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Archive for the ‘8) Condiments’ Category

Another weird one, this time with the pasta pesto and mini chicken apple sausage’s one of my kid’s made for dinner piled on top of a bed of mixed greens. Let’s see if I can do better next week…

anotherweirdone

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Homemade tzatziki, a hefty bed of arugula, a quartered tomato, garbanzo beans, sliced mushrooms, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and more of those toasted pine nuts. Not bad!

tzatzikiarugula

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dayfifteen

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Current guidelines for this time around are that there will be no weekend posts and any meal in a bowl on a bed of raw greens counts as a salad.

So, today I put my stir fry dinner in a bowl over a huge bed of raw spinach. The rest of the family is having brown rice, but I wanted to make sure to get my salad in for the day!

stirfrysalad

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I was hungry. Really hungry. And I wanted something familiar, homey. And I felt brazen. So I made a fried egg salad. It sounded yummy. Comfortable and weird. What the heck, food is food.

I grabbed greens, eggs, all the random veggies I had that made sense, and ingredients for a yummy honey mustard vinaigrette. I wanted tang and sweet — sharp cheddar, salty egg, delicious greens. It all sounded good. So I slapped it all together.

Recipe for Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Fried Egg

Basic ingredients, ready for action. Egg and butter not depicted.

Ingredients:
(Lunch salad, serves one.)
4 cups of mixed baby greens.
15 baby carrots, cut into thirds.
1 tomato, chopped.
1 fistful of fresh italian parsley, chopped.
1 fistful of fresh chives, chopped.
2 T grated extra sharp cheddar.
2 large eggs.
1 tsp butter.
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

Vinaigrette or Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T red wine vinegar.
1 tsp mustard.
1 tsp honey.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

I made my bed of greens, and I chopped the carrots and tomatoes that would lie in it. I added my herbs. I mixed up my vinaigrette. And I put the butter in my ancient cast iron pan, and fried my egg, over medium, just like I like it. Cook the whites, leave the yolk super juicy. I tossed the egg on top of the salad, drizzled the dressing over it all, mixed it up with my fork, and gobbled it up.

Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with Fried Egg

Here it is, dressing drizzled over the egg, all juicy and delicious and ready to be busted open.


The Verdict:
I loved this. So much. So much, it’s been hard to think of anything interesting enough to follow it up with. The cheese got a little melty with the hot egg. The chives added that delicious hint of oniony heaven. The egg… The juicy, delicious, amazing egg. The yolk mixed with the dressing and coated the leaves. The crispy edges of the egg whites added this beguiling crunch. The carrots helped crunchify it even more, while the tomato juices blended with the egg yolk and the honey mustard vinaigrette perfectly.

Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Fried Egg, Ready to Eat

Time to devour it!

This salad? This is exactly why I play in the kitchen. When it works, it works. And I don’t just mean that the recipe is perfect, I mean that what you really want, what you crave, is exactly what you create, and you get to eat it, and it is just, well, right. It was just right. This salad, it was exactly what my weird brain craved, and my mouth was happy, and my tummy was full, and it was perfect.

Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
Not going to happen. Sorry, but unless it’s easy for you to pack a raw egg and fry it at work (or wherever you eat your packed lunch) this one isn’t going to go anywhere. Eat it at home, where you have your fully functioning kitchen, and enjoy it.

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My husband loves spicy food. I can handle it, in small doses. He also recently requested “crazier” salads. I aim to please.

I bought opal basil and young ginger at the Berkeley Bowl recently, as well as daikon and mixed asian greens. I wasn’t sure exactly how the salad would come together, but I knew I wanted to play with some slightly more unusual ingredients. We both had busy days planned, so I made two matching lunch salads, packed to go. This was a perfect opportunity to really spice up his salad, and I did. Mine stayed mild enough for me to enjoy, and I made his salad hot hot HOT.

Recipe for Salad with Spicy Sesame Balsamic Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts, Daikon, Young Ginger, and Opal Basil

Here are the ingredients, ready to face the blade.

Ingredients:
(Lunch salad, serves one.)
4 cups of mixed asian greens, including mizuna, tatsoi, baby mustard greens, and baby romaine.
1 fistful of opal basil, chopped.
4-5 cherry tomatoes, whole.
2 large mushrooms, sliced.
2 scallions, sliced.
1/2 cup candied walnuts.
1 knob of young ginger, peeled, sliced, and cut into small matchsticks.
9 slices of peeled daikon, halved. (Use a mandoline or a good cheese slicer to get thin slices.)
1/4 leftover roast chicken breast, cubed.
1/2 leftover roast chicken drumstick, shredded.

Spicy Sesame Oil Balsamic Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T dark sesame oil.
1 T balsamic vinegar.
1 small shallot, diced.
1 small clove garlic, smashed and minced.
1-3 hefty pinches of red chili flakes, to taste.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Twin Salads with Spicy Sesame Balsamic Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts, Daikon, Young Ginger, and Opal Basil

Twin salads ready to go!


I doubled all of the ingredients above and made two matching salads, complete with vinaigrette. I began by mixing up the vinaigrettes in little jars, giving him three big pinches of red chili flakes to my one very small pinch. I tasted my dressing, and just hoped for the best for him. Then I created a lush bed of greens for each of us, and layered all of my other ingredients in two glass bowls. I chopped and sliced and sliced and chopped, putting my knife down only to use a spoon to peel the ginger and to use a fine Norwegian cheese slicer to quickly slice the daikon into perfect, thin circles. Finally, both glass bowls were full of a colorful, hearty salad. I nestled the salad dressing jars in the larger containers, popped the lids on, and we each went off for the day.

Recipe for Salad with Spicy Sesame Balsamic Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts, Daikon, Young Ginger, and Opal Basil Ready to Eat

Quick snapshot taken with my phone of the glossy beauty before I devoured it.


The Verdict:
This was really amazing. Like nothing I’ve tried before, at home or in a restaurant. Full of strong, punchy flavors that worked very well together. I liked the balsamic vinegar with the sesame oil, and the bits of ginger really sparkled. The walnuts and the daikon added crunchy joy, and the sweetness of the nuts and the tomatoes worked well with the spicy dressing and the peppery greens. It was crazy, in a good way. My husband loved the chili heat, and the explosive flavor. This is one that I’m sure I’ll revisit.

Recipe for Salad with Spicy Sesame Balsamic Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts, Daikon, Young Ginger, and Opal Basil, To Go!

Notice the dressing jar nestled cozily in with the salad.


Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
Done.

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We were all starving. Quick dinner time. I tossed a pot of rice on the stove, and pulled out what I needed for stir fried sesame chicken with shitake mushrooms and celery. I wanted a salad that would work with the stir fry, and a jar of hoisin sauce sitting in the door of the fridge caught my eye. I grabbed mint, daikon, scallions, mushrooms, and my hand picked mixed greens, which included a hefty amount of mizuna.

Recipe: Ingredients for Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette, Mizuna, Daikon, and Mint

The ingredients, ready to be transformed.

Ingredients:
(Side salad, serves four.)
6 cups of mixed greens, including mizuna, red leaf lettuce, radicchio, and frisee.
4 inch piece of daikon, sliced.
3-4 scallions, sliced.
2 large mushrooms, halved and sliced.
1 generous fistful of fresh mint, chopped.

Recipe: Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette, Mizuna, Daikon, and Mint, tossed

Up close look at all the beautiful colors.

Hoisin Rice Wine Vinaigrette with Ginger:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
1 T hoisin sauce.
1 T rice wine vinegar.
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
2 inch knob of young ginger, chopped.
1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt.

I mixed up the vinaigrette right away, tasting it as I went to make sure the flavors were working together. Then I prepared a bed of greens. I chopped all the vegetables and added them to the bowl. When the rice and stir fry were done cooking, my salad was ready to be dressed and tossed.

Recipe: Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette, Mizuna, Daikon, and Mint, plated

On the plate and ready to eat!

The Verdict:
This was incredible. It helps that I absolutely adore hoisin sauce with mint. The daikon added perfect crunch and that yummy peppery flavor, and the mushrooms soaked up the vinaigrette like the tasty little sponges that they are. It was a little too weird for the kids, but my husband and I ate every bit of it. Absolutely perfect.

Make it a Meal:
Add your protein of choice — I highly recommend leftover steak, sliced over the top of the salad. Beef and hoisin and mint together are mouth wateringly delicious. Simple chicken or grilled shrimp will also work well. For vegetarian options, I think tofu would be a great addition, or shelled edamame, or green beans, or snow peas.

Pack it to Go:
This one is easy. Salad in a large glass or stainless steel container with a tupperware-style lid, vinaigrette in a small jar. Shake vinaigrette, drizzle only as much as you need on the salad, and then fork toss or put the lid back on the large container and give it a few good shakes to combine. Eat and enjoy.

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