Category Archives: Salads

Udon Noodle Salad with Hard Cider Sesame Dressing

Udon Noodle Salad with Hard Cider Sesame DressingBig squishy noodles, I was craving big squishy, satisfying noodles and a use for my Hard Cider Sesame Dressing. It was a good choice. I had a hard time deciding on a noodle but udon was the most available fresh noodle at the store. Fresh noodles have a completely different texture than dried noodles when cooked. They turn out much more tender and fat.

I boiled the noodles according to the directions, using the seasoning packet. Noodles have more flavor when cooked in broth. I was hungry so I didn’t let the noodles cool but combined them with the veg immediately. I liked the way it slightly wilted the greens. Cold noodles are good to though. Continue reading →

Hard Cider Sesame Dressing

Hard Cider Sesame DressingThis is a tribute to the Portland Cider Summit going on this weekend. Luckily, it turned out tasty!

It’s nice to see that America’s original beverage is coming into its own. I became a fan a few years ago. My friend and I attended The Oregon Garden Brewfest for a couple years, I even volunteered one year (I recommend either going or volunteering, either way you’ll have a good time), sadly I couldn’t make it this year. The funny thing is I usually spent most of my tickets on cider instead of beer. Oregon brewers tend to ignore lagers and are heavy on IPAs and ales. Good ciders are available though and not just apple cider, there’s pear, cherry, and blackberry. So, when Wandering Angus posted on Facebook that the Cider Summit was going on in Portland again I messaged my friend immediately!

Cider has a range of flavors that differs from sweet to richly fermented. Each cider house has several takes on their idea of cider. Each season makes a difference as well, much like wine. The sweetness of the fruit making a big difference to each year’s pressing.

I don’t know why I decided on this combination but it worked. The sesame brings out the taste of fermented apple. It’s pretty pungent on its own but blends beautifully on a salad. I found the ginger paste at an Asian market. It doesn’t give much ginger flavor to the dressing but it definitely adds something. I have not tried fresh ginger, I think it would be a completely different flavor and might overpower the hard cider. If you can’t find ginger paste, I would use powdered ginger. Continue reading →

Rosemary Balsamic Dressing

Rosemary Balsamic Dressing

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember. – William Shakespeare

Rosemary has been on my mind lately. Perhaps it’s Memorial Day that brought it up. Rosemary has long been associated with memory and improving memory and it has a wide range of uses, you can find more information here. There is a quite sadness around rosemary for me, she is so often associated with death that it’s hard to remember her role in other more festive occasions (such as weddings).

There is nothing sad about the taste of rosemary though. Its strong resinous flavor will wake you right up. It’s best to make this dressing a few hours or several days before use so that they herbs can infuse the vinegar and oil. The dressing also makes a great marinade and dip for bread. The salmon in the photo was marinated for about an hour before being grilled and it was awesome.

So, make this tasty dressing today to improve your memory and avoid the plague! Continue reading →

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Spring in a bowl, that’s what we got here. As a kid, asparagus season was met with dread. Maybe Mom should have tried serving it raw instead over cooked. I had no idea you could eat asparagus raw until I was an adult, well into my 30′s. Wasted time, I tell ya. Raw asparagus has a sweet gentle taste compared to its cooked form (of course, I like the cooked for now as well, as long as it’s not overcooked).

The dressing will work just fine if you only heat it enough to incorporate the honey. The picture shows it that way, I was too hungry to wait for it to reduce. It’s much better if you can reduce it some, but it’s tasty either way. Continue reading →

Salad Topper: Chive Blossoms

Chive BlossomHere’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

Chive Blossom Profile

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?

 

Edamame Salad

Edamame SaladI fell off the salad wagon. Not only did I fall off the salad wagon, I fell of the vegetable wagon and the cooking wagon and I have the road rash to show for it.

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 →

Sesame Ginger Kale Salad

Sesame Ginger Kale SaladKale 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 →

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

Strawberry & Spinach SaladLast 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 →

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli SaladRaw 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 →

Chicken ‘n Pea Salad

Chicken n Pea SaladWhen 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 →

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