Summer Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Ranch

  

Summer Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Ranch

My last salad took us all the way to Israel, but this summer salad with a twist takes us to the American Midwest and the birthplace of ranch salad dressing. Nebraska is where America’s favorite dressing made its début. Meanwhile in the Northeast, this time of year, Maine is overflowing with blueberries. This salad features blueberries as a sweet burst in the salad mix itself and a purée of blueberries in the ranch dressing.

Summer Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Ranch

Ingredients:Blueberry ranch dressing

Blueberry Ranch Dressing

  • 1/4 cup of mayo
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries (buy a pint because you’ll use more in the salad)
  • 2 tsp. of dried dill
  • 10 chives minced
  • 1/4 cup of minced parsley, about 1/2 a bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • up to 1/4 cup of milk
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Summer Blueberry Salad

  • 5 oz. of greens (1/2 arugula and 1/2 baby spinach or baby kale or other greens)
  • 1 1/4 cups of walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 of a red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pint of blueberries

 

Directions:

1. Wash your pint of blueberries. In a small pot add 1/4 cup of blueberries. Put the lid on the pot and cook on low until the juices begin to bubble a little. Squash the blueberries with a fork as they are cooking. Let the blueberries cook for 5-10 minutes over low heat. Put the purée into a small bowl and let it cool. Chill in the refrigerator while you continue preparing the salad.

2. Wash the greens and add them to a serving bowl.

3. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast 1 1/4 cups of walnuts. Once the walnuts become fragrant you will need to watch them closely so they do not burn. Shake the pan to move and turn the walnuts a little. Set the nuts aside to cool.

4. Peel and thinly slice 1/4 of the red onion.

5. Add about 1/2 pint of the fresh blueberries to the greens.

6. Once the blueberry purée has cooled, you can continue making the blueberry ranch dressing.

7. Wash and dry 10 chives and about 1/2 a bunch of parsley. Mince the chives and parsley. You should have about 1/4 cup of minced parsley.

8. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of sour cream. Add in 1 clove of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper: 1/2 tsp of each or to taste. Mix together until smooth and uniform.

9. Add in the chives, the dried dill and minced parsley. Then, stir in the chilled puréed blueberries.

10. Stir in up to 1/4 cup of milk until you have the desired consistency. One quarter cup will make a fairly thin ranch dressing. If you like a thicker dressing, add less.

11. In the serving bowl, add 1/2 pint of the fresh blueberries, the sliced red onion and the cooled toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the blueberry ranch salad dressing and serve.

Blueberries, walnuts and red onion make a perfect contrast with the greens in this salad.  The creamy ranch dressing brings it all together.

Deviled Egg Cobb Salad

  

Passover cobb salad

Legend has it that the Cobb salad was the result of a midnight kitchen raid by a hungry restaurant owner, namely Robert H. Cobb, at Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant. Brown Derby was a restaurant chain popular in the golden age of Hollywood. The chain lives on in Ohio and Orlando. Although the original Brown Derby in Hollywood, which was shaped like the classic round hat, is long gone, the legendary midnight snack that became the Cobb salad lives on and is going strong on menus all across the country. This Deviled Egg Cobb Salad with Smoked Salmon Matzah Tartines makes the perfect all-in-one Passover meal.

The salty crunch that usually comes from bacon is replaced with roasted, salted sunflowers. For more smokiness, the optional addition of smoked Gouda is delectable.

Passover cobb salad with salmon tartine

Deviled Egg Cobb Salad
(serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

Brown Derby Dressing

  • 3/4 cup of canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 a lemon for 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice and zest
  • 3/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. white granulated sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Cobb Salad ingredientsDeviled Egg Cobb Salad

  •  4 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
  • lemon zest (from the lemon used in the dressing)
  • 1 bunch butter lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 Tbsp. of roasted, salted, sunflower seeds
  • smoked Gouda or a nice blue cheese like Roquefort or Bleu D’Auvergne, optional
  • 1 beet, optional, to serve with matzah tartines (optional)
  •  4 pieces of matzah
  • chive and herb soft cheese like Boursin
  • smoked salmon
  • 1/2 avocado (left over from the salad)
  • deviled egg filling (left over from the salad)
  • salt, pepper and lemon zest (left over from the dressing)

 

Cobb salad platterDirections:

1.  Hard boil four eggs. I like to use J. Kenji Alt’s method. While the eggs are cooking, you can prepare the salad dressing.

2.  In a jar with a lid mix all the dressing ingredients together: canola or grapeseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white granulated sugar and minced garlic. Add a 1/4 tsp. of salt and pepper. Taste by dipping a leaf of lettuce into the dressing. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

3. You can toss the salad together in a bowl or set it out on a platter in horizontal layers. Chop the washed and dried lettuce into bite-size pieces. Chop the tomatoes into small cubes and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Cut the avocado in half and save half for the matzah tartines. Cube the avocado in the peel with a butter knife and then scoop it out with a soup spoon. Lay out each ingredient along the platter. Sprinkle four tablespoons of sunflowers over the avocado. If you are using cheese, grate or make small cubes of cheese to add to the salad either on the platter or separately in a dish to be added at the table. I like to serve the dressing on the side so everyone can put on as little or as much as they like.

Mashed eggs4. Now prepare your deviled eggs. Peel the eggs and cut them in half from top to bottom. Put the yolks into a bowl and add the mayonnaise, sour cream, dry mustard and a pinch of salt. Mash it all together until smooth.

With a spoon, add a dollop of filling to each egg. You can also pipe the filling if you want to get fancy, but I like to just use a butter knife to cleanly even off the filling in each egg so it looks like a regular egg. I save the extra filling for my tartines.

 

 

 

spiraled beets
5.
 Spiralizers have become very popular, so if you have one this is a great time to use it. Peel your raw beet and run it through the spiralizer.  Add the spirals of beet to the platter and place your deviled eggs on top of the beets.

6.  In a few small bowls set out your tartine spreads: the soft herb cheese, the extra deviled egg filling (topped with the lemon zest) and mashed avocado topped with a little finishing salt. (Kosher salt is good, or some Maldon sea salt or smoked salt.) Put the smoked salmon on a plate.

The matzah tartines can be assembled at the table to keep the matzah crisp.

Read more delicious Passover recipes here!

Cobb salad for Passover

 

Roasted, Toasted & Fried: A Hanukkah Salad

  

ChanukahSalad-title

Let’s face it, the star of any Hanukkah meal is always the latkes. Those crispy, fried, salted potato pancakes could be turned out all night and the plate would always be polished off within minutes.

Whether you dollop apple sauce or slather sour cream on top, latkes don’t quite make a full meal. (For the perfect latke recipe, click here.) This hearty salad is a perfect way to round it out. It can easily be prepped while the latkes are frying or earlier in the day. If your crew is especially hungry, start off with a bowl of matzah ball soup.

Almost every culture has a way of using up stale bread, from Italian panzanellas to Lebanese fatoush salads, from crisped bits of bread at the bottom of a French onion soup to croutons on a garden salad. Inspired by mandel/Shkedei marak, which are mini crackers that Israelis (and Jewish Americans) like to pour in their soup, this fall salad has sweet potato mandel. Mandel are used like New England’s oyster crackers, but they are much smaller in size.

ChanukahSalad-20

Hanukkah Salad with Delicata Squash & Baby Spinach

This salad serves four people as a main dish to be served with latkes. It can serve 6-8 as a side salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 5oz container of pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 12 medium Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme (8-9 sprigs)
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/4 tsp. Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp. of honey
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup of light cream or half & half
  • Kosher salt & sea salt (for the blanching water)
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, pistachios or pine nuts (optional)

 

ChanukahSalad-1

The beauty of delicata squash is that it does not have to be peeled. The skin is tender and when it is roasted it is just perfect for a hearty addition to a salad.

Directions:

1.  Preheat a toaster oven or oven to 425° F. Put a medium sized pot of water on the stove to boil. Salt the water well (3-5 tsp. of sea salt or Kosher salt). Fill a medium-sized bowl with ice water leaving room for the Brussels sprouts when they come out of the blanching pot.blanching Brussels sprouts Brussels sprouts

2.  While the water is boiling, prep your Brussels sprouts. Remove a few of the outer leaves of the Brussels Sprouts until you get to the clean, fresh leaf. Cut large ones in half and smaller ones can be left whole. Do not remove the stem or core yet.

3.  Put the clean Brussels sprouts into the boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the Brussels sprouts and plunge them into the ice water. Keep the blanching water for later. Cut larger Brussels sprouts in half. Remove the bottom stem from the tiny ones and you can core the larger sprouts by cutting a small ‘v’ in the bottom just above the stem.

Clean your squash for Hanukkah salad

Keep the seeds to be roasted. They make a delicious garnish for the salad and with a honey Sriracha glaze add a nice sweet and spicy crunch as well.

4.  Wash and slice the delicata squash, skin and all, and carefully remove the seeds and pulp. Keep the seeds in a bowl to be roasted.

Slice your delicata squash

Roast your vegetables

5.  On a foil-lined tray, drizzle 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Place the slices of squash and the Brussels sprouts on the tray. Drizzle the other 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil on top and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt, three sprigs of thyme and 1/2 tsp. of pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

6.  While the squash is roasting, peel the sweet potato and cut it into pea-sized cubes. Place the cubes into a bowl of water. Bring the blanching water back to a boil and prepare another bowl of ice water. Blanch the sweet potato cubes for 2 minutes and then submerge in ice water. With a slotted spoon remove the sweet potato cubes from the ice water and let them dry on a dish towel.

 

Diced sweet potato

The sweet potato cubes dry out before they get fried into little crouton-like mandel.

Thyme, onion & lemon7.  Prepare your salad dressing. Mince 1 shallot and place in a jar. Add 1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. of Kosher salt, 1/2 cup of light cream and the leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme. Shake the jar and place it in the fridge until the rest of the salad is assembled.

8.  Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and let them come to room temperature. Leave the oven on. Then, add canola oil to a large frying pan over medium high heat. Once a drop of water dances on top of the oil, it is ready. Carefully pour in the dried sweet potato cubes and let them brown on all sides, 10-15 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the sweet potato mandel and sprinkle them with salt.

9.  Wash and dry the delicata squash seeds. In the hot sweet potato oil, add the leaves from 3 more sprigs of thyme. (Be careful: They will splatter a little.) Toss in the dry squash seeds and stir. Roast the seeds on a tray in the oven for 5-8 minutes until golden. In a small bowl, mix the Sriracha and honey. Toss the seeds in the honey/Sriracha mix and then return to the tray to roast for 2-3 more minutes. Watch these as they can burn quickly.

10.  In a bowl, add your spinach and top with the sweet potato mandel, roasted squash and Brussels sprouts. If you would like to add nuts, you can toast them in a dry pan and then sprinkle them over the salad once cooled. With the carrot on a cutting board with a lot of pressure on the peeler, peel strips of carrot and sprinkle them over the salad. Top with the roasted squash seeds and serve with the creamy lemon thyme dressing.

Happy Hanukkah!

ChanukahSalad-26

CSA Peanut Cabbage Slaw

  

Cabbage slaw

As the mercury creeps ever higher on the thermometer, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven and counteract my hardworking air conditioner. Luckily, we’ve been members of a CSA for the last several years (most recently Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA) and so every week I pick up a huge haul of delicious, organic, sometimes unfamiliar, and sometimes in abundance, veggies.

One of the items we’ve tended to get the most of is cabbage. Napa cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage… lots of cabbage! I was a little intimidated by all these leafy vegetables initially, and opted for cooking up one of my favorite comfort foods–stuffed cabbage. But it takes forever, it’s a little complicated and it requires my summer foe: the oven! I’m not a lover of typical cole slaw as I really don’t like mayonnaise, but a friend’s girlfriend introduced me to a recipe for a peanut slaw a few years back that I’ve worked to recreate. It has since become a summer staple around here.

It’s a great dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck, or to just make a huge batch of and keep in the fridge. It’s especially versatile as it doesn’t contain any dairy or meat so it pairs well with most meals, and without the mayo it’s safe to be out of the fridge for awhile.

Here’s the recipe for what’s sure to become a new favorite in your family as well.

Crunchy Peanut Slaw

1 big bowl of slaw, serves at least 8

Cabbage slaw ingredientsIngredients:

  • 1 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed (I prefer Napa Cabbage for this, but anything that comes in your CSA works)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts (half finely chopped, half whole)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (about two big handfuls unchopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup light oil, like canola
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

 

Directions:

Cutting cabbage1.  Shred the cabbage very finely. The fineness of the shredded cabbage is really what makes this salad; you want it in in threads, almost, and with the threads chopped into bite-size lengths.

2.  Toss with the peanuts, cilantro and green onion in a large bowl.

Mix the ingredients3.  Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preference of sweetness and saltiness. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.

4.  Toss with the cabbage. Garnish with a few more peanuts and green onions and serve.

 

 

 

Dress the slaw

I know that some people HATE cilantro, and in that case, you can substitute a combination of flat leaf parsley and mint. If you’re dealing with a peanut allergy, you can substitute other nuts, or if you’re avoiding nuts altogether, add some shredded carrots for color and sweetness.

You’ll need a large, very sharp knife for this recipe, a good and stable cutting board and a salad spinner, because while organic fruits and veggies are wonderful, they’re often dirty! My favorite method for cleaning greens is to finely chop them and then soak in a large bowl of cold water, then remove to the salad spinner for a vigorous spin, always a fun job for kids!

Eating the slaw