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Meyer Lemon Radicchio Salad

Meyer Lemon Radicchio Salad

Meyer lemons have surged in popularity over the last few winters, but if this flowery, sweet citrus is still new to you, you may still be discovering the best ways to use them. Most Meyer lemon recipes I’ve found are for desserts, and as much as I’d love to indulge in Meyer lemon souffles, Meyer lemon upside-down cake and Meyer lemon curd, I’m putting a halt to the number of sweets coming out of my oven. Enter the Meyer Lemon Radicchio Salad—a refreshing (and guilt-free) way to enjoy Meyer lemons in savory form.

Here the entire Meyer lemon—rind and all—is chopped into bite-sized pieces and tossed into the salad. Briny bites of feta, creamy chickpeas and slightly bitter radicchio are fitting companions for the sweet-tart Meyer lemon: each ingredient is unique, each complements the other. A delicate floral aroma and bursts of yellow, purple and green color call to mind the bounty of summer, but the use of citrus classifies this salad as a winter dish. Bright, crisp, light—if this dish is wintry, then it must be winter on the Greek isles. And quite frankly, that sounds better than any dessert.

Serve this salad alongside broiled fish, grilled chicken or turkey kebabs.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 Meyer Lemon, washed and chopped into ½-inch pieces, seeds removed
1 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion (I cut the amount in half and used red onion)
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups sliced radicchio
¼ cup crumbled feta
2 Tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Make the Salad

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly.

And because the magazine provides nutrition facts, I’ll include ‘em so you can feel great about eating this salad:Per serving: 215 calories; 2 g saturated fat; 7 g unsaturated fat; 6 mg cholesterol; 26 g carb; 222mg sodium; 8 g protein; 7 g fiber.

Recipe from Whole Living magazine, January/February 2011, p 60.

Technology Detox = No Blog Post

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m writing to let you know I’ve been out of town for the past few days and have been detoxing from technology—thus no blog post for the early part of this week. I’m heading home today and will resume my regular posting schedule later this week.

Cheers!

Anatomy of Salad, or How I Recover from the Weekend Revelry


Beet, Potato and Egg Salad

Weekends, at least in our household, are the days ordained for gastronomic revelry. Between the Saturday morning pancakes, sweets only on days that start with “S” (though I break that one almost daily) and dinners out with friends, we eat well. It’s a tradition that runs in the family: my mom has a set of dishes she uses only on the weekends, a toast to the few days of rest between harried workdays.

Last weekend was one such festive weekend, and it felt a bit like the holidays all over again. Friday night was Sam’s work party complete with cocktails, appetizers and multiple desserts. Saturday included a full-course afternoon tea with girlfriends. And then there was the pan of leftover brownies, with its siren’s call. Needless to say, when Sunday evening rolled around, Sam and I were craving something light and full of veggies. Thus commenced the creation of this salad.

Inspired by the French Salade Niçoise, I began with cold, cooked potatoes and boiled egg. The rest of the ingredients, though, fall into the category of “what’s left in the fridge.” This post is intended to be inspiration more than a hard and fast recipe. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand to create your own version. Here’s what I used in my “How I Recover From the Weekend” Salad:

  • Mixed greens (I used red and green oak lettuce leaves)
  • Homemade Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Cooked beets, cubed
  • Cooked potatoes, cubed
  • Medium or hard-boiled egg (instructions below)
  • Microgreens
  • Homemade bread crumbs (recipe below)
  • Parmesan cheese

Homemade Balsamic & Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
Freshly ground salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. The mustard acts as an emulsifier and binds together the oil and vinegar, which normally do not mix well. This recipe easily doubles or triples if you need to make more.

Homemade Croutons

Several Slices of Your Bread of Choice
Olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a serrated knife, slice the bread into cubes, however big or small you like your croutons. In a bowl, toss the bread cubes with a few drizzles of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes onto a cookie sheet or baking tray and bake until crisp and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove bread crumbs from oven, let cool and store in an airtight container.

Medium-Boiled Egg

1 egg
Water
Salt

Fill a medium saucepan with water, add a pinch of salt and place pan over medium-high heat. When the water begins boiling rapidly, lower the egg into the boiling water with a spoon. Reduce heat slightly so the egg isn’t dancing all over the bottom of the pan but the water still simmers. Refer to this timing guide to determine how long to cook your egg:

  • 6 minutes: runny yolk guaranteed, white may be slightly undercooked
  • 7 minutes: some of yolk may have hardened, white will be fully cooked
  • And if a runny yolk makes you queasy, leave the egg in the boiling water a few extra minutes.

When the egg is finished cooking, remove it from the pan with a spoon, walk over to the sink and rinse the egg in plenty of cold water. Continue running cold water over the egg for at least 1 minute. This ensures that the egg stops cooking and also makes it easier to peep. Peel the egg.

Credits:

Broccoli Stir-Fry with Chicken and Mushrooms


Broccoli Stir Fry

Mark Bittman, the celebrated New York Times food writer, recently wrote an article titled “Chop, Fry, Boil: Eating for One, or 6 Billion.” In the article, Bittman argues that the key to changing one’s eating habits begins with eating real food rather than going on a fad diet.

Bittman explains,

The problem is, real food is cooked by real people — you! — and real people are cooking less than ever before. We know why people don’t cook, or at least we think we do: they’re busy; they find “convenience” and restaurant foods more accessible than foods they cook themselves; they (incorrectly) believe that ready-to-eat foods are less expensive than those they cook themselves; they live in so-called food deserts and lack access to real food; and they were never taught to cook by their parents, making the trend self-perpetuating.”

In answer to this cooking conundrum, Bittman sets forth three easy, nutritious and sustainable recipes that any person should know how to cook. The recipes are simple and can be varied in countless ways. The first two recipes, chopped salad and rice and lentils, make fairly regular appearance on our dinner table. The third recipe, though, was something I rarely, if ever, cook: stir-fry. Following Bittman’s recipe for Broccoli Stir-Fry with Chicken and Mushrooms, I delved into the land stir-frys. The dish was quick and easy to make, used standard pantry ingredients and tasted delicious. In fact, I’ve already made it twice this week. How’s that for a girl who rarely repeats a recipe?

Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, chopped
1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, the stems no more than 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
Salt
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks or thin slices and blotted dry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper.

Make the Broccoli Stir-Fry with Chicken and Mushrooms

1. Put a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add half the oil, swirl it around, and immediately add half the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add the broccoli, mushrooms and all but a sprinkling of the scallions. Raise heat to high, and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their water and broccoli is bright green and beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Sprinkle with salt; add 1 cup water. Stir and cook until almost all liquid evaporates and broccoli is almost tender, another minute or two more, then transfer everything to a plate.

3. Turn heat to medium, add remaining oil, then remaining garlic and ginger. Stir, then add chicken and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has lost its pink color, three to five minutes.

4. Turn heat to medium. Return broccoli, mushrooms and juices to the pan, and stir. Add soy sauce, sprinkle with more salt and some pepper; add a little more water if mixture is dry. Raise heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced slightly and you’ve scraped up all the bits of chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with remaining scallion and serve.

Recipe written by Mark Bittman and published by the New York Times online (Dec 31, 2010).

Chicken and Rice Soup (and Anna K)

Chicken and Rice Soup

January is a good month for Chicken Soup and Russian novels: Chicken soup because colds often rear their nasty heads after the holiday excitement dwindles and Russian novels because January is a long, sometimes dreary month and Russian novels are long and—let’s face it—sometimes dreary. Earlier this week I started rereading a college favorite, Anna Karenina. I can’t put it down. I wake up in the morning looking for 10 empty minutes where I can read a few chapters, and I go to bed at night wishing there were more hours in the day to read. I lose myself in the tragic tale of high society Moscow and Petersburg life; idealistic Levin trying to make sense of his changing country; and countless foreshadowing motifs of that crown of Industrialization—the train.

Chicken and Rice soup is simple food, the type of peasant food that Levin would have preferred to the champagne and oysters of Moscow. The broth is made from scratch by boiling a whole chicken in water with vegetables, and the result is pure, flavorful and unclouded. This chicken soup is so easy to make that it will leave you plenty of time to read your Russian novel. And unless you’re feeding a crowd, the leftovers will save you cooking time later in the week, giving you even more time to read. Whether or not you feel groggy with a headcold, this soup will warm you through, helping you relax as you agonize over the fate of a certain few Russians.

Serves 8 (Makes about 16 cups)

Ingredients

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 large celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch-thick-slices
3 medium carrots, cut into ¼-inch-thick-slices
1 (3½- to 4-pound) chicken
1 cup long-grain brown rice (don’t use white rice because it will turn mushy)
? cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Tablespoon salt, divided
3 quarts water
Freshly ground black pepper

Make the Soup

Combine onion, celery, carrots, chicken, rice, parsley and 1 teaspoon salt in a 6-quart pot. Add water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer, skimming off fat as needed, for 1 hour.

Transfer chicken to a colander. When cool enough to handle, remove meat; discard skin and bones. Coarsely shred chicken and return to soup. Add remaining 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste and reheat if necessary.

This recipe is from my favorite cookbook, The Gourmet Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin 2004), p 122.

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