Archive for the ‘salad’ Category

Lemony Barley Salad with Kale Pesto, Tomaisins and Israeli Innovation

July 30, 2014

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This recipe proves how important one ingredient can be, especially if it is a intensely flavored condiment. I spotted this recipe in the August issue of Food and Wine Magazine and it sounded so good: nubbly barley tossed in a lemony kale pesto dressing.

The recipe said that the addition of chopped preserved lemon was “optional,”  so I left that ingredient out and added in lots of fresh lemon juice. Even with using a whole lemon instead of the measly 1 Tbl. of juice the recipe called for, the salad tasted bland, very, very bland. Mostly, the salad had a strong herbal taste from the kale.

I went down to Sarah’s Tent in Deal, New Jersey to rectify the situation. I came home with a pint of preserved lemon slices, floating in spicy oil. I went straight to the kitchen and pulled out the leftover salad and tried to fix it by adding in the lemon and also some craisins.

The recipe called for currants, but I felt the recipe needed a more acidic dried fruit. Ideally, I would have added in these dried grape tomatoes that my sister-in-law brought back from Israel. They look like giant craisins, but taste like really, really sweet tomatoes. Those would have been perfect in this salad.

Not to digress too much, but these Israeli dried tomatoes are astonishing. My sister-in-law told me that they have no added sugar. They were so super candy sweet that I just didn’t believe her.

I’m still not sure that I believe it, but I looked online and found out that there is something called the Tomaccio, the “sweet raisin tomato.” Bred in Israel from wild Peruvian tomatoes, the Tomaccio is super sweet, so sweet that it turns into something like a raisin when it is dried.  It took Israeli nursery Hishtil twelve years to breed this variety of tomato. Another Israeli company, 2Macho (pronounced the same as Tomaccio?) created another kind of cherry tomato raisin.  And yet another Israeli company, Tomaisin, bred a cherry tomato that dries on the vine and has twice the sweetness of regular tomatoes (see also this).

On top of being really sweet and having a pleasant raisin texture, these tomaisins are supposed to have much more lycopene than regular tomatoes. Yummy and healthy–my favorite combination.

So, anyway, back to the barley salad. I added in the chopped preserved lemon and, WOW! The flavor of the salad went from blah to something that exploded with spicy lemony flavor. This is a salad to serve at a fancy simcha because the colors are beautiful, the texture is very appealing and the flavor is intense.

The recipe for this salad was contributed to Food and Wine by up and coming chef Jessica Koslow, of Sqirl. The key to its success is aggressive seasoning.

Bonus: Someone else found this salad a bit bland without the preserved lemon (“somehow kale plus olive oil and a bit of salt and lemon was just sort of meh.”). Here is how Lynne Ireland jazzed it up.

Another bonus: the preserved lemons I bought were in slices, seasoned with paprika, hot pepper (other spices?) and oil. Here is a similar sounding recipe from chef Shaya Klechevsky.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Lentils and Dates

July 30, 2014

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If you want a main dish for the Nine Days that is hearty and filling, but not laden with dairy products, consider this salad. It is packed with super nutritious ingredients like lentils, spinach, tahina, dates, almonds and cauliflower.  It has a small amount of olive oil and only a teaspoon of honey. It feels light because it is a salad, but the lentils, coated with a tahina dressing, give it an almost meaty heft that will leave you completely sated.

It is the kind of unusual and exciting combination of ingredients that I usually associate with an Ottolenghi recipe, but this salad comes from Food and Wine Magazine contributors David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. David and Luise are a Stockholm-based couple that have a beautiful vegetarian blog called Green Kitchen Stories.

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Broccoli Rabe Pesto Pasta with Heirloom Grape Tomatoes

July 8, 2014

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Pesto made with broccoli rabe is pretty popular and it is also super nutritious. You can serve the pesto as a dip or spread for bread instead of as a sauce for pasta. I followed a recipe from Mario Batali’s Molto Gusto. If you follow the link, you will not only find the recipe, but a clip of Mario demonstrating its preparation along with that of two other pasta recipes (pasta with pureed red peppers and goat cheese and pasta with Swiss chard).

The original recipe called for orecchiette pasta, but I substituted farfalle and added in some heirloom grape tomatoes. Later, I served leftovers as a salad, with the addition of more blanched broccoli rabe and some cannellini beans.

The pesto is exceptionally good. I made twice as much pesto as I needed for the pasta, and I have been enjoying leftovers spread onto challah along with lemon chummus.

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Char-Grilled Broccoli with Red Pepper, Garlic and Almonds

September 25, 2013

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This broccoli salad/side dish is a signature dish at Ottolenghi. It comes to Ottolenghi from a Tel Aviv restaurant where Sami Tamimi used to work. The original recipe called for mild chili peppers, which I couldn’t find, so I used red bell peppers and sprinkled over a little hot sauce.

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Wordless Wednesday: Ottolengi Mixed Bean Salad

September 4, 2013

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Another good salad for simanin (lubia), this comes from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It also appeared in Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian. For American measurements and a lower calorie Weight Watcher’s version of the dish, go here.

It is typical Ottolenghi: vibrant melange of vegetables, exploding with flavor from creative use of spices and herbs: Green beans, roasted red pepper, cumin seeds, fried garlic, capers, lemon zest, parsley and scallions.

Other interesting choices from this book for Rosh Hashana:

Chraimeh (fish in spicy red sauce)
Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar
Baby Spinach Salad with Date and Almonds (well, leave out the almonds)

Easy Honey Lime Black-Eyed Pea Salad

September 3, 2013

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Want a simple black-eyed pea salad recipe for Rosh Hashana?

Try this:

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Umami Sauce

July 18, 2013

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I have made batch after batch of this creamy sauce, adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil’s cookbook True Food, and never tire of it.  I have used it as a salad dressing, but it can also be used to enhance the flavor of ground beef, roasted fish, steamed vegetables and any number of other uses (like this recipe for stir-fried Brussels sprouts,  or stuffed potatoes with broccoli.

It is super creamy and thick, pungent with garlic, with a rich savoriness. The thickness does not come from mayonnaise or oil, but mostly from nutritional yeast, a powerhouse source of vitamins, minerals and protein.

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Weequahic Salad (Claremont Salad or Health Salad)

July 4, 2013

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This was a popular salad when I was growing up. The recipe supposedly comes from the legendary Weequahic Diner in Newark, New Jersey. The owners of the Weequahic, the Baumans, later operated the Claremont Diner in Verona. At both diners, complimentary bowls of this salad were offered to customers when they were first seated.

From the late thirties through the early sixties, the Weequahic Diner was a vital part of the scene in the Jewish section of Newark known as Weequahic. The Claremont stayed in business until fairly recently. After the original Verona location burned down in a fire, the diner was relocated to Clifton were it survived long enough to  be featured in an episode of The Sopranos before being torn down to make way for an auto dealership.

Part of the appeal of the salad is this little bit of New Jersey lore. Mostly, though, my mom and her friends liked to serve this salad in the sixties and seventies because it was delicious, easy to make and kept extremely well.

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Spinach Quinoa Tabbouleh

June 9, 2013

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Did you know that you can sometimes substitute spinach, kale or Swiss chard for parsley? Well, apparently, you can.

I tried making kale pesto a while back and loved it (though I have yet to post about it). This week’s Shabbos salad was a tabbouleh-like mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa and finely minced baby spinach. Right before serving, I tossed in some diced avocado.

The original recipe was a cilantro chickpea salad from Heather’s Dish that was spotted on Oh She Glows by Arielle of The Diva Dish who added in quinoa, avocado, lemon juice and cherry tomatoes to make Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad. I went back to lime juice, added in cucumbers, and removed the cilantro to make a kind of tabbouleh.

Last week, my husband said the farro salad was the best salad ever, and now his vote is for the tabbouleh. So light, so refreshing, so perfect for summer.

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Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Green Beans

June 2, 2013

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I have been wanting to experiment with farro for quite some time. Of course, when I finally found some farro in the supermarket, I couldn’t remember where I had seen interesting recipes using it.

I wanted a cold farro salad for Shabbos, preferably using the green beans and cremini mushrooms I already had on hand.  A little googling yielded not one, but two Green Bean and Mushroom Farro salad recipes (Closet Cooking and Melissa Kelley in Food and Wine). I went with the recipe that called for roasting the green beans and mushrooms and made a few changes (doubling the amount of mushrooms and roasting the vegetable with balsamic vinaigrette instead of just oil, salt and pepper).

The final salad was intensely savory, with a satisfyingly hearty chewiness from the farro, string beans and mushrooms. The bitterness and crunch of walnuts added a nice counterpoint, but the salad works without the nuts, too.

This is meant to be served cold, but it would also be lovely as a warm pilaf. If you don’t have farro, I think that barley would make a decent substitute, as it has a similar texture. This is something I would definitely consider making for Thanksgiving, as the flavor combination makes me think of the classic green bean casserole.

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