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Archive for the ‘Shallot’ Category

Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Lunch Salad, prep one

Arugula, leftover chicken, asparagus, and red wine vinaigrette.

Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Lunch Salad, prep two

Basil, scallion, mushrooms and radishes ready for slicing.

Since I was supposed to be walking out the door for a homeschooling park day when I realized I hadn’t eaten yet, speediness mattered.

I raided the fridge for leftovers and found a jar of shallot red wine vinaigrette, and some sesame chicken with asparagus. I grabbed arugula, mushrooms, basil, and a scallion to make it a meal.

Salad ingredients:
3 generous cups of arugula.
4 radishes, sliced.
3 large mushrooms, sliced.
1 scallion, sliced.
1 fistful of basil, chopped.
2 small sesame chicken tenderloins, sliced.
3 fat spears of asparagus, chopped.

Red Wine Vinegar Shallot Vinaigrette:
(Mine was leftover from a double batch I’d made the day before. If you want to replicate it at home, here are the ingredients for a single batch. Use what you need, there may be extra.)
1 T of red wine vinegar.
3 T of extra virgin olive oil.
1 small shallot, diced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

I chopped fast, and dumped everything into the bowl. After drizzling the dressing over the top, I did a quick toss with my fork and then inhaled my lunch. Even when salad is quick to make, it’s never very quick to eat, but I did my best.

Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Lunch Salad

Dressed and ready to eat!

The Verdict:
Diverse flavors, many tasty bites, but the salad as a whole didn’t quite hang together. I think the basil and asparagus didn’t mesh as well as I’d hoped. If I’d had more time, I would’ve made a citronette instead, and replaced the basil with mint and lemon zest. I think a bright, citrus dressing would’ve been a better fit with the chicken and asparagus leftovers. Still, it was a decent lunch and provided me with plenty of energy for the park outing.

Make it a meal:
Already done!

Pack it to go:
This one would work well to go, just as-is, but why bother? Make a citronette instead, and use mint and lemon zest instead of basil. The ingredients are all hardy enough to handle spending the morning in the fridge. So, pack all the salad ingredients in a large container. The dressing goes in a small jar (I like jars that are little enough to nest inside the salad so you’ve just got one item to haul around). Add some dressing (start with a little so you don’t drown the salad), fork toss, and munch away.

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I give you: Arugula, roasted brussels sprouts, bacon, and rosemary marcona almonds in a red wine vinaigrette with shallots and cracked pepper. Enjoy.

Salad teaser.

Try it. You'll like it.

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I was making curried chicken with potatoes and basmati rice for dinner, and I decided to get creative. I knew I wanted a salad with a creamy dressing to help me tolerate the heat of the spicy curry. Riffing on the idea of raita, I wanted a yogurt salad dressing with lots of cucumber and mint. My plan was to turn that into a flavor base for a rich veggie salad. I pulled out all the vegetables that seemed like they might work, and I tossed in an avocado. I grabbed the cilantro on a whim, and then turned to the spice cupboard. I wanted something to round it out, and to capture a little of the delicious complexity of actual Indian food. I sniffed every jar we had of powdered yumminess from Vik’s Chaat Corner, and finally found what I needed. Fennel powder. My secret ingredient.

Salad with Kefir Rice Wine Vinaigrette with Fennel Powder

Simple veggie ingredients, ready for chopping.


Salad with Kefire Rice Wine Vinaigrette with Fennel Powder

A gorgeous green bed of romaine and arugula.

Ingredients:
(Side salad, serves four.)
1 heart of romaine, chopped.
3-4 cups of arugula.
1 red bell pepper, sliced.
1 avocado, quartered and sliced.
6 mushrooms, quartered.
1/3 of an english cucumber, quartered and sliced.
1 small shallot, chopped.
1 large fistful of mint, chopped.
1 fistful of cilantro, chopped.

Salad with Kefir Rice Wine Vinaigrette with Fennel Powder

Tossed and ready to serve!

Kefir Rice Wine Vinaigrette with Fennel Powder:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
1 T plain kefir.
1 T rice wine vinegar.
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1/4 tsp fennel powder.

I mixed up the dressing first, playing with it and testing it as I worked by dipping leaves into the jar and tasting. I chopped my romaine and made my bed of greens, gently finger tossing the arugula with the romaine. I sliced, quartered, and chopped all of the vegetables and herbs, adding them while monitoring the curry and listening for the rice timer.

The Verdict:
This salad was amazing. It worked perfectly with the curry. It’s obviously not even remotely authentic Indian cuisine, but it was seriously delicious. My husband was really impressed by the unusual flavors. The creamy dressing clung to the greens, and the variety of fresh vegetables was refreshing and fun alongside the simple, hearty curry. The kids all enjoyed it as well — I thought it would be too weird for them, so we barely had enough to share.

Salad with Kefir Rice Wine Vinaigrette with Fennel Powder

Isn't it lovely on the plate with the curried chicken and potatoes?

Make it a Meal:
I think it could work as a meal as it is, but if you need more protein, I recommend adding simple chicken or garbanzo beans.

Pack it to Go:
.As always, but the avocado in with the dressing and give it a gentle shake to coat it with the acidic vinaigrette to prevent browning. Keep the dressing in a small jar, and all the rest of the salad ingredients in a large container (I recommend glass or stainless steel with a tupperware style lid). When you’re ready to eat, shake up the jar of dressing and drizzle it over the salad. Use only what you need. Fork toss, or put the lid back on the large container and give it a few good shakes to combine. Enjoy.

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Once upon a time, my husband and I would spend hours hiking through wet forests in search of elusive, fragrant, delicious fungi.

I love wild mushrooms. These days, our hikes don’t take us very far, even when they last for hours, because we walk with people who have short legs and even shorter attention spans. We still try, and our kids are beginning to get as excited as we are about foraging for wild food. I wish I’d made this salad entirely with chanterelles that I’d found in the woods. Someday, I will. This time? I couldn’t resist the chanterelles at the Berkeley Bowl. They weren’t as big and beautiful as those we’ve discovered on our own, but they were right there in front of me, and I went for it. I couldn’t bring myself to buy as many chanterelles as I wanted (it’s so hard to pay a lot for something when you know you could find better for free), so I cheated and added in some button mushrooms.

The kids were having pasta, so this was a side salad for my husband and I, but my plan was for it to be the main dish. The pasta was the real side for the adults enjoying this meal.

Chanterelle Mushrooms with Romaine, Ingredients

Delicious mushrooms, ready for chopping!

Ingredients:
1 large romaine heart, chopped.
1/2 head garlic, coarsely chopped.
4-6 cups of chanterelles and button mushrooms, coarsely chopped.
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 stick of butter.
3/4 large shallot, finely diced.
Pinch of salt, to taste.
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated over the salad.

Chanterelle Mushrooms with Romaine, Shallots

Chopped shallots, about to be added to the pan with the mushrooms.

Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate the remainder for several days.)
1 T red wine vinegar.
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/4 large shallot, finely diced.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

I started by chopping my mountain of mushrooms and smashing the garlic. I put the oil and butter in a wide, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. I added the garlic, stirred until it was just golden, then added all the mushrooms. While the mushrooms cooked, I chopped the shallot and mixed up my vinaigrette. Once the mushrooms softened and smelled amazing, I added salt and tasted for tenderness. When the texture was just right, I tossed the shallots in and sauteed them until they were translucent. I removed the pan from the heat, and set it aside.

I coated the greens with dressing (very lightly!!!) and served the salad with a mound of mushrooms nestled in the greens, and a dusting of parmigiano reggiano. This dressing has less oil because the greens end up coated with the rich, buttery, sauce from the delicious mushrooms.

Chanterelle Mushrooms with Romaine, Plated

Our mushroom salad, with a side of pasta.

The Verdict:
Yummy. I think I would’ve appreciated more diverse greens — some peppery arugula, a little radicchio, frisee, baby beet greens… You know what I mean. I did like the crunch of the romaine, I just wanted a little more flavor from the greens. I recommend replacing some of the romaine with mixed greens.

Make it a Meal:
I like red meat and wild salmon with chanterelles. It would’ve worked to lay a grilled salmon fillet over the mushrooms, or slice some steak on top. Of course, the mushrooms are rich and buttery enough to be very, very filling all on their own.

Pack it to Go:
The only way I can see that working is if you’ve got your greens in one container, your dressing in a small jar, and your cooked mushrooms in a glass container that you can heat up before tossing it all together. The mushrooms need to be warm, and you’ll destroy the greens if you heat them up. But if you keep it all separate, and combine it when you’re ready to eat, it should work out fine.

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Officially, it was lunchtime. We had just gotten back from the Berkeley Bowl, and while I unloaded bag after bag of produce, I set aside a few things that really appealed to me. I’d already nibbled on the thuringer salami with the kids in the checkout line, and I’d helped them polish off some sushi in the car on the way home, so I wasn’t wanting to make a whole meal for myself. Just a really fun, tasty side salad to fill me up with vegetable goodness. The cantaloupe-looking melon with an unusual name was my star, and the kids were happy to help me sample it. Really fresh greens, mint, a shallot, and a gorgeous lime, and I was ready to start chopping.

Winter Melon with Arugula and Mint

Ingredients, ready to go.

Ingredients:
3 cups arugula and mixed asian greens.
1/8 hami melon, sliced into bite sized pieces (substitute with cantaloupe).
1 fistful of mint, chopped.
Zest of one lime.

Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for several days.)
1 T lime.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1/2 shallot, finely diced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

I filled a glass bowl with the arugula and the mixed asian greens, then zested a lime over the greens. Once the zest was removed, I juiced the lime and measured a bit into a jar. I added the diced shallot and salt to the lime juice, and let that sit while I cut up the hami melon and chopped the mint. Then I added extra virgin olive oil and a touch of maple syrup to my citronette, shook it up, drizzled it over the salad, fork tossed, and enjoyed.

Winter Melon with Arugula and Mint

Here it is, crisp melon and tasty mint, ready to eat!

The Verdict:
This was really different. The bitter greens were perfect with the hami melon, which was incredibly light and crisp. It had a really unique texture — imagine an apple and a cantaloupe mating, and you’ll have an idea of what the hami has going for it. Perfect salad fruit. The lime and mint brought everything together, reminding me a bit of the fresh flavors of Vietnamese food. I think it would be fun to push this salad further, with some chili flakes, and to serve it with Pho.

Make it a Meal:
I liked how clean the flavors were, so I’d recommend keeping it a side salad, but if you really want to toss some protein in, I can see grilled chicken or steak working pretty well. Quinoa or shelled edamame might also work, if you need a veggie version.

Pack it to Go:
I think the hami is crisp enough to go in with the lettuce, though if it’ll be sitting in the fridge for a long time, the citronette jar might be a better place for it. As always, dressing gets its own little jar, salad ingredients go in a large glass or stainless steel container, and combine it all when you’re ready to eat. Toss it with your fork to help mix the dressing in, or do what my husband does and put the lid back on the salad container and give it a few good shakes.

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Dinnertime again, with just one hour for me to make food and for all of us to finish eating it. Luckily, my husband was home and he pitched in — he pan fried our wild snapper fillets and sliced the bread. I made the salad.

I knew I wanted something light and lemony, with lots of crunch. I was hoping the kids would enjoy it as well, since I didn’t have time to deal with broccoli or any of their other favorite veggies, and they’d already polished off a five pound bag of mandarins for lunch. I used romaine as a base, for the crunchy, clean flavor that my munchkins prefer. I added a navel orange for bright color and juiciness, avocado for creamy deliciousness, scallions for a mild onion tang, and radishes for more color and that perfect peppery crunch. I also mixed up a lemon shallot citronette, and grabbed a handful of mint for the salad. Mint is an excellent brightener, and it works incredibly well with any citronette. I wanted the salad to be really clean and simple, to complement the fish, and to appeal to the kids.

Simple Citrus Side Salad with Radish and Avocado

Rainbow of ingredients, ready for action.

Ingredients:
2 hearts of romaine, chopped.
3 scallions, chopped.
6 radishes, sliced.
1 avocado, quartered and sliced.
1 navel orange, peel sliced off, quartered and sliced, for maximum shiny jewel appeal.
1 fistful of mint, chopped.
Zest of one lemon.

Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate leftovers for a couple of days.)
1 T lemon juice.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 shallot, diced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

Simple Citrus Side Salad with Radish and Avocado

The finished salad, tossed and ready to serve.

I dealt with the lettuce first, making a nice base in the bowl. I zested the lemon over the lettuce, juiced the lemon, and made the citronette. My shallot was on the large side, and I thought about using half of it instead of all of it, but tossed it all in on a whim. I chopped and sliced the rest of the fruit and veggies, added them to the bowl, and then drizzled it all with citronette. While I tossed the salad, my husband started dishing up the fish and bread. My kids asked for salad, and two of the three came back for generous second servings.

Simple Citrus Side Salad with Radish and Avocado, Plated

On the plate, ready to eat!

The Verdict:
In case you missed it above, let me repeat: my kids asked for salad, and two of the three actually came back for seconds.

Yes. Total success. This salad rocked. It was incredible with the fish. Light, perfect flavors. Just the right combination of crunchy and barely sweet. Really delicious. My husband and I agreed that it was a real winner.

I do think in the future I’ll use less shallot, but the extra just coated the bowl and didn’t end up having any impact on the salad itself, so it isn’t really a big deal.

Make it a Meal:
It’s a very light, bright salad. I think if I were making it a meal on it’s own, I’d want something simple to add — grilled shrimp would be really good, or any other simple seafood. I think it would also work with grilled chicken. For a vegetarian version, I’m always a fan of garbanzo beans and lemon, although if I added chick peas I would cut out the avocado, or add another crunchy element, and I would swap garlic for shallots in the citronette… So that turns it into a completely different salad pretty quickly. I think shelled edamame would work well without any other changes, or some tasty toasted nuts.

Pack it to Go:
Easy enough — the orange goes in the jar with the dressing so that it’s juices don’t wilt the romaine. If you add protein to make it a stand alone meal, put the beans, chicken, fish or shrimp, (chilled, not hot, since heat also wilts lettuce) in the salad container. As always, leave space for fork tossing and combine it all when you’re ready to eat. Use your fork to pull the fruit out of the dressing so you aren’t forced to use all the citronette — remember, you might not want it all. Always add your dressing a little at a time, to taste.

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I love roasted vegetables. I love the caramel color. I love the mild sweetness and the salty crunch. I love the warmth. Not long ago, I made a roasted brussels sprout and roasted artichoke heart arugula salad, and it turned out so incredibly well that I’ve been dreaming about making another. While picking over the pathetic produce selection at Trader Joe’s, I noticed bags of brussels sprouts that looked decent, so I snatched them up. We also had a handful of pearl onions, so I tossed those in to roast with the brussels sprouts. I served this with roasted marble potatoes (no, not from Trader Joe’s — still on hand from my last trip to the Berkeley Bowl), and braised chicken tenderloins.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Side Salad

Brussels sprouts and pearl onions, coated in extra virgin olive oil and ready to roast.


Ingredients:
(Serves two or three as a hearty side salad.)
5 cups of arugula.
2 pounds of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved.
10 pearl onions, peeled and halved.
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed for roasting.
Salt, as needed for roasting.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerated extra vinaigrette will last for several days.)
1 T red wine vinegar.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 large shallot, diced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.


I prepped the brussels sprouts and the onions and coated them with extra virgin olive oil before spreading them out in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. I like parchment paper. I get all the yummy browning without having to scrape the vegetables out of the pan. I sprinkled salt over the brussels sprouts and pearl onions, and popped them in the oven underneath a similar pan full of potatoes. Convection roast, 400 degrees, until they were brown and delicious. I stirred them once or twice. I don’t think it took more than about twenty minutes total, though I might be underestimating. We had a lot going on that night — battles to break up, and friendships to restore. While the veggies and potatoes were roasting, I dealt with the chicken and prepared the vinaigrette. I also piled a whole lovely bunch of arugula into a bowl. Once everything had finished cooking, I let the brussels sprouts cool for a few minutes (not long at all — I like this salad with the arugula a little wilted) and then I added them to the salad bowl and drizzled the dressing over the top.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Salad

Tossed and ready to serve!

The Verdict:
Still delicious. Perfect rainy weather salad. I love the way that the shallots soften just a little when you toss the vinaigrette with the hot brussels sprouts. While the artichoke hearts from a previous salad were fancier, the onions were equally good. Either will add a little extra sweetness, and help diversify the salad. I recommend choosing one when you play, as I think both at once would take away from the elegant simplicity of this salad.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Side Salad on the Plate

Dished up and ready to eat!

Make it a Meal:
I could’ve chopped the chicken into the salad, but I like it better on the side. I’m not sure I’d want to make this one a meal. I really love its simplicity.

Pack it to Go:
If you pack it, you’re eating it cold. It’s best warm, but it actually makes great leftovers. I had it cold the day after I made it, with a piece of the same chicken, and it was very tasty. Not the same experience, and the arugula was truly, completely, irrevocably wilted, but I liked it. I think it’s important to have more roasted vegetables than arugula if you eat it leftover. I don’t save salad. I never eat leftover salad. But somehow, this one works — my exception that proves the rule.

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