Archive for the 'salad' Category



I know a recipe is good if I’m still thinking about it three weeks later. Yesterday I picked up six ears of corn at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market because I needed to make this again. Sweet corn kernels, limas, garbanzos, tomatoes tossed with tarragon and a champagne vinaigrette. It’s so amazingly addictive. Hands down, this is my favorite find this summer.

I adapted this from a recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website.  There is a lot of wiggle room here — grill the corn, or boil it. Use other varieties of beans, such as fava, or use different herbs. But please, do include tarragon. The hint of licorice and the sweet tang of the vinaigrette is what really make this work.

I took some of this over to my friend Christine, who had twin boys five months ago. Yes, it’s taken me five months to take food to her. I also took her my mom’s chicken tetrazzini — 80’s comfort food at its best.  Better late than never, right?

And few things are better than summer veggies in late July. Sweet corn, multi-colored tomatoes, fragrant herbs. Before I turn you loose with this recipe, know that this may take longer to make than you’d expect. Plan for 45 minutes if you use corn on the cob. The only problem here is you’ll end up with more vinaigrette than you’ll need. This is best at room temperature. I can say with near certainty that it’s nothing like the succotash you grew up with.

adapted from

For the Champagne vinaigrette:

1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T Champagne vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper


6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
3 to 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
10 to 12 cherry or tear-drop tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

To make the vinaigrette, in a bowl, combine the grapeseed oil and olive oil in a measuring cup with a spout. In a nonaluminum bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and white pepper. Add the oils in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Use immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil corn for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Remove kernels with a paring knife, running the knife down the cob vertically. Put corn in a large bowl. Boil edamame and lima beans according to package instructions.

In a large bowl, combine the corn kernels, chickpeas, lima beans, vine-ripened and teardrop tomatoes, basil, parsley, tarragon and onion. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and black pepper.

Serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side. Serves 6 to 8.


Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

I intended to make a kale caesar. My friends Nancy and Jeremy raved about one they made last month — a true caesar salad, with a creamy dressing from egg yolks and anchovies. It sounded interesting. I picked up the ingredients. I started to measure. Then I looked at my mortar and pestle and thought about how much I didn’t want to use it to pound the anchovies into a paste. Yes, I chickened out. I made this kale salad instead.

Why kale? The past two weekends of decent temperatures have made me crave green. Spring is flirting with us here in St. Louis. Crocuses are blooming in our front yard, and a couple of days last week were warm enough to shed coats. But then, sadly, spring scampered off  today and the cold returned.  It’s gray, gray, gray. And I want green — green leaves, green grass, and green food.

I used to shy from raw kale. Then last summer, I had a phenomenal salad of kale and red cabbage while passing through Boulder, Colorado. I still think about it. For best results, use Tuscan/lacinato kale if you make this. It’s also called dinosaur or black kale. The leaves are more tender. This is a strong-tasting salad, as you’d expect from raw kale. The lemon, garlic and Pecorino offset the bitterness of the leaves. It’s incredibly nutritious — exactly what we all need after months of gray weather. The beauty of this salad is that it won’t wilt. Dress it, put it in the fridge and it’s just as good the next day.

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad
New York Times, Oct. 24, 2007

1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as black, dinosaur or lacinato kale)
1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs (coarse) [I used crumbled up croutons]
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese, more for garnish
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

1. Wash the kale. Trim bottom 2 inches of the stems and throw them out. Slice kale, including ribs, into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.

2. If making homemade bread crumbs, toast a slice of bread until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until mixture forms coarse crumbs. If using croutons, grind in a food pro until crumbs are coarse.

3. Pound garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and toss very well to combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).

4. Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.

Serves 2 to 4.


Eggplant Caponata

I know what you’re thinking. Seriously? More eggplant??

Eggplants are like bay leaves. I use them all the time but don’t really know what they taste like. As long as they’re in season, they’re on our counter.

All summer, I’ve wanted to make caponata, a Sicilian dish that’s usually served as a salad or relish. There are a gazillion variations of this, but generally it’s comprised of eggplant, onion, tomatoes, capers, olives, nuts, anchovies, vinegar and olive oil (I skip the anchovies). It’s one of those foods that improves with time. You make it, put it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or more, and then serve.

This one has almonds and pine nuts, which lend a nice crunch. The flavors are strong. I prefer it on toasted bread, but you could eat it as a relish or salad. Serve at room temperature.

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Mesclun Salad with Bacon-Wrapped Figs and Chevre

A vacation before going on vacation would be nice — time to pack, stop at Target, fill containers with shampoo and sunscreen, and consume the amazing produce hanging out in our kitchen. Alas, no such luck. Instead, it’s been one big race to wrap up stuff at work and pack. And then there’s the CSA produce I brought home a few days ago….

Among the items to eat in the next 24 hours: figs. I’ve had mixed luck with figs. I’ve tried wrapping them in prosciutto and grilling them, which should have been easy but ended in disaster. Many years ago I baked them in cookies — an adult version of fig newtons, only a thousand times better.

The other day, I set out to make a salad inspired by my friend Georgina. The plan was to wrap the figs in bacon, roast them, add to mixed greens, and toss with blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. I altered this approach by a smidgin. We happened to have chevre in our refrigerator. So I used a melon baller to scoop out the flesh and stuffed the figs with goat cheese. And instead of balsamic, I used a red wine vinaigrette.

Wow, figs are beautiful. They’re exotic. And they never last long. I came home from the Fair Shares pickup site with eight of them. A couple were large and sturdy, and pretty easy to  scoop and stuff. The rest were delicate. One fell apart during the scooping process. In the end, they were absolutely scrumptious wrapped in bacon, especially with chevre oozing from them. Brown sugar kept the bacon from over powering the figs.  You could also serve the figs as a hot appetizer.

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Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou

This will sound like blasphemy to some of you, but I generally find quinoa boring. I’ve eaten it half a dozen times in very ho-hum salads and pilafs at newsroom potluck lunches. And I may have had it once at book club. Eating it is like patting yourself on the back. It’s SO nutritious. It’s not horrible, it’s just boring like a multi-vitamin.

That is, until this recipe came along:

In the current issue of Food & Wine there’s a recipe that will change how you feel about quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). If you’re lackluster about it, you’ll suddenly love it. If you love it already, you’ll realize you didn’t truly love it until now.

The nutty flavor of the quinoa is complemented by the herbal complexity of the pistou (that’s French for pesto). I’d never thought to put rosemary and basil together, and they go wonderfully mixed here with parsley, thyme and garlic.  The shrimp are marinated with a combination of garlic powder, fennel seeds, oregano, paprika, dried thyme and onion powder. Then they’re roasted. They’re so good I’m thinking about pairing them soon with pasta or couscous.

This makes for a delicious meal or a salad. Serve it warm or cold. Take it to work and eat it for lunch.

The only thing I’d change about this is the amount of pistou. It’s so delicious, I wanted (needed!) more.

Continue reading ‘Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou’


Thai Chicken and Shrimp Noodle Salad

I hate goodbyes. Kim and Todd, and their 9-week-old baby, Zane, are moving to Minneapolis in a few weeks. Jeff and Kim have worked at three newspapers together, and he and Todd went to same high school in Houston. I met the two of them 10 years ago in Little Rock. Needless to say, we go way back.

We had them over for dinner last night. It was another brutally hot day in St. Louis, so I made this cold noodle salad as the main course. The last thing we needed in our house was a hot stove. The salad comes from one of my favorite issues of Bon Appetit, the one with the Sydney Opera House on the cover (see Linguini with Shrimp, Asparagus and Basil). There are still about a half dozen recipes that grab me each time I flip through its pages.

Prepping this salad takes a bit of time, more than it appears. However, you can do a lot ahead of time. I typically put the shredded chicken, sliced cucumber, basil, cilantro and mint leaves in a container and store in the fridge. About 20 minutes before Kim and Todd got here, I prepared the noodles, thawed the precooked shrimp, and tossed the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. The dressing is quick and easy. I always add it before serving. I snapped the photo before adding the dressing.

The salad is awesome. It has all the key components of terrific Asian food — sweet, sour, spicy and salty.It’s light, but hearty. The cherry tomatoes and slivers of jalapeno make it even more beautiful. My favorite part — the fresh combination of mint, basil and cilantro leaves.

It won’t be the last time we’ll see Kim, Todd and Zane before they move. Jeff and I have decided that next summer we’ll be driving north for cooler weather and dinner at their house.

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Cabbage Slaw with Asian Tahini Dressing

My first week back at work is over. I’m exhausted, relieved and happy to be home. I also wish I had some of this slaw left.

I made this a week ago but didn’t have time to write about it. I would arrive home at night, play with our delicious 9-month-old, eat dinner, and then crash. When I made this, it was another hot day. I still had cabbage left over from our Fair Shares box and hated to throw it out. So, I tackled this recipe in about 30 minutes one evening, even though it looked questionable. I wasn’t sure how radish and button mushrooms would perform together, but we already had tahini, soy sauce and a few other ingredients in our overcrowded fridge.

Before my first bite, I doubted I’d blog about this. Slaw has never been my thing. It’s usually soaked in mayonnaise, which repulses me. I rediscovered, though, that it’s often good to try something you’re not certain about. Jeff doesn’t normally like radish — another reason this was a risk. But he ate every slice of radish in this slaw. Mixing radish, mushrooms and cabbage with sesame, soy and lemon really works. There are three forms of sesame here: paste, oil and seeds. The slaw is crunchy and cool. It’s not at all overpowering. Yum. Very good things can be made with cabbage, I’ve discovered this summer. As for radish, so far this is my first success.

It’s worth noting that part of this can made ahead of time. The dressing will keep refrigerated up to five days. The cabbage, radish, etc., can be prepared, stored separately in the fridge, for about a day. Once the slaw is dressed, however, it must be eaten within a couple of hours.

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