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Edamame Succotash

28 Mar

Once upon a time, when I still worked in an office, the HR people brought in a chef who worked on behalf of our health insurer so that he could give us tips on healthy eating. He not only gave us the healthy eating tips — presumably this would lower our insurer’s cost for our medical care — but he also did a cooking demo and left us with some great recipes. This salad wowed everyone, and I’ve made it several times since. It’s got an interesting combination of flavors  and all the different colors make it very pretty. And it’s very easy to make if you start with frozen edamame and corn and jarred peppers!

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango, cubed
1 package (16 oz.) frozen shelled edamame, thawed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup raw or roasted red peppers, diced (you can use jarred roasted red peppers)
2 Tbs. Thai sweet red chili sauce
⅛– ¼ tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbs. mirin or seasoned rice vinegar
1½ Tbs. toasted sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the mango, edamame, corn, cranberries and peppers in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the chili sauce, curry paste, vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.

Serves 6 to 8

Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Salad

6 Oct

Kale salad with apple and bulgurHere’s a very pretty and tasty fall salad recipe. The original was called “Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Tabbouleh.” I don’t know what the actual definition of tabbouleh is, but since it doesn’t have bulghur, parsley or mint, I thought that was a little confusing — although the ground walnuts have a somewhat bulghur-like bite.

The original also didn’t include “massaging” the kale, but ever since I started making my Massaged Kale Salad, I’ve been using this technique with all kale salads. It softens the kale and I think makes it a little less bitter.

Ingredients:

1 red onion
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. ground sumac (available in Middle Eastern groceries)
½  tsp. kosher salt
2 cups (packed) shredded, stemmed kale leaves
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
cup diced apple
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. salt

Directions:

First make the sumac onions. Thinly slice the red onion,  add 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. ground sumac and ½ tsp. kosher salt and toss to combine. Set aside.

Add 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. lemon juice to the kale in a large bowl and “massage” the kale with your hands for a few minutes until the leaves soften a bit and turn glossy.

Combine a quarter-cup of the sumac onions with the rest of the ingredients and toss well to combine.

Serve immediately or within a few hours.

(Keep any remaining sumac onions in the fridge and use as an ingredient in a green tossed salad.)

Serves 4 to 6

Fresh Corn Salsa

8 Sep

Corn salsaWell, you could make this with frozen or canned corn, but it’s SO much better with fresh, and that’s SO easy to get right now that there’s no excuse.

This is a very easy dish to make, especially if you have a “corn zipper” tool to remove the corn from the cob. Leftovers will last about a week in the fridge.

Double the recipe if you’re serving a lot of people or taking this dish to a potluck.

Here’s a trick for cooking the corn easily:

Put it in the microwave, husks, silks and all, and nuke for 4 minutes at high for one ear or 8 minutes for two (don’t cook more than two at a time). When it’s done, cut about an inch off each ear above any stalk on the bottom. Then, starting at the top of the ear, squeeze gently and the corn will slide right out of the husks, without any silk (or very little) attached. You will probably need a potholder to do the squeezing, because the ear will be quite hot.

Ingredients:

Cooked fresh corn from 2 – 3 cobs
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
1 small onion, preferably red, chopped fine
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice (or lemon juice if you don’t have lime)
1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Allow flavors to mingle for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Broccoli-Cheese Salad

23 Jun

Broccoli-Cheese SaladI first encountered this salad at a potluck. Everyone was raving about it, but I didn’t eat it because it included bacon. But I looked for a recipe online, figuring I could substitute soy baco bits.

I found this one on a site called BellaOnline and altered it a bit. The original recipe calls for 4 slices of bacon, which we obviously don’t use in a kosher kitchen. It also called for mozzarella cheese, which I found rather tasteless, so I substituted cheddar. And I use about half the amount of dressing called for in the original, which is plenty (my quantities are what I list here).

If you’re concerned about the sugar, you can substitute Splenda, which I have done with no ill effect on the taste.

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli
1 small onion
1 hard-boiled egg
½ cup soy “bacon” bits
1 cup shredded cheese
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar

Directions:

Finely chop the broccoli, onion and hard-boiled egg. If you use a food processor for this (a good idea), do the vegetables first and add the egg at the end for a few pulses.

Mix in the cheese and “bacon” bits.

Make a dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until the sugar is dissolved. Mix the dressing into the broccoli mixture.

Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

 

Avocado salad

26 May

avocado saladAvocadoes were on sale this week, so it was a good opportunity to make this yummy salad. I would say it’s very easy, but it’s kind of a pain cubing four avocados. It’s well worth the effort, though!

You can tell an avocado is ripe when the skin is very dark, almost black, and it has some “give” to it. But don’t wait till it’s too soft, or the flesh will be mushy and may even turn black.

It looks like there’s no red onion in this photo. If you don’t have red you can cheat and use a regular ol’ yellow onion. But red looks prettier.

Ingredients:

4 or 5 ripe avocados (the small “Hass” type)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 can hearts of palm, drained
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. salt or more to taste
black pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice each avocado lengthwise, and twist to open it. Remove the pit. (I do this by sticking a knife into the pit and pulling it out, probably not the safest method.)

Cut the avocado into cubes by slicing lengthwise and widthwise while it’s still in the skin; then use a tablespoon to scoop out the cubes into a large bowl. Scrape any avocado meat that remains into the bowl as well.

Cut each grape or cherry tomato in half, unless they are very small, and add to the bowl.

If your hearts of palm aren’t already sliced or in pieces, slice them and add to the bowl.

Add the chopped onion.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and add just enough mayonnaise to hold the ingredients together. The avocado is very moist and also full of oil, so you won’t need much mayo.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you serve on individual plates (rather than letter people help themslves), it looks nice on top of a lettuce leaf.

Serves 4 to 6

 

Warm Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

28 Oct

warm lentil saladHere’a nice recipe that appeared recently in the New York Times.

You can cook the lentils up to four days ahead and store them in the fridge. Bring the lentils back to a simmer before proceeding with the recipe.

You can serve it as a main dish for a light meal.This recipe makes quite a lot. We halved it for the two of us and still had some leftover.

If you can’t spot the chives and/or parsley in the photo, that’s because I forgot to add them at the end. The dish would probably have been even tastier if I hadn’t left them out!

Ingredients:

2 cups (14 oz.) green, brown or black lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 small or ½ large onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
¼ cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
| cup broth from the lentils
3 to 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Black pepper to taste
¼ cup minced chives or parsley or both
2 cups wild or baby arugula, or mixed greens

Directions:

In a medium pot, combine the lentils, onion, two of the garlic cloves and the bay leaf with 6 cups of water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.

Add salt to taste, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until lentils are cooked through but still have some texture (they should not be mushy). Taste and adjust the salt.

Using tongs, remove onion and bay leaf (though the onion may fall apart!)

In a small bowl mix together the vinegar, remaining garlic, salt to taste and olive oil. Set aside.

Place a strainer over a large bowl and drain the lentils. Reserve ¼ cup of the broth. Return the lentils to the pot.

Whisk the reserved broth into the dressing. Stir the dressing into the lentils. Add the goat cheese and stir until it melts into the lentils. Season to taste with pepper and stir in the herbs.

Line a platter, salad plates or wide bowls with the arugula or greens and top with the lentils. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6

The Best Potato Salad

8 Jul

Potato saladI love my homemade potato salad, and it’s not hard to make!

First some tips about the potatoes. It’s best to use a waxy thin-skinned type like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, or small “new” potatoes. If you do, you can keep the skins on when you cut them up for the salad, and they hold their shape better than baking potatoes. If all you have is baking potatoes, don’t worry. Boil the potatoes, and then peel them as soon as they’re cooked — the skin will zip right off.

And here’s a foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs, for those of you who may say you can’t even boil an egg. It works for any number of eggs, as long as they’re in a single layer in the pot. Cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a full, rolling boil. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let them sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and place  immediately in ice water to cover, until the eggs are cool.

This method cooks the eggs completely without giving you that unattractive gray ring around the yolk. What this method doesn’t do is make the eggs easy to peel. The ice-water bath helps a bit, but if eggs are hard to peel it’s usually because they’re too fresh! Really fresh eggs don’t have that little air pocket that develops between the white and the shell. For hard-boiled eggs, it’s best to use eggs that have been in your fridge at least a week after purchase.

Ingredients:

1 lb. waxy potatoes, such as red or Yukon Gold
1 hard-boiled egg
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large or 2 small scallions, sliced (or use 2 Tbs. minced red onion)
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
½ tsp. celery seed
½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
black pepper to taste
paprika

Directions:

Wash the potatoes and cut off any imperfections but don’t peel them.
Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 or 20 minutes (test by sticking a knife into the largest potato).

Rinse the potatoes in cold water, drain completely, and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Chop the hard-boiled egg and add to the potatoes along with the sliced celery and scallion. Add the celery seed, salt and pepper.

Combine the vinegar and the mayonnaise and mix well, then pour the mixture over the potatoes and stir well.

If the potato salad seems too dry, add a little more mayo and vinegar in the same proportions (twice as much mayo as vinegar). Taste, and correct the seasoning if necessary.

Sprinkle the top with paprika to add a dash of color.

Serves 6