BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘salad

Salad Perfection: Roasted Celeriac and Roasted Exotic Mushrooms with Shaved Radish (or Turnip) and Buttermilk Dressing

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My recreation of a Fore Street salad, with shaved local watermelon radish instead of white turnip, and roasted celeriac and roasted meaty King Trumpets and some enoki-or-shimeji-type smaller mushroom. Delish!

I don’t usually run photos this large, but this is an unassuming salad with big flavor. It’s inspired by a truly memorable one I just had at Fore Street, perhaps this Portland’s hottest restaurant. Chef/owner Sam Hayward is Maine’s answer to Alice Waters. My parents took us to his  Street& Company on a visit to Maine years ago, but I’d yet to eat at his flagship spot, just above his renown Standard Baking Co., which bakes the chewy fougasse I devoured with my appetizers at Fore Street.

Now, Fore Street is famous for its protein, its house-cured-and-smoked charcuterie, fresh Maine seafood and spit-roasted meats. So this simple salad especially stood out. The menu described a turnip and exotic mushroom salad with roasted celeriac and a light buttermilk dressing. Mushrooms on a salad usually stand out as a rare ingredient. I assumed the mushrooms would be pickled or marinated and shaved. But Fore Street is known for its wood-fired cooking. It turns out the mushrooms were quickly roasted, to seal in their juices and concentrate their flavor. How had I, long a slave to mushrooms in the sautee pan, never thought of roasting them before? So I sliced up some locally-cultivated King Trumpets and shimejis (smaller clumped ones like big enokis), rubbed them with olive oil, Maine sea salt and pepper, and into the 450 degree oven they went, along with the cubed celeriac. The buttermilk dressing, with Kate’s legit buttermilk from Maine’s Old Orchard Beach, came from a Vermont locavore cookbook. Recipe to come.

It wasn’t hard coming up with my “Meals We Loved” pick for today’s radio show (our second) I taped with fellow Brunswick food writer, Michael S. Sanders. The topic was sustainable seafood. Visit the Table Arts Media page for a soon-to-be-posted podcast of the show. We have a lot of kinks and technical glitches to iron out, but hey, it’s college radio. And as Michael reminded me, James Beard Award-winning chef Sam Hayward’s first restaurant experiment in Maine–22 Lincoln right here in Brunswick–actually went under after a 10-year-run. But, to the delight of diners everywhere, that sure didn’t stop him.

Final Salad Days of Summer

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Tri-colored beets (golden, candy-striped Chioggia and plain red) salad I topped with goat cheese and maple syrup-candied chopped almonds.

I’ve been falling in love with salads again as I frantically try to cook up the summer’s bounty before the chill sets in here in Maine. In  Oregon and here, September is prime salad-making time. You’ve got just about every fresh, locally-grown vegetable at your disposal.

I’ve brought salads to several events of late, so I’m in a groove. And rather than bring the same old dressed lettuce, I’ve sought out variety, recipes that really test our sense of the word “salad.” I love how deliciously broad a category it is.

Take, for example, otsu: the tangy, gingery cold soba noodles tossed with toasted tofu, cucumber, scallions, toasted sesame seeds and shredded carrot kraut (last ingredient my addition). I gladly stumbled upon the recipe in popular food blogger Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking book, a thank-you gift I received for judging a hazelnut cooking competition. Swanson’s technique of roasting the drained tofu cubes in a dry non-stick pan (or well-seasoned cast iron skillet) was a revelation to me. Finally crispy cubes of tofu that didn’t require additional oil. I might use this technique to prepare tofu for a stir-fry or simmer sauce, to give in a more satisfying texture. Be careful not to overcook the soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) here…those thin suckers cook up quickly.

Other salads I made this week included a visually-grabbing tri-colored beet salad with cut blanched green beans and yellow tomato. Tonight, I was inspired by the Samin Nosrat‘s grilled pepper and corn salad. It came out more like a liquid-y salsa, but a nice acidic complement to greasy ribs we picnicked on from a surprisingly authentic BBQ place in nearby Bath (great domain name, Beale Street!). The liquid leftover from the salad would make nice Bloody Mary’s. Nosrat’s recipe calls for pre-pickling the onions in red wine vinegar and pressing garlic with salt into paste for dressing–techniques I recognize from my beloved Tamar Adler. Which isn’t surprising, I suppose, since both women worked at Chez Panisse. Must have learned the techniques from Alice Waters.

Written by baltimoregon

September 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Hand-Tossed Pizza and a Simple Salad

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Nothing like a homemade pizza dinner on a Sunday night. I love making my own dough now (though it’s still somewhat soggy in the center, not as clay-oven crisp as I’d like it to be) though it does take time and make a mess in the kitchen, what with flour and cornmeal thrown everywhere. With whole wheat flour instead of the high-gluten Italian one she recommends, I made dough from Melissa McCart‘s recipe, which appeared in The Washington Post’s Food section (I carted the hard-copy all the way out to Oregon with me:). Sauce was from 101 Cookbooks (fresh lemon zest really brightens it up!) but with pureed tomatoes, instead of crushed, for that smooth pizza sauce texture. We topped the pizzas with feta and mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary-sauteed potatoes and spinach. No complaints here:)

For a light salad accompaniment, I drew inspiration from Mark Bittman’s recent post on this refreshing fennel-celery salad, with the sweet addition of a crisp, thin-skinned Asian pear.

Written by baltimoregon

March 2, 2009 at 1:58 am

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Dinner 911: Turkey Bacon and Sauteed Bok Choy Salad with Orange Dressing

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Wendy's Beautiful Salad

I was thrilled when my dear Wendy called me in a panic from San Francisco tonight. “Help Laura! Dave will be home in a half hour and I need to make dinner.”

“Ok, we’ll do this,” I replied, the adrenaline pumping. “What do you have in your fridge?”

Salad, veggies, turkey bacon, beets and goat cheese. Great, roast beet salad. No, the beet had gone bad. Here was our solution:

-Fry up the turkey bacon. Sautee your bok choy greens in the leftover grease.

-Prepare a salad bowl with lettuce mix, chopped carrots and broccoli, dried cranberries, hard-boiled egg and goat cheese. Toss in the bacon and sauteed greens.

Then Wendy said she had fresh oranges. That prompted this dressing, probably the best part of the recipe. I drew inspiration from one we made at the magical Seasons of My Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca:

-1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-little honey if it needs sweetness
-1-2 cloves of chopped garlic
-salt and pepper

I felt so useful! Why is it so much easier to help other people plan their dinners (and lives!) than it is to figure out your own situation? The power of objectivity, I suppose.

Written by baltimoregon

February 26, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Getting Into Those Whole Grains

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Three Grain Salad Primavera with Lemon Vinaigrette

Three Grain Salad Primavera with Lemon Vinaigrette

This is a hearty, nutty, soul-satisfying salad from my sister-in-law, Julia. She picked it up while attending a holistic culinary school in San Francisco. The best part: you can use up those remainders of random grains stashed in the back of the cupboard. I used soft white wheatberries from Stalford Farm here in Oregon (the same source of my locally-grown chickpeas), black wild rice and an Israeli couscous/quinoa blend. This is a recipe that’s hard to screw up, thankfully. I also didn’t have flax seed oil so just doubled the olive oil in the dressing. Dan threw in some grape tomatoes (which he purchased against my will. I’m trying to abstain from eating tomatoes outside the local season. Winter tomatoes or those from Mexico just don’t compare.)

Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy (feel free to half the portion, but it keeps well in the fridge for the week):

Three Grain Salad Primavera with Lemon Vinaigrette
(serves 16)

Grain salad options (you will need 1 cup of three of these grains):
wild rice
Israeli couscous
Choose three of these or other favorite grains — you will want to end up with 7 cups
cooked product total

Vegetables for salad:
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 orange pepper, chopped (NOTE- i used 3 whole peppers- just eyeball it)
1/2 pound green beans or snow peas, slivered
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch italian parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

Dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 teasponns dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup other vegetable oil like flax seed oil or safflower
2 tbsp warm water
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely chopped

Choose three grains and cook 1 cup of each separately. Set them aside to cool while
preparing the vegetables and the dressing.  As the vegetables and herb s are chopped, put
them into a large mixing bowl.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients except water and lemon zest, and whisk together
or put in a blender or small food processor.  Cover and blend.  Add warm water and blend
until smooth while the machine is running.  Taste, adjust as needed, and then add the
lemon zest.  (Dressing will keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks).

Measure out 7 cups of the combination of cooled grains.  Add to the vegetables in the
mixing bowl and toss to combine.  Add 1/2 cup of the dressing and toss to coat the grains
and vegetables lightly.  Taste and adjust if more dressing is needed.  Serve chilled or
at room temperature.

Written by baltimoregon

January 23, 2009 at 12:50 am

Apple and Comte Salad Days

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Alas, come dinnertime I couldn’t find my precious recipe for “Autumn Salad with Apples, Comte and Hazelnuts” that I had clipped from The Baltimore Sun. These scraps get lost in a move. So I tried to recreate the apple cider vinagrette anyway and did the rest from memory. I used spinach greens, substituted walnuts for hazelnuts and sliced up some celeriac (celery root) along with the celery hearts. The syrupy reduced apple cider in the dressing and tangy raw milk comte cheese really make for a memorable salad I’ll continue to make.

Googling around, I remembered the recipe came from Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking book of New Orleans recipes. I finally found the recipe reprinted on a blog (see below).

Hey all you turophiles out there, any other ways you recommend using comte? This one for comte and pear phillo triangles looks intriguing. The cheese just pairs so well with any kind of fruit.

Autumn Salad with Apples, Comte, and Hazelnuts
Serves 4

8 cups mixed greens, cleaned
1 medium apple, thinly sliced into matchsticks
2-3 ounces Comte cheese, cut in matchsticks
1/4 cup sliced celery hearts
1 cup Cider Dressing, recipe follows
1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries, optional

In a large bowl, use your hands or two wooden spoons to toss together the lettuce, apple, cheese, and celery hearts. Drizzle in enough dressing to lightly coat the salad; reserve remaining dressing. Season the salad with a little salt, if necessary, and divide among four plates. Sprinkle salad with hazelnuts and drizzle with equal portions of the remaining Cider Dressing.

Cider Dressing

1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup pure olive oil or a mild vegetable oil
1 teaspoon hazelnut oil, optional
salt and pepper

Place the cider and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons of liquid. Pour it into a small bowl and add the shallots and mustard. Whisk to combine, then slowly whisk in the olive oil and the hazelnut oil, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Written by baltimoregon

December 27, 2008 at 1:07 am

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