Salad Hugs

Did you know salads are capable of giving hugs? I had no idea either – until I had this salad and every time I’ve eaten it since (which has been a lot).

The roasted jalapeño in the dressing is the key to the warmth. But the richness of the avocado, the refreshing jolts from the mandarins/tangerines and the feistiness of the arugula all add to the excitement of this salad’s hugs.

I love it so much we have had it almost every week since first having it back in March.

What an experience. Try this recipe to get your salad hug today.

The Hugging Salad

* baby arugula
* 2 mandarins or tangerines, peeled and segmented
* 1 avocado, cubed
* a few leaves of mint (or cilantro), sliced thinly
* goat milk feta, half a handful of crumbles

Dressing
* 1/4 cup olive oil or walnut oil
* 1 roasted, deseeded jalapeño, minced
* 1/2 shallot, minced
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 2 TBSP red wine, champagne, or peach vinegar.
* pinch of salt

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Make the dressing in advance so you can put a proper chill on it. The flavors also have a chance to get acquainted and taste even more divine.

To make the dressing, heat the orange juice in a pot over medium high heat until it reduces down to about 2TBSP. It should coat the back of a spoon.

While that’s cooking on the stove, roast your jalapeño. I have a gas stove and simply place it on the burner until it’s charred all over. You can also use your broiler. Once it’s charred, wrap it in some paper towel or a clean cloth to steam a bit. After 10 mins, you can easily peel the pepper. Deseed it then mince it into tiny pieces.

Add all your dressing ingredients together (you might want to reserve some of the jalapeño if you want to control the heat). Whisk until it’s emulsified. Taste for salt. Put it in the fridge.

When ready, assemble all the salad fixings and then dress it with your salad dressing.

Then prepare for a hug!

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Coastal Kale Salad

Warning: this recipe is extremely addictive for “healthy eaters.”

Healthy eater definition: Someone who loves salads, snacks on fruits, has eaten kale and liked it. This does not however mean that they don’t indulge in the double-double every now and again. And this doesn’t mean that they ever skip dessert for any other reason than being too full.

Warning continued: if you don’t care for the greens, you should probably skip to the next non-salad recipe.

PS I have no idea why it’s “coastal”. Our neighborhood grocery store inspired the recipe and that’s what they call it. Ha!

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Coastal Kale Salad

* 1 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed and rough cut into ~1 1/2″ pieces.
* 1 handful micro greens or pea shoots
* juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
* 2 – 3 TBSP braggs amino acids
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* a few shakes of chia seeds
* a few shakes of Pepitas or pumpkin seeds no shells
* a few shakes of sunflower seeds no shells
* 1/4 red onion sliced super thin

Mix the wet ingredients in a separate jar. Cover and shake. Add more aminos if it needs more umami.

Mix other ingredients in another bowl. Add the dressing just until the kale looks shiny.

Chill and serve.

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Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

Along with the chili (below), mac and cheese (recipe to come) and pulled pork (see”Carnitas”) sammies, we’re making potato salad for the 60 or so people coming over on Saturday for the kiddo’s 3rd birthday party. I know! We’re bonkers. But it’s fun because I have the best team of Nanas and Papas and Daddies helping with the cooking and prepping.

I have to document the recipe so Papa and Nana can follow it while we run some errands. I’ll let you know how it tastes on Saturday.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad (hopefully feeds 30 adults)

  • 8 lbs red new potatoes
  • a couple handfuls of green beans, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch of italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP pickle juice
  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 3 TBSP fresh dill, leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Fill a couple pots with cold water and add the potatoes (and maybe a pinch of salt too). Cook (slight boil) until fork tender (but not like you were making mashed potatoes). They should be just soft enough to easily run your knife through without falling apart. Remove the potatoes from the water. Add your green bean pieces to one of the boiling pots.

Cut your potatoes into quarters or eighths depending on the size of the potato. (This is when you start yelling, “hot potato, hot potato”). You’ll want them bite sized. Add the vinegar, pickle juice, olive oil and a bit of salt while the potatoes are still warm.

Remove the green beans from the water and add them to the potatoes. Now, fold in everything else. Salt and pepper to taste. Now, refrigerate.

Enjoy at your next picnic or massive kid party 🙂 Wish me luck.

 

Cooking by the Camp Fire

I went all out at this year’s annual 4th o’ July camping trip. No, I didn’t stay up late, hooting and hollering over charades. In fact, I was in bed before the kids most nights. And no, I didn’t start my day with Mary’s and continue with beers/wine until sundown. Rather, I prepped and cooked my toosh off.

I made Jan’s cobbler, fried donut holes, made Schmitty’s chicken and taziki wraps and topped it all off with firepit pizza – which was by far, the biggest success. I’m still craving it.

Next time you go camping or have a craving for delicious cobbler, donuts or pizza, try out these recipes. They were a big hit!

Jan’s cobbler
* 3 cups blackberries (or combo of berries)
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 3/4 cup rolled oats
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1/8 cup grated asiago cheese
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 3 oz butter (chilled and cut into 1/4″ bits)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly butter a deep pie dish (or you can double the recipe and use a 9×12 baking dish). Put the berries in the dish. In a separate bowl, mix the next five ingredients. With fingers, squash in the butter with the mixture until its course and crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake until top is golden brown and fruit is bubbly.

Let it cool before diving in. This travelled really well in the cooler and tasted great chilled.

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Schmitty’s Chicken Wraps
* 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1 TBSP dried oregano
* zest of half a lemon
* pinch of salt and pepper
* 3 garlic cloves minced
* pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* 1/2 red onion, sliced in strips

Wisk everything together in a medium bowl. Reserve half the marinade. Out chicken in a ziplock bag with half the marinade and freeze if you’re going camping.

The night before heading out, put the tomatoes an onions and the other half the marinade in another ziplock bag and leave in the fridge.

Grill off the chicken over the camp fire and serve with wraps, taziki and the marinated tomato mixture.

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Camping Donuts
* 1/2 cup veggie oil
* 1 package of instant biscuits (you know, the kind that pops out of the canister)
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/8 cup cinnamon
* 1 brown bag and some paper towels

Put your sugar and cinnamon into the brown paper bag and set aside. Heat up the oil in a frying pan over med/low heat.

Break each biscuit into four pieces and roll into a ball.

Gently drop one hole into the oil. It should create bubbles instantly around the edges. Put the rest of your holes in the oil but don’t crowd the pan. You’ll need room to turn the holes over as they cook.

As soon as they’re golden brown, drain on paper towels and then drop into the paper bag. Give ’em a little shake and then watch them get gobbled up.

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Camp Fire Pizza
* 1 package ready-made pizza dough (you can handmake the dough if you’re motivated, just freeze it for better travel)
* 1 container of marinara (I got the stuff from the refrigerated section)
* 1/2 cup mozerella, 1/4 cup parmesean, 1/4 cup asiago – all grated
* olive oil
* dried oregano
* toppings (we did two pepperonis and one zucchini and summer squash) we obviously tripled the recipe
* disposable grate for grill

Get the coals ready.

Cut up any toppings really thin (they don’t really cook).

Roll out the dough – I just pulled on the sides until it was pretty even and rather thin.

Rub olive oil on one side and place the oiled side down on the disposable grill. Set this on the campfire grate and stand watch. It’ll bubble and get chat marks. It should be done in about 2-5 mins.

Remove from the fire and oil the top side. Flip the pizza and top the recently cooked side with sauce, cheese, toppings and a sprinkle of oregano. Top with a foil tent and place back on the fire. Cook for another 2-5 mins checking the bottom and rotating when necessary.

Pull it from the fire. Cut it up. And wait for the OMGs.

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Orzo Salad

The weather can’t make up its mind. We went from comfort food earlier this week to pasta salad and grilled ribeye last night. And this wonky weather has given the whole family a nasty cold.

I don’t mind either weather type. It’s really this cold that sucks. Who wants a stuffed up nose when all this amazing produce is popping up at the farmers’ markets? I can’t taste a thing!

Well, if you’ll remember from last year’s post about the Summer’s bounty, I live for Sunmer veggies. Heirloom tomatoes kissed by the sun, zucchini and cucumbers and the crunchy, sweet, colorful bells. We haven’t had our first heirloom yet but I couldn’t resist mixing this pasta salad together highlighting the start of our Summer bounty.

And many thanks to my BFF for the salad recipe inspiration years ago during one of our many awesome camping trips. xoxooxox

Orzo Salad
* 1 tomato (if you can get heirloom, do it!), diced
* 1/2 cucumber, diced
* 1/2 red onion, diced
* 1 1/2 cup cooked orzo pasta, cooled
* 1 handful of pitted kalmata olives, sliced
* 1/2 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
* 1/2 zucchini, cut into 4 spears lengthwise and then sliced thinly
* 6-7 leaves of fresh mint, sliced
* 4 leaves if basil, sliced
* 1 handful of crumbled feta
* glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar (to taste, think like you’re dressing a salad and then add from there)
* pinch of salt and pepper

The key to this recipe is the size of all the veggies and adjusting the oil/vinegar/S&P. Hint: the cucumber and red onion should be little dices no bigger than the orzo.

Now that you have carpel tunnel syndrome from chopping so much. Mix everything together and put it in the fridge to cool.

Enjoy with a grilled steak for an easy (well besides all the dicing) Summer meal.

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Galette, Galette

Galette. Like rhymes with barrette or ballet? I might not know how to pronounce it but I do know how to eat it. These yummy packets of savory deliciousness are also known as rustic tarts. They’re super easy to make once you have the dough. I often make a couple batches of dough and freeze them for future “gawl-ets”.

loads of butter

loads of butter

You can really put anything into them. I love the combination of zucchini, sausage and ricotta together. It’s so comforting. But I’ve also made it with leeks, mushrooms and potatoes, one was filled with olives, sundried tomatoes and feta, and another with rhubarb, strawberries and balsalmic red onions. You get the picture. Just use your imagination and fill these babies with your favorites.

zucchini and sausage and ricotta cheese galette (this is an adaptation but I’m unable to find from where…my apologies!)

galette dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 12 TBS cold butter, cut into small pieces (yes that’s a stick and a half!)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup cold water with two ice cubes in it to make it really cold

1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar together in bowl. Cut in butter, leaving some pea size chunks. Sprinkle with ice water and mix with the flour mixture until you can bring the dough together. Press into a disk, wrap it in saran wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2. Roll out the disk on a lightly floured counter about 1/8″ thick. You can either make one large galette or three small ones. I’d suggest the small ones because with the filling, it becomes a bit unwieldy. Roll it out to a circle of your size, and no it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, that’s the beauty of the galette.

for the filling:

  • 2 large zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 1 italian sausage or 1lb of bulk italian sausage
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of spinach, kale, or other greens
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 oz ricotta goat cheese, less or more to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Pull sausage out of casing and roll it into tiny meat balls. Cook in a large pan until browned. Take the sausage out of pan (but leave the drippings) and add olive oil, onions and salt. Cook for a few minutes. Add zucchini and garlic, thyme and oregano. Stew over medium heat, stirring frequently, until zucchini is near tender. Add the greens and wine and continue cooking until reduced. Add back in sausage. Turn off the heat and add the crème and cook until it coats the filling and only a little liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper. Let the filling cool 10 minutes then stir in all but 1 TBS of the beaten egg and most of the ricotta cheese.
3. Assemble the galette on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the dough down then spread the mixture on top of it, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. Crumble the cheese on top, then fold the dough over the filling. Brush with reserved egg and bake until crust is browned, 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

PS This is perfect for brunch, potlucks, parties!

Rustic tart to the table.

Rustic tart to the table.

What underground dives inspire

There used to be a set of Asian food stalls underground on Kearny St. many, many years ago. You know, the kind with a central dining area and a bunch of 10 x 10 stalls bordering it? The tables were wobbly and often sticky but the food was great. It might still be there. I might go check to see if it is. But I digress…

In this particular set of restaurants, there were stalls dishing out Vietnamese food, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and I think I remember Indian food stuffs. Anyway, it was a perfect place to go when everyone in the lunch group wanted something different.

I would always get the Vietnamese Noodle salad. The best part about the salad were the “add ons”. Kind of like Jamba Juice power boosts, you could “power boost” your salad with egg rolls, bbq meats, tofu, etc. I chose fried, of course…Egg Rolls. Since we’re no longer in SF, I make the salad at home and its delicious!

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Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Serves 4

  • 6 handfuls of lettuce (I like to use a combo of butter lettuce and mixed baby greens)
  • 3 persian cucumbers (or 1 hot house cucumber) sliced into 1/8″ medallions
  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 10 basil sprigs leaves removed and julienned
  • 10 mint sprigs leaves removed and julienned
  • 4 oz maifun rice noodles
  • 4 TBS Tiger Tiger Sweet Chilli dipping sauce or any other sweet chili dipping sauce or make your own
  • 2 TBS hot water (reserved from the noodle water)
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 1 package of egg rolls (small ones are best)

Cook the egg rolls per the packaged instructions. While those are cooking:

Boil water and cook the rice noodles per the instructions on the package. Pull out the noodles and put them into a bowl.

Put the sweet chili sauce into a small bowl and thin with the reserved noodle water. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the noodles and mix with chopsticks or tongs. Put the dressed noodles into the freezer to cool.

Place the lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl. Then the cucumbers. Dress with 1/2 the remaining dressing. Once the noodles are no longer warm, put those on top of the salad.

Serve with the accoutrements on the side: basil, mint, cilantro, lime wedges, remaining dressing and egg rolls that have been cut into 2″ pieces.

Enjoy with some BBQ pork slices and rice. Scrumptious!

Meat sneaks into my salad

I love salads garnished with meat for dinner. Some favs include salmon salad, thai beef salad, vietnamese salad (that one comes with egg rolls too – so of course it’s scrumptious), nicoise salad…I could go on. And I will in other posts when I throw these together and finally take a photo of them. Today’s post is about pork tenderloin and how it sneaked into my salad.

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I have to admit that I didn’t make this tonight. I think it was made about 2 weeks ago. As you’ll remember, I’m just coming off a cleanse. So, I’m slowly easing back into all these lovely colors and flavors (tonight dinner for me consisted of spinach pasta and a bit of marinara). Anyhow, I had this photo and wanted to share because it was so delicious.

The pork tenderloin was purchased from Markegard Family Farm. In addition to pork, they have beef, lamb, eggs and a herd share for raw milk. They are also a truly awesome family. All the veggies were from the HMB farmer’s market except the mango.

Prep, cook, and assembly time is pretty quick on this one. Luckily, I had leftover roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes from the prior night’s dinner and the mango salsa was pre-made. The mango salsa really adds some depth and compliments the pork nicely. But you don’t necessarily need to add the roasted asparagus.

Enough babbling.

Here’s the recipe (pork recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, mango salsa inspired by “Marco’s Salsa” made by Mark Stegmaier – our foodie friend/contractor):

Candied pork tenderloin

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • Pork rub (see below for recipe)
  • olive oil
  • a handful of brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • a couple splashes of Busha Browne’s Pukka Sauce or Tabasco is fine too

Rub the tenderloin with your spices and let it sit for 10 mins. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the brown sugar and garlic into a bowl. Add dashes of the hot sauce to the brown sugar mixture and stir. Keep adding the hot sauce until you have a thick paste consistency. Set it aside.

Put an ovenproof pan on the stove and heat it over medium high heat. Heat the oil then put your tenderloin in the pan and sear on all sides.

Smear/Pile the brown sugar paste on the top of the tenderloin and put it in the oven. Cook for about 20 mins until your temp is ~135 degrees.

Gently pull the tenderloin out of the pan (try not to let any of the candy fall off…it’s really good) and let it rest for at least 10 mins. Then slice into medallions (cut at a 45 degree angle into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Pork Rub 

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 4 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS cumin

Mix together and store for any use. Especially great for ribs and tenderloins.

Mango Salsa

  • 2 mangoes, diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • a bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • escabeche: 2 carrots, 5 jalepeno slices, diced into little bits (you can substitute pickled jalepenos or fresh jalepenos too)
  • 1/4 red onion or less, diced into little bits
  • 1/2 lime
  • pinch of salt

Mix the first 4 ingredients together. Then add the lime and salt to taste. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 15 mins to allow the flavors to mingle.

Meat Salad:

Make a salad. I used spring greens and an extra handful of arugula and sliced cucumbers.

Dress the salad. I used a mixture of walnut oil (1/4 cup), balsalmic vinegar (~2TBS), Sigona’s Strawberry Jam (~1TBS) , a pinch of salt.

Place the tenderloin medallions on top of the salad (slightly warm still), then put a couple spoonfuls of the mango salsa on top. You could also drizzle some of the drippings from the pork onto the salad for extra bits of scumptiousness.

Enjoy!