) time around the house. Complications outside our control kept us from adventuring in the way we might otherwise. The upside is that the floors are swept, the drawers organized, and the piles of recipes are neatly filed away. This house is clean. Most importantly, the last of the holiday cookies and sweets have happily made their way (on way or another) into a better place, out of my reach. I mean, who really wants to be looking at a cookie on January 5th? Not me.
Though I am not swearing on to a year of clean eating, or anything as drastically healthy as that, I do find that the foods I crave are those which lack the butter, bacon, and sugar indulgences of the holidays. This recipe I share with you today is probably the complete opposite of the holiday foods which filled my gut (and yours?) the last couple of months. Fresh, mostly raw, brightly colored, acidic. This salad is exactly what I want to eat right now (which works out well since our Satsuma tree is going gangbusters and someone has to eat all that fruit!)
Orange and Beet Winter Salad pairs bright juicy orange with paper thin slices of roasted beet, creamy avocado, and crunchy toasted sunflower seeds. The greens are an accent instead of the foundation of this dish. Eat this now and enjoy it, I know I am.
November 6, 2011
It has been a slow transition to fall around here. Halloween has come and passed, but until today the skies have been clear and the air relatively warm. This must be the reason I have not yet completely embraced the hearty warm foods of the darker months. Now daylight savings has come to an end and the rains are finally pelting down. The last of the tomatoes found their way into salsa and the eggplants into stir fries. It is time to break out the symbolic fall and winter vegetables and what better to start with than brussels sprouts in salad form?
Shaved Brussels Sprout Slaw is a bright and crisp salad. Brussels sprouts (which are rarely served raw) are sliced very thin and tossed with red onion, a lemony mustard vinaigrette, and percorino romano cheese. If you think you do not like brussels sprouts, be sure to give this a try. Leaving them raw keeps them crisp and mild in flavor with none of the distinctive odor that comes from cooking them. Serve this salad with just about anything, but I love to serve it beside some other rich saucy dish where it adds a fresh and acidic counterpoint.