Beet and Fennel Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

I learned about this salad recently when friends and I got together to cook Asparagus and Leek Quiche.  It was a perfect compliment!  I love both beets and fennel, so what’s not to like?  It’s easy to put together once the beets are cooked.  We thought you could add a little feta cheese and call it a main dish salad!

Ingredients

1 pound cooked beets, cut in small wedges

1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced plus chopped fronds for garnish

about 6 cups lettuce, torn in small pieces or use spring mix

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs like chives, parsley, dill or mint (we used chives and mint)

Instructions

To cook the beets you can either roast or cook stovetop.  For stovetop, place the unpeeled, washed beetroots in water to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer at a gentle boil for about 20-30 minutes for small beets and longer for larger ones. Here’s a great how-to for stovetop cooking of beets.  Remove from heat, drain and let cool slightly.   When cool enough, you can easily slip off the skin with your hands.  Let cool completely and cut into small wedges.

Make the dressing by whisking the buttermilk and mayonnaise together until emulsified.  Add the herbs and continue to whisk.  Set aside.

Wash and dry the lettuce and spread on a platter.  Place the sliced fennel bulb on top of the lettuces, then the beet wedges.  Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad.  Garnish with the fennel fronds.

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Black-Eyed Pea Salad

June 4, 2013

Black-Eyed Pea Salad - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I’m kind of a salad fanatic, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about having warm weather finally! So far I’ve made this pasta salad, several quinoa salads, including this one and this (which is one of my favorites), and I can’t wait to make potato salads, especially this one. Platter salads are another favorite for us, and we’ve already had my favorite Cobb salad, even when it wasn’t that warm yet. I couldn’t wait.

This is a salad that has become kind of a summer standard here over the past few years. When my son was an infant and I was stuck to the couch for hours on end either nursing him or “napping” with him, I would watch endless amounts of TV, a lot of that being the Food Network. I’ve always liked cooking, but I think that’s when I really got my love of cooking, and I would try out tons of the recipes I saw on TV. This was one of them, on “The Neely’s” (a show I didn’t often watch, by the way, but I’m glad I caught this episode). I don’t really ever watch Food Network anymore, but I’m glad I did because a lot of my standard recipes came from that year of watching.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Ingredients
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar (I have also used white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained (or 4 cups soaked dried beans…I think that’s about a cup and a half of dried)

Directions
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, canola oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.
Toss all together and let marinate for at up to 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Greek Quinoa Salad

June 2, 2013

Greek Quinoa Salad - Sweet and Savory KitchensMargaux says…

In the warmer months, we eat a quinoa salad at least once a week. Everyone loves it…including my picky son, it’s super quick and easy, and nice and healthy. I should really call this one “clean out the fridge” salad, because I often make it when I really need to go shopping and I have to just use up whatever is left in the fridge. We always have most of these things on hand because they’re all favorites of my son. I find that you can add or subtract any ingredient, based on what you might have on hand. Some other things that would be good tossed into this are avocado, parsley, chopped fresh spinach, mint, celery, zucchini, green onion, radishes, pine nuts or white beans.

Greek Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/4 red onion, fine chop
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (leave out for vegan)
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Rinse and drain quinoa. Add water and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, cover, run down heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Dump immediately into a large serving bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop your veggies. When the quinoa is cool, add all veggies and beans to it and mix.

Make dressing: Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over salad and mix well. Carefully stir in feta. Serve at room temperature with warmed pita and white wine as a main dish. Also great as a side at a BBQ, or with chicken.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This tasty and healthy salad was introduced to us by “Aunt Cindy and Uncle John” (my brother and his wife).  They had recently made this for Cindy’s niece’s bridal shower and loved it so much they made it for Mom/Granny’s 86th birthday party.  I discovered the original recipe on Health.com.  Two adaptations were made from the original – roasting the asparagus instead of adding it to the edamame cooking water and using marinated artichoke hearts vs. plain. We all agreed that this is a “keeper”!  It’s fast, easy to make, delicious and impressive.  When we saw that they were using a jar of pre-shaved Parmesan cheese purchased at Costco, we thought this recipe would fit right in with the Sandra Lee semi-homemade approach :-).  So if you use the pre-shaved cheese, it’s even faster to make!

These quantities make 4-6 servings and the recipe can easily be made in larger quantities by doubling or tripling.

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends removed, and cut diagonally into thirds
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Instructions

1. Rub the inside of a large salad bowl with cut sides of the garlic clove; discard garlic.

2. Add oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and whisk until slightly emulsified. Add the artichokes, tossing gently and set aside at room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, place the edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until asparagus and edamame are crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and blot dry with a towel or paper towels.  FOR ROASTED ASPARAGUS:  Cook the edamame for about 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.  Oven roast or grill the asparagus whole, lightly coated with a little olive oil.  Once done, cut into 2-inch pieces.  Proceed to step 4.

4. Add asparagus and edamame to the artichoke mixture and toss to blend.  Arrange shaved Parmesan over all and serve.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love salads with oranges!  I’d never had one until I started exploring the food of North Africa.  Once my antenna were up, I saw that many cultures use oranges in salads.  This is the first salad with oranges that I made, and I go back to it over and over.  It is especially good with rich Moroccan stews and tagines.  This recipe makes enough for six people but is also flexible.  So vary the quantities according to number of people and your tastes.

The Dressing

2 tablespoons orange juice                             3 tablespoons fruity olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice                              Pinch of cayenne pepper

Splash of red wine vinegar                               1/8 teaspoon paprika

Juice of one garlic clove (use press)           Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.  Note:  Juice will be expelled when you prepare the oranges.  I always just use that juice, whether it adds up to 2 tablespoons or not.

The Salad

4 seedless oranges (Navel or Valencia)

½ small red onion

18 brined or cured black olives (such as Kalamata, Nicoise or oil-cured Moroccan)

¼ preserved lemon rind, diced (optional)

12 mint leaves or ¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 head romaine lettuce, torn (optional)

Prepare the oranges by cutting off the top and bottom.  Use a knife to cut off the rind (vs. peel with your hands), including the white pith.  This is key to making sure the oranges are not bitter.

Cut oranges in ¼ inch slices, then cut those in half.  Slice the red onion, then cut into half-moons.  Cut the olives in half.  Cut the mint leaves into thin ribbons.   Tear the lettuce into medium pieces; wash and dry.

Assembling the Salad

Toss the lettuce in some of the dressing, then place on a platter.  There are two options after this:

  1. Arrange the oranges in overlapping slices on top of the lettuce.  Place the onion, preserved lemon and olives on top of the oranges.  Drizzle all with the remainder of the dressing.  Sprinkle the mint or cilantro on top and serve.
  2. Alternatively, toss all the ingredients – oranges through mint or cilantro- together with the remaining dressing and place on top of the lettuce.

Note: the lettuce is my addition.  Authentic North African salads of this type do not include it, but I think it adds great texture and flavor.  If you do not use lettuce, increase all other ingredients except the dressing.

Persimmon & Feta Salad

November 17, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

It is so fun to eat something never tried before and find out that it’s delicious!  I’m speaking of persimmons, a fruit I’ve seen in the markets over the years.  I have always passed them by, not knowing how to use them.  My local co-op was demoing this salad last week – one bite and I was instantly sold.   For this recipe you will use Fuyu persimmons, which are hard (sort of like an apple).  I learned the other commonly sold persimmons in the U.S. are Hachiyas, which are considered ripe when fully soft and used mainly in baking/cooking.  Who would have known?!!  This salad is very refreshing.  I recommend it with something rich or hearty – we served it alongside chili and it provided a delightful contrast.

1-2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cored and sliced

3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

5 ounces baby arugula or spinach

1/4 cup pinenuts, sliced almonds or walnuts, toasted (optional)

5 ounces proscuitto, cut into strips (optional)

1/4 cup EV olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon (Meyer if available)

1/2 teaspoon honey (less or more to taste)

Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, lemon juice and honey together until slightly emulsified.  Toss the greens with a little of the dressing.  Place the sliced persimmon and proscuitto (if using) on top of the dressed greens and drizzle with more dressing.  Serve on small plates or salad bowls.  Top with feta crumbles and nuts (if using). 

Cooks Notes:  I read that Fuyu persimmons do not need to be peeled, but I found the peel tough so I recommend removing it.  I have not made this with nuts or proscuitto, although I think adding these would be good, if heartier.  The honey really adds to the overall integration of the flavor in this dish.  I usually prefer salads with a very light application of dressing, but I think using a little more dressing is the right approach for this yummy salad (as you can see by the shiny spinach leaves!).

Margaux says…

This is the potato salad that I grew up with and that my mom grew up with.  Actually, I can’t really say that  its Grandma’s recipe, but its pretty close.  My mom changed some things, and then I’ve changed some things.  I’d never even seen the recipe until I asked my mom to email it to me last week so that I could submit it to food52’s “best potato salad” contest this week.  I thought I’d actually take a look at the original recipe, to use as a reference for quantities and such…I pretty much wing it every time I make it.  It turns out that Grandma didn’t even follow the recipe either.  So I just went ahead and made it last night, and kept track of what I was putting into it.  Here’s what I came up with:

Ripe Olive Potato Salad

  • 3 cups new red potatoes, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup oil cured black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup pimento or roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • paprika for garnish
  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Place cooked potatoes into a 9×13″ glass baking dish, and pour olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
  3. In a large bowl, combine marinated potatoes, olives, celery, cucumber, pimento, onion, and one of the eggs. Gently mix in the mayo. Top salad with the other sliced egg, and sprinkle with paprika.

Some side notes:

We usually just use canned black olives, but its really way better when you get oil-cured black olives from the olive bar at your grocery store.  Also, Grandma, my mom and I have always put radishes in it, and omitted the pimento.  But when I saw the original recipe, it had pimento and no radishes, so I tried that version and loved it.  I thought it went really well with the olives.  I also got the pimento at the olive bar instead of jarred (they’re thinly sliced roasted red peppers).  My mom thinks that Grandma just didn’t like pimento, so she substituted the radishes to keep the splash of red color.  I’m wondering if she also did it because radishes were always in the garden, pimento is not.  But if you agree that pimento isn’t your thing, the radishes are also quite good in it.