March 14, 2013 § 5 Comments
Looking back through the archives, it seems that every year around this time pickles make an appearance. Perhaps it’s to do with the lull between winter veg and new spring veg, since I certainly eat pickles year round. But right now, in March, pickled vegetables perk everything up; they’re light on effort and brighten up even the most ordinary vegetables and meals.
I hadn’t made pickled carrots in a while, and so when I’d got everything else ready it dawned on me that I was out of fresh ginger and frozen ginger. But, recalling the jar of candied ginger used in the pear-ginger sugar muffins, I decided to give it a try, subbing out some of the added sugar in my typical carrot pickling mixture for the sugar inherent in candied ginger. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 19, 2012 § 4 Comments
Can you believe it, Thanksgiving is only days away. I know, I know…I still feel like I am back in October, which is kind of ridiculous since my family has already celebrated what I like to call Midwestern Thanksgiving (not to be confused with a real holiday, Canadian Thanksgiving, which is in October).
Midwestern Thanksgiving is a gathering my maternal side of the family has every year a few weeks in advance of the real (American) turkey day, in an attempt to avoid the snow that often bombards Ohio and Michigan this time of year. This time we enjoyed huo guo, otherwise known as hot pot, wherein everyone cooks their own food in a communal pot at the center of the table. It is great fun, though the only Thanksgiving part of the meal was apple pie for dessert!
The night after Thanksgiving 1 I got together with my friends, and we had our usual knit night potluck. I brought this salad, purchased from a whole-foods store called Foods for Living, because it looked so festive, with the ruby red of the cranberries and the creamy feta popping against the warm green of the soybeans. It turns out that it tastes really great too, so much so that I had to recreate it for Thanksgiving 2 this year. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 18, 2012 § 17 Comments
Hope springs eternal every March: it’s plant-buying season and I am a perennial sucker for the lush herb plants at the farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and nurseries that then mysteriously fail to thrive in my little garden. Inevitably I spend so much time nursing the plants back to life that I barely get to use any of them. This year, though, if they’re not going to survive a hot Maryland summer I might as well enjoy them now whilst I can.
So, yesterday’s lunch was the inaugural herb garden meal, a refreshing salad from my much-flagged copy of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi. Chef/owners of the popular London chain, you may have heard of them via Yotam Ottolenghi’s second cookbook, Plenty — which is similarly flagged so as to resemble a paper hedgehog.
Known for their inventive vegetable recipes, I find that especially in the late-winter doldrums the recipes in Ottolenghi always cheer me up. As my parsley plant seems to be doing well (note that I’ve only had it in my care for three days), a bit of it was pruned off the top to go into a lovely, refreshing fennel and feta salad with pomegranate seeds and sumac. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 30, 2011 § 3 Comments
A crunchy, slightly bitter variant of radish, daikon, with its crisp texture and delicate flavor, makes a refreshing salad when thinly sliced and dressed with a tangy, creamy dressing with notes of soy sauce, mustard, and lemon. Daikon is often associated with Japanese cuisine, and at least in my experience daikon is typically made into really delicious pickles or into what is known as turnip cake (you may have tried it at a dim sum restaurant), which is a bit of a misnomer since there’s no turnip in turnip cake.
Aside from restaurants, typically daikon is available at Asian markets, but I actually spotted daikon at the grocery store the other day (Whole Foods, if you have one nearby) and squealed with excitement. Ignoring the many mutinous mumblings from a certain someone wishing to never go grocery shopping with me again in the future, I went in search of watercress so that I could make this daikon, mango, and watercress salad I’d read about earlier in the day.
The recipe itself is actually a British interpretation of a Japanese dish. But before you shudder off in horror, the British twist is supplied by none other than Jamie Oliver, who is one of the sources I turn to most when in search of new ideas for vegetables. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments
This salad was first made out of desperation, because I had purchased some fennel but didn’t really know what to do with it, and I didn’t want to waste it. Fortunately, salads can handle mysterious, intimidating vegetables really well, and I even had the forethought to write down what I did. I’m really pleased too, because not only is it really delicious, but it also has the benefit of being easy to assemble from seasonal, nutritious ingredients: roasted fennel and shallots, juicy grapefruit, and crisp lettuces, tossed together with zingy mustard-grapefruit vinaigrette.
January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is a sort of French-inspired dish I came up with once I realized that my request for “some more lentils” was interpreted as “LENTIL SHORTAGE!!!” by my mother when my parents last came to visit – if I haven’t mentioned it before, we do rather have a tendency to stock up on things in my family.
So, to begin cooking through several pounds of lentils, I figured why not make a lentil salad to start?
My mom brought me several kinds of lentils, but for the best texture, I recommend using puy lentils for this salad. As I mentioned in my last lentil-centric post’s comments section, lentilles de puy are a type of lentil that remain firmer than their reddish relatives and therefore work really well in pilaf and salad situations where you can best enjoy their nutty earthiness and toothsome texture.
To complement their earthy flavor, I added the light grassiness of dill and chives, plus a nice vinaigrette made from champagne vinegar and olive oil. Then, while rummaging around the refrigerator while letting the lentils rest I discovered some nice goat cheese, or chèvre, and crumbled it in, since I love fresh dill and chèvre together. I think it adds a certain creaminess too, to the texture of the salad, plus a bit of luxuriousness.
July 7, 2010 § 2 Comments
Summertime means salads. I adore potato salads and this one is my latest favorite. Warm new potatoes, crisp arugula, and tangy capers – seriously, it’s like everything I love about summer in a bowl. Most of the ingredients besides the arugula and potatoes are probably already in your pantry, and this recipe is easily adaptable – I added more arugula because I wasn’t serving an additional vegetable and wanted more green on the table. However, reducing the arugula if you are more fond of it in smaller amounts is just as good, adding just a hit of spiciness to this warm potato salad.
This recipe is from my new favorite cooking magazine, Jamie magazine. It’s not surprising because I adore Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks – at last count I had four and I am waiting eagerly for the US release of his latest – but everything about the magazine makes me so happy. I even like the paper it’s printed on, but then again, that’s the kind of weird thing I notice. I highly recommend checking it out despite its rather high cost for those of us residing in the former colonies.
Anyways, on to the food! « Read the rest of this entry »