Tag Archives: salad

A Salad A Day

Here we are months away before we dig through the bottom of our closets for those bathing suites we shoved back there just a year ago. Another year older another year wider. The best we can do is take advantage of the beautiful spring time vegetables and eat a salad. Yes that’s right a salad. That stale word on every dieters list of acceptable meals, right next to tuna fish and cottage cheese. I personally used to hate salads until I met Salad of the Day by Georgeanne Brennan. The book has 365 recipes divided into seasons. And the layout and photography are quite intriguing as well.  Nothing is more annoying than a cookbook with bad pictures. I’ve also discovered that it’s really easy to add little creative touches to salad recipes. Can’t really mess things up too bad!

My recent favorite is The 25th Day of April – Artichoke & White Bean Salad

Serves 8

For the Dressing

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (add more if you are a spicy freak like me!)
1 tsp ground fennel seeds (always toast your seeds first to release the aroma, then grind)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I thought this was a little much so I cut it back to 1/4)
I also felt it needed a little more acid so I added a splash of white wine vinegar

For the Salad

1/2 lemon (if using fresh artichokes)
I can’t let lemon zest go to waste so I put the zest of half the lemon on top for garnish
6 baby artichokes, or 1 package (8oz) frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed and brought to room temperature
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano

1. To make the dressing combine all of the ingredients adding the oil in a thin stream and whisk. Or you can do what I do and put everything in an air tight container and shake really well.

2. If using fresh artichokes, squeeze the lemon half (make sure you get the zest off first) into a large bowl of cold water. Trim the artichoke stems, leaving about 1/2 inch. Cut 1/2 inch off the tops.  Peel off the tough outer leaves (if you’re like me, you are probably sensitive to waste, but really those tough outer leaves have to go) until you reach the tender, pale green leaves. Cut each artichoke lengthwise into 6 wedges and put them into the lemon water pool. Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil.  Add the artichokes and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Its always good to taste test one first. Drain and let cool at room temperature.

3. Combine all the ingredients in to a large bowl. For best results let everyone get to know each other for about 30 minutes before serving.

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Getting re-introduced to Parsley

My earliest childhood memories of cooking is chopping parsley for the lasagna and meatballs with my grandmother.  With my arms barely reaching over the table I’d carefully remove the stems with a scissor then just chop-chop-chop.  In theory is sounds fun but two bunches of parsley later with a sore thumb and index finger, it’s not fun anymore.  Honestly, I never even really liked it in the meatballs and could barely taste it in the lasagna.

Since then I’ve been slightly scarred by these childhood memories and haven’t used parsley too much in my cooking.

Today I decided to make a nice light salad and while flipping through some of my favorite Martha Stewart recipes I found a celery orange salad…with parsley.  I ripped some of the leaves off the bunch and threw them into my little food chopper.  I only used about half of the yield in fear I wouldn’t want the strong parsley taste overpowering the citrus.  Alas!  While stirring and tasting with my little spoon I kind of liked what the parsley added, and added the rest of my little pile.

Baby steps, but progress.

Here’s the recipe:

(I made this for one person so gauge accordingly)

  • 2 oranges – grate out about 3 tablespoons of zest and use about half of one orange to get some juice for a dressing, chop of the rest into bite-sized pieces (you can use the reaming peel for some flavored water)
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas lightly chopped (I only used about 3 quarters)
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • some chopped parsley (use your judgement, when it’s all mixed together you should see a nice even green throughout)
  • salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL: romaine lettuce, chopped cashews

Mix all ingredients together and then drizzle on the olive oil and squeeze out half the orange on top.

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