Here’s something pretty to throw on your salad. Mid spring or early summer chives send up a woody stock that blossoms out into a lovely purple flower. Chives are part of the onion family and while their flavor is mild their blossoms are not. They seem to concentrate all their power into one fluffy flower! These are fairly hot. I usually throw them into a tossed green salad served with a creamy dressing like ranch. The dressing helps counteract the assertiveness of the chive blossom. You could certainly use them in other salads. You could also serve them on a crudite platter as is.
Toss the salad gently as chive blossoms can fall apart. They are compound flower, rather l a dandelion seed head and fall apart easily. Their color can range from crayon purple to lilac. I think mine need to
be repotted and are blooming a bit lighter than usual this year.
Chives are an easy plant to grow. Give them a decent size pot, good soil, and a spot in the sun and they will be quite happy on your porch or balcony.
Have you used chive blossoms before? How did you use them? I’ve been considering battering and frying them. Has anyone had them that way?
Perhaps it’s getting used to the new job and hours, maybe it’s the allergies, maybe it’s because I actually did fall down and go scrape on the concrete and it still hurts like heck, or maybe it’s PMS. Maybe it’s all just excuses for why I have not only not felt like cooking but not firing up the computer to post. I’m not on the computer as much since I got my shiny new phone. I guess I am on the computer, probably much more, it’s just much smaller.
Whatever it is, here is my peace offering for being away. I fell in love with edamame (soy beans) at the sushi restaurant. Steamed edamame is an appetizer and snack in Japanese cuisine. The little bowl of fuzzy pods are cracked open and consumed in no time at our table. Once I knew what to do with them I bought a bag of frozen beans for at home. A quick boil and voila! Snack time. If I’m craving something salty I’ll use a couple dashes of soy sauce on them, soy on soy action. That is what gave me the idea for this salad dressing.
It’s really pretty simple and lovely and easy, which is exactly what one needs to crawl back on to the salad wagon. Continue reading →
Kale and I never used to get along. My first job was in a pizza parlor. Every morning we had to fill the salad display with ice and prepared salads. These displays were edged with large leaves of kale which we kept in a bucket with water when not on display. They smelled horrible. It wasn’t being kept in the water; they smelled horrible when they were freshly delivered. I often put the produce order away and they stunk right off the truck. I couldn’t imagine how people could eat the stuff. I knew they did, but it was smelly and the leaves were tuff and fibrous. It was even worse if you were hung over.
Twenty some years later a coworker offered me his salad that he wasn’t going to eat. Kale and I had met a few times at the store and farmer’s market but there had been no real introduction. This kale looked different and it didn’t seem to smell, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. But this coworker had pretty good taste and the salad had sesame and ginger in it. You can sell me just about anything if it’s been coated in sesame and ginger. It was love at first bite and kale and I have been spending a lot of quality time together since. It’s even managed to introduce me to some of its other leafy friends like sorrel, mustard, and beet. A gate opened and suddenly there was a whole new leafy world available!
This is my ode to that life changing salad. Continue reading →
Last week was one long week. The roofers showed up Monday for the new roof, I started a new job, and allergy season hit like Mohammad Ali. By Friday night I was all in. Good news showed up in my inbox from Denison Farm though, strawberry season has started! They’re a few weeks early, but I’ll take it! The first strawberries of the season were enough to draw my itchy, watery, exhausted rear out the door and down to the farmer’s market. I had planned on getting at least a half flat, but since they only had about a flat left by the time I made it down there. There was a line behind me, so I settled for a couple of pints. There will be more strawberries to come.
The first strawberries call for something simple, I’ve waited all year to taste fresh strawberries, I want to taste the strawberry. So I settled for a classic, which is all I could handle through allergy fog anyway. I used raw almonds, if you use salted almonds I would leave the salt out. Continue reading →
Raw broccoli isn’t high on my list of favorites. To be totally honest, it’s not on my list of favorites, it’s in the okay section. It’s just so…fibrous. It takes forever to chew and takes over the taste of everything else. So for this salad I do one of the following: defrost a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it, steam chopped fresh broccoli, or shred the broccoli. Shredded broccoli is my favorite but it takes the most work and clean up (drag out the mandolin, try not to maim myself using it, then clean the mandolin trying to get all the little bits of broccoli off of it). The picture is of defrosted and chopped broccoli.
This salad is supper yummy and filling. It has tons of crunch and the cranberries give it just the right amount of sweet. Poppy seed dressing (at least Annie’s brand) is pretty sweet as well. This is the only salad I use it with so far. The broccoli can take all that sweetness in stride and still be tasty broccoli. Continue reading →
When my grandmother was in her late eighties I lived with her awhile. It ended up being a fairly short time as she was in need of 24 hour company and I could not provide that. She was more than willing to give up cooking duty and I was happy to take it over. At some point she had lost interest in food and after 80 years of cooking (she started as a child helping to prepare meals) she was ready to give it up. Don’t get me wrong, she complained bitterly if I baked pie or cake or some other goodie and didn’t leave her any. She just wasn’t hungry for most meals. She had also become quite picky.
Chicken ‘n Pea Salad was one of the things I could routinely serve that she would eat. It’s also something that you can whip up quick after working all day. You can use up leftover chicken or defrost and grill up some (breaded tenders would be quite tasty). There always seems to be a bag of peas in the freezer (it feels empty without them) and some pasta sitting in the cupboard waiting to be used up. I’m not sure it’s allowed not to have ranch dressing in the fridge, at least not with my family. You can make it as basic or fancy as your audiences taste buds will allow, throw in some diced onion or shredded carrots. I normally use shell shaped pasta but I didn’t have any, the macaroni works just as well. Continue reading →
I was looking for ways to use hard boiled eggs when I came across a recipe for pan bagnat. According to Wikipedia it’s a sandwich from Nice, France. In the local dialect, the name translates as wet bread. You stack the ingredients on the bread, after removing enough to make a trench, then pour the dressing over it, and set it aside for some time.
French dips, hot roast beef with gravy, even some people’s French toast, are just not my style. I’m not much for soggy bread but the sandwich sounded really good otherwise! That’s when I realized I could turn it into a salad. I thought about leaving the bread completely out and calling it something else. But while this recipe was percolating in the back of my mind, I started thinking more about bread. Most recipes that combine liquid with bread are an effort to revive stale bread. Until fairly recently most bread was much thicker and coarser than what we normally eat. The bread normally used for the sandwich is a crusty wheat bread; this was starting to make sense. I decided to give it a try. I still don’t know if I would like the sandwich but the salad was right tasty! The bread absorbed just enough dressing that it was damp but not soggy.
Market of Choice carries a demi baguette that I adore (just big enough for two servings). However, I didn’t use it right away and it became stale. I won’t say I could’ve drove nails with it, but it was close. If you use stale bread, please be careful cutting it! Continue reading →
As a kid you don’t really question the names of things, but as we grow older we may notice the inconsistencies of our language. Salad is one such inconsistency. As a child I never once pondered why a fruit dish heaped in whipped cream would be called salad and served with the main meal. Even as I learned to make whipped cream for said fruit dish, I never once questioned why it was called salad. It was what it was and I did not question it (I’m sure there is some existential story in here if I really dug for it). Perhaps it’s because my family didn’t eat many salads made from greens, they were too expensive. But at some point I asked, why do we call this salad?
This question grew when I first started visiting buffets and was baffled to find mousse and whipped cream at the salad bar. Aren’t they supposed to be on the dessert bar? Why do we call it chicken salad? Why do we call it egg salad? While you can argue the token celery and green onion in chicken salad, there were no vegetables in our egg salad.
The fruit salad my mom made was a monument to the 60s and 70s. The ingredients were easy: canned fruit salad (canned grapes are really, really sad), an apple, a banana, and as many maraschino cherries as you thought you could afford to include dressed with whipped cream. As whipped topping came down in price the whipped cream was replaced with whipped topping. Fruit salad was served at holiday dinners as part of the meal, not to be confused with the pie that we would have for dessert. By the next day it was a sad dish as the cream would have started to separate, the bananas turn brown and mushy, and you could see the poor canned grapes. All the maraschino cherries would have been dug out by then of course.
So this is not my mom’s fruit salad. I’m sure her original recipe would have called for coconut; however, since she did not like coconut ours never had it. Tropical fruit would have cost way too much when I was growing up and nobody but health nuts eat yogurt. This salad will last a couple days in the fridge without separating looking sad. I kept the maraschino cherries though, but you might want to wear gloves when you cut them in half. They can stain your nails. Continue reading →
This is my new favorite coleslaw. I had a heck of time naming this. I’m not comfortable naming something after a country/people/cuisine when I don’t know much about it. However, I finally went with Thai Coleslaw because it really does taste like something I would get at a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant and it’s much better than South East Asian Coleslaw.
I broke a few of my own rules to make this coleslaw such as no cucumbers or bell peppers outside of summer but I’m really glad I did. This will be a perfect salad for summer. This is a much better salad to take on a picnic than a dairy or mayonnaise based salad, vinegar holds up to the heat better.
Speaking of heat, I was surprised it didn’t turn out hotter. When I first tasted the dressing it was spicy, but the cabbage seems to tame it pretty well. If you want to make it spicier try adding some diced hot peppers to the salad or adding spicier or more hot peppers to the dressing. Continue reading →
Have you had those days in the kitchen? I had one of those days in the kitchen. I had exactly what I was going to make all planned out. I cut up all the costarring ingredients only to find out my star ingredient had gone bad. Guess it’s been a few days longer than I thought.
So then I decided to make this dressing. Curry is one of my favorite flavors and it’s something I always have in the house, only, I couldn’t find it. I took most of the stuff off my seasoning shelf and no curry. Seriously? I was tired, I was grumpy, my food wasn’t turning out right after lots of work and cleaning out the fridge to see what was actually still edible. There HAD to be curry. Of course there was, I just had to get a stool and nearly empty the cupboard before I could find it. Success! And tasty success it is!
Warning! This is a fiery dressing. Know how kitchen advice from professionals always tell you to wear gloves to cut up hot peppers? Ya, I never do that. It’s never been a problem, still isn’t. The advice that you should wash your hands immediately after handling them? That one I usually follow. Usually. Apparently not today. This information over at Livestrong is good stuff and what I ended up doing after touching the really sensitive skin around my eye (but thankfully not my eye!). Make sure you use a good quantity of soap and the aloe really does help. Somedays being in the kitchen isn’t for the faint of heart. Continue reading →