Archive for the ‘Salads and Dressings’ Category

Warm Beet Salad

Monday, April 7th, 2014

beet saladweb

I know beets haven’t arrived in farm stands yet—but I’m looking forward to them! Here is a very fattening but a very fun, delectable, and showy way to use this colorful vegetable.

The recipe comes from my dear friend Michael Collins, the chef at the now closed Green Emporium in Colrain, Massachusetts. Michael and his partner Tony Palumbo are hoping to open a new Mexican restaurant, Mi Vida Loca, in nearby Shelburne Falls soon. I can’t wait to eat there—and I’m hoping the new eatery will have room for a piano so I can perform!

If you have high-speed internet, you can watch Michael prepare the beets with a little help from me by clicking “play” on the video below the recipe.

Just in case you can’t watch videos (I can’t at home in Massachusetts!), I have provided the recipe.

beetsweb

Ingredients:

3 small beets
a small handful of pine nuts
a small, flat bowl lined with all-purpose flower
1 egg
panko bread crumbs as needed
olive oil as needed for light frying
a bed of red-leaf lettuce
a few tablespoons fresh, soft goat cheese
the juice of 1/2 lemon
freshly ground pepper
fresh chives to taste

Instructions:

Quickly wash the beets and immerse them in boiling, salted water. Return the water to a boil, turn it down, and simmer the beets until they are fork tender (about 40 minutes). Drain the beets, rinse them in cold water, and quickly remove their skins and ends. If you wish, you may do this first step early in the day and finish preparing the salad just before you want to serve it.

When you are almost ready to serve the salad, toast the pine nuts in a small iron skillet until they start to smell lovely and begin to brown. Remove them from the pan and set them aside.

Place the flour in one bowl, the egg in a second bowl, and the panko crumbs in a third bowl. Add a small amount of water to the egg, and whisk the egg and water together.

Slice each beet into four slices. Dip the beet pieces first in the flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the crumbs.

Pour oil into a 10-inch skillet (enough to cover the bottom). Heat the oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the breaded pieces of beet and cook them quickly until they are golden brown, turning once. (This will take less than 5 minutes.)

Place the lettuce on a plate, and arrange the fried beet pieces on top. Top each beet with a small amount of cheese; then squeeze lemon juice over all. Sprinkle pepper and freshly cut chives on top of the salad.

Serves 2 elegantly.

Connie’s Salade Niçoise

Monday, September 16th, 2013
Connie's Photo of Her Salade

Connie’s Photo of Her Salade

Summer is almost over—but we’re still surrounded by much of its lovely produce. This classic salad recipe comes from my friend Connie MacDonald via her sister Amy. (Thank you, Connie and Amy!)

Connie’s instructions call for tossing the entire salad together. When I made it I had fewer people than it serves so I ended up plating all the ingredients separately and letting my guests help themselves. That way, the leftovers could be combined again the next day.

However you mix it, the salad gives you a lovely way to say farewell to summer’s bounty. And it gives me a delicious way to remember my late mother, who adored Salade Niçoise.

She always included a little hard-boiled egg in her Salade so I did so as well (as you can see in the photo of my version). It’s not obligatory, however!

Salade Niçoise à la Constance

Ingredients:

for the salad:

8 small red potatoes
1-1/2 pounds French (or any good, fresh) green beans
1 cup Greek olives
1/2 red onion
1 pint cherry tomatoes
a couple of big handsful of Mesclun greens (3 to 4 cups)
about 1 pound tuna—canned, in packets, or fresh (if it’s fresh you should obviously quickly cook it before using it!)

for the Lemon Vinaigrette (more or less to your taste)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder (Tinky used 1 fresh garlic clove, minced)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions:

Boil the potatoes. While they are cooking to al dente, steam green beans. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Dice the olives and onion. Set them aside separately.

Whisk together the vinaigrette.

Wash the tomatoes and the salad greens and set them aside. “By this point,” says Connie, “your counter top looks like an awesome Provençal cooking show with many bowls full of colorful veggies. You can practically feel your hair grow in anticipation of the impending nutritive boost.”

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and let them cool until you can safely handle them. Slice them into 1/4-inch-thick slices and toss the warm potatoes with half of the vinaigrette. (I, Tinky, had the tiniest potatoes in the world so many of them didn’t need slicing.)

Find a really big bowl, toss and mix in all the ingredients, and cover them with the remaining vinaigrette. Toss gently, but thoroughly.

Turn the salad out onto a large platter and serve with fresh croissants.

“T.D.F. (to die for),” says Connie. The girl has a point. Serves 8 to 10 generously.

A Plate with My Unmixed Version of the Salade

A Plate with My Unmixed Version of the Salade

Finally … in case you’re not among those I have inundated with the links to my latest TV appearance, here they are! On Friday I made two dishes on the program “Mass Appeal” for World Alzheimer’s Month: Broccoli and Apple Salad and Apple Crumble.

Tinky’s Tangy Maple Coleslaw

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I’m continuing with my Maple Month theme by popping some syrup into a basic coleslaw. It only gives a TINY hint of sweet, I promise. In fact, when I served this as part of my (almost) all-maple meal, my guests pronounced it  their favorite part of the meal.

And OF COURSE it’s green (pale green, but green is green begorra!) for Saint Patrick’s Day.

If you’re looking for something else for Saint Patrick’s Day, I heartily recommend my Irish beef stew, Irish cheese fondue, or Irish soda bread. Don’t forget to wear green while you cook.

And please visit my new blog What’s a Girl to Do? to read a brief essay that talks about the name of THIS blog! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all……

Truffle may not cook, but she DOES wear green at this time of year.

The Slaw

Ingredients:

1 medium head cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
3 to 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
kosher salt to taste (I used about 3/4 teaspoon)
lots of freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions:

If your cabbage and carrots are a little elderly (as cabbages and carrots tend to be at this time of year), soak them in cold water for an hour. Drain the vegetables thoroughly before you continue with the recipe. The syrup makes this slaw a little wet to start with so you don’t want to compound the wetness!

In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, syrup, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Taste this dressing to see whether you need more salt, vinegar, mayo, or syrup. (It may need adjusting depending on the strength of your vinegar and maple syrup.)

Pour the dressing over the drained cabbage, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Stir and taste before serving, adjusting the flavors if necessary.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cider Time

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Most New Englanders see early November as a time for winding down from summer and harvest activities. The leaves dwindle, the air takes on a distinct chill, and farm stands begin closing their doors.

For cider lovers, however, this season is a highlight of the year.

Here in Franklin County, Massachusetts, we are lucky to have a weekend devoted to the joys of apples and cider, a weekend that seems to become richer each year.

Today and tomorrow mark the 17th annual occurrence of Cider Days, a celebration founded by Judith Maloney of West County Cider and her late husband Terry in 1994.

This year the festivities include a pancake breakfast, programs and sales at various locations throughout the county, canning classes, a home orchard workshop, tastings galore, and a special cider dinner.

Several local eateries will feature apple and cider items on their menus that weekend, including my beloved Green Emporium, where apple-cheddar pizza and appletinis are just the beginning of the apple madness.

This morning the Green Emporium featured cooking demonstrations by its chef, Michael Collins, and by Amy Traverso of Yankee magazine, the author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook.

Amy also signed copies of her book, which was published in September by W.W. Norton. Norton sent me a copy of the book to review for a local paper. The book is a real find—a treasure trove of apple information (Amy has unearthed apple varieties completely new to me), stories of trips to orchards, and tempting recipes.

Amy has come to Cider Days several times although this is her first public appearance there. “Cider Days is something that my whole family looks forward to every year,” she told me.

“It’s just lovely to drive around rural Massachusetts for a day and taste apples! We may not live in wine country, but we certainly do live in cider country. I want to see New Englanders really embrace our cider heritage, and I’m so grateful to the Maloney family for helping put this drink [hard cider] back on the map. The festival seems to draw bigger crowds every year, so that’s really encouraging.”

I’m sorry that I didn’t post this in time to allow you to come to her signing—I’ve been having SERIOUS blog issues, just resolved thanks to my current hero (and always friend) Henry. Luckily, there are more events still to come this weekend.

For a full schedule of activities visit this link. For a couple of apple and cider recipes (I’m posting this a little late so we have two today!), read on….

I MEANT to photograph this in a pretty dish, but we got busy eating....

Farm Share Coleslaw

My mother’s darling nurse Pam Gerry told me months ago about her favorite coleslaw, which incorporates dill and apple with the cabbage.

I had to wait until fall to have the fresh ingredients with which to make it, however!

In early October our farm share turned up a small head of cabbage a couple of weeks ago—and we had apples on our trees and a small amount of dill still in the herb garden. The carrot was left over from a previous week’s farm share, and of course the cider vinegar was from Apex Orchards nearby.

Of course, you may tinker with the recipe and substitute something more conventionally coleslawy (maybe caraway seeds?) for the dill. I loved the fresh flavor it gave to the salad, however.

A generous friend sent me some REAL kosher corned beef and rye bread from New York City so I was able to make one of my favorite childhood sandwiches, corned beef with mustard and slaw. We got our cold cuts at a kosher deli where cheese was never mixed with corned beef so I never became a Reuben fan. But I adore coleslaw with my corned beef so between them Pam and Peter send me to heaven!

Ingredients:

1/2 small cabbage (about 3 cups when chopped), cored and loosely chopped or grated
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 small apple, cored and grated (remove skin if you like)
1/3 cup mayonnaise (plus or minus to taste)
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh dill leaves or a teaspoons dried dill weed (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon salt and five turns of the pepper grinder)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir and adjust seasonings to taste.

If you have time, let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for a while to maximize flavor. Be sure to stir it before serving.

Makes about 2 cups.

 

Sherry Hager’s Cider Doughnuts

My friend Cynthia O’Connor asked me more than a year ago if I had a recipe for Cider Doughnuts. It took me a while, but I finally got one!

Hager’s Farm Market in Shelburne, Massachusetts, will offer a plethora of apple products for this year’s Cider Days, plus the market’s signature fried dough with maple cream. I persuaded Sherry Hager and her daughter Kim to part with the recipe for Sherry’s cider doughnuts, pastries that are particularly light and crispy thanks to the cider and buttermilk in their dough … and to the Hagers’ deep-frying skills.

Ingredients:

3-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature (I used unsalted)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup buttermilk
canola oil as needed for frying

Instructions:

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.

In another bowl beat the butter and sugar together with electric mixer. Mix in the eggs until they are thoroughly incorporated. Mix in the cider and buttermilk.

Dump in the dry ingredients and stir.

“Our secret is we let it refrigerate overnight,” says Kim of the dough.

The next day preheat the oil to 350 degrees in a large pan or fryer.

Roll the out dough on a floured surface; cut it with a doughnut cutter. This can be a little tricky even after refrigeration as the dough is sticky. As you can see from the photos here, I gave up on doughnuts and formed my dough into freeform crullers.

Cook the doughnuts a few at a time until they are brown on each side, a minute or two per side.

Makes about 18 doughnuts and 18 holes.

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World Cup Fruit Cup

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

 
My friend Alice Little Grevet, who lives in Paris (lucky Alice!), came up with this recipe title.
 
Alice is one of those people who frequently paste the word “Gooooooooaaaaaal!!!” on their Facebook pages at this time of year.
 
Like many people living in the United States, I am following the World Cup only peripherally —primarily by watching British humorist John Oliver’s commentary on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
 
I’m impressed (but not enough to watch an entire match) that the U.S. team actually appears to be holding its own in the competition—so far, at any rate—but not in any arrogant fashion.
 
Rooting for the U.S. in the World Cup is rather like rooting for the Red Sox in the good old days when they lost all the time. It’s genteel. 

My fruit cup is also relatively genteel, I hope. It is the only international fruit cup recipe I have, given to me years and years ago by a Spanish woman living in France. 

I’ve written here before about Paris en Films, the film festival organized by my honorary godmother, Dagny Johnson. During my first summer working with the festival we were housed in a one-bedroom apartment on the Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris.
 
Despite its relative paucity of rooms the apartment was quite grand, with panels of mirrors on the walls that made it appear even grander. We rented it from a Spanish nobleman. Our landlord owned a building in Paris so that he could stay there from time to time and watch marathon features of pornographic films, which were banned in Franco’s Spain.
 
I found this bizarre. I guess it’s no odder than keeping an apartment in Paris so one can eat the food or go to the museums or look at the gorgeous city, all of which sound perfectly rational to me. But I was a very naïve teenager.
 
Through this nobleman Dagny found our cook/housekeeper, Nieves Garcia. Madame Garcia’s husband worked at the Spanish Embassy. 

Madame Garcia was a perky suicide blonde who seemed to have a perpetual smile on her face. She wasn’t actually a terrific cook (she had only about four dishes in the repertoire she served our guests), but she had an aura about her that defied anyone to criticize her culinary talents.

 
My favorite among Madame Garcia’s kitchen creations was her signature fruit cup.
 
She used whatever fruit was at hand and gave it a little extra zip with sugar, orange juice, and anise liqueur.
 
In honor of Madame Garcia and of soccer players everywhere I offer her recipe. I tried to find international fruits and juices when I tested it this week. Unfortunately, the only exotic fruits available at my local general store were bananas.
 
Feel free to add any international fruits you can find—and perhaps to substitute some Brazilian cashew juice (if you can find that) for the o.j.
 
Although you may of course use another liqueur in place of the anise I counsel against it. The licorice taste contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the fruit and really makes this dish. 

Your guests may well yell “Gooooooooaaaaaal!!!” as they eat.

 
Madame Garcia’s Spanish Parisian Fruit Cup
 
Ingredients:
 
6 cups assorted fruit
2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons orange juice (or to taste)
2 tablespoons anise liqueur (or to taste)
 
Instructions:
 
Place the fruit in a pretty bowl. Measure out the remaining ingredients in the order in which they appear above. 

Allow the fruit to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Serves 6.


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