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Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Winter Salad

January and salad isn’t usually a quick association I make in my mind, but January and heavy food detox is. I was assigned to make a ‘mystery salad’ to bring for a dinner last weekend and I was a little intimidated. Salad offerings don’t come very easily to me as I tend to have a hard time with dressings and sometimes get bored with my go-to favorites but still I wanted to give it my best shot.  It didn’t seem right to throw in a bunch of tomatoes, corn, or other out-of-season choices so here I went with some hearty winter vegetables and strong leafy greens to have a salad that was rich and could stand up at the dinner table with other winter dishes.

Incidentally, roasted fennel is quite possibly my new favorite thing in the world.

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P1020148When you develop aversions to certain foods as a child, I believe it’s important to occasionally give them another whirl as an adult to see if the dislike is still there. That’s how I became reacquainted with fennel last year in a fortuitous soup experiment and recently reinforced my loathing of olives after realizing that not even a hefty amount of vodka could make a dirty martini taste good. Radishes are all the rage these days and after another inspiring trip to the happiest place on Earth, Russo’s, I found myself in an adventurous mood with a bunch of radishes and these beautiful flowering chives in my hand. Dangerous.

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Last week I had a craving for a BLTA sandwich and unfortunately it is extraordinarily difficult to buy a single leaf of lettuce, so I ended up with an enormous bunch of romaine and no motivation to eat it. Sometimes salad just doesn’t do it for me, and I wanted to make something a little more jazzy. Here is my compromise, and I have to say I’m now a fan.

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When I told my friend Jess that I was going to make this dinner, she screwed up her nose and made some disparaging comment about the one time she was forced to eat grilled romaine and insisted that if I was going to make this and I found it to be distasteful that I had to come on the blog and and be honest about the results. Sorry to disappoint you Jess, I loved it! I challenge you on behalf of the romaine to a rematch…I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

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One of the very apparent things I’m learning from this whole blog-writing process is that I’m more of a creature of habit than I thought. A quick glimpse at some of the other posts around here and you’ll notice I’m a big fan of the asparagus. Seems I spend the better part of four to six months out of the year eating this vegetable anywhere from once to five times a week…I just can’t be stopped. The love affair began in my youth and was focused primarily upon eating them boiled with a healthy dollop of mayonnaise. However, my obsession has forced me to experiment in more varied uses of the asparagus because too much of a good thing can get tiresome. Truth be told, I’m quite shocked I haven’t regaled these pages with some detailed close up of my go-to roasted asparagus recipe, but I’m sure that will soon change because it feels as though every time I walk into a market these days all I see is a beckoning display of stalks begging me to take them home. They know my weakness.j&k
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Picture it: Vermont, late April. The grass is new and green, the sun is warm and vibrant, the air is moving, and you are digging on a beautiful veggie sandwich and the most unbelievably satisfying farmer’s market deli salad you’ve ever tasted. Now, imagine that you have to leave such an experience behind to return to the city life with only your memories of the meal to sustain you. What do you do? Well, you go to the grocery store.

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This is definitely a make it up as you go situation. I have to admit, I went digging for a recipe that would exact the flavors I remembered in this salad, but such a recipe does not exist in the Google annals. Luckily for me, this salad was as simple to recreate as it was spectacular to eat. Seriously, I have to stop cooking things I like for other people because I end up being sad that there are no leftovers the next day. Although, I have to say that I cooked for some very sophisticated diners last night who couldn’t stop raving about the flavor which just never gets old.

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