I can’t figure how this happens, but occasionally there’s an extra piece of salmon at our house–typically from a dinner party. Usually, the following night, I throw it in the food processor with cheese, herbs, and garlic; we spread it on crackers or scoop it up with fresh vegetables and have it with a glass of wine. Other times it’s chopped and added to some simple greens because who doesn’t like that instant sort of dinner? #justaddvinaigretteContinue reading
I’m not sure there’s anything like a summer salad that appears to be a Niçoise-Caprese mix. It’s the best of summer flavors combined and makes you feel as if you’re in Italy and France at the same time. Especially if you’ve added grilled eggplant and zucchini along with a lemon-basil vinaigrette.
I never pass the fish and seafood in the store without seeing if something’s on the fire sale. $9 OFF a pound is a fire sale for fresh tuna. It means they have to get rid of it that day, preferably immediately. I’m willing to eat that tuna. I’m happy to run home and cook it straight away. Here’s what I did with it,which was all dependent on what I had in the fridge and on the counter after a visit to the market at the Capitol in Saint Paul:
grilled tuna salad with late summer vegetables &
spicy lemon-basil vinaigrette
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds or lengthwise into1/4″ thick slices
- 2 3/4-inch slices of a very large yellow onion
- 2 6-8 ounce thick tuna steaks
- 1/2 cup each cherry tomatoes and boccocini (small mozzarella balls)–about 12 each
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup Nicoise or kalamata olives
- Juice of half-lemon
- Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- generous pinch crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons shallot, sliced
- 3 tablespoons basil julienne, divided
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Festive and healthy at the same time is a winning combination. While we often think of holiday meals leaning toward big hunks of meat and baked desserts, it may be just the time we should be thinking of cutting a bit here and there. If you’d like a gorgeous December salad that’s colorful and filling without being heavy, try this little plate of love. There’s plenty of shrimp (I bought cooked shrimp for ease of preparation) for those who need visible protein, but it’s off-set by the addition of lots high-fiber quinoa, green apples, red pomegranate seeds, cucumber, fresh cranberries, clementines, and spinach–to say nothing of the blue cheese grace notes. A light orange vinaigrette spiked with a bit of crushed red pepper tops it all. You could add some steamed, chopped asparagus or green beans, I think, but the spinach gives you lots of green. I served a little bread and butter with this salad to round out the meal. Try this:
|1.Make the quinoa: 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 25 minutes until tender. Cool at least a few minutes (stir to cool more quickly) before adding to salad. You’ll have leftover quinoa for soup or breakfast.|
|3.Chop 1/2 an at least partially peeled cucumber and 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, optional.|
4. Slice thinly an unpeeled Granny Smith apple. Peel two clementines (or one orange) and separate them into segments.
|Here I began to mix just a small portion of the salad to try it out.||Hey, I liked it!|
5. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup cooled quinoa with 2 cups fresh spinach, and the marinated shrimp.
6. Gently stir in the cucumber, cranberries, apple slices, and clementines. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper.
7. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad well. Squeeze just a bit of lime juice over everything. Taste and adjust seasonings. You could add another pinch of crushed red pepper if you like a bit of heat.
8. Spoon the salad out onto a large serving platter and garnish with 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds and 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese. (2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans–optional) Serve immediately and pass the pepper grinder at the table.
Ingredients list: 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 apple, 2 clementines or 1 orange, 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, 1/2 cucumber, 1/4 cup fresh cranberries (optional), Juice of one orange, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 2 T white wine vinegar, 1/2 lime, walnuts or pecans (optional), 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper.
*If you like a sharper vinaigrette, use sherry vinegar or add 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard.
This vinaigrette is mild so that the fruit all speaks for itself.
Want to bring this a potluck? Put the sliced apples in with the shrimp and vinaigrette to keep them from browning. Bring the vinaigrette separately and dress the salad right before serving.
Wine: I liked this with a glass of California Chardonnay, but an Oregon Pinot Blanc might drink beautifully. I just sent a half-case of Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc for a Christmas gift. It might not be too late for you to do it, though the weather could be turning dicey for shipping. At $18 per bottle, it’s a beautiful northwest winery steal even if they have to wait until spring for delivery.
quinoa…It’s really a seed related to spinach or tumbleweed (rather than a grain) that can be traced back to ancient Peru…and yes, it’s gluten free.
Low in calories and fat, quinoa is high in carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. While it cooks in just about the same time and same way as white rice (maybe a few minutes longer), it also has close to the same amount of calories. A good source of all the amino acids, iron, potassium, and magnesium, quinoa also offers a bit of zinc– about 1/4 of the daily allowance for women.
Try quinoa as tasty hot breakfast cereal with maple syrup and hot milk, or as a good foil for spicy hot chili. This grain is luscious in salads and can sub for couscous or even rice in many places. On it’s own or nestled next to your chop, add a little butter, salt and pepper and it’s ready. Read all about quinoa here.
I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: Read more about tasty quinoa at these sites:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
- We’d like to have you as part of the group. Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
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These nuts are whipped up in no time. A bit of beaten egg white, some sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne and they’re into a low oven for an hour or so. Great gifts, we also serve them all throughout the season as a nibble with drinks or a salad topping. (Original recipe from my good cook and sister Helen…I’ve tinkered and damned it into submission over the years.)
this week on dinnerplace (cooking for one)
Make 6, just 6, Cornbread Muffins
Sing a new song,
|Out of sight, out of mind.|
The blog is on vacation.
So are the the puppies.
But until we all return, why don’t you make a 10-minute Salmon Supper I made for myself last night? I made enough for two meals, so I didn’t have to cook tonight. There are still enough green beans for my lunch tomorrow.
I write two very fun food blogs and I rarely blog the same recipe on both; today I am. On Dinner Place, I’ve been occasionally experimenting with recipes that are more photos than text. See what you think.
grilled salmon with balsamic-honey sauce and green beans vinaigrette serves 2-3
|Meanwhile, cook clipped package of haricots verts in microwave @ full power 2-3 minutes.|
|Make vinaigrette for beans: Whisk together in a medium bowl 1T white wine vinegar with 1/4 t each salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, Dijon-style mustard. Then whisk in 2T olive oil, 1 T at a time until thickened or emulsified.|
|Pour the beans carefully (HOT) into bowl and toss w/ vinaigrette. Grate a bit of lemon zest on top. Taste and re-season if necessary.|
Make the sauce for the fish like this: In a small bowl, mix well together 2T balsamic vinegar and 2t honey with a good pinch of black pepper. Another sauce I like is fig jam mixed with balsamic vinegar– about 2T jam to 1T balsamic, with some crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt.
To serve: Place a piece of cooked fish on each plate and drizzle with the sauce. Add the green beans and serve hot.
Wrap well the second piece of fish (if not using) and store in frig; keeps one day. Store beans in the bowl, covered, and refrigerated. Use within 2-3 days.
Wine? I typically like Oregon Pinot Noir with salmon, but this prep calls for a bit bigger wine, so go with an Australian Shiraz or a California Cab.
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
Tucker loves to watch the neighbors come to and from The Wine Thief and The Ale Jail. Gabby is more into, “Where’s the ball or what’s Mom doing?”
Below: my south garden. Summer in St. Paul!
|columbines like it here|
|my favorite color rose|
When I come back, I’ll be ready to get into the next group-blogging adventure:
Can’t wait to cook for you, but meantime read this article on summer cookbooks….
Sing a new song,
Necessity is the mother of invention.
As is a determination to use what’s available in the larder.
Tonight, I had probably half a pound roasted pork loin and a nice dish of my favorite barbeque sauce leftover from a birthday dinner for my friend, Lani. I had, however, eaten the side that went with it for lunch. Of course I knew what I was doing, but I love toasted Israeli couscous with vegetables.
If this were in your fridge, you’d heat it up for lunch, too. Along with a nice big shard of parm Lani brought over Friday night as a “coming to dinner” gift. Yow.
Anyway, when it came time for dinner tonight (and we are eating outside every night now), it was kind of, “Well, I know what half of it is.” The rest I had to throw my eyes around the kitchen for. Bad grammar, too. I spy:
- sweet potatoes
- Idaho potatoes
- fresh tarragon (out the back door)
- red bell pepper (in the frig)
And what to with it? My first idea was to grill the potatoes and make a salad, but I didn’t want to heat the stove long enough for my big cast iron grill. It was warm. Dave was busy upstairs; I decided to not have him pull out the big Weber grill outdoors for me. My 14″ saute pan was on the stove clean from yesterday’s frittata. A little olive oil, a little chop, and the salad began. Here’s how:
warm two-potato salad with mustard-tarragon vinaigrette 4 servings for a side (2 for a main course)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon each fresh ground black pepper and crushed red pepper
- 1 each: large Idaho and sweet potato, medium diced (peel sweet potato only)
- 1 small head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 1 cup)
- 1 large red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 shallot (slice half for salad; mince the other half for vinaigrette)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons grated aged Gouda cheese or Parmesan cheese
Serve warm or at room temperature.
- 1/2 large shallot, minced (see above-you’ll use other half with potatoes)
- 2T white wine vinegar
- 1/2 t Dijon mustard
- 1T minced fresh tarragon (or 1 t dried)
- pinch salt and pepper
- 4T olive oil
Done just in time to see an episode of Downton Abbey. (I got Season 2 for Mother’s Day.)
And talk to my daughter for a while. I miss her so; she’s out doing her pastor thing in Niagra Falls. Thanks, God.
on the dinnerplace blog right now:
|Cranberry-Blueberry Orange Muffins|
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
|Miss Gab waiting for me to be done cooking.|
|On a walk around Lake Como–heard music. Looked up to see a wedding in process. Stopped yelling at dogs immediately!|
|Another Lake Como View–Can’t see, but a turtle family sunning on rocks.|
|If you liked today’s post, you might like this– French Potato Salad with Vegetables|
Last Friday night was a use-what’s-on-hand night:
- The first of the Minnesota corn (very tiny kernels, but yummy)
- One of the pork tenderloins I’d gotten on sale at Kowalski’s (froze 4 of them in April)
- Salad makings that wouldn’t be good the next day. I sautéed the greens with garlic and lots of fresh herbs:
|My own garden herbs: marjoram, sage, chives, tarragon, basil, and thyme.|
|I added raisins and chopped cashews to the sautéed greens.|
|The first of our tomatoes went in at the end.|
Despite heat and humidity that all Minnesota is ready to get rid of, we ate outdoors under our big maple tree that reaches toward the house and garage, creating a canopy to cover the patio. That soft, shady spot is often the coolest place anywhere and you can bet I’ve looked. Along with everyone else on Wheeler Street.
Next night, a quick look-see in the frig assured me I had enough to throw together some sort of salad as I had a snake squash (can’t find right name) from my victory garden neighbor:
|Tastes like a cross between a mild zucchini and yellow (summer) squash.|
Some asparagus (now out of season, but still my favorite) was sagging in there and a little bit of the pork tenderloin called me. What really appealed was the rest of my fresh cheese (blogged at Dinner Place), which I knew would fry. Could there be anything bad about fried cheese?
|Alyce’s 2-1 cheese|
What about a salad of greens, sautéed squash and asparagus, with avocado, blueberries, and thinly sliced pork tenderloin topped with fried cheese? With a perky, ramped up orange vinaigrette? I was sold. Moral of story: make up your salad as you go along.
|I cooked the squash and asparagus in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, and set that aside.|
|Sliced up my avocado. Creamy and fatty, it would be a good foil for my spicy greens.|
|Blueberries for color, texture, contrast of taste, and sweetness.|
|About 3-4 oz cooked pork tenderloin–or how much of whatever meat you have.|
|My homemade cheese fried in olive oil and black pepper. Dave was so excited.|
Fried Cheese Snake Squash Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
MAKE YOUR VINAIGRETTE FIRST:
Place the following ingredients in a small jam jar, close tightly with lid, and shake well until emulsified. I like to do this to “America” from West Side Story: Shake to this rhythm..123,123, 1—2—3—. (Thanks, Leonard Bernstein.) Set aside while you make the salad.
- 1T fresh orange juice
- 1/4t kosher salt
- 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper
- 1/2 t honey
- 1/2-1 t minced shallot (or garlic)
- 2T extra virgin olive oil.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- 2 T olive oil, divided
- 1 cup each: sliced zucchini (or snake or summer squash) and chopped asparagus (or green beans)
- Kernels from 1 ear of fresh cooked corn (you can cook it in unshucked in the microwave.)
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 6-8 cups baby greens, your choice
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice, optional
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts chopped
- 2-4 ounces sliced, cooked pork tenderloin, steak or chicken
- 2T fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt and Freshly ground pepper
- 6-8 small pieces fresh cheese
- Orange vinaigrette (above)
- In a large skillet, sauté squash and asparagus in oil over medium heat for five minutes. Dust with salt and pepper.
- Remove veggies from pan and place in a large bowl. (Keep pan out; you’ll use it for the cheese)
- To the squash and asparagus, add the corn, chopped avocado, blueberries, walnuts and pork, keeping the ingredients at the center of the bowl.
- Around the pile of veggies and meat, place the salad greens and fresh herbs.
- Set aside or in refrigerator.
- In the skillet, pour another tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat once more. Grind some black pepper into the oil as the pan heats. Place the cheese slices in the pan and cook a few minutes or until nicely browned. Turn carefully with a spatula and let the other side brown.
- Take the salad and drizzle with the lemon juice. Dust the whole thing with some salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with the browned cheese.
- Eat immediately. Won’t keep.
- Take downstairs and watch movies.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
|On the wall ladies’ room in restaurant The Angry Trout|
|In our south garden|
|Heavy, heavy hydrangeas after rain– next to drive|
|As my mom would say, “Morning, Glory.”|
|This incredible flower showed up in my corner garden yesterday.
My pharmacist’s assistant tells me this is a perennial hibiscus.
|I’ve been making blueberry jam, actually blueberry-orange conserve.|
Hot and muggy. Lots of storms and rain. Tomatoes are coming. The first ones weren’t so good. Wonder if it’s like pancakes–throw out the first ones?
Sing a new song; enjoy August,