18 June 2011

Big Salad

This is a favorite at our house and we eat it once a week.  I don't really like to plan it out too much.  I just throw everything salad-y in and it is always good.  The tofu is nice for it's texture but it's certainly not necessary with the chick peas and nuts covering the protein requirement.   Here are the ingredients:

Baked tofu (see shitake stir fry for recipe,) chick peas, crushed almonds, green onions from the garden, avocado, grape tomatoes, sliced carrots, shredded radish, fresh herbs from the garden, sliced red onion, thin sliced beets, julienne red bell pepper, cucumber half moons (not pictured,) bleu cheese (not pictured,) and your favorite dressing - mine is a simple vinaigrette made of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.   Toss all of this with the greens of your choice!  Sadly, my romaine lettuce has already bolted thanks to the heat.  So I used some leftover napa cabbage and spinach for the base of this salad.  Cabbage is more nutritious than lettuce any way, plus it is crunchier, so I highly recommend this for your next big salad!  These are all pretty sturdy ingredients, so go ahead and dress the whole thing, and throw the rest in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.  It will be different, but I quite like my veggies marinated over night. 

Side note, I ended up not using the beets in the salad when I got the idea to make beet crisps.  They were delicious, but I will wait to tell you all about it in a different post.

Pasta with Shitakes and Smoked Tomato Sauce

I still adore the basic preparation of Shitake pasta I posted back in May, but I wanted to try something a little different.  However, I had no plan, so I just started digging around the kitchen, hoping for inspiration to hit.
 Last summer was so hot that only the cherry tomatoes made it to maturity.  Fortunately though, this particular plant was a workhorse, producing twice as many tomatoes as we could eat.  I absolutely love my stovetop smoker, and tomatoes are my favorite thing to smoke in it, so every time there were excess tomatoes, into the smoker they went.  And every time there were excess smoked tomatoes, into the freezer they went!  Even though I recently moved everything from the old freezer to the new, I had forgotten I still had a container of smoked tomatoes. 

While waiting for the tomatoes to thaw, cook your favorite noodles, roast some garlic, and saute the shitakes until they start to get a little dry.  Once the tomatoes are thawed, puree them with the garlic, a fair amount of salt, and a little olive oil.  Heat the sauce in a saucepan, then plate the noodles, mushrooms, and sauce.  Or maybe the mushrooms on top, I haven't decided which is better.  I served this with some broccolini that I baked with a little oil and garlic for 20 mins at 350. 

02 June 2011

Ligurian Potato Salad

We recently watched an episode of Lidia's Italy, where she made Insalata Patate Tedesca, or German Potato Salad.  She says it's a popular dish in Liguria on the northwestern coast of Italy.  Kurt suggested this be our contribution to our friend's Memorial Day Barbeque and I thought it a grand idea.  Especially since I needed an excuse to harvest a couple of scallions from the yard:
Below is Lidia's recipe, with my own changes noted:
2½ pounds red potatoes (she says to peel them, but I only peeled half of them for colour)
1 cup scallions , finely chopped
¾ cup sweet dill pickles, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces slab bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces 1/2 c red cabbage, 1/4 cup red onion diced finely (plus a tiny drop of liquid smoke)3 tablespoons German-style mustard
⅓ cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Put potatoes into pot with enough cold water to cover them.  Bring the water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until a knife can be inserted easily in the center.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and as soon as they're cool enough to handle, and slice into 1-inch cubes. Immediately toss the warm cubes in a bowl with the chopped scallions and pickles and 1 teaspoon salt.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil cabbage and onion pieces in a skillet, and set it over medium-high heat. Cook until onions and cabbage are browned.  Add drop of liquid smoke and allow it to be absorbed.  Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, and heat to a boil. Continue whisking until the dressing is smooth and emulsified, then pour it over the warm potatoes and toss. Sprinkle the chopped parsley, ground black pepper, and remaining salt over it and toss well.  Serve warm or at room temperature.