Category Archives: Salads

Carrot and Radish Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins

2 bowlsI am not exactly a fully immersed and loyal subject of the social media kingdom. While I do have an Instagram account, I came late to the game and don’t post very frequently. Like all social media, it sometimes leaves me feeling just a teeny bit jealous. Like when I see posts like thisthis, and this.

Local asparagus, rhubarb or spring peas have not yet arrived in my neck of the woods, but I am still craving something fresh and crunchy. Enter the humble carrot. Much like that shy kid you knew in school, carrots possess way more charisma than we give them credit for. One of mother nature’s most versatile creations, they can be juiced, braised, stir-fried, roasted, pureed, whipped and baked. Equally at home in savoury and sweet applications, carrots are an unsung hero in the kitchen.

Bonus points if you can find rainbow carrots, but regular carrots will be equally delicious. CarrotsStart with a quick pickling of a shallot and some raisins. If you have some fancy champagne vinegar in the pantry, now’s the time to bust it out. If not, regular white wine vinegar will also work. shallots and raisinspicklingGive the vinegar, sugar and salt some time to do their magic and get on with the rest of the salad. Julienning carrots is a breeze if you have a mandoline. If not, here’s the perfect time to practice your knife skills. I made a video showing you the safest and quickest way to do it. If you can’t be bothered to julienne, simply shaving the carrots with a vegetable peeler would be a good alternative. I just prefer the crunch that you get with julienned carrots.

julienned carrotsMint and Italian parsley add the verdant freshness I am craving this time of year. mint and parsleyThis salad touches all the bases. The raisins and honey add a welcome whisper of sweetness. Bitter radishes and spicy red pepper flakes punch back at that sweetness. Pistachios add a satisfying crunch. And bonus! This salad tastes even better the next day.white bowl 2

Click here to print recipe for Carrot and Radish Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins.

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Pickled Apple Slaw

3-bowls-of-slawHappy New Year! Hope everyone filled up on lots of cookies and family time over the holidays. Did anyone make any New Year’s resolutions? I must admit, resolutions kind of scare me. I always end up being so disappointed in myself. But, I’m going to go out on a limb here and make two resolutions.

1. I feel like I should probably give up my favourite potato chips for just a little while. (How’s that for a definitive statement?) WAIT! I take that back. Perhaps I should just take baby steps here. OK, I resolve to fill my little portion control bowl to the rim with chips, rather than to overflowing! A much more realistic and achievable goal.

2. I resolve to drink more Prosecco. Yes, I said more. Breaking news folks! Prosecco is actually good for you. 

If early January is too soon for you to start pickling your liver, how about pickling apples? I first read about pickling apples over on seriouseats.com. Daniel Gritzer featured a recipe for Beet and Wheat Berry Salad with Pickled Apples and Pecans. To date, I have only pickled onions, shallots, cucumbers and carrots. Pickled apples intrigued me. I love the addition of apples in slaw, but you need to cut them just before serving or they turn brown. Pickling solves that problem.

This slaw packs in a ton of vegetables, which, if you’re like me, I try to do every January to help cleanse my system after my December gluttony. This recipe does not feel like deprivation at all. The choice of vegetables is up to you. These are what looked good to me when I went to the market.

I started with a base of red and green cabbage.cutting-cabbgeI love the crunch and verdant freshness of sugar snap peas, so they went in next. sugar-snap-peasI thought that the flavour of celery would really complement the apples, so I bought some celeriac (also known as celery root). It’s the ugly knoby, hairy root you always see and wonder about. A few stalks of celery would be a good substitute if you can’t find celeriac.celeriacJust peel and slice it into a julienne. Put it in a bowl of water with a bit of lemon juice to keep it from turning brown before adding to the salad. celeriac-cutI decided to pickle shallots, along with the apples.apples-and-shallots Combine apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt and some mint sprigs in a small pot. Simmer until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour hot pickling brine over apples and shallots and then place bowl in an ice bath to cool quickly. chilling-pickling-liquidA simple cider vinaigrette, with a touch of dijon and honey is the perfect dressing for this slaw. Finish with some diced or sliced jalapeños, fresh mint and some toasted pecans for crunch. Your digestive system will thank you.

Any leftovers will keep well for a day or two in the fridge. I added some diced hardboiled eggs and julienned gruyere cheese the next day for a lunch salad. It was bonkers good!composed-salad

Click here to print recipe for Pickled-Apple-Slaw.

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Crunchy Winter Slaw

ginger-crinkle-cookies_17As we enter the festive season of butter and sugar, I thought it would be a good idea to have a new recipe at the ready to provide a healthy counterbalance. This slaw recipe was inspired by an Asian slaw I read about in Milk Street Magazine. This new publication is Christopher Kimball’s first venture since leaving Cook’s Illustrated last year.

I have been a huge fan and supporter of Kimball and Cook’s Illustrated since it’s inception in 1993, so I was curious to check out the premiere issue of Milk Street. The premise behind Milk Street is to bring techniques from the world’s kitchens to America’s weeknight dinner table. Christopher explains that, “There’s no ethnic cooking. It’s a myth. It’s just dinner or lunch served from somewhere else in the world…. Milk Street offers an invitation to the cooks of the world to sit at the same table…All food is everyone’s food.”

This is my take on Milk Street’s “Coleslaw by Way of East Asia.” I loved the combination of cabbage, radishes and sugar snap peas, but I wasn’t fond of the dressing (coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and serrano chili). I preferred an apple cider vinaigrette with honey and grainy mustard.

I settled on a combo of Brussels sprouts, red, green and Napa cabbage, radishes and sugar snap peas for my vegetables. Cilantro and mint were also invited to this fresh party.veggiesI believe that every salad needs an element of crunch. Croutons are good, but nuts are better! I was inspired by a maple spicy nut crunch I read about in the LCBO’s Holiday 2016 issue of Food & Drink.  I’m very excited that the magazine is now available online.

I used a combo of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, sliced almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. nuts-and-seedsThe nuts get coated in a hot bath of maple syrup, brown sugar, paprika, salt and cayenne. coating-nuts-and-seeds20 minutes in the oven crisps up everything beautifully. I added some dried cherries to the cooled nut mixture. The recipe makes more than you will need, but it keeps perfectly for at least a month in an airtight container. It makes a very yummy afternoon snack.crunch-mixtureready-to-mix

Click here to print recipe for Crunchy-Winter-Slaw.

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Pan Fried Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

black-round-serving-platter-2Guys, I have big news! Perhaps not internet breaking caliber news, but still, kind of exciting. Did you know you could make a vinaigrette with melted browned butter instead of oil? Kind of mind blowing, I know!

There are no shortage of butternut squash and apple salad recipes out there. A quick Google search unearthed 613,000 of them! What makes this one special is the dressing. It’s a brown butter and apple cider vinaigrette and it’s bonkers awesome.

Regular readers of this blog know my love for brown butter. I have used it in seven different desserts. But it had never occured to me to use it as the fat in salad dressing. I have to give credit for this genius idea to Toronto chef Haan Palcu Chang.

If you have never had brown butter before, you are in for a treat. It adds a layer of toasty, nutty deliciousness to anything it touches. Making it couldn’t be simpler. Butter is composed of butterfat, milk protein and water. When you brown butter, you are essentially toasting the milk protein. As you heat the butter, and it begins to bubble and sputter away, the water evaporates and the hot butterfat begins to cook the milk solids, turning them from creamy yellow to a splendid speckled brown colour and your whole kitchen smells like toasted hazelnuts.

The squash is thinly sliced and pan fried until is is almost charred. A cast iron skillet is perfect for this, but a non-stick skillet will also do the job.charring-in-cast-iron-panYou can cook the squash ahead of time and warm it in the oven just before assembling the salad. A tart apple like Granny Smith is a wonderful contrast to the sweet squash. Brown the butter just before you are ready to serve the salad. If you make it ahead of time the butter will start to solidify.black-round-serving-platterWhile the vibrant orange hue of butternut squash is gorgeous on its own, adding a crunchy topping of toasted hazelnuts, a verdant shower of mint and green onions and ruby red jewel-like pomegranate seeds turn this salad into a pretty stunning masterpiece.dinner-for-2

Click here to print recipe for Pan-Fried-Butternut-Squash-and-Apple-Salad.

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Autumn Grain Bowl

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Leaf peepers everywhere are bummed out that the fall foliage was delayed this year. I’m still walking around without socks, which makes me very happy, because I hate socks. (But I do love a great pair of black tights. They smooth everything out and make me feel so sleek.)

While I have yet to pull out my heavy sweaters, I know that fall is officially here because the pumpkin spice haters are out in full force and my Trader Joe’s annual pumpkin spice flyer arrived in the mail.

I’m going to pass on pumpkin spice and ease my way into fall with an autumn grain bowl. grain-bowls-for-4
While everyone is roasting their broccoli and brussels sprouts, I’m bucking the trend and going raw. I love raw broccoli when the florets are chopped into tiny pieces and the stems are stripped of their woody bark, and the tender core is thinly sliced.  chopping-broccoliusing-mandoline-for-broccoli-stemsShredded brussels sprouts, pickled red onions, cucumbers, radishes and mint round out the crunch party.veggies-all-choppedThe dressing for this grain bowl packs an umami punch, thanks to anchovy paste!derssing-ingredientsI like to dress the vegetables at least 30 minutes before eating to give the salad a chance to marinate and soften up a bit. My grain of choice is farro, but it would be delicious with brown rice, barley, wheat berries or quinoa, if you must! I served the farro on the side and let everyone fill their own bowl. A shaving of Parmesan to top the bowl is an excellent idea.ready-for-dressing

Click here to print recipe for Autumn-Grain-Bowl.

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