Cook-with-what-you-Have Green Salad

Salads are superb templates. Sometimes all you need is a few greens lightly dressed. But sometimes a slightly more substantial green salad with crunch, a little sweetness, and maybe a little spice is in order.  In the winter you might make this heartier one.

 

You will need to taste and adjust your version to balance the tart and sweet and crunch as ingredients vary widely. Add a pinch of sugar if your dried fruit is quite tart.

 

Variations

  • Use thinly sliced sweet peppers, snap or snow peas, kohlrabi, celery or cucumbers instead of or in addition to the carrots.
  • Add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes.
  • Use whatever toasted seeds or nuts (roughly chopped) you have.
  • Substitute large, toasted bread crumbs or small croutons for the nuts/seeds

 

Serves 4

 

8 cups romaine or other head lettuce of your choice or a combination of arugula and lettuce

2 medium carrots, grated

2 scallions, white and green parts very thinly sliced

1/2 cup tender herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 cup toasted almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts or pecans, roughly chopped or pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1/3 cup dates, chopped (or dried apricots, cranberries, golden raisins)

1 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeno or other fresh hot pepper (or add some chili flakes or dried chili to the dressing)

 

Dressing:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or vinegar of your choice or lemon juice), more to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil, more to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinegar, oil and salt and pepper and toss well, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

These are beautiful, delicious and very quick to make. Here’s a similar but plainer, version.

 

You will end up with a few beautiful steaks that hold together and lots of smaller bits–they’ll taste just as good. I suggest adding a little water to the pan when cooking the second side to make sure the cauliflower is tender and crisp but not burned. You can omit the water and watch the heat carefully but the water speeds things up a bit.

 

Serves 4

 

1 small to medium head cauliflower, washed

2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground hot red pepper

1/2 teaspoon small brown mustard seeds, optional

Splash of water (optional–see headnote)

For sauce:

1/3 cup plain whole milk or Greek yogurt

1 garlic coved, minced and mashed with side of a chef’s knife

Pinch or two of salt

 

Trim any leaves (and reserve to add to stir fries, soups, etc.) from the cauliflower and cut off the most fibrous base of the stem/core. Don’t remove the core though. Most of it will get deliciously tender and you need it to keep the steaks together.  Set the cauliflower upright on a cutting board. Cut the cauliflower in half and then working out to the edges, cut each half into about 1-inch thick slices. Some florets will fall off and that’s fine. Prepare them just as you do the steaks and fit them around the edge of the steaks in the pan. You’ll end up with some steaks the full 1/2 size of the cauliflower and some smaller steaks and some loose bits.

 

Mix the spices and salt together in a small bowl. Generously sprinkle the cauliflower slices and bits with the spice mixture and then drizzle them with a little oil, rubbing the spices into the cauliflower with your fingers. Do this on both sides of the steaks.

 

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Place as many steaks as you can fit in one layer in the pan. Cook, covered, for about 3-4 minutes, then when the underside is nice and browned flip them over, add a splash of water, cover the pan and cook for 2 more minutes, remove cover, add a little more oil if things are dry and continue cooking uncovered until the second side is browned and crisp as well.  Repeat with remaining cauliflower.

 

Mix the yogurt with garlic and salt in a small bowl. Serve the steaks hot with the yogurt.

Eggplant and Tomato Curry

This is savory, complex and delicious and uses Thai red curry paste to create a lot of flavor quickly. You can serve it over potatoes instead of rice.

 

Variation

  • Green beans would be a wonderful addition here. Add them at the same time you add the tomato sauce and coconut milk.
  • If you don’t have time to make tomato sauce and have fresh tomatoes, add fresh, chopped tomatoes to the curry paste after you’ve fried it for a few minutes and let reduce a bit before adding the eggplant and remainder of the coconut milk.

Serves 4-6

 

3 Japanese eggplants or globe or Italian eggplant, cut into 2 x 3″ chunks (about 8 cups)

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons red curry paste

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I use this method if I have fresh tomatoes)

1 can full-fat coconut milk

Cilantro and scallions, for garnish

Rice or potatoes (see headnote) for serving

 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant chunks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute over fairly high heat, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and cook until eggplant begins to collapse and brown in places, another 5 minutes or so. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

Put solid/fat part of the coconut milk in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste, ginger, if using and spices and mix well. Fry this mixture for about 3 minutes then add the eggplant and combine well and cook for a minute or two. Add the tomato sauce and remaining coconut milk and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered for about 15 minutes until thickened a bit. Serve hot over rice or potatoes.

Radish, Pea, Asparagus, Turnip Salad with Mint

I think of this as my spring-time Greek salad–chunks of crunchy vegetables, spring onions, fresh herbs and feta, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

 

Variations:

  • Mix and match your vegetables
  • Delicious herbs that you can add to suit your taste are parsley, tarragon, chervil, chives or any combo.
  • Substitute 1/3 cup toasted seeds or nuts for the feta.

 

Serves 4

 

1 bunch radishes, washed, trimmed and cut into chunks

2-3 Japanese salad turnips (Hakurei turnips), washed, trimmed and cut into chunks

1 spring onion or about 1/4 cup any onion you have, chopped

4-5 asparagus spears, washed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 cup snap peas, strings removed and cut into thirds

Handful of mint leaves, chopped (see variations)

A little fresh or dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 ounces feta, crumbled (see variations)

 

Put all the ingredients, except the feta, in a bowl. Toss well, taste and adjust seasoning with vinegar and/or salt or oil. Gently toss in feta and serve.

 

 

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts and Cilantro

 

This is bright and tangy and wonderful! If you don’t have walnuts, toasted almonds or peanuts would work too.

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered (if large), lengthwise

3-4 scallions, trimmed and white and greens parts thinly sliced

2/3 cup toasted walnuts (350 degree oven for 8-ish minutes until toasty smelling and a shade darker), roughly chopped (or almonds or peanuts–see headnote)

2/3 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped

For dressing:

1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, (more or less, to taste)

1/3 cup olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and a few pinches of salt and stir well. Cook, undisturbed for a few minutes until browning in parts. Stir again and saute until just tender but not at all mushy. Put sprouts in a serving dish.

 

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for about 90 seconds until toasty smelling. Put in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and let cool. Roughly grind them or, if you don’t have either, use a flat bottom glass or mug to crush them on the counter.

 

Mix all dressing ingredients together. Add scallions, nuts and herbs to sprouts and add dressing. Toss well, taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon or lime, salt, etc.

 

Roasted Squash Halves with Herbs

If you see this cute, golden acorn-type squash, buy it! It’s called Gill’s Golden Pippin and is incredibly flavorful–much more so than most acorn types. The skin is very hard and brittle so I just crack it in half and scoop out seeds and roast. And it’s fun to serve, in it’s little boat-like shell.

 

You can enjoy them as is or serve them filled with anything from been or beef chili to cooked grains or even other cooked vegetables.

 

Serves 2-4 depending on how/with what else you serve it

 

2 Gill’s Golden Pippin or other small winter squash

Salt

Olive oil

6 thyme sprigs or 2 2-inch rosemary sprigs or 6 sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage

 

Preheat oven to 400

 

Cut squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strings. Rub each cavity with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and then put in whatever herb you’re using. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a knife–about 25-40 minutes, depending on your squash. Enjoy hot or warm.

 

Fennel, Peppers and Farro

This is hearty, savory and very adaptable. This dish materialized thanks to already cooked farro and a variety of vegetables in need of using up, including cauliflower leaves. If your grains are already cooked this comes together quite quickly. I had some homemade harissa on hand which elevated it further. I topped this particular version with meatballs.

 

Variations

  • Make this your own with whatever grain you’d like–spelt, barley, rye, wheat berries and different spices.
  • Vegetables like collard greens and kale are great to use in place of or with the cauliflower leaves and spices.

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 medium fennel bulbs, any ratty outer layers removed, and bulbs chopped

2-3 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional–taste a little bit of it first to evaluate heat level as they vary wildly) and use however much you’d like

2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)

4 cups cauliflower leaves, chopped (optional–see variations)

1/2 cup diced tomato, fresh or canned with juice

2 1/2 cups *cooked farro

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon harissa (optional–see headnote)

Olive oil, for finishing

 

*Cook 1 cup farro in 3 cups water with 1/2 teaspoon salt, covered for about 25-35  minutes, until some kernels burst open and they’re tender. Drain, and set aside.

 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, peppers and a few pinches of salt. Sauté, stirring often, until vegetables soften. Add pimenton, cauliflower leaves or other greens, if using, and tomato, bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 7-8 minutes. If it looks at all dry add a little water or more tomato, if you have it. Add the cooked farro and cook for a few more minutes, to warm through. Stir in harissa, if using, taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve hot or warm with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Seared Young Fava Beans and Garlic Scapes with Lemon

When you have young/small fava beans you can eat the whole pod, either grilled or just seared in a heavy skillet, in this case alongside some shelled ones and garlic scapes and scallions. The whole pod gets tender and when well seasoned with salt and lemon, is just delicious. You can cook them all whole or shell a few for contrast and fun-either way is delicious.

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 lb young, tender fava beans in their pods

1 bunch garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch lengths or 2-3 the stalks green garlic or 1 head new garlic, minced

3-4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths (optional)

Salt

Juice from 1/2 lemon

 

If you have time, shell 1/3 of the fava beans and cut the remaining whole pods into 2-inch lengths. The combination of the shelled and whole favas is fun but not necessary, see headnote.

 

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the fava beans in their pods (if you shelled some you’ll add those a few minutes later), the garlic scapes and scallions, if using, sprinkle with salt and cook, covered and undisturbed for a few minutes. When they start browning give them a stir and continue cooking, stirring often, for about 3-4 more minutes. Add the shelled fava beans and cook for another couple of minutes. When the pods, beans and garlic scapes are tender remove from the heat. Taste and adjust with salt if needed and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Serve hot or warm.

Garlicky Spinach with Chickpeas and Miso Tahini Sauce

If you have home cooked or canned chickpeas on hand, this comes together very quickly. The sauce is versatile and keeps for a week so make plenty to use in other ways. Use other tender greens like mustard or turnips greens or even mizuna or tatsoi if you don’t have spinach.

 

You can scale this up but don’t skimp on the greens. You want plenty per serving and they cook down so much.

 

Serves 2

 

1 tablespoon oil

2 small stalks green garlic, white and green parts minced, or 2 small garlic cloves, minced

1 large bunch spinach or other tender greens, see headnote, roots discarded, leaves and stems well washed and roughly chopped

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained or rinsed

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or other hot pepper, more to taste

Salt, to taste

Sauce:

4 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoons white (shiro) miso or red miso (start with a little less if using red as its stronger)
1 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
Water to thin to the consistency you like

 

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, adding the water tablespoon by tablespoon until you have a smooth, thick but pourable consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning with more acidity, a bit of salt, etc.

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes until softened and fragrant but not brown. Add the greens and turn up the heat and cover and cook for a minute or two until beginning to wilt. Add a few generous pinches of salt and toss the greens and continue cooking, uncovered until tender, just another minute or two. Meanwhile heat the chickpeas in another skillet and toss with the cayenne.

 

Divide the greens into two bowls, top with warm chickpeas and drizzle with some of the sauce–you don’t need it all. Serve warm.

Winter Squash with Crispy Breadcrumbs and Thyme

This is delicious hot, warm or at room temperature. The crispy bread crumbs are key as is the splash of vinegar at the end. You want to use a squash that keeps its shape when cooked, like butternut, delicata, sweet meat or hubbard varieties.

 

This could almost stand in for stuffing at a Thanksgiving table. It’s savory and comforting but not at all heavy.

 

Serves 4-6

 

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups peeled, diced winter squash (see video tutorial on preparing winter squash)

2/3 cup medium coarse bread crumbs

Salt

1 tablespoon cider or wine vinegar, more to taste

 

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in the largest skillet you have over medium-high heat, ideally an 11-12 inch pan. You need a large surface to brown the squash in more or less one layer. Do it in two pans if you don’t have a large enough one.  Add the onion, thyme and chili flakes and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the diced squash and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well to coat the squash evenly with oil. Cook over high heat for a few minutes undisturbed to start the browning. Toss, turn down to medium high and cover, stirring every a few minutes to ensure even browning.

 

When the squash is just tender scoot it to one side of the pan and add the final tablespoon of oil to the open space in the pan. Add the breadcrumbs and let toast for a minute or two before stirring into the squash. Cook for another minute or so then drizzle over the vinegar and taste and adjust seasoning with salt and/or more vinegar if needed.

Green Tomato, Winter Squash and Lentil Salad

This a hearty but bright side dish/salad that is beautiful to boot. The tang of the green tomatoes offsets the sweetness of the squash.

 

Serves 4-6

 

1 cup small French green lentils or other small ones that keep their shape when cooked

1 1/2 lbs green tomatoes, diced

4 cups peeled and diced winter squash such as butternut

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped or a combination of parsley and cilantro, or just cilantro

1 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

Salt

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, partially cover and cook for about 17-18 minutes or until just tender but still mostly holding their shape. Drain and set aside.

 

Cover the bottom of a large, heavy skillet with a slick of olive oil and set over high heat. Add the diced squash. Sprinkle with salt and then cover and cook undisturbed for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to medium high. Cook, turning the pieces occasionally to evenly brown them until they are tender but not falling apart, about 8-10 minutes.

 

Set your oven to broil and spread the diced green tomatoes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and put under the broiler. Under my broiler it took about 10 minutes to soften them a bit and get a nice browning on one side. No need to flip and disturb them. You want them to keep their shape and integrity, if possible.

 

In a small bowl mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the lentils on a platter or in a wide bowl and toss with one third of the dressing. Top them with the squash, tomatoes, herbs and scallions. Drizzle the remaining dressing over it all and gently toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as you see fit. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Warm Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with Miso Dressing

This is colorful and delicious and fairly quick to make. You can use any miso, but if yours is red or another, darker kind start with a little less and add to taste, as the darker they are the stronger they get.

 

I’ve also included a peanut butter dressing variation, in case you don’t have miso. Either version would be a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Serve 4-6

 

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into very small dice (1/3-1/2 inch or so)

1 large bunch kale, any tough stems removed, leaves washed but not dried and thinly sliced crosswise

1/3 -1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems

1 scallion, thinly sliced (or a bit of any onion or shallot you have, finely chopped)

1 tablespoon white or yellow miso (or whatever you have, see headnote)

or 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 2 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari + 2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more, to taste

2 tablespoons sunflower oil or other fairly neutral oil

 

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add the sweet potato dice and several pinches of salt. Cook, without stirring for about 3-4 minutes until you can smell them and they take on some color. Toss and continue cooking until just tender and nicely browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Add kale to the hot pan and another pinch of salt. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for a minute or two to wilt. Stir and cover again and turn heat down to medium and cook for a couple more minutes until softened but not mushy. Add a sprinkle of water if things are too dry. The time it will take to get them just tender will depend on your type of kale. Lacinato takes a bit longer than the Russian types. When tender remove from pan and put in a serving dish and let cool for a few minutes.

 

Meanwhile, stir together the miso, oil, vinegar and chile flakes in a small bowl. Or if you’re making the peanut version, substitute the peanut butter, soy sauce and water for the miso. Add a little more oil or water to get a pourable consistency, if needed.

 

Add sweet potatoes to the kale and add cilantro and scallion and finally dressing. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning with more vinegar if needed or a squeeze of lime juice to brighten it.

Radicchio and Celery Root Remoulade with Parsley and Walnuts

radicchio-celery-root-parsley-remoulade

This is a colorful and hearty variation of the classic Celery Root Remoulade. You can substitute a vegan mayo and/or yogurt.

 

Serves 4

 

1/2 medium celery root, about 8 ounces, trimmed and peeled cut into matchsticks or grated on large holes of a box grater or in a food processor

1 small to medium head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (you can do this in a skillet over medium heat in about 6-8 minutes or in a 300 degree oven in 10)

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup whole milk regular or Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons classic Dijon-style mustard

A little white wine or cider vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Put the celery root, radicchio, parsley and walnuts in a large salad bowl.

 

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the veggies. Mix well and adjust seasoning to taste.

Miso and Cider Vinegar Roasted Winter Vegetables

miso-roasted-squash-carrot-onion

miso-roasted-squash-onion-carrot-prep-ii

 

 

Variations

  • Use whatever combination of winter roots, tubers and squash you have on hand.
  • Toss in some chunks of onion for variety.
  • Skip the fresh herbs if you don’t have any as it’s nice and bright even without.

 

Serves 4

 

1 delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and strings scraped out and then cut into quarters lengthwise and then crosswise into chunks

4-5 medium carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into 1/3-inch slices on the bias

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 generous tablespoon white miso

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 small serrano pepper, minced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Spread the vegetables on a sheet pan. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the salt, in a small bowl and drizzle over the vegetables. Be sure to use all the dressing/marinade and toss the vegetables so they are evenly coated. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring several times during the roasting, until the vegetables are tender and browning in spots. Toss with the herbs, if using, taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Serve hot or warm.

Miso Roasted Kale and Mushrooms

Serves 4

 

1 small-ish bunch kale, washed but not dried, any tough stems discarded and chopped (see photo)

6-8 ounces shitake mushroom or regular brown/white/crimini mushrooms or a mix, brushed clean and roughly chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons white miso

1 tablespoon sesame oil (not toasted) or peanut oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon soy sauce/tamari

 

1. Preheat oven to 375.

 

2. Place the kale and mushrooms in a large bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over vegetables. Toss very well and then spread onto a sheet pan, using a plastic scraper to get all the dressing onto the pan.

 

3. Roast, tossing several times, until tender and just browning, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Charred Zucchini with Zhoug and Feta

zucchini w zhoug feta

Zhoug is an herb and green chile sauce/paste from Yemen but popular in Israel as well and other parts of the Middle East.

zucchini w zhoug prep

 

Serves 4+

 

5-7 small to medium zucchini or other kind of summer squash, washed and trimmed

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1-2 serrano chiles, minced (use the larger quantity if you like more heat), including seeds unless the peppers are very hot in which case you can remove the seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds or 1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil

Salt

2 ounces feta, crumbled (optional)

 

Set your oven to broil.

 

Put the squash on a sheet pan and set about 4-6 inches below the broiler element. Broil, rotating the squash when they turn brown or lightly char. Keep rotating until they are more or less evenly browned and are tender when pierced with the tip of knife. Remove from oven and let cool a bit.

 

If using whole spices, toast the spices in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes until a shade darker and fragrant and toasty smelling. Remove from heat and put in a mortar and let cool.
Mix the herbs, hot peppers, garlic salt and olive oil in a bowl. Coarsely grind the spices with a pestle and add to the herb mixture. Stir well and adjust taste with salt.

 

Slice the roasted squash into 1-inch rounds and  put in a serving dish. Top generously with the zhoug and the feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Black Radish, Carrot, Collard Green and Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts

black radish, carrot, collard apple salad

I love this combination of disparate flavors. Toast the walnuts a bit longer than you might typically–the hint of char is delicious here.

black radish carrot collard salad prep

 

Variations:

  • Use most any root vegetable (or kohlrabi) in place of the black radish–turnips, rutabagas, daikons or any kind of radish will work beautifully.

 

Serves 4

 

2 small-medium black Spanish Radishes, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater

3 medium carrots, scrubbed and grated on the large holes of a box grater

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 bunch tender collard greens, washed, dried and tough stem ends removed, leaves cut in half lengthwise and then rolled up and cut very thinly crosswise

1 large, crunchy apple, cored and finely chopped

Generous 1/2 cup walnuts broken up or roughly chopped

2-3 teaspoons apple cider syrup or honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Put the grated radish and carrot in a salad bowl. Toss well with 1/2 teaspoon salt, I use my hands for this, and let sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients, or at least 5 minutes.

 

Toast the broken up walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing frequently until toasty and almost blackened in spots–be careful with this but a little char is delicious.

 

Mix the apple cider syrup or honey, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the collard greens and apple to the grated vegetables as well as the walnuts. Add dressing and toss well and taste and adjust seasoning. Serve as soon as possible. If you hold off on adding the nuts you can toss it and let sit for 30 minutes or so and just add the nuts when ready to serve.

 

 

Kale and Mustard Green Salad with Peanut Dressing

 

This salad is strong, vivid and almost rich thanks to the peanut dressing. You can use a variety of greens in this flexible template (see Variations below).

 

Variations:

  • Substitute mizuna or napa cabbage
  • Add sorrel, tender collard greens, or arugula, as I did here
  • Cucumbers would be a nice addition

 

Serves 4, generously

 

1/2 bunch kale, well washed and any tough stems trimmed and then cut as thinly as you can

1/2 bunch mustard greens

1-2 medium carrots, grated on the large holes of a box grater (optional—but pretty and a nice sweet addition) and/or a few radishes, grated

¾ cup fresh mint, chopped

3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

 

Peanut/Sesame Dressing:

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoons tahini (optional—I like the combination very much though)

2-3 tablespoons hot water

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon lime juice, plus more to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Salt, to taste (you may not need any at all)

¼ -1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (or more if you want a bit more heat) or 1/2 a jalapeño minced

 

Toss the chopped greens, mint and the peanuts together in a large bowl.

 

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Loosen with a little more hot water if too thick but be sure not to make it too runny or the salad will be watery.

 

Pour two-thirds of the dressing over the salad and toss well, making sure you’re really covering the kale well. You might want to  use your hands–messy but fun and effective. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Ratatouille

 

I love the time of year when I can make ratatouille, when sweet peppers, eggplant, summer squash and tomatoes are all at their peak–usually beginning early August and lasting until mid-to late September. In my cook-with-what-you-have version quantities are easily adapted and the ratios are not critical so scale up or down as needed. It is important to cook some of the vegetables separately so that you don’t crowd the pans and steam them rather than sautéing them. You want the browning and sweetness that comes with direct contact with the hot skillet.

 

It is a rich, stew-like dish in which the vegetables all break down a bit. It is not beautiful but it is GOOD! Serve with some good crusty bread, another salad, a frittata or some such. It’s even better the next day and delicious at room temperature as well.

 

Variations:

  • In a pinch, substitute cilantro, chives, or parsley for the basil

 

Serves 4-6

 

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 large eggplant, diced (no need to peel)

1 onion, cut into large dice

3 medium summer squash, sliced or diced

2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

Handful of torn basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt

Good olive oil for serving

 

1. Heat some olive oil in two large skillets over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers to one pan and the zucchini to the other. Sprinkle all with a bit of salt. Cook both on high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently and then turn down to medium high and continue sautéing until softened and browning just a bit. When the zucchini is just about tender remove it from the pan and reserve.

 

2. Add a bit more oil and add the eggplant and a bit more salt. You can keep the peppers and onions sautéing on medium while the eggplant cooks. When the eggplant is tender and browning, add half of it to the pepper and onion pan and divide the zucchini between the pans–or if you have space put it all in one pan now. Now add the tomato to both (or just the one pan) and bring to a lively simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the tomatoes.

 

3. Add the garlic and basil and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm (but not hot) or at room temperature with a drizzle of good olive oil.

 

Grilled Zucchini with Salsa Verde (Parsley, Lemon, Garlic Sauce)

 

Simple, delicious and beautiful on a hot day, any day, really. You can use other summer squash in place of the zucchini.  I began making this dish for my family when I was in high school and it’s remained a standby.

 

Serves 4 or more as an appetizer

 

3 medium zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced long-ways into planks about 1/2-inch thick or into rounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Salsa Verde

½ bunch parsley, finely chopped or any combination of oregano, basil and parsley

1 medium to large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup good olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped (optional)

 

Toss sliced squash with oil and salt and cook one of three ways:

  • Broil on sheet pan, flipping once browned on one side until slightly browned and tender on both sides
  • Grill on the barbeque
  • Sear in heavy skillet on the stovetop in just a touch of olive oil

 

Mix all the salsa verde ingredients together, taste and adjust seasoning. Then drizzle/spread/toss sauce over squash. Let rest for 15 minutes if you can before serving. Serve at room temperature.