Posts Tagged ‘salad’

The Accidental Salad

Warm Salad

For Meatless Monday this week, the Everyman was out of town on business, but flying home late that night.

I promised him I would set a plate aside for him, so the obvious question became what could I make that would keep relatively well for an indeterminate period of time?

After pondering for a little bit, I recalled 2 things.  One was the warm potato salad that we both loved at last year’s Outstanding In The Field dinner and the other was a potato and bean salad that I tested while reviewing Earth To Table.  I couldn’t remember much about either, except that a) they were warm, b) they both contained potatoes and c) they came with light, yet creamy dressings.

Given that I was in no mood to excavate my way through the stacks of cookbooks in my house to find Earth To Table (you know you have too many books, when…) I decided to improvise.

Both dishes used fingerlings but I didn’t have any, so instead I cubed a few yukon golds and quartered some shallots and tossed them in some coffee olive oil, then roasted in the oven for an hour.  When they were getting close to being done I melted a little high milkfat artisan butter in a pan until it foamed, then quickly sauteed half a pound of chopped asparagus until it turned emerald, then left it to get slightly blistered and browned.  Removing the pan from the heat, I sprinkled close to half a cup of freshly shelled peas in and let the residual heat of the pan turn them bright green, too.  Next I combined all the veggies in a bowl and tossed with a simple white wine dijon vinaigrette made puckery tart by the addition of a splash of barley vinegar.

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Salad Days

When I was younger, I was what you might call a hardcore carnivore.  But, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the importance of living a more flexitarian lifestyle, not only for my health, but also for my wellbeing.  For the most part, the Everyman begrudges me on this.  Since I do all of the cooking, he really has no choice anyway…

That desire became part and parcel of my decision to grow much of our food on the roof.  Having a constant supply of freshly grown produce just outside the back door tends to make it that much easier to eat all those servings of fruit and veg, don’t you think?  Plus, I can feel comfortable knowing that the only things that assisted my plants’ growth were sun, rain and the occasional sprinkling of composted cow poop, rather than scary industrialized fertilizers that could grow me a third arm.  Although, I could use a third arm.  It would make it so much easier to smack the stupid people… hmm…

In warmer years, my various salad leaves would have long gone to bolt by now.  If you’re not familiar with that term, bolting is when the lettuce plants shoot up their flowers and start going to seed.  It typically happens when the weather gets too warm (high 20′s to 30′s), and for some reason causes the greens to get bitter and inedible (unless you like that sort of thing).

However, the cool and rainy summer we’ve been experiencing in Ontario has allowed the majority of the greens to remain lush and verdant well past their expected harvest date.

This unexpected overage of leafy veg has meant that we’ve had to get creative with our usages.  The greens are so (surprisingly) flavourful on their own that I usually do little more than salt, pepper, oil and balsamic them before eating.  But, sometimes the body craves a little variety.  And just in time for that, Mark Bittman has put out a list of 101 ways to prepare the humble salad.

I haven’t managed to read through the entire list yet (that’s a lot of salad, after all) but I’m sure there must be at least a dozen or two possibilities included that will work perfectly for dispatching the rest of our lettuce.  I wonder if he has any suggestions for all of those beet greens that are overtaking my garden…

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