Salads

Coleslaw

Even though it’s still August, I’ve already mentally transitioned to fall cooking. I’m starting to crave those hearty soups and stews and slow cooked food. But I can’t possibly transition to fall recipes yet without posting one of my favorite summer recipes: coleslaw.

Now, there are many things I despise about the typical midwestern diet, but I grew up eating creamy coleslaw, and I still love it. What I don’t love are the bottled coleslaw dressings sold at the grocery store or recipes that include mostly mayonnaise. Instead I use Greek yogurt and just a touch of mayo (which you could easily leave out, if you wish). And my secret ingredient? Old Bay Seasoning. Yes, that’s the stuff typically used in crab cakes, but trust me: it adds a wonderful touch to this salad.

There is one down side to this recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, it’s going to be a lot more time consuming, and you’re going to need some mean knife skills. A large food processor, however, makes the salad quick and easy to make. I use two different blades. One of the large slicing blades for the cabbage (I like thick shreds) and the small shredding blade for the carrots. Use whatever you have available.

slaw-1

And now, the recipe. Below are instructions for about 2 servings of slaw.

Begin by whisking the following ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl:

1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of mayo
1 teaspoon of mustard (either stone ground or Dijon)
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
a few good shakes of Old Bay Seasoning (go by taste)
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder or fresh garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley (optional)

Mix it all together and set aside.

Next, cut off about a quarter of a small head of green cabbage. (Or a mixture of green and purple cabbage. The purple cabbage really makes a gorgeous slaw.) Once shredded, it’ll be about 2-3 cups. Also, shred 2 carrots.

Dump the shredded cabbage and carrots into the same mixing bowl that has the yogurt dressing. Using two spoons or forks, toss the veggies with the dressing until the dressing is evenly mixed with the veggies. Taste for seasoning. You can serve it immediately or let it sit in the refrigerator. It’s wonderful the next day as well, so it’s worth making extra. Enjoy!

slaw-2

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Warm Potato Salad with Mustard and Dill

I love potato salad in all of its glorious forms. I grew up eating two different kinds of potato salads: the typical midwest version that’s covered in mayo and has hard boiled eggs mixed in (and sometimes bacon), and also my great-grandmother’s Italian version, which has an olive oil-based dressing, bacon, and chives.  Though I love both, in recent years, I discovered another one that I love just as well. The one I will describe below I consider to be more of a French-style potato salad. It’s wonderful warm but can be served chilled as well. And the farmers’ market has wonderful red-skinned potatoes right now, so it’s a perfect time to make this salad.

Potato

Start by boiling:

1 pound of red skinned potatoes, scrubbed clean and quartered

Boil them in enough water so that they’re covered by about an inch of water. Don’t boil them in too much water, for they’ll loose their flavor. And don’t forget to salt the water.

In the meantime, select a bowl large enough to not only hold all of the potatoes, but also one that has room enough for you to stir the potatoes without making a mess all over the counter. In the bottom of the bowl, whisk together:

1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard
about 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
a handful of fresh dill, chopped*
a dash of paprika
salt and pepper

Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain them and then add them directly to the bowl with the mustard dressing. Toss the potatoes with the dressing. Since they are steaming hot, the potatoes will absorb the mustard and create a wonderful fragrance. While they are still steaming hot, add:

a few splashes of vinegar (champagne, red-wine, and apple cider all work well)

Also add more olive oil, if need be, and taste to see if they need more salt, pepper or mustard.

Serve while it’s still warm.

*The dill in the above photo is from my little apartment balcony herb garden. That’s the wonderful thing about herbs. You don’t need a lot of space to grow them, and one plant will give you wonderful herbs all summer.

 

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Green Beans with a Mustard Dressing

When I was 14 years old, I visited New Orleans. It was a trip that probably started my obsession with food. One of the restaurants we went to was Court of Two Sisters, where I had asparagus with some sort of a mustard sauce. That mustard sauce has stuck with me during all of these years, and countless times I’ve tried to copy it. At this point, I have no idea what it originally tasted like or what was in it, but this dressing strongly reminds me of the dish, nonetheless.

green beans

Start with a large enough bowl to hold all of the green beans (in this case, about 3/4 of a pound). In the bottom of the bowl, whisk together:

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced or finely grated
about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (it’s strong, so start with a little. It’s easier to add than to take away). 
salt and pepper

Once it’s all whisked together, add enough extra virgin olive oil to thin out the mustard.

Next cook the green beans. Either steam them or boil them. Either way, cook them just for a couple minutes so that they still have a nice crunch to them and a nice bright green color. (If you boil them, use just enough water to cover them.)

Once the green beans are done, give the mustard dressing a quick whisk and then add the green beans right into the bowl. Add:

1/2 cup of slithered almonds (optional)

Toss it all together. Taste the green beans and adjust the salt. If the dressing is too strong, add more olive oil.

Top with freshly ground pepper and serve.

green beans2

This dish pairs well with Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Mascarpone.

 

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Broccoli, Kohlrabi, and Kale Salad

This is spring/early summer in a bowl. It’s crunchy, it’s creamy, it’s kind of like a slaw but also kind of like a salad. And it’s all farmers’ market veggies.

And as you may know from my past posts, when it comes to salads, I don’t measure. How much of each vegetable is up to you. Here’s what I used:

Broccoli, chopped
Kohlrabi, peeled and diced
Micro Kale
Nappa Cabbage, chopped
Red Onion, finely chopped

salad2

And as for the dressing, this is the approximate measurements:

1 cub of Greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons mayo (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced or garlic powder
parprika
celery seed
salt and pepper

Mix the dressing in the bowl first and then toss with the veggies. If you want it to be vegan, just make an olive oil and vinegar dressing instead of the yogurt dressing.

salad

 

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Broccoli Kale Salad

broccoli kale

I love salads, but I sometimes get bored with the average romaine lettuce salad. My solution: remove the lettuce and focus on other vegetables. This particular salad is nice for the winter months when fresh, local lettuce is not available. The main focus is the broccoli, which is a winter vegetable.  And a warning to all: I mentioned once before that I don’t always measure. Well, I never measure when making a salad. So here are the ingredients I used:

Broccoli, chopped in small pieces

Carrots, shredded

Kale (any kind), finely chopped in a food processor until it looks like small pieces of parsley

Red Onion, diced

Walnuts, chopped in small pieces

How much of each one is really a personal preference. The bulk of the salad should be the broccoli. Raw kale can be tough and hard to chew, so finely chopping it in a food processor is key.

As for the dressing, if you want to make this vegan, just add some olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Sometimes I want a creamy dressing, so I make a Greek yogurt dressing:

about 1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon Stone Ground Mustard (read the label! Not all stone ground mustards are equal. Look for one that doesn’t have artificial flavors. It should simply be distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt and spices (or something similar)).

1 teaspoon Mayonnaise (optional. Make sure it’s good quality.)

a couple splashes of Apple Cider Vinegar (add a little bit at a time and keep tasting until the acidity level is where you want it to be)

And then, to taste:

Garlic Powder 

Celery Seed

Salt and Pepper

Paprika

And there ya go! A hearty, wonderful salad to help you get through the day. Experiment, make it your own. Enjoy.

 

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