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Tag: salad (page 2 of 4)

Menu Monday 2: Hot Köfte, Cool Veggies, & Sweet Fruits

Menu Monday! Finally, an excuse to get excited about Monday! At least, for me… Woo! It’s clear that summer has taken up residence in D.C. and does not mean to leave till, oh, the end of September. *sigh* But with the heat, humidity, and bump in homicides we also get barbeques, picnics, camping expeditons, and trips to the beach.

In that carefree al fresco vein, here’s a quick menu of spicy-savory lamb meatballs, accompanied by succulent early-summer tomatoes and broccoli topped with a bright olive dressing, warmed flatbreads, and creamy yogurt swirled with spring’s last rhubarb and summer’s first strawberries. Perfect for an evening by the beach… or balcony.

Menu Monday 2: Hot Köfte, Cool Veggies, & Sweet Fruits

Lamb Köfte
This recipe is for the stovetop, but could easily be done on a lightly oiled grill to great effect, I’m sure–particularly if you’ve got some of those broad, flat skewers designed for grilling such mixtures.

Tomatoes & Broccoli w/ Broken Olive Vinaigrette (below)
This irresponsibly easy little dressing-tapenade-relish-thing is just the thing to point up the season’s first (not quite perfect) tomatoes. And its tasty juices collect temptingly in the heads of briefly steamed broccoli–providing a lightning quick and colorful side. It’s a perfect compliment to the spicy richness of the köfte–particularly wrapped up in a bit of flatbread.

Warm them briefly under the broiler or on the stovetop if you’ve got gas. It took me forever to figure out that most pitas and flatbreads really just don’t taste DONE until I heat them up a bit.

Greek Yogurt w/ Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
Serve in pretty dessert dishes and bask in the knowledge that this is a supremely tasty sweet that’s actually pretty healthy.

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Direct from the Sweetest Place on Earth: Salad!

I spent last week “on travel” in Middle-of-Nowhere, PA. To give you an idea of the depth of the country vibe, the Holiday Inn where we stayed at was packed–PACKED–for Thursday night’s double threat of line dancing and–eeeugh–hot wings. You can imagine how thrilled I was with this situation. Fortunately, the resort town of Hershey is only 20 minutes away from the Middle-of-Nowhere, PA–who knew? And, while I’m not a fan of Hershey’s chocolate (see the lovely Cybele at candyblog for THAT story), their restaurants weren’t half bad. Being an inveterate foodie AND a total snot, I pushed hard for the higher end of the dining spectrum and we were rewarded accordingly. Aside from one horrifically salty pizza, everything was really quite good.

I’ve cribbed this salad of thinly shaved apple, fennel and arugula from them, though I think I’ve improved on it by adding additional layers of apple-y goodness (as any good acolyte of Suzanne Goin would) to the dressing. Using both apple cider vinegar and boiled cider adds a really nice depth and dimensionality to the whole.  And even the leftovers remained crisply tasty (if not quite guest-ready).

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Squash & Arugula Salad in a Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette

Hard to believe that it’s been a year of blogging, but here we are with fall knocking on the door and I’m again contemplating my very favorite curcurbit, the butternut squash. Last year, it was medieval squash soup and fall pasta; this year, I got into the groove a bit earlier and worked up a salad of roasted squash and spicy arugula with a divine maple-mustard vinaigrette.

Inspired by a picture of something similar on tastespotting (don’t click through unless you’ve got a few hours to burn browsing…), I’m most pleased by the dressing. Just a version of my basic salad vinaigrette, swapping maple in for the honey coaxes out some lovely, lovely nuances in the squash and brings everything together.

Its things like that that convince me that maple as a flavor is sorely underused. People get burned, I think, by unpleasantly gritty maple candy and “pancake syrup” which has real maple syrup in it the way a bone dry martini has vermouth in it.  Real maple syrup has such a uniquely wonderful flavor, in addition to its sweetness. So much so that I kind of want to take a bath in this dressing. I’m sure it’s really good for the skin…

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From Tomato to Tomato, Potato, Green Bean Summer Salad

In the beginning, there was a single, baby heirloom tomato. My inspiration. And one I couldn’t stop capturing.

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It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Zing: Asian Potato Salad

I make no claims to authenticity on this yummy tasty novel–er, salad–save for that a more anodyne version of this dish is found in Korean salad bars and the lunchtime bento specials of many a D.C. pan-Asian restaurant. I mean, sweet potatoes aren’t even orange in Japan and Korea. But, well, that’s where the inspiration came from, though my version has a bit more verve, thanks to two kinds of ginger, two different alliums, and a little hot sauce.

I recently brought this, along with my more authentic sesame-dressed green beans, to a friend’s green card party where both were gobbled up with verve. The honoree, however, who is famed for carrying tiny bottles of Tabasco around in her pocket book, thought this was just divine. While it’s not that hot by any stretch, this potato salad has it all. The rich, complexly tangy dressing dances over the earthy, sweet potatoes in a most delightful way.

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Hot Days, Cool Grains

If you live in D.C., chances are your panties have been moist at some point in the past few weeks.  No, the moisture is not a result of D.C. gaining statehood but rather of sweltering temperatures. Days, nay, weeks like these remind me of our swamp origins and one of my favorite quotes: “Washington. A swamp that traded malaria for politics.”

The heat makes me want to eat as little as possible. And firing up the oven on days like, oh, today, are not in the cards.

Salads. Yes, salads are what I want to eat.

And I want salad that’s hearty enough. One that will keep me full but not feel weighty like Carnie Wilson circa 1991.

Enter grains: rice, quinoa, farro.

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Back to Squash Basics i.e. Beyond Squash Blossoms

No, I’m not quite done with squash blossoms. I will be buying more of these sublime summer delicacies tomorrow morning at the U Street Farmers Market.  However, I couldn’t help but be swayed by some gorgeous-looking squash at the market the other day. They are golden!  Gold. Not yellow. Gold.  Dorothy Gale (or myself) would happily skip across these. Of course, I’d happily skip. Anywhere.

What did I make? Check it out after Da Jump.

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When Life Gives You Green Beans, Make Tuna Noodle Salad

This quick and tasty supper is basically a mod-Italian riff on that American stalwart, tuna noodle casserole–think if it as tuna noodle casserole on a Vespa. (Ciao!)  I took inspiration from Mr. T’s favorite antipasti of tuna and cannellini beans as a start, but also had to include some gorgeous green beans a friend brought me–straight from his lush backyard in Hillcrest. (There are few better ways into my good graces than produce, fyi.)

The combo is quite a successful one–the tuna and beans are just juicy enough to keep everything moist, and the sprightly flavors keep it from getting bland and boring–a cardinal sin of the average tuna noodle dish.

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