Showing posts with label Salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salad. Show all posts

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Buckwheat + Carrot Salad with Ginger and Sesame

This salad feels so summery to me, which suits my longing for the warmer days of spring and summer. We had a not so cold winter so far here, almost no snow the entire november/december/january - which means that those winter months were mostly just dark and dreary, without the snow that serves as a natural reflector and those wonderful blue skies that sometimes come with it.
Consequently I am longing for the warmer days of spring and summer, and I feel like this salad of buckwheat and carrots can sort of satisfy my fantasy of a picknick in a park on a warm summer night (a picknick I actually never have, not even in summer, but it just sounds so dreamy)
The buckwheat that went into this salad had been in my kitchen way too long before I used it today, me always lacking inspiration on what to do with it. Maybe you have a deserted bag of buckwheat groats in your pantry, too? Despite never cooking it, I actually really like the taste buckwheat has. Since they logically taste like Soba noodles (which are made with buckwheat flour), I decided to pair the cooked buckwheat with what I consider Japanese ingredients (ginger, soy sauce, scallions, sesame), though I don't actually know what I am talking about.
And with that, I had a summer fantasy in a bowl for dinner and feel optimistic that summer is near (Michael proclaimed February 1st the beginning of summer, and I am inclined to view it that way, too.)

Are you looking forward to summer, too? Or are you happy in the cold of winter?

Buckwheat Carrot Salad with Ginger and Sesame

1/2 cup uncooked buckwheat
3 carrots
1 scallion
1 knob of ginger, the size of half your thumb or so, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Start cooking the buckwheat in plenty of lightly salted water. Drain when tender, after about 20 minutes and set aside to cool.
Roast the scallion either in the oven (mine was already on) or in a cast iron skillet until slightly charred and tender. Cut into slices
Cut the carrots into ribbons, using a vegetable peeler.
Mix the buckwheat, carrot ribbons and the scalllion slices in a bowl (or in the pan you cooked the buckwheat in) and add the grated ginger and the soy sauce.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until the white seeds start to brown. Add to the salad and mix.

Serves 2-3.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chou Grillé + Spain

I started this post back in December, when I thought it was strange of me to post a salad recipe just before Christmas when everyone (including myself, obviously) is eating way too much. And then I left Switzerland to visit Spain (Bilbao, Madrid and a few smaller places inbetween) and ate so.much! Spain is not the best country to travel to as a vegetarian, but we always found something to eat, and had a few wonderful Pintxos in Bilbao that I think I want to recreat now that I am home. (I still have to get over my reluctance to deep frying for that though, it is a miracle the Basque don't also fry the bread that is the base for all the lovely pintxos they serve)

But now I am back home, and craving salad and greens and vegetables and good pasta like a crazy person. I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, mostly because I know I can in no way ever keep them, so please don't look at this sort of kale salad as something you have to get yourself to eat now that it is January and the pants are tight and you are starting to plan your summer holidays.
This salad of sorts is the other gem Amy, Nicole and I had at Le Mary Celeste back in November in Paris and it is one of the best things I ate last year. Carrots and cabbage are such humble ingredients, but together with the spicy dressing the taste anything but virtuous. This is a dish I think about often, you really should give this a try!

Roasted Kale and Carrots in Chili Bean Sauce
Note: Adjust the amount of chili bean sauce depending on how spicy you like it. And as you see in the title, this dish was originally called chou grillé, so if you have any way of grilling the carrots and cabbage, please give it a try. I don't so I did not test it, but I imagine you'll have to precook the carrots and cabbage for a bit longer to avoid having charred carrots that are still hard inside.

1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into pieces about 3-4 cm long (if they are huge, you might want to cut the pieces in half or quarters)
1 pound kale or savoy cabbage, the cabbage leaves cut into strips (I actually preferred the cabbage version I made the first time, but kale is lovely too)

1 tbsp chili bean sauce
1 tbsp chinkiang vinegar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Start with bringing a pot of salted water to boil and precooking first the carrots for 2 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and then the cabbage for 1 minutes.  Let them cool down and dry before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Add the carrots and cabbage to a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt massage the olive oil into the leaves of the cabbage. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and roast until the carrots are fairly brown (for about 40 minutes). If the cabbage leaves seem to be getting to dark, remove them and finish roasting them.
In the meantime, wisk together the chili bean sauce, the vinegar and the soy sauce.
In a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until you hear them pop.

While the carrots and the cabbage are still warm, drizzle on the dressing and mix well. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds and serve.

Serves 4 or so as a salad.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Endives au Tamarin

Two weeks ago I went to Paris and I returned with only a few pictures, almost none of food and just one Instagram photo of Amy who I spent most weekend with. I feel like I returned with one of those stupid t-shirts for you instead of a great souvenir. I am sorry for that, but I do bring back a recipe for the best endives you'll ever have. At least that was our verdict after having a plate of Endives au Tamarin en salad, échalotes, menthe, coriandre at Le Mary Celeste. The Chou Grillé (more on that one at some later point I hope, still trying to figure how to replicate this at home) and the deviled eggs were amazing too, I'd consider our dinner there one of the most memorable meals ever.


We visited the Le Mary Celeste after reading a post by David Lebovitz (there are some great pictures over on his blog, it was way too dark to take pictures when we were there) and originally only wanted to drop in after eating at Candelaria but ended up ordering quite a bit of food, wine and a couple of drinks. We were the first to turn up after they opened the Restaurant/Bar but all regular tables were reservées so we were sat at the bar, which turned out to be great spot. A French hipster with a very nice moustache spent the whole evening shucking oysters right in front of us and answered all of our questions regarding the dishes we had ordered.
I tried making the endives first on the Friday after returning home, and today I want to share a somewhat improved version. You should give this salad a try, these really were the best endives we ever had.

Endives au Tamarin
Note: Until now I did not find a subtle way to add shallot. Next time I'll try a quick-pickled version and might update this recipe then if it turns out well. Adding it straight to the dressing gave off a too strong flavor after marinating and frying the shallots (as seen in the pictures on this post) is way to strong, too. The salad is fantastic as is, though.

3 endives (about 500g), leaves separated
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp mint leaves
1 tbsp cilantro leaves

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl mix together the tamarind paste, the sugar and the sesame oil. Layer one third of the endive leaves in a bowl, drizzle on one third of the tamarind dressing and massage in gently with your hands. You want all the leaves to be dressed lightly. Repeat for the other two thirds. Add the mint and cilantro leaves, toss gently and let the salad marinate for at least an hour. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds right before serving.

Serves 1-4, depending on how willing to share you are.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Spanish Salad

Time flew by since I last visited this space. Our days were filled with all those minor things we needed to cross off our to do list before leaving (in 10 9 days!!!) and some quality time spent in the loveliest house at Lake Brienz with Michael and a few friends who dropped in for a visit.

Days there are slow, filled with second and third rounds of coffee, short swims in the lake (it is still very cold), walks, late night bonfires and simple cooking.

I am back home already, but this is a salad similar to something we'd make there. I call it a Spanish salad because it is a riff on a salad we had in Nerja, Spain last year. Michael referred to this as the best thing he has eaten in a long time - which might say more about him than about the salad. He is a salad lover for sure. But it makes for a great lunch, he is right on that.

A Spanish Salad
1/2 head of lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces
1/3 cucumber, core removed, sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1/4 - 1/3 cup olives
a handful dried tomatoes in olive oil, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, cut into slices
olive oil
lemon juice (the juice of 1/4 - 1/2 lemon)
salt and pepper
In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients except the avocado. Dress the salad with olive oil and a little lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on large plates, arranging the avocado slices on top of the salad.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mung Bean Salad with Celery, Apple and Cashews

As news from Boston reach Switzerland I could not help but think of Oslo, July 2011. 2011 I went on holidays with my parents and two of my siblings, and for 2 weeks we toured Norway and Sweden in a camper. This was the first time in years that I went away with them, and all in all we had a really lovely time. Great weather, the two countries are beautiful and I enjoyed spending time with the family.

We started in Oslo, and returned on July 22, in the afternoon, for a night there before we were going to travel back home. Around 3 p.m. my little brother, my mother and I were dropped off in front of our hotel and my father and my sister went out to return our camper to a place outside of the city. Half an hour later there was an explosion, close enough and strong enough to make our building shake. There was smoke, a little fire, too, that we could see from our hotel room window.
For 30 minutes we tried to search for information about what had happened. We wished that it was just an accident, a gas tank that exploded, anything other than a planned attack. We turned on the TV, switching between different Norwegian channels until after what felt like an eternity different newspapers and channels started talking about a probable attack. 
At this point we tried to reach my father and sister, who we knew would be okay but who still had to get back into the city, and Michael, who knew we were supposed to be in Oslo that night.
Being there in Oslo, so close to the attack, even though we knew we were safe was really scary. When I hear of these attacks in the news, they do touch me, but only the experience in Oslo brought to my awareness that this could happen anywhere, anytime, and to me, too.
That night, we left the hotel to have something to eat, at the nearest place possible. It was there, over pizza, that we saw what heard of a shooting outside of Oslo. It took a while longer to news reaching us properly.

We left Oslo the next day. It rained like crazy, and I remember very clearly my father wanting to buy tickets for the tramway and the driver just letting us in, without a ticket. It felt so significant that day, as if he wanted to say that these things did not matter right at that moment. My sister and I then continued to travel to Stockholm and Kopenhagen on our way back home, we had planned our trip like that, but the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to be back home, and hug Michael.
In moments like this one, when you feel your mortality, and you realize that actually you are never truly safe, you just want to be with the people that matter the most to you.
But then life continues, and the shock of being close to such an attack wears off. We are not eternally grateful to have been save this time. Only when I hear of similar events do those feelings come back a little, and I try and hug the people I love a little thighter. I hope you and your families and friends are all safe. Not just this week.

And because we can't worry forever, I have a salad recipe I want to share with you. This is the kind of dinner I make for myself when I am alone at home. A single salad, if you will. Ideally, it feeds me twice. I used mung beans here, because I had those on hand and usually don't know what to do with them. They somehow taste a little fresher than lentils, a little grassy maybe. But if you don't have mung beans on hand, I'd suggest substituting equal parts Puy lentils for the beans. The apple and celery provide crunch and a little sweetness, and the roasted chashews make this salad taste almost as if there was cheese in it. Or maybe that is just me. But the cashews are really important in this salad, I would not leave them out. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and papper and a little lemon zest, and you got yourself a lovely dinner or lunch.

Monday, March 4, 2013

An Easy Belgian Endive Salad

In my parent's household, eating salad was a must.
I don't know how my mother did it with four kids, listening to us complaining about the salad we had to eat every single day, after we had already eaten lunch and there was this huge bowl of salad still to be eaten. Maybe once in a few months did my mother let us go without the salad, when she deemed a Chinese stir fry incompatible with salad. We were so happy about those days.
Summer was alright, and winter too, until I started to really dislike beet salad, and all the different bitter winter greens that were seasonal, but just not to my liking. Or to my siblings'.
My mother stuck with this habit for as long as I can remember, and maybe after 10 years she started to see the fruits of her labour. I think my sister and I started to complain less way before my brothers did. There was that time my little sister wanted to finish that huge bowl of by herself, when at the same time the two boys would still sit in front of their salad 15-20 minutes after they had started eating it.
And last year I could not help myself but laugh out loud when my littlest brother told me about summer camp, and how they were never served salad, and on their free day, he'd go to the nearest supermarket to buy one of those already washed/cut salad bowls, pour the dressing that comes with it on top and eat the salad he had missed.
One problem for all of us, the least for my sister, was the bitter salad we had to eat throughout all winter. Endive, napa cabbage, radicchio and all the other varieties that do grow in winter but are just too bitter to be really likeable. And even when we complained less about salad, those bitter greens never really appealed to me.

But this winter I found a way to prepare Belgian endive that makes me want to eat it by the head full, and not share it with anyone else. Caramelizing the endive counteracts the bitterness, but since some of the bitter flavor remains, you don't end up with a boringly sweet salad. Really, that stuff is addicting. In fact, when a friend came over who was really sceptical about the endive, I hoped to have more for myself and was quite disappointed when she made it clear that the leftovers cannot go onto my plate alone.
This is easy, and if you are not too fond of the winter salad either, you really should give this a try. (And I do hope I can convert you, too)

Caramelized Belgian Endive Salad, with an optional hazelnut crunch

Cut as many heads of Belgian endive in half. Do not remove the bottom part or else they will fall apart when cooking. Rub the cut side with a little sugar, maybe a tablespoon for 2 heads.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, a just a little oil. Place the endive cut side down in the skillet and let brown for a minute or so. Remove from heat once nicely browned, place cut side up on plates and drizzle with a little oil (I used pumpkin seed oil, and have used pistachio, which is insanely good but insanely expensive, but use anything slightly nutty)
Sprinkle a little salt on top, and maybe add a little balsamic vinegar if you like.

If you want to make the hazelnut crunch I have in the picture above, just coarsely chop a few hazelnuts, toast them in the skillet before caramelizing the endive, and add a teaspoon or so of maple syrup. Let it bubble up for a few seconds, then remove from skillet, wipe it out and proceed to make the caramelized endive.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Parsnip and Leek Salad with Tofu

I recently realized that I never really introduced my boyfriend around here. He has been the boyfriend for far too long, he has a name, too. So from now on I'll just call him Michael here. (I actually call him Michi, but that's probably a bit difficult to pronounce for anyone not from Switzerland, so let's stick with Michael on this blog).
Yesterday, Michael and I put on our hiking boots, took the train to Solothurn and hiked up the local mountain there, the Weissenstein. The first hour or so we were still below the fog and then in the middle of it. We thought we were out of it every few minutes, until we finally saw rays of light between the trees. Walking into the sun, from under the fog, that makes me think 1) of Plato and 2) an old cliche, but it truly is not just a cliche or a lovely metaphor. Getting out of the literal fog out there, really helped me clear my mind, lift the fog in my brain, so that today I can go back to work and think for once in a while.
We had a late lunch in the sun, hiked up to the top and were rewarded with this view.

And as a gentle reminder that things are real, I burnt my nose in the hour or so of sunlight we had.

Today we are back down below the fog, and back in the kitchen.

This salad was our lunch today. Crunchy radish, soft and squeaky leek and some of the parsnip that did not end up in the soup I made earlier this week, all bound together with a very simple lime-mustard vinaigrette. It made a light and delicioius lunch, and I'd have loved to take some of it to work as lunch the next days but none was leftover.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Green Bean Salad - A Winter Version

I know, technically we are still in Fall, and we can still get the bounty of Fall produce in the supermarket at the moment. I am still excited about butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. But looking ahead, I know there are going to be times lacking in the produce department. After weeks and weeks of mostly carrots and celery, I'll be wanting something different. So in the spirit of planning ahead, I already cooked a salad that I'll probably want to make at least every second day all winter long. You see, all winter long you can still get dried green beans in Swiss supermarkets.
Is is common to cook dried green beans in the US? For the first 22 years of my life I've only known them as a side to boiled potatoes and ham, I loved them but the rest of the meal not so much. Especially the potatoes, I really don't care about boiled potatoes.
But two years ago, in a local restaurant (Tibits, if anyone finds himself in this part of the world sometime) I had a salad of dried green beans, studded with walnuts and cilantro, that was so different and so good, I had to go home and make it myself the next day, a huge bowl full, just for myself.
I would have never thought of combining such a traditional, and somewhat boring, ingredient with cilantro, but once you try it, it just makes sense.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yellow Bean Salad with Fennel and Celery

I love to go to the farmers market on Saturday morning. I say that now that I went today, but I don't want you to live with the impression that I go to the farmers market every Saturday.
I would love to be that person, always buying her produce at the same market stand, with the farmer knowing my name and all. But the farmers market conflicts with my sleeping in, and so I don't go too often. I haven't been in quite a while, and when they had plenty of cherries the last time I went, there were none to be seen today. There were grapes instead, but I missed the cherries. I did not buy enough of them while they were here.

So I love to go to the farmers market, and when I do I buy whatever looks best at the market. Today I bought yellow beans (they were called butterbeans) and a few small bulbs of fennel. And bags full of fruit, and tomatos, but these were not featured in this salad.

Lunch on these Saturdays then simply consists of a salad. A simple salad of lots of fresh vegetables, raw or only slightly cooked. I love those saturdays.
I bought these butterbeans at the market because they looked so lovely and creamy, and because of the name. Something called butterbeans sure has to taste great, right? I bought the fennel to accompany the beans in a salad, and only saw back home that Deb from smitten kitchen has shared a quite similar salad before.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

As I type this, I am sitting in my bedroom, surrounded by boxes and bags full of my stuff. I packed away most of my cookbooks, except the Food Matters Cookbook, that I still needed for today. There are still so many things to do before I move next Saturday, a bed to paint, boxes to fill, so much to clean.
Packing and moving all your stuff is revealing, only now do I realize all the things I bought in the 2 1/2 years I lived in this apartment. Books, kitchen appliances, and so much food, too. I am slowly going through all the things I bought (because I really needed them), and deciding whether I truly like all the things I have at home.
I found that I can do without Amaranth (I really didnt like it) but love quinoa. Kamut is fine, but farro is a lot better. I love chickpeas and split peas but I am not that crazy about other beans.
This is good to know, and as my last recipe, cooked in this small, less than perfect kitchen, I want to share a quinoa salad that I made.
It was inspired by this weeks pick for the Food Matters Project, Mixed Grill with Chimichurri. I decided to try out a new way of posting the recipes I post here, based more on the way I cook, only giving exact measurements when they are necessary. Please let my know your opinion on that in the comments.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pad Thai Salad

We all have those stories that our parents like to tell about us. You have to know those, they are told to people entering the family, like boyfriends, the new husband of the aunt, or maybe a new friend, too. One thing about me that my mother loves to share is my early love for travelling.
Apparently, when I was 2 (or 3, I have heard it many times but still don't remember), I went to my grandmother on "holidays", and unlike other children who get homesick and want to see their mothers, I loved being there, and when it was time to go home, I am said to have called my parents (with help, obviously) and asked whether I could stay longer.

What can I say, it is still the same today. I am always planning the next trip, and more than that, probably also smaller trips in between and the next bigger trip is being discussed. Despite all this, I have never travelled outside of Europe so far. There were many plans to do so, but somehow France, Ireland or Spain made it to the top of the list. Maybe next year I'll make it to another continent for the first time.

I have found that this also influences my cooking, or rather my confidence in labeling a certain dish "Indian" or "Vietnamese". The Indian food I had in my life was cooked in European kitchens, and was adapted to European tastes. And then come the cuisines that are not so common in Europe as in the US. I have been very careful to not cook something and then label it "Mexican", because really, the only Mexican food you can buy here are these taco kits. Nevertheless, I still feel myself in need of labelling things - Arugula, Carrot, Asparagus, Peanut Salad with Lime, Soy Sauce and Cilantro dressing just does not sound too great. So let's call this a Pad Thai Salad, even though I know this is not the real thing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Potato Salad with Greens

If I was born not in the 80ies but in the 90ies, I might have been diagnosed with ADHD. This is a thought that just occured to me today. I always wanted to do too many things at one time. I was always distracted, thinking about something else. I was a good student, so nobody complained, but I often forgot my homework, the coursebooks and the library books, too. The only time I did only one thing was when I read a book. I read a ton of books back then. Somehow I stopped, I don't really remember when or why, it brought my so much pleasure.
And still today, I have difficulty doing one thing right, not many things at once. I start writing here, then suddenly it occurs to might that I wanted to write an email, do the dishes, that I wanted to look up this recipe, or that I wanted to look up this movie that I read of in the newspaper. I am a tabs-person - at the moment I have 8 tabs open, one with a bread recipe, a basic yoga routine , some blogs, and a dictionary. I have stacks of books to read, dealing with new topics that I became interested in. I want to learn to draw and paint, I want to learn about the art of photography, about master bread-baking, and many things more. I just get distracted.
I keep reading about people unplugging from the internet, the constant connection. I need to focus too, but not by being absent but by being more present. One focus at a time, not several.
My focus in the kitchen in the last few days was on potatoes. I never really liked plain potatoes. I like chips and fries like any other person, but regular potatoes, cooked in salt water, not really. So it is really shocking to me, that I made a version of this Potato Salad for Lunch the last two days and made it again tonight for dinner. Crazy. I just love how the mustard adds some kick to it, I adore the sharpness of the vinegar, the greens. I already bought more potatoes today. It's a bit scary, really.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spicy Squash Salad with Wild Rice and Parsley

I barely have time to cook. Or rather I barely had time to cook. Having three presentations at college in a row (one per week) is just not such a great idea. Taking up another little job, writing for a homepage, at the same time might not be the clever idea I thought it was.
Many things got neglected in the meantime, I had almost no time to enjoy fall until now and I had to work all weekend long. Tomorrow, after my presentation about the 'Greening of Protestant Thought', this should be over. There will still be things to read, translations to make and classes to visit, but I'll have my weekends back.

One thing I did try to keep up doing is preparing lunch to take to college or to work. I made "salads", mostly. My definition of salad is somewhat loose, though. I usually don't add a real dressing, so a salad is more a cold meal that was planned to be eaten cold (in contrast to left-overs).
For today I prepared this squash salad. I saw the recipe on The Moveable Feasts, it is from Bon Appetit originally.
I did not have smoked paprika on hand and could not find it in the supermarket I went to, so I had to do without. I also decided early on that I wanted to add lots of parsley. (This is probably because I saw a recipe in one of Jamie Oliver's books, that used tarragon as main salad ingredient. Really interesting idea!)
And I swapped out the lentils for a wild rice mix (this is just regular rice and wild rice mixed, I think it was something like a 8:2 ratio)
It is a lovely little fall salad, way better than anything I could get to eat here for lunch...

Do you prepare lunch to take to work or to college? And what do you prepare if you do?