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Posts Tagged ‘Salad’

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

Last week, my little blog turned two.  It’s been a wonderful and busy couple of years.  I’ve made some incredible friends, both in real life and social media, that I would never have met had I decided not to try my hand at this blogging thing.  My children have grown– and no longer need quite as much minute-to-minute attention– which makes it a bit easier to do this sort of thing.  I guess I’ve also learned to better balance blogging along with taking care of my family.

That first year it felt like preparing, photographing, and writing consumed so much of my time.  I’m more efficient now, less focused on getting that perfect photo.  And while I still have a lot to learn, I realize that I’m not going to be  Cannelle et Vanille or What Katie Ate.  I adore those blogs, but that’s not why I’m here.  I’m comfortable being Laurie from Relishing It.  I’m here to show you some (hopefully) pretty photos of some (hopefully) healthy, tasty food, along with a few sweet indulgences.  I’m here to share ideas and thoughts about balanced eating and sustainable food production that can turn into conversations.  For me, food is more than sustenance.  It’s at the center of every gathering, it’s sharing and comparing cultural upbringings.  Most importantly, food is about taking care of my family.  I want to feed them well and keep them healthy, and I honestly believe that being aware of whether your food contains harmful chemicals, how it’s produced, and where it comes from can do that.  So, to you readers and friends that keep coming back to my little corner of the internet every week, I thank you.

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

Sweet Curry Powder via Relishing It

Now onto one of my favorite little dishes– egg salad!  I could eat egg salad every day of the year.  I’m serious.  This avocado egg salad is still the most popular post on Relishing It– by a long shot.  So today I figure it’s time to share an egg salad recipe that I actually like even a little bit more than that one.  This one relies on sweet curry powder and coconut milk for it’s primary flavors (it’s mayonnaise-free).  Those two ingredients combine to give this egg salad a wonderful, though not overpowering flavor.  And the cilantro, red onion, and garlic add a little freshness and complexity.  It’s simple and divine.

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

You may have noticed that the bread in these photos is…different.  Interested?  It’s actually a wonderful, hearty, gluten-free loaf that is full of healthy, delicious ingredients.  You can find the recipe at the My New Roots blog for Life Changing Loaf of Bread.  I love it with this– or any– egg salad.  I like to make a loaf and wrap the sliced leftovers in the freezer.  They are perfect when toasted.  Even if you’re not gluten-intolerant it’s worth giving it a try.  Enjoy!

Curried Egg Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Curried Egg Salad 

(Serves 1)

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1 teaspoon sweet curry powder

3 tablespoons coconut milk, (canned version)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a bowl, add the chopped eggs.  Using a fork, mash about 1/3 of them.  Add the rest of ingredients and gently mix together.  Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so the flavors can meld, or eat right away if you’re impatient like myself.  Enjoy!

Note:  Store your leftover coconut milk in a canning jar in the refrigerator– you will be amazed at how many wonderful things you can find to use it in!

Thanks for stopping by– have a great weekend!

xo

Laurie

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I just returned from my nine-hour-each-way road trip to North Dakota.  I do my best to eat healthy when I travel, but sometimes I end up failing miserably.  This trip I had a hard time saying no to the most delicious bacon cheeseburger in the universe– again.  And it went downhill from there.  Now I’m making up for my gluttony by trying to eat my weight in vegetables, and today’s post is a good start.

I’ve been craving a crisp spinach salad for awhile now.  Not the pre-packaged spinach that has “bag smell”, but fresh garden spinach that you can find at almost every farmers’ market.  I’m talking about the kind that is curly, has loads of wrinkles, and personality.  And although tomatoes aren’t quite in-season here in Minnesota, I knew I could get a few greenhouse-grown beauties.  Along with the veggies, I wanted a few crunchy bacon crumbles– not much, just a enough to add a nice saltiness.  Since I was thinking about a salad that could serve as a complete meal, I mixed in a whole grain.  You’ve probably noticed that I do this a lot with my salads.  This one and this one are two earlier favorites.  This time around, I chose farro.  It comes from the wheat family and has a nice, toothsome bite.  Finally, I wanted to bring it all these fresh ingredients together with a creamy gorgonzola dressing.

I know there are a many of you that purchase bottles of salad dressing from the grocery store.  My goal for today is to convince you to start making your own for every salad.  It’s easy, and tastes amazing.  No preservatives, and you know exactly what is going into your dressing.  Plus, you can play around with the ingredients.  Switch out the gorgonzola for blue cheese.  If you have extra yogurt on hand, use that instead of the buttermilk.  Just give it a try.  I’m guessing you’ll like it enough that you won’t buy bottles again.  This particular dressing is simple and beautiful.

One last note about Spring spinach.  You’ll need to clean it thoroughly– more than just a spray of water and throwing it in the salad spinner.  Instead, soak it in a large bowl of cold water for a minute or so to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom.  You don’t want to ruin this beautiful salad by biting into a fresh green leaf that still has dirt hidden in one of the folds.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Spinach, Farro, and Bacon Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

1 large bunch fresh spinach

small bite-sized tomatoes

8 ounces bacon, cooked

handful of homemade croutons

1/2 cup farro, cooked

lemon

4 ounces (1/4 pound) gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup buttermilk

sea salt and cracked black pepper

To start, rinse the farro in a mesh strainer.  Place the farro in a small saucepan and cover with water by about an inch.  Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a small/medium simmer.  When the farro is tender, but still has a toothsome bite to it,  remove from the heat — about 15-20 minutes.  Pour into a strainer and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare the homemade croutons by cubing about 1/4 of a fresh or day old baguette.  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil (about 2 teaspoons) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Place in the oven and toast for about 10-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  They are done when they are golden brown and have a nice crunch to them.

Prepare the dressing by placing the gorgonzola cheese in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the buttermilk.  Mash with a fork until it is mostly incorporated.  Be careful to leave some small chunks of cheese, as it adds to the texture of the dressing.  Add a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.

Fill a large bowl with cold water.  Place the spinach in the bowl and swish it around a bit, then leave it alone.  All the of the dirt will sink to the bottom.  Gently remove the spinach and place in a salad spinner.  Give it another rinse with running water and then spin it dry.

In a large salad bowl, place the spinach, tomatoes,  farro, and bacon.  Pour some of the dressing on it.  Toss and top with croutons.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It  — have a lovely day!

Laurie

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Today’s dish is one of the most-satisfying, healthy salads around.  It combines several healthy food pyramid components– protein, vegetables, and grains, so in a sense it’s a ‘one-plate meal’.  It has the added benefit of being convenient and delicious, not to mention looking gorgeous, too.  The centerpiece of this salad is the salmon.  In this dish, it’s simply prepared.

Now it’s time for a little story.  Radd and I have had an ‘on again/off again’ relationship with salmon over the last few years.  Have you ever eaten one particular food so often that its no longer appealing?  That’s what happened to us.  You see, during both of my pregnancies we ate a ton of wild salmon.  It’s loaded with omega 3’s, which are important for a baby’s developing brain.  So…we went overboard.  I’m sure my memory is tricking me now, but I swear we ate salmon three to four times a week.  It got to the point where it was almost torturous to sit down to a nice grilled meal.  After Aria was born we swore off salmon for awhile.  That ‘awhile’ turned into nearly two years, so our kids never really got to try it.  Well, we finally came around, gave it a try, and remembered all those things that we love about the fish.  And as luck would have it, turns out our kids love it too.

Along with the salmon, this salad has those wonderful Spring fava beans and radishes.  The beans add a nice ‘pop!’ of color along with their firm texture, while the radishes give the dish a healthy crunch.  Another ingredient is black rice.  Not familiar?  You can read about it here.  Aside from looking pretty cool, it’s loaded with fiber and iron.  It’s also an anti-inflammatory and great source for antioxidants.  I used ‘forbidden’ black rice in this dish.  The texture is the same as a firm white rice, but the flavor is a bit more ‘nutty’– kind of like wild rice.  If you can’t find black rice, you can use wild rice, quinoa, or wheat berries.  All will work well here.

The final ingredient is a mustard tarragon vinaigrette, which brings all of the flavors together.  It’s worth experimenting with tarragon vinegar, if you can find it– it’s so interesting.  Tarragon has a strong anise-like flavor, so make sure it suits your palate before you add it to the vinaigrette.  And if you don’t have it, a nice white wine or champagne vinegar will work just fine.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Wild Salmon with Black Rice, Fava Beans, and Spring Radishes

(Serves 4)

1 pound wild salmon

1 cup forbidden black rice, rinsed

1 bunch Spring radishes, sliced

1 head boston, bibb, or romaine lettuce, torn

1/2 – 1 cup shelled fava beans

olive oil, for drizzling

Mustard Tarragon Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon shallot, chopped

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar, or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, more if you like it more potent

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

sprinkle of red pepper flakes

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

To begin:  Place the rinsed black rice in a medium sauce pan with a scant 1 3/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.  If the rice is tender, yet a bit of water remains, just drain it off.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the salmon on it along with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until it just barely flakes when you twist a fork into it.  Keep in mind that it will continue to bake after you remove it from the oven from the residual heat, so be careful not to over-bake.  Remove from oven and break apart into chunks, when cool.

Prepare the fava beans by placing the shelled beans into a small saucepan of boiling water.  Boil for about 2 minutes.  Drain water and place beans in a bowl of ice water.  Remove the light green peel.  Set beans aside.

To make the vinaigrette:  place the garlic, shallot, Dijon, vinegar, salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes into a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

On a large platter, place the torn lettuce, black rice, salmon, radishes, and fava beans.  Pour the mustard tarragon vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss.  Ricotta salata cheese also works very well with this meal.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  See you next week!

Laurie

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First, I want to thank all of you who left comments on my One Year Blogiversary post.  I wanted to thank each of you individually, but that would have complicated things for the contest a bit.  I really do appreciate that you take time out of your day to stop by and see what has been happening in my kitchen.  Congratulations to Tammy Kimbler, who won the cookbook!  She chose that fantastic cookbook, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi.

On to today’s recipe.  I know I’ve mentioned a time or two that I love beets.  Again, I’m not talking about the tasteless little purple cubes that come out of a can.  Beautiful, fresh beets can really be amazing.  One of my favorite ways to prepare them is by roasting.  Roasting brings out their natural sweetness, making them a perfect match for the honey and oranges in this salad.  The balsamic vinegar adds a nice tangy dimension, and the mint provides its signature crisp, freshnesh that ties this dish together.  I sometimes make this dish just for myself– no sharing.  True statement.  I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do– it’s simple, stunning, and so tasty.

The Recipe:  Roasted Beets with Orange and Mint

(Serves about 4)

About 12 assorted small beets (dark reds, chioggia, and golden)

2 medium oranges, supremed

handful of mint leaves, torn

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Wash and trim the beets, but leave the skins on.  Place on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet and drizzle about 2 tablespoons olive oil on them. Cover with more foil and roast in the oven until tender and a knife can cut through them with ease, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Use a sharp knife to remove the skins and cut the beets into chunks.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and thyme together.  Place  the beets and the oranges that have been supremed into a large bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Gently toss to coat.  Add salt and pepper, if necessary, and sprinkle with the torn mint.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Harvest to Heat

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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If you happen to have gorged on too much of this dip from Friday’s post, have no fear.  Today it’s all about health food.  This light, fresh, kale salad is one of my favorites.  Kale is one of those all-important super foods that is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.  Here is a little run-down on just how good it is for you.  Personally, I probably eat more kale than any other vegetable.  It’s such an important part of my daily diet, that I eat nearly one bunch per day– by myself.  We also make kale chips very often.  My three-year old loves them, and despite the fact that Radd jokes about ‘being forced to eat kale’, he likes them too.

I think the way people view kale has changed significantly in the last decade or so.  In college I worked for the university dining service.  I remember being told to put the kale all around the salad bar to make it look “pretty”.  It was never prepared for a meal, but strictly used as a garnish because it was green and firm.  I’m glad that we’ve moved past the “kale-as-a-garnish” phase.  It’s so delicious, and so good for you.

On to this fantastic salad.  If you haven’t eaten raw kale before, this Tuscan kale salad is a great place to start.  The salad really highlights the wonderful aspects of raw kale– though note that this salad really should only be made with Tuscan kale.  It’s the variety that is tender enough to still be edible uncooked.  The dressing is a perfect match.  I’ve made it with each of the three cheeses, listed below.  They all work wonderfully.  I love the fact that the cheese is mixed right into the dressing– it makes it a bit creamier.  Also, I tend to like things a little heavy on the garlic-side.  If you don’t , adjust to your particular taste.  The toasted bread crumbs are a nice touch as well.  They add that little textural crunch, without resorting to whole oil-ladened croutons.  Give this salad a try– you’ll like it.

The Recipe: Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

1 bunch Tuscan kale (also know as black, dinosaur, or lacinato)

1 slice whole wheat bread

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (grand padano or pecorino work well, too)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the breadcrumbs: Tear the piece of bread into small sections and place in a mini- food processor.  Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs.  Place the breadcrumbs into a small skillet on medium heat.  Stir frequently and toast them until they are crunchy, but not burnt, just a couple of minutes.  Remove them from the heat and set aside.

To make the dressing:  Using a chef’s knife, mince then mash the garlic glove and place into a medium-sized bowl.  Add the salt and mix it together until a paste forms.  Add the cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Whisk to combine.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

To make the salad:  Wash and remove the thick “stem” from the center of the kale leaves and discard.  Cut the kale into thin ribbons.  Place the kale in a large salad bowl and pour some of the dressing on it.  Mix well, as the dressing is thick.  I tend not to use the entire amount of dressing on my salad, though you may enjoy your salads more dressed than I do.  Let the salad sit for about 5 minutes (if you can wait, I usually can’t) and top with the whole wheat bread crumbs.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

I hope the start to your week is a great one — thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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I spent a fair amount of time this season talking food with friends old and new.  Along with discussing recipes and how to prepare food, we talk about what we like, and what we don’t.  Inevitably, I bring up beets– one of my favorites.  I’ve been a bit surprised to find that people either love beets or hate them.  There seems to be no middle ground.  But I have a theory here– that people only think they despise this lovely vegetable.  If you fall on the side of those who don’t appreciate these deep-crimson beauties, I have a question.  Have you ever eaten a fresh beet?  Because like all foods, an opinion based on a grocery store canned good doesn’t count.  If your experience is based on those sad, flavorless little cubes poured into a bowl, you have to give this recipe a try.  It’ll change your mind.  And if you already love beets, add this fantastic dish to your salad repetoir.

Obviously I love fresh beets.  Every time I cut into one, revealing its brilliant, deep red, I smile.  This color happens naturally!  Amazing.  Fresh beets are slightly sweet, with delicious earthy undertones.  They have a lovely crunch when eaten raw and a tender silkiness when cooked.  My favorite way to eat beets is roasted and unpeeled, baked in the oven, and then tossed with a bit of olive oil.  Of course, they shine in soups as well.  Here, I’ve used them as the centerpiece for this fantastic salad.  How’s that for versatility?

This beet salad is so simple, yet it will blow your mind.  The dark and viscous spicy sweet balsamic dressing is a standout made specifically to pair with the beets.  It’s one of the most unique dressings you’ll ever taste– very intense, explosive flavors.  The creamy cheese provides balance to the acidity of the dressing, and adds that additional layer of complexity that I think most salads need.  And the crunch from the toasted nuts is a nice textural addition.  It’s fantastic served with greens, or as a stand alone.  Enjoy!

The Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad

6 medium beets, roots and tops trimmed

Olive oil to coat

1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans), toasted

1/2 cup good quality goat or blue cheese, crumbled  ( I’ve had it with both cheeses, go for the blue)

Handful of leafy greens

Dressing:

1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/3 cup

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Toss beets in olive oil to coat.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place beets on baking sheet and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Combine ingredients for dressing together.  Set aside.  Toast nuts by placing in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently.  When nuts become fragrant, remove from heat, about 4-5 minutes.

When beets are cool, peel and cut into wedges.  Place on top of a bed of greens.  Sprinkle with cheese and toasted nuts.  Drizzle the dressing over the top.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Nosh Restaurant via The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by today!  Have a great weekend.

Laurie

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Just in case I haven’t been clear, I LOVE the colorful array vegetables available this time of season.  For today’s recipe, I put together one of my favorite beautiful, delicious salads.  Panzanella is an Italian salad that usually consists of soaked stale bread and tomatoes.   My version includes a greater variety of ingredients, and a little more crunch from the bread.  Now a purist may say that it isn’t panzanella, but when it tastes this good, why quibble over the name?  Panzanella it is, and it’s marvelous.

This was the first week that I finally found red peppers at the farmers’ market.  My kids and I love them as a snack.  Here I used mini sweet multi-colored peppers.  Cute and tasty!  Since fresh cucumbers and red onions are plentiful now, I added those as well.  For the cheese, I used (surprise!) ricotta salata.  Yes, it’s my go-to addition, but the creamy texture and saltiness work perfectly in so many dishes.  It seems I’m always poking around for another piece of it with every bite.   The ricotta salata also makes this salad a bit more substantial– we ate it as a light meal rather than a starter.

Of course the star of the salad is the crusty bread and red wine vinaigrette.  I like to tear my bread rather than cut it– more dressing seems to get into the crevices.   I could eat the bread and dressing alone, which I guess that’s the point of the salad— it’s nice to get some healthy vegetables in there, too.  When assembling the salad try to keep most of the vegetables relatively the same size.  I love this combination of flavors– it’s one of my favorite things to eat during the summer.  It makes a nice, light meal that I find myself eating pretty much every day for lunch.

The Recipe:  Panzanella

(The measurements are vague — make as big of a salad as you want.  You will have plenty of dressing.)

2 large cucumbers, chopped

2 cups mini multi-colored peppers, chopped  (or 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped)

6 Roma tomatoes, chopped

3 mini – red onions, thinly sliced  (or 1 small red onion)

handful of fresh garden lettuce, torn

12-15 basil leaves, whole

1/3 cup cubed ricotta salata cheese  (feta can be substituted)

1 baguette, torn into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped  (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

To Toast the Bread:  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Toss the torn bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil,  1 teaspoon fresh thyme, salt and pepper.  Put onto a baking sheet and bake until the bread chunks are golden brown and have a nice crunch to them — about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

To Make the Vinaigrette:  In a medium-sized bowl, mix the vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and mustard.  Using a whisk, slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil, whisking all the while.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

To Assemble the Salad:  In a large salad bowl, add the garden lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, red onion, basil, and toasted bread.  Pour some of the dressing onto the salad.  Toss.  Let sit for a few minutes before eating so the dressing has a chance to soak into the bread a bit.  Add more dressing, salt, and pepper, if necessary.  Enjoy!

I hope you are enjoying your summer produce as much as we are.  This is a beautiful time of year!  Have a great weekend.  Take Care.

Laurie

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Here’s a little insight into what’s going on in my head– and I realize this is not normal– but the highlight of my week usually involves hitting the local farmers’ markets with my family.  Aria, my two-year-old daughter, loves it as much as I do.  We pretty much have to drag the home-body boys (Aanen and Radd), who protest all the way.  Well, maybe not all the way.  Once they’re out of the  house, I think they enjoy it, too.    

Anyway, late Summer is when the market really shines– so many different varieties of produce to choose from!  Last weekend I snagged these gorgeous purple potatoes.  Look at how vibrant they are!  This is nature.  This is food.  And it still amazes me.  Despite what some sources say– and I know it’s probably just in my head– I feel like purple potatoes have a more earthy flavor that a plain-old white ones.  If not, well then they’re just more interesting.

This potato salad keeps it simple, yet looks fantastic.  The point is to let the beautiful colors and fresh flavors be the center of attraction, rather than cover everything up with a glop of mayo.  The addition of the herbs (especially the mint, do NOT omit the mint!) make this salad taste like Summer.  The subtle flavor of creme fraiche lets the produce shine, yet adds that creaminess you expect in a potato salad.  The radishes give a contrasting delightful crunch.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, you can use sour cream, but you’ll notice a bit more of a tang.  I love to finish this salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  It just works and it’s one of my favorite potato salads.

The Recipe:  Creme Fraiche, Herb, and Purple Potato Salad

1 – 1 1/2 pounds new purple potatoes

handful of parsley, mint, and basil chopped (around 3/4 cup total)

5-6 green onions, chopped

6  large radishes, chopped

1/2  lemon

1/3 – 1/2 cup creme fraiche

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked blacked pepper, to taste

To steam the potatoes:  I prefer steaming to boiling– the potatoes retain less water this way.  Put potatoes in a steamer basket placed in a saucepan with a tight lid.  Make sure to put enough water into it.  Steam potatoes until nearly done, then turn off heat and let them sit for 10 more minutes.  The potatoes will continue to cook with the heat turned off.  The cooking time will vary based upon the size of your potatoes, so be sure to check it.  I steamed mine for 25 minutes, and let them sit for another 10 minutes.  Yours may take less time.  Just be sure to check them by inserting a sharp knife into them.  Be sure your saucepan doesn’t run out of water.

Sprinkle potatoes with a bit of salt and let them cool.  Meanwhile, chop the herbs, radishes,  and green onions.  Add them to the cooled potatoes, along with the creme fraiche, olive oil, and a squeeze of the lemon juice.  Don’t squeeze the full amount right away.  Taste as you go along, and definitely feel free to adjust measurements to your liking.  You may want a bit more creme fraiche and olive oil.   Be sure to season with salt appropriately, as the salt really brings all of these flavors together.    Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today.  Have a great weekend!

Laurie

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Minneapolis/St. Paul was buzzing this weekend.  There were so many things going on!  On Saturday alone, the Twins won, U2 played an amazing outdoor set in the driving rain, the summer Aquatennial festival wrapped up with fireworks, and one of our favorite bands– local blue-grass boys Trampled By Turtles– put on a fantastic concert.  While Radd and I only had time to catch the last of those events, we had a great night.  My brother and sister-in-law took in both the baseball game and the U2 show, and said both had this incredible vibe.  What a great weekend!  It makes me so happy to live here.

How does this relate to food?  No clue, but I’ll do my best to tie them together.  Summer is a busy time and often you need quick, healthy meals that you can simply pull from the fridge–or ones that you can make at the beginning of the week and eat over several meals.  For that, I offer you this filling, fabulous salad.  Quinoa (KEEN-wa) is one of my favorite grains.  It’s quick, easy and sooo healthy.  Chickpeas are a nice compliment, as they’re full of protein, healthy, and don’t leave you hungry.  There’s real heft to this salad– you’ll know you’re eating something substantial.  I used black quinoa in this version, but you can use whichever kind you have.  As for the recipe, think of it more as a list of suggestions– play around a bit to find the mix that you like best.  Add ingredients that are your favorites, or that you simply have on hand.  Fresh cucumbers come to mind.  Also, while I love mixing fresh garden lettuces into the salad, if I know I’m going to have leftovers I don’t mix them into the whole batch.  The lettuce tends to wilt.  Instead, add it to the other ingredients just prior to serving.     Hope you enjoy– let me know what wonderful combinations you come up with!

The Recipe:  Summer Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

1 cup black quinoa, rinsed

1 cup dried chickpeas, cooked

1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup ricotta salata cheese, cubed

Fresh garden greens, torn

Fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, mint, or thyme

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup (or more to taste) of extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

sprinkle of sugar, if desired

To make the chickpeas:  Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with water.   Bring to a rolling boil.  Boil for one minute and remove from heat.  Cover with lid.  Leave the chickpeas in the pan of water, covered for 2 hours.  After that, check for tenderness.  Cook a bit longer if needed.  Drain and sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt.   Allow to cool.  (Note:  Feel free to make more than needed for the recipe and keep extras in the freezer.  They are a wonderful addition to many salads, or like my two year old daughter– you can just eat them for a snack.)

To make the quinoa:  Rinse quinoa and place in a medium saucepan.  Add 1 – 3/4 cup water to the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer.  When most, but not all of the water is absorbed, remove from heat and cover.  Forget about it for a for about 10-15 minutes.   All of the water should be absorbed and the quinoa should easily fluff with a fork.  Cool.

To make the Vinaigrette:  Add all of the ingredients in a bowl except the olive oil.   Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

To assemble the salad:  Place chickpeas, quinoa, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, herbs, and torn lettuce into a bowl.  Pour most of the dressing over the salad (I usually reserve some because I dislike a salad that contains too much dressing — more can be added, but never taken away).  Gently fold the  ingredients together.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today — see you soon!

Laurie

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I don’t believe I’ve mentioned my love affair with farmers’ markets here in previous articles.  The entertaining Mill City Farmers’ Market (for delicious vendor fare and people watching) and the amazing St. Paul Farmers’ Market (for fresh produce and locally-sourced meat and eggs) are my happy places.  I absolutely love being surrounded by all of that fresh, healthy, vibrant produce, as well as visiting with the local farmers about their offerings.  Our family’s weekend adventures almost always start with a trip to the market.  I’m glad it’s a tradition that my kids will carry with them, even if at their ages, they have to be bribed with the promise of kettle corn.

This dish is an example of how I try to incorporate my farmers’ market purchases into what we eat a few nights of the week during Summer.  I’m a grain enthusiast, so I chose wheat berries for this salad.  Wheat berries are the entire delicious wheat kernels with the hulls removed.  They are firm, chewy, and “toothsome”, and really add heft here.  You can soak them over night and boil them the next day for softening, or just boil them longer when you are ready to make your dish.  Fresh, garden-grown spinach is abundant right now and pairs beautifully with the wheat berries.  Throw a bunch crunchy radishes and a few onions on and you’re almost set.

Two additional ingredients really make this salad work:  the dressing– with the sublime combination of lemon and shallots– and ricotta salata cheese.  This is my favorite cheese for summer salads, as it’s creamy and subtle with just the right amount of saltiness.  You can substitute feta, though use the ricotta salata if you can find it.  Both the dressing and the cheese balance the hearty texture and flavor of the grains, and really brighten up this salad.

The Recipe:  Spinach and Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon/Shallot Vinaigrette

1 cup red winter wheat berries

2 cups (or more) fresh garden spinach, torn

5-6 radishes, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

To make the wheat berries: soak in refrigerator overnight in 3 cups of cold water.  Rinse the next day and place in saucepan filled with 3 cups of cold water and 1 tablespoon salt.   Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium simmer.  Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until wheat berries are soft and have a “chewy” feel to them.  Drain and toss with half of the vinaigrette.  The warm wheat berries will soak up all of the wonderful flavor.  Let cool before completing the salad.  (Note:  Feel free to make extra wheat berries for a later use.  They freeze well and can kept frozen for up to a month.)

Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, minced

2 1/2 tablespoons of shallots, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To make the vinaigrette:  Mince the garlic and shallot and place in a bowl.  Mix in the lemon juice, vinegar, and salt  and let soften for about 15 minutes.   After the shallots have softened,  slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Combine the spinach, radishes, spring onion and wheat berries in a bowl.  Toss with the  remaining vinaigrette and top with the crumbled cheese.   Enjoy and healthy eating to you all!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Laurie

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