Archive for ‘Salads’

May 19, 2014

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

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April 27, 2014

Cauliflower Carrot Salad

Carrot Cauliflower Salad

This is a simple but delicious salad that’s perfect for the warm days of Spring and Summer.

The cauliflower and carrot are a wonderful base, but the real star of this salad is the dressing. When Maggie and I were on vacation recently we stopped by an artisan oil and vinegar shop and found a delicious lemongrass mint white balsamic vinegar. It’s tangy and herbal, sweet and acidic – and it makes the perfect base for dressing! Pairing it with refreshing parsley makes for a wonderful little salad.

If you can’t find a lemongrass mint white balsamic vinegar – a very real possibility – then you could certainly make your own. Allowing some pulverized mint and lemongrass to sit in white wine or white balsamic vinegar will give you a perfectly serviceable home substitute.

Whip this up for a picnic or a big barbecue party and enjoy!

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October 6, 2013

Salad Lyonnaise

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I enjoy a good salad, but as a stand-alone dish I rarely find one that doesn’t leave me hungry after a couple hours. Something about the thinness of the lettuce combined with the sparse toppings just leaves me longing for something more.

But not this salad.

This one is a twist on a classic Salad Lyonnaise that uses prosciutto and mixed greens instead of bacon and frisée. The crispy, saltiness of the prosciutto pairs excellently with the more full-bodied mixed greens. Meanwhile, the rich, creamy yolk of the poached egg is the perfect compliment to the effervescent and citrusy champagne vinaigrette. Finish it with some homemade croutons and you’ve got way more than just rabbit food on your hands.

This hearty salad is perfect for a lunch or light dinner. If you want to give the meal a little extra heft, serve it alongside some ratatouille or french onion soup. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

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October 14, 2012

Teriyaki Garbanzo Salad

I know it’s been a while since I’ve answered a “Dear Chef” question. But don’t worry, dear readers, I have not forgotten your plight. From Emily:

I vote you do a mini-series with purely veggie-friendly foods that even a novice could make. PLEASE? I can’t cook at all, but I’ll give it a shot if you can convince me that it’s better than quinoa, broccoli, and avocado.

I’m not sure I can top that – sounds pretty darn good to me – but I can at least give you something different, and variety is the spice of life.

Although you might have to grab a couple ingredients, this dish really couldn’t be easier to make. All you have to do is pan sear some veggies and garbanzo beans and you’re set.

The flavors are explosive, however. The garbanzo beans take up all the sweet, zesty notes of the sauce while the still-crispy seared veggies add crunchy-red and leafy-green goodness. The dish looks petite, diminutive even, but is nonetheless very filling. The sriracha is optional, but highly recommended. It really adds an extra dimension to the dish.

I’ll keep working on easy, vegetarian-friendly recipes. In the meantime, enjoy!

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January 15, 2012

Deep Fried Waffle Salad

“You cook adventurous things? So like, a waffle salad or something?”

I do now. Culinary Challenge accepted.

The star ingredient in this dish, the deep fried waffle ‘croutons’, are absolutely delicious; delightfully crunchy on the outside with tender interiors. They’re sweet and doughy and buttery – honestly, they’d make a pretty perfect dish all by themselves.

But the challenge was a waffle salad, so I contrived a supporting cast to make the pairing of waffle and mixed greens less awkward. The balsamic vinegar, maple syrup reduction takes the place of dressing in this recipe, giving the dish tartness tempered with sugar. The walnuts provide texture and neutral notes to give context to the other flavors. Finally, the chèvre provides a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the other ingredients with it’s saltiness and creamy texture. All these different elements help bridge the gap between waffle and mixed greens.

So, does it work?

Considering that it’s a waffle salad – Yes. Yes it does. It tastes delicious, and the sweet elements of the dish actually pair well with the spiciness of the argula and other greens. The oddity of what you’re eating does interject at times, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty.

Make this dish for brunch and blow someone’s mind.

Deep Fried Waffle Salad

  • 2 freezer waffles, lightly toasted (I recommend blueberry)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 4-6 walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chèvre
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed greens
  1. Cut or tear the waffles into 1/2 inch squares. Break the egg into a wide bowl and beat until mixed together. On a plate, combine the flour and brown sugar and mix until evenly distributed. Add the oil to a cast iron pan and heat to medium-high.
  2. Add the waffle sections to the beaten egg and toss until evenly coated. Remove and dredge in the sugar-flour mixture until lightly coated. Drop each waffle section into hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
  3. In a small pot or sauce pan, combine the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and corn starch. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce by half, roughly 6-8 minutes. The resulting mixture should have a syrupy viscosity.
  4. Pile the mixed greens on a small plate and top with the deep fried waffles, walnuts and chèvre. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top and serve.
August 15, 2011

Green Salad with Strawberry and Curried Sesame Seeds

Even with the days growing shorter and then sun shining a bit less brightly, it’s still the perfect weather for a light summer salad.

This dish is the epitome of simple, unencumbered food. The tart strawberries, earthy Parmesan, and spicy-sweet sesame seeds are all bold flavors that won’t weigh you down as you frolic through the rest of the evening. In fact, they work so well together that this salad doesn’t even need any sort of dressing, making it quite healthy for you as well. It works perfectly by itself but also makes an excellent starter or side for a seafood or poultry entree.

Whether you’re looking for something light, something simple, or something bold, this salad will do the trick!

Green Salad with Strawberry and Curried Sesame Seeds

  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons curry power (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

  1. Place a cast iron pan on a stove and heat to medium-low. Empty the sesame seeds into the pan and toast until lightly browned, approximately 2-3 minutes (sesame seeds burn easier than other seeds and nuts, so be careful)
  2. Drizzle the butter over the sesame seeds, sprinkle the sugar and curry over the pan and toss several times to coat evenly. Allow the seeds to cook for 3-5 additional minutes so the sugar caramelizes lightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least ten minutes.
  3. While waiting, prepare the rest of the salad. When the seeds have cooled, sprinkle them over the top and serve.
July 8, 2011

Summer Watermelon Salad

I have always been a tremendous fan of watermelon.  On a hot summer day there’s nothing better than chomping down on some subtly sweet, crisp, refreshing chunks of this tasty treat.

But I’m also always a fan of trying to make dishes slightly more exciting than their standard counterparts.  This dish isn’t particularly complicated in construction or intricate in the number of ingredients, but the flavors work outstandingly together.  This dish is excellent cheat dish (looks and tastes nice but is quick and simple to make) for summer picnics and potlucks!

Summer Watermelon Salad

  • 1 baby watermelon
  • 1 handful of feta cheese
  • 1 lime
  • 2-3 springs of mint

 

  1.  Cut the watermelon in half.  Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to scoop out the flesh and hold in a separate container
  2.  Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the container.  Chop the mint finely and add to the container.  Toss all the ingredients until evenly distributed.
  3. Return the contents of the container into the hollowed watermelon halves.  Sprinkle feta cheese on top and garnish with a spring of mint (optional).
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