Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

by Laura

We can all agree that the main reason brussels sprouts have surged in popularity is that we figured out that if you fry them or add bacon they taste way better. Steamed brussels sprouts are the worst. And I never would have thought I'd like them raw but this salad has become one of my favorites that is in my regular rotation. As with most salads, improvisation is encouraged based on what you have in the fridge and personal preference. Adapted from Food52.

1 bag shaved brussels sprouts (if you are an over achiever and want to shred them yourself, it is about 3 cups)

1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup almonds, sliced and toasted

1 avocado

1/3 cup grated pecorino

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the red onion in cold water for about 15 minutes or however long it takes you to assemble everything else. Juice your lemon (you may need 2 depending on size and juiciness) into a jar or bowl. Add honey and mustard in same bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine brussels sprouts, almonds (any nut will do!), avocado, red onion and the pecorino. Shake up or whisk the dressing one more time before drizzling over the salad and serve immediately.

Peanut Chicken Broccoli Salad

By Katherine

I have a love-hate relationship with using Pinterest to find new recipes. I find it's a great way to flag recipes that interest me on a variety of sites, and I occasionally find something that looks good just by trolling Pinterest's food and drink section, but there is also a heck of a lot of unhealthy garbage on there. I'm happy to say that this salad is one of my Pinterest success stories. I found it during one of my browsing sessions, and I made only a couple of minor modifications to the original recipe. I love that it is super simple to pull together (especially if you have leftover cooked chicken), and it is equally great for dinner or to pack for lunch the next day.  Do you use Pinterest? If so, connect with me here!

Peanut Chicken Broccoli Salad

Adapted from Sunset

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime's worth)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a large bowl, whisk the first eight ingredients together until smooth. Taste and see if you think it needs some added sweetness (if you use natural peanut butter, this may be the case). If so, add the sugar and whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until the dressing is evenly incorporated. 

Googling Dinner - Corn, Tomato, Feta Salad

by Laura

On a fairly regular basis, I Google the ingredients I happen to have in my kitchen and see what comes up. Not surprisingly, the results have been mixed. But tonight it worked great. I like to imagine that one day, someone like me will Google corn, tomato, feta and lemon and this post will pop up and that person will enjoy a delicious, sort of healthy summertime dinner. This recipe from Chow.com was my inspiration and the ratios could be adjusted depending on what you have on hand or your preferences.

Serve with toast and call it dinner

Serve with toast and call it dinner

Ingredients:

2 ears fresh corn (frozen corn thawed would work in a pinch)

4 small tomatoes on the vine  

2 cups arugula or green of choice

1/4 of a red onion finely chopped

1/3 cup crumbled feta (my favorite is Pastures of Eden Israeli feta from Trader Joe's) 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook corn for 4 minutes and remove. While corn cools chop other ingredients and place in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut corn off of cob and add to other ingredients. (The recipe called for an ice bath for the corn but that seemed like way too much trouble.) Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over all ingredients and toss.

 

Salad Dressing

By Katherine

As easy as it is to make a homemade vinaigrette, sometimes I need to eliminate all possible barriers to salad eating -- and that can mean tearing open a pre-bagged salad mix and pouring bottled dressing over the top.  So here is a roundup of my favorite bottled salad dressings, for those times when you're feeling super lazy. 

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My top choice is Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette.  This tastes reasonably close to a homemade vinaigrette.  It is understated and plays well with all types of veggies, cheeses, and nuts.  Try it with greens, crumbled feta or goat cheese, dried cherries, and toasted pepitas. 

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When I want something a little different and spicy, I generally choose Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.  I am a sucker for peanut sauce in any form, and this allows me to turn my salad into a peanut sauce vehicle.  This dressing has the added bonus of being relatively healthy as well:  it has 70 calories and 4 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving.  Try it with baby spinach, red bell pepper, and sugar snap peas.  

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Finally, I would probably be kicked out of the Hart family if I did a post on salad dressing without mentioning Bernstein's Italian.   This was the go-to dressing in our household growing up, so it will always taste like home for me.  It is very versatile, and it works as well as a marinade as it does a salad dressing (try marinating boneless, skinless chicken breasts in it for an hour or so before cooking).  When the bottle is new and the components are still separated, we generally pour off a couple of tablespoons of oil (which floats to the top), and then shake the remainder to mix well.  You can use it to make my mom's famous volleyball pasta salad (so named because it was a staple at our many volleyball tournaments growing up):  toss cooked chicken, cooked fusilli pasta, sauteed onions and green bell peppers, defrosted frozen baby peas, and a chopped red bell pepper with Bernstein's and enjoy!

Farm to Fork

By Katherine

Laura has previously mentioned her love for her Farm Fresh box.  I don't have a similar subscription, but my mother-in-law-to-be, DiAnne, does, and we are lucky enough that she likes to share.  She recently gave us a huge bag of vegetables and fruit. Look at this beautiful bounty!

I feel healthier just looking at this. 

I feel healthier just looking at this. 

Those are artichokes, blood oranges, lemons, radishes, avocados, carrots, and romanesco cauliflower (Wikipedia tells me it also goes by romanesco broccoli, but I'm going with cauliflower).  Getting this grab bag of produce is a great exercise in creativity in the kitchen.  It's like a puzzle: how can I put these pieces together into a yummy and satisfying meal?  

That beautiful romanesco was really calling out to me this night, and I remembered a recipe that's a favorite of one of my go-to food bloggers, the Amateur Gourmet.  He calls it Heaven and Hell Cauliflower Pasta.  I made the recipe basically as he writes it, except that I substituted whole wheat penne for the ziti to try to makes things a little healthier.  Here's what you'll need to get started:

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I used two heads of romanesco, since that's what I had, and they seemed to be a little on the small side.  First step is chopping them into florets. I think the two heads yielded about 2 cups of florets.  

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Next up: chop the garlic and anchovies, and add them to a bowl with fennel seeds and hot pepper flakes.  This is basically a bowl of dragon breath. 

Tell roommates, loved ones, and co-workers to stand back. 

Tell roommates, loved ones, and co-workers to stand back. 

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta and heat some olive oil in a skillet to brown the romanesco. Depending on how much cauliflower you have and how big your pan is, you may need to do this in batches -- you really want just a single layer of cauliflower so it all has a chance to get nice and caramelized. I have a really big saute pan, so I was able to get it all in there at once.  

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Meanwhile, you cook your pasta to al dente and add most of your dragon breath mix to the romanesco.   After you've sauteed the cauliflower and the spice mixture a bit, add some of the pasta cooking water a ladleful at a time to make a sauce. You'll have to eyeball this, depending on how much water is absorbed by the vegetables. You don't want it to be liquid-y, just a bit saucy.  Then you add the pasta to the pan to finish cooking and top it all off with a bit of the raw spice mixture (for extra stinky breath) and grated cheese.  Here is the finished product:

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Even though this dish has vegetables in it, I felt like we needed a salad to round this meal out.  Luckily, we still had plenty of beautiful options left from DiAnne, the veggie fairy.  I decided to make a spinach salad with blood oranges, avocado, and radishes.  I don't mean to brag, but we get amazing local avocados here in San Diego. 

I love California! I also love my giant, 10-inch Wusthof chef's knife. Don't mess with me!

I love California! I also love my giant, 10-inch Wusthof chef's knife. Don't mess with me!

That avocado got tossed together with the orange segments, thinly sliced radishes, baby spinach, and a simple vinaigrette.  

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Although this meal came together on the fly, it really turned out well.  The pasta recipe can be made mostly with pantry staples (if you're the kind of person who keeps anchovies around, which I now am), but it packs a lot of flavor. The combination of sour (orange), creamy (avocado), and spicy (radish) worked well in the salad, and made me feel slightly more virtuous after eating a big bowl of pasta. I probably would not have thought to put these things together if I hadn't been presented with that bag of goodies, but I'm very glad I did!

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Cranberries and Goat Cheese

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 Dino Kale from Farm Fresh

Dino Kale from Farm Fresh

By Laura

I get a box of fruits and vegetables delivered to my apartment twice a month through Farm Fresh to You. It is a great service and I love that it forces me to try cooking with new vegetables I might never buy at the grocery store. Plus, it is local and seasonal and blah blah blah.

I got a large bunch of kale last week, which I turned into a salad for an Oscar-viewing party. There are countless variations that would also be delicious, but the key (as Elissa taught me) when it comes to raw kale is to massage the leaves with a little bit of olive oil before adding the other elements.

Kale Salad

(adapted from Bon App├ętit)

Ingredients

1 large bunch of kale (I used Tuscan/Dino kale but any type would work)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

4 ounces goat cheese (crumbled)

Strip kale leaves from thick stems and place in large bowl. Massage leaves with one tablespoon olive oil for about 3 minutes (the leaves will reduce in size considerably). Sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.

In small bowl combine remaining olive oil, vinegars, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Toss dressing onto kale and add pine nuts, cranberries and goat cheese.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. (kale holds up much better than lettuce when dressed!)

Almost final product (just add goat cheese)

Almost final product (just add goat cheese)