Posts tagged ‘salad’

April 18, 2012

Heidi’s (Mostly Not) Potato Salad

This past long weekend was a whirlwind – spring cleaning, gardening (more on that later!), catching up with friends, cheering for the marathon runners. It was also the hottest weekend we’ve had since August, bringing about cravings that don’t normally hit until mid-July. I found myself waking up with strawberry-banana smoothies on the brain and spent every evening on my back deck, a cold Grey Lady in hand.

Typically, my summertime cravings for anything cold and juicy (enter giant bowls of watermelon and popsicles for dinner) lead to an all-out aversion to any sort of food prep. As soon as I walk into my inferno of an apartment, any desire I had to turn on the oven washes right out of me.  Luckily, our apartment managed to stay spring-like in temperature this weekend and fueled my drive to flip through my cookbooks and find the perfect salad.

It is rare for me to stick to a recipe. Usually, a recipe is used more as a flavor and proportion guideline. I find myself trading certain ingredients for those that are more appealing to my palate or, more likely, for what I already have in my pantry. Time and again, though, I have found that there is very little that I want to change in Heidi’s recipes. Super Natural Everyday has become an essential part of my kitchen and is a fabulous way to pull yourself out of a food rut.

The photograph alone for Heidi’s Mostly Not Potato Salad was enough to push me out the door to TJ’s, in search of leeks and whole-grain mustard. While this dish does require a bit more prep time than, say, your typical green dinner salad, it came together in under 30 minutes and I hardly broke a sweat. With this salad, I only took liberties with the actual size of some of the veggies (shortcuts are the only way to go sometimes!) and, without chives available in my kitchen, turned to thinly sliced green onions instead.The perfect salad showcases something soft and something crunchy, as well as a beautiful marriage of sweetness, acidity, and saltiness. Heidi’s potato salad? Perfection.

Mostly Not Potato Salad

from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
  • Big handful of green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural cane sugar or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 1 small leek, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into tiny cubes
  • 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, or until just fork tender. 30 seconds before the potatoes are finished, add the green beans. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the following: mustard, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small non-stick pan, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil over a medium flame and add the chopped dill. Saute until fragrant, then add the chopped leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until just golden.
  4. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes, green beans, leeks, celery, cucumber, tofu, green onions, and dressing.

This salad was delicious slightly warm but was even better the next day after being chilled overnight.

While summer will be welcomed with open arms, I hope to handle the heat in my kitchen for at least a few months more…

June 9, 2011

Quickie Brown Rice Salad

This salad is my answer to the overwhelming desire we all feel when the hot weather hits to park ourselves on the couch (or the cooler hardwood floor) at the end of the day, cereal box in hand, and avoid the stove at all costs.

I won’t beat around the bush – you will need to pull out the saute pan. But wait! You’ll be in and out of the kitchen in under 10 minutes, not nearly enough time to break a sweat (or at least add to that constant state of dampness….ick.)

The beauty of this salad is that you can use just about any veggie that you have on hand, as well as most other larger grains such as bulgar or farro. I just happen to think that brown rice crisps up so nicely when lightly sauted and really holds up well with all of the diced veggies. Pre-cooked brown rice is the most convenient and versatile item I have found at TJ’s lately – I would be lost without it! It has saved the day countless times when I need a light but filling late-night dinner or just don’t have to the 45 minutes needed to cook it from scratch.

With a small slice of grilled chicken breast or an egg scrambled and stirred in at the end, this is a perfect meal for nights that just won’t cool down.

Quickie Brown Rice Salad

serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Thai chili paste

Method:

  • Preheat a scant teaspoon oil (such as safflower or canola) in a nonstick saute pan. Add the diced pepper, onion, and carrots and sweat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini and brown rice and saute for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, water, garlic powder, ground ginger, and chili paste.
  • Stir the sauce into the rice and veggie mixture and distribute well.

 

 

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