Tag Archives: Salad

Do Gooder

I’ve posted about my not-so-exciting-but-maybe-inspiring dinners before, but this time I have an ulterior motive. This post is a dedication! To the woman who could look into the fridge and whip up something that looked restaurant quality; the woman who taught me to trust my eye and write my own instructions down in the cookbook next to the typed ones; the woman who showed me that roasting a chicken with lemon and herbs is easy as pie; and most importantly, the woman who introduced me to popcorn with Sno-caps. My lovely friend, Joelle.

Joelle is currently traveling through Mozambique and South Africa, working with charities along the way, and chronicling her amazing adventures here at Afternoon Tea Comes Early. She’s one of the most inspiring people I know, and when I look into my fridge and pull out something like this, I always think of her. Safe returns, J!

Fried eggs over romaine hearts and sauteed mushrooms and grape tomatoes, with parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper

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Crunch

I’m a texture girl myself. If a dish is somehow simultaneously soft, crunchy, and smooth, I will probably love it. So when a craving for sweet corn entered my psyche, I found myself immediately drawn to this salad. And truth be told, I will eat anything with onions in it. It’s my weakness. Who knew.

On the menu:
Sweet corn, tomato, onion, and basil salad

3 ears of corn
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, washed and quartered
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil a large pot of salted water. Once water is boiling, add corn and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, let corn cool, and slice kernels off with sharp knife. Break up large chunks of kernels with a spoon until most kernels have separated.

Mix together onion, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, and olive oil until incorporated. Add the corn. Add plenty salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve this salad immediately or let refrigerate overnight to serve the next day. The oil and vinegar dressing will soak into the salad and marinate it nicely. It pairs really nicely with a simply grilled steak, or as a bed for grilled fish.

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It’s Greek to Me

The heat has been making headlines all over the place here in New York City, and as I mentioned before, it makes me want to stay far out of the kitchen (i.e. the only room in the apartment without a fan or AC unit). But I’m hungry, people. And I miss cooking. I miss it a lot.

So tonight I recreated one of my favorite, most basic dishes from Aladdin’s Natural Eatery in lovely Rochester, NY with very minimal prep and stove time. It’s a twist on traditional souvlaki but it was delicious and gave me enough leftovers for two extra meals. TAKE THAT OPPRESSIVE HEAT! I’m still eating. Can’t nobody hold me down.

On the menu:
Steak souvlaki salad
Serves 3

1 lb flank steak
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 oz feta cheese
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp dry white wine
4 cups mixed greens (I used a bag of ready-made salad)

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 tsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over high heat, until you can see slight heat ripples in the oil. Season steak liberally on each side with plenty of salt and pepper. Don’t be shy now! Seriously. Coat it. Sear steak for 2 minutes on each side. Lower heat to medium and cook steak for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing into bite size pieces.

In the same skillet you cooked the steak in, add the wine and turn heat to low/medium. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits. Add onions and coat in the wine sauce. Let cook for around 6-8 minutes, or until onions have softened and the wine has cooked down.

Plate salad, place steak on top of lettuce, and crumble feta cheese over top. Lay onions on top. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour on top of the salad. Serve immediately.

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The Sweet Stuff

This is a strange post. I will warn you straight off the bat. But I am so intrigued and impressed with what I managed to do with this unknown green, that I can’t help but post it ASAP. My boss, who participates in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and receives more greens than she knows what to do with, brought me a bag of what she said were dandelion greens. I was all set to make a beautiful salad with the dandelion greens, but when I got the bag home and opened it up… I realized something. Those were absolutely not dandelion greens. It was a broad, dark green leaf with a yellow stem that looked and tasted like celery.

WTF, mate?! Does anyone know what this is? I’ve exhausted Google and I can not figure it out. I sampled the leaf, though, and created something beautiful (I am soooo humble, I know) that you should definitely try the next time you’re fed up with gross store-bought salad dressing.

On the menu:
Mystery greens salad with sweet onion dressing and goat cheese

4 cups “mystery greens” (are you totally annoyed with my lack of info on my own recipe? any bitter greens will work with this: arugula, dandelion greens, etc.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 oz. goat cheese (or less… you guys know how I feel about cheese)

Roughly chop lettuce into bite sized pieces.

Heat olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for around 6-7 minutes, until they are fragrant and the liquid in the pan is a light purple color. Add honey and salt and mix well. Remove from heat. Whisk in balsamic vinegar. Plate the greens, pour warm dressing over greens, and crumble goat cheese over the dressing.

My plea to you, dear readers, is to find me the name of this lettuce! It is not dandelion greens. This much I know.

UPDATE: rainbow kale! Thank you to Joelle for filling me in. She also let me know that rainbow kale is not only lovely, but delicious thrown in a hot pan with a little cheese. Cheese, you say? Alright now.

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Beet It

I know, I know… I am SO punny. No one has ever made this joke before. Anyway.

Photo c/o BlogHer.com

Beets! They are beautiful in color and phenomenal in texture. If you’ve ever had a bad borsht experience, maybe you’re scared of them. As a kid I vividly remember frozen Tupperware full of hot pink soup and I never, EVER wanted to taste that terrifying liquid. But I have moved on. Grown up. You know.

Most beets are boiled, broiled, sauteed, or roasted and while they are delicious cooked up, they are also phenomenal raw. Just be aware: your hands will turn a lovely shade of magenta if you work with them bare-skinned.

On the menu:
Raw beet salad (Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Raw Beet Salad)

1 pound beets
1/2 pound carrots
1 tsp spicy whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel beets and carrots, and then use a potato peeler to shave them into long strips. Mince the shallot and add to beets and carrots. Toss with mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

*Please note: due to technical difficulties (seriously, the story of my life this week) the picture above is not of the crispy, tangy salad I myself created and enjoyed. Using my recipe above, your salad will be “earthier” looking than the one in the picture. Go with it, friends.

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A Fish of a Different Color

Lately I’ve been feeling a little… chunky. Not like sophomore year of college where I literally had to buy a new pair of pants whilst working at the mall because the pair I was wearing was cutting off my circulation, but… chunky. It’s bathing suit season, you know? Time to lay off the extra mayo and pancake appetizers at brunch. Forget I just indulged in all-you-can-eat gnocchi. It never happened.

It is in the spirit of lighter options that I experimented with tuna and planned a weekday lunch for myself that won’t lead to high cholesterol at the young age of twenty-COUGH.

On the menu:
Mediterranean tuna salad
Serves 2

1 can of albacore tuna in water (or 1/2 cup tuna steak, roughly chopped)
2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked according to directions on box (I used elbow macaroni, but you can use any little chunky pasta)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THESE DIRECTIONS THEY ARE VERY VERY COMPLICATED: Toss pasta with olive oil. Add tuna. Add fruit. Add cheese. Add zest. Add salt and pepper. Toss. Eat. Feel healthy. Be happy.

I like this in a bowl with a fork, but you could easily put this on some toasted Italian bread, or melted between two pieces of flat bread with the chunks of mozzarella binding it together. But, as I mentioned, I’m trying to fit into last year’s summer wardrobe and extraneous bread ain’t gonna help me there.

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Sun(ny)day Sun(ny)day Sun(ny)day!

Thank god the season of cheesy pasta is over. Seriously, my waistline couldn’t handle it anymore. Now that the sun is shining and the temperatures have warmed up, I feel like eating lighter. And nothing says summer to me like potato salad.

This very basic potato salad is easy to make, and even easier to eat a pound of. It’s light with a little kick from the celery seed. My friend Joe talks about this potato salad to this day, and he hasn’t eaten it since my mom made it for him in 2001. “My mom sends kisses!” I told him once. His reply: “Screw the kisses! Send the potato salad!”

On the menu:
Potato salad
Serves 4 as a side dish

4 medium sized potatoes (I used red potatoes, but you can use Idaho if you prefer)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes whole for around 25 minutes, until you can stick a fork in them and it pulls out easily. Let the potatoes cool for around 15 minutes. Slice into chunks and mix in a bowl with mayo and ranch dressing. Add the celery seed and salt, and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

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