Tag Archives: Winter Salads

Shaved Cauliflower Salad

4 plates of saladAnybody else out there taking a break from cookies this week? Yeah, I thought so. We are too. Personally, I don’t like to use the “D” word (diet). I just prefer to take a break from certain foods for a while if my eating habits have been unbalanced. December has a way of unbalancing us.  I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions but this year I have promised myself to begin each day facing the bathroom mirror, flexing my arms and uttering the affirmation, “Damn, look at those chiseled arms!” 

This salad is sure to bring some balance back into your life. It is extremely flavourful and satisfying. The dressing is an umami bomb, containing both nutritional yeast and Parmesan. Nutritional yeast is not just for vegans. It adds a cheesy, nutty, savory flavour that can give any dish a zesty boost.

Now is the time to splurge on the green or orange cauliflower and those pretty artisan lettuces you see at the grocery store.cauliflower and lettuces-2I bought a 4 pack of Artisanal lettuces. The box contained sweet, crisp green little gem lettuce (the one that looks like mini romaine), mild and nutty red oak leaf lettuce and a zesty red tango lettuce. Arugula and some romaine hearts would be a fine substitute if that’s all you can find.

Whisk together some lime zest, lime juice, honey, dijon, nutritional yeast, parmesan and olive oil. dressing 2Cut your cauliflower into quarters, remove the hard core and thinly shave it. Use a mandoline or just a sharp knife and use this as a chance to work on your knife skills. I love my little knife sharpener. It’s so easy to use. slicing cauliflower

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Click here to print recipe for Shaved Cauliflower Salad.

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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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Blood Orange and Belgian Endive Salad

on platter 2Cutting into a blood orange always brings to mind that famous quote from Forrest Gump; My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Same thing with blood oranges. Sometimes you cut into them and the inside is pale pink, at times they are mottled pale orange and brilliant red, and, when all the stars are aligned just right you get this:making vinaigretteI get such a kick out of slicing into these oranges and finding this brilliant scarlett surprise inside. Tart-sweet and slightly berry-like they’re only available from January to March, so slice into one now and see what’s waiting for you.

Blood oranges have been popular for many years in Italy and Spain, where they grow with wild abandon. I decided to give my salad a Spanish twist by incorporating Sherry vinegar in the dressing, smoked paprika in the spiced nuts and some manchego cheese shavings to top it all off. It would also be delicious topped with some soft goat cheese or some  thinly sliced shards of Parmesan.

For the lettuce element of my salad I settled on Belgian endive, sliced lengthwise into wedges, instead of chopped up crosswise, the way I ususally do it. I added some arugula to ramp up the bitter flavours. If you are not a fan of bitter, and prefer a gentler flavour, use boston lettuce mixed with some red leaf lettuce.

Making your own smoked spiced nuts is easy to do. I decided on a combo of pistachios and almonds. Supporting cast members include sugar, salt and smoked paprika. Feel free to add some cayenne if you like things a little caliente.mise en place for smoked nuts 2Egg whites are whisked until frothy. whisking egg whiteNuts are added and mixed until coated with egg whites. The egg whites help the spices adhere to the nuts.coating nuts in spicesSpread out nuts on baking sheet and bake in 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes. You won’t need all the nuts for the salad. Store the leftover in an airtight container. They are great with cocktails or a glass of wine or just for late afternoon snacking!

Neatly breaking down the oranges into perfect little segments takes a bit of practice but with a sharp knife in hand, you should be fine.

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Click here to print recipe for Blood Orange and Endive Salad.

 

 

Winter Farro Salad

in bowl fAlthough I have posted about farro herehere, here, here and here, I am of the opinion that you can never have enough good farro recipes. I just adore this nutty versatile grain. I discovered this winter version in the November 2014 issue of Bon Appetit. Associate Food Editor Claire Saffitz had a similar version at the NYC restaurant Charlie Bird. They simmered the farro in apple cider to infuse it with a lovely tart-sweet essence.apple cidercooked farroThe cooled farro is tossed with crunchy julienned apples and celeriac.celeriacYou have to believe that the first guy to come across one of these gnarly roots was in an extremely weakened and ravenous state. It would have taken quite a leap of faith for someone to come across this in the wild and decide that eating it was a sound idea. 

This knobby root is Celeriac (also known as celery root). I have often come across them in the supermarket, but had no idea how and where to use it. However, in January, when fresh local stuffs is in short supply, you need to go outside your comfort zone and embrace the ugly! Celeriac has a mild delicate taste, rather like a cross between celery and parsley. Beneath that grody exterior lies a heart of snowy white goodness. 

Taming this beast is not difficult. Slice off the top and bottom so it sits flat on the cutting board. Slice around the sides and hack off the brown outer skin. Julienne it for raw salads or cube it for simmering in soup. If you are using it raw in a salad, store it in water with a splash of lemon juice after cutting to prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown.  Drain and mix into salad just before serving.peeling celeriac

cutting celeriac into julienneSalty black olives and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese are added as a welcome balance to the cider sweetened farro. Italian parsley leaves provide a verdant fresh punch. I added some pickled red onions because I love how pickling tames their bite. A final garnish of toasted pine nuts and this salad is ready for it’s closeup!serving bowl 3 625 sq

 Click here to print recipe for Winter Farro Salad.