Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Cherry Tomatoes with Almonds & Mint

July 20, 2011

This quick summer salad makes for an easy meal. The recipe came together by chance one afternoon while I was visiting my parents.

For as long as I can remember we have had our own tomatoes every summer. Growing up on those sweet little gems forever spoiled me from store-bought tomatoes.

Although cherry tomatoes from the store can sometimes be fairly sweet, this dish, like anything with tomatoes, is incomparably better with those from your own garden. If you must buy yours at the store, get the sweetest sort possible.

Read more, and the recipe after the jump…

Summer Dill Salad

July 7, 2011

This quick, simple salad is one of my kitchen standbys whenever dill is in season in my garden. The honey softens the slow, low burn of the Serrano, and the cucumbers really mop up all of the flavors in the dressing. The fresh, crisp crunch of cabbage as background rounds out the mix.

I served this last night with the shallot-basil burgers of the previous post, and it was a great pairing. I’d say my guests reaction is a good indicator of how tasty this is. As good as those burgers were, and they were, the salad was demolished in much shorter order, while a few patties still remained as leftovers by the end of the evening.

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Salade de Chou-rave Indochinoise

July 5, 2011

It is still too hot in San Jose to turn on the stove for any reason, and this light, crispy kohlrabi salad with just a touch of heat is a quick, simple dish well suited for this season. I brought it to a small fourth of July bbq last night, and it was a huge hit, with people coming back for fourths and fifths. The sweet, cool flavors of honey and rice vinegar highlight the refreshing crunch of kohlrabi complemented by the fragrant southeast asian flavors of Thai basil and hot pepper.

As I mentioned before, older, larger kohlrabis tend to get pithy and bland in taste. The smaller, and fresher the kohlrabi used for this salad, the crispier, and more pronounced the flavors will be. The kohlrabi in this dish is cut into match sticks, then salted to remove some moisture. This makes the kohlrabi even crispier, and reduces the strong cabbage smell that cut kohlrabi can give off if allowed to sit.

Thai basil can be found in almost any asian market, and differs from sweet basil in appearance on account of its thicker purple stems and flowers. The flavor profile of Thai basil also features anise notes much more prominently than sweet basil, but, in a pinch, the regular Italian stuff will still make a decent substitute.

The shredded carrot and daikon mix, a standby of Vietnamese cuisine, gives the dish some more substance as well as a nice flash of color. If you are lucky enough to have a Vietnamese market close by they will likely have a pre-prepared shredded carrot and daikon on sale for pennies a pound. This stuff is a universal Vietnamese side, topping, and base for salads and pickles – a sort of Vietnamese answer to sauerkraut. If you see it pre-made on sale, it is worth buying, not only because it is delicious, but also inexpensive, versatile, and keeps for sometime. Some markets sell it both fresh and pickled. The pickled stuff is called đồ chua, and could be used in this dish, but the flavors will be altered. So, if possible, stick the fresh variety. Absent Vietnamese markets, a box grater will make for easy shredding of about 2 carrots, and one half a daikon radish.

Recipe after the jump…>

Beet & Olive Salad with Shallots & Cream

July 1, 2011


This post has been a long time coming. My little recipe repertoire project slumbered through a hard winter. And, even though things are still not easy yet, summer is in full swing. For those morningbird songs we don’t hear other times in the year we can still be thankful.

It is from just these sort of summer feelings that this spontaneous recipe takes its inspiration. You see, the epic, day-glo pink color of this salad is a classic feature of a mainstay of the Latvian summer diet –  cold beet soup. That soup, however, is really quite different from this salad, aside from its color, and, a recipe for another day. Nonetheless, just having celebrated the summer solstice, things Latvian coupled with a new sense of energy have been polka-ing about my thoughts. This salad is a product of just that. And, so, this little piggy’s kitchen is back in operation. Cūciņa cucina ir augšamcēlusies!

Being as my life is consumed with my study for the California bar exam, my time for grocery shopping has been ever so slightly inhibited. Yet, as the modern world knows, brains need calories for thinking. If I weren’t to eat at all there’s no way I could pass this test. In difficult times, we make do with what he have on hand. In fact, sometimes, like today, the results come out brilliantly.

Cold beets and cream when combined create a fantastically brilliant pink color. That combination is one, that to me, is classically summery. When served cold this is just the sort of freshly cool and light food to fend off the wispy hunger pains peculiar to hot summer days – those feelings of pestering emptiness, which, stunted from full-fledged hunger by the heat, have us squeamishly demur from the heavier dishes of cooler seasons. Here, this color combination works as a base for a piquant cold vegetable salad, that surprises with both the vibrancy of its looks, and tastes.

Recipe after the jump…>

An Easy Breakfast: Fresh Tomato Salad with Scallions & Camembert

September 9, 2010

Assorted salads have always been my favorite kind of dishes. Though they might not make the most impressive entrées for a large dinner, they are nonetheless always delicious, and eating fresh helps a lonely bachelor like myself keep his figure trim.

I think the thing that I like most about salads though, besides their healthiness, is the creativity they inspire. Finding new ways to combine the ingredients that are currently in season at market, or one simply has lying around is always a fun little game. The possible combinations are endless, and therefore, so is the number of potentially resulting delicacies. Even more importantly, fresh salads are a great way to introduce yourself to new flavors, and how they mix with one another. As ingredients often show their truest colors in their raw state, the fresh salad is an excellent experimental palette.

I make these mixed fresh salads so often, that my sister recommended to me I start a restaurant chain called “The Salad Hovel,” partly because I make this sort of thing all the time, and partly on account of the refugee-like ingenuinty with which I’ve so far been able to deftly combine heretofore unmatched ingredients. Maybe one day the hovel will be erected, but for now, I will just share with you all from here.

This salad was my breakfast this morning, and came together from a simple mix of what was ripe in the garden, and what was scavageable in my fridge and cupboard. It really turned out deliciously well, and made for a sunny-colored, healthy, tasty start to sunny Thursday.

Recipe after the jump…>

Deconstructed ‘Hummus’ Salad with Toasted Chickpeas and Briney Olives

September 5, 2010

My brother is a rock & roll musician with the group Runner Runner. Make sure to check ’em out, they are a lot of fun! Having found some serious success recently, I’d certainly not put them in the category of starving artists, yet there is no doubt that all of the guys have very healthy appetites. I’m told they are always excited for my visits to Huntington Beach, because they know they will be cooked for, and well-fed. After all, what sort of guest shows up empty handed, and what better gift than sharing something you love to do? This recipe has proved a consistent favorite of the RR guys. More importantly, it is très simple to make, and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen. In fact, circumstance and necessity had me prepare it the first time, as the range of dishes to be made was dictated by what I found in Runner Runner’s cupboard. With the help of a little inspiration from another great food blog, Smitten Kitchen, the dish came together brilliantly. It was so good that the guys from Runner Runner actually asked for it three days in a row!

Recipe after the jump…>