Tag Archives: salads

Al fresco

zuccflowersIt’s well into August and the farmer’s market is bursting with pretty much everything. We finally got some rain here last week, which made the farmers really happy.

farmersmktEverything is fresh, beautiful and tasty!

newpotatoes

salmonsaladWith all these fresh selections, I’ve still been mostly in the salad mode, which has the great advantage of using little or no heat.

capresesaladI’ve  even had enough Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and basil from my own teeny garden to make a Caprese salad (with fresh mozzarella).

pizzaAnd occasionally I have turned on the stove or the oven, to make pasta with roasted or sauteed tomatoes and basil — or pizza with those same ingredients. (Mmmm, it had been such a long time since I had pizza.) And green salad alongside, of course.

springrollskin

Another great way to eat your salad is in a fresh spring roll — also called summer roll or salad roll.

springrollwrapI’d never made these before but it turns out to be pretty simple — just a lot of chopped salad ingredients (plus some thin Asian noodles — I used brown rice ones), some shrimp or chicken or tofu if you like, and the spring roll skins, which are briefly soaked in hot water, then rolled around the filling like a burrito. You can find instructions here and many other places on the Web, and adapt them as you see fit. And make or buy a nice sauce to dip them in.

alfruit dessertAlso,  all the marvelous fresh fruit this time of year makes it easier to eat a little lighter than usual. We’ve really been enjoying a simple dessert lately: a bowl of fruit with a nice dollop of maple-sweetened yogurt. Sitting outside on a warm evening with a slab of watermelon or a juicy fresh peach is appealing too.

bbbcakeBut I really couldn’t let August go by without baking at least one Blueberry Boy Bait! I made it when we had some company coming, and it was a fitting afternoon treat.

Freddie and Val sample the Blueberry Boy Bait

Freddie and Val sample the Blueberry Boy Bait

And what better way to enjoy it, as with so many of these meals and snacks,  than al fresco — the perfect summer way to dine!

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Filed under dessert, fruit, salad, summer, supper time, vegetables

Road trip salads (and picnics, of course)

Once again, we took a road trip to Eastern Montana in July and I was determined to be prepared with food. We’re not terribly picky eaters, but we don’t eat much meat and we prefer lots of fresh fruits and vegetables — a difficult situation for this part of the country.

Well, this time, in addition to stocking the car with cooking supplies for motel cooking (including the electric kettle and a large supply of bulgur) and picnics, as I’ve written about in this blog the past couple summers, I brought along my salad spinner.

I was so glad I did, because every day of this trip was HOT (in Miles City, a bank thermometer read 111 degrees one day) and we were often eating salads or fresh fruit (washed in the spinner) accompanied by bread.

Salad for dinner at the Stardust Motel, Wallace, Idaho

I love a simple oil-lemon dressing on our salads, so I brought olive oil, lots of lemons (when I ran out, I could find more, even in the remotest town) and salt. Also a little pecorino to sometimes grate on top. And yes, I brought my lemon reamer and a zester, which I used for grating.

A couple of times I did make a bulgur salad with garbanzo beans and whatever fresh vegetables I could find.

One day I was really glad I had some leftover salad in the little ice chest because we were stopped for road construction for about 20 minutes — right at lunch time! It wasn’t exactly a picnic environment, but that salad did hit the spot!

But a salad can be pretty lonely without good bread. (If you’re going through Missoula, be sure to stop at Le Petit Outre.) Between good bakeries, we relied on our supply of Ak-Maks and other crackers.

Okay, it’s nice to have a knife and a cutting board, and even (if you want to get fancy) some pretty cloths to put on a picnic table. Yes, it does require some preparation, but it’s so worth it.

I remember road trips with my parents, where we would stop at shady parks for lunch, which often consisted of sandwiches with cream cheese and grapes — which we children loved. On our recent trip, at a forested rest stop in Idaho, we saw a Japanese family with three generations enjoying a huge picnic, including miso soup and hot noodles.

Whatever your food preferences are–even if it’s takeout– as always, my motto is: Whenever possible, make it a picnic!

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Filed under bread and pizza, fruit, salad, summer, Uncategorized, vegetables

Salads, salads, salads

Lately, it’s salads for lunch and, often as not,  more salads for supper.

Contrast is important in a salad: textures, tastes–and colors.

The dark pinks and magentas of red onion, beets, purple cauliflower or red cabbage look stunning against vivid greens.  The salad above was a basic green salad with different types of very fresh lettuce (thank you, Martha) and some marinated red onions, which are simply made by cutting the onion in half, slicing thinly, tossing on some salt and a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar and some peppermint, dried or fresh (minced). Let the onions marinate for an hour before serving.

Here’s some more salads I’ve been enjoying lately:

Multi-colored couscous, yellow peppers, cucumber, garbanzos, green onion, feta, kalamata olives, mint

I dress most of the salads in my basic olive oil-lemon juice-salt mixture, but sometimes I use vinegar or lime juice in place of the lemon juice.

Beets in balsamic vinegar with feta, walnuts, cilantro

Arugula with fresh figs, walnuts, Parmeggiano shavings

Kale salad with corn fritters

Check out the corn fritters on Alexandra’s wonderful cooking blog. They’re delicious. (I made a couple changes — used low fat Greek-style yogurt instead of full fat and green onions in place of a shallot.)

Bean salad: cannellini beans, green and yellow string beans

Potato salad with tuna in olive oil, green beans, red onions, lemon zest

Spinach salad with feta cheese, toasted walnuts, kalamata olives. And bread.

Green beans with red onions, celery and toasted walnuts

The salad above was inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, with some changes. The almonds sounded great, but Steve is allergic to them, so it was toasted walnuts, again — and my version of the red onion.

Watermelon salad with feta cheese, fresh mint and lime

Sometimes the salad doesn't even get mixed up in the bowl....

A favorite farmers' market vendor

I get most of my vegetables from the farmers’ market,  farm stands or generous friends….

My latest fascination is purple cauliflower

I made a quick pickled cauliflower by slicing thinly and rubbing the pieces with salt -- and the color was terrific

I served it alongside more of those corn fritters and Castelvetrano olives. A bit of cheese and bread, of course.

A little kitchen chemistry: I discovered that if you squeeze lemon juice on cooked purple cauliflower it turns from lavender to a vivid magenta color….

Confetti salad: bulgur, purple cauliflower, carrots, green beans, peas, green onions, basil--or was it cilantro?

That was the inspiration for a new salad…. “What’s this called?” Steve asked. I’ve heard the name Confetti Salad applied to other colorful concoctions, so I’m sure this will fit in the confetti category.

I'm already thinking about the variations I'll make....

What’s your favorite salad these days?

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Filed under Praise for other cooks, salad, summer, Uncategorized, vegetables