Mexican Green Goddess Dressing

greengoddess

With Cinco de Mayo coming up, here’s a quick little dressing to get you in the spirit. I recently stole borrowed Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good from my mom. I know Ms. Goop is a ‘love’ or ‘meh’ sort of brand, but hear me out. This cookbook is pretty darn legit. For the most part, it is indeed all good. Her co-writer, Julia Turshen, is a respectable food authority and brings realism to Paltrow’s maca root-and-green juice world. There’s an impressive amount of dressing recipes, both for salads and dipping, that make me excited for the summer produce ahead.

This Mexican Green Goddess ditty caught my eye immediately. I’ve been on a green goddess kick these days, a result of one too many vinaigrettes. Sometimes you need a creamy dressing, am I right? Traditionally made with all sorts of herbs, gobs of mayo, anchovies and lemon, this creamy dressing originated in San Francisco in the 1970s. You can almost imagine people drizzling it over iceberg and avocados. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this Mexican version…and had all the ingredients in-house. I blended up a jar and used it all week long to drizzle on tacos, grain bowls, and pictured here, a shredded kale/cabbage/carrot/pineapple number with spicy roasted sweet potatoes. A Gwyneth-approved taco salad of sorts. Now, I wonder what a GP-approved margarita would entail…

Mexican Green Goddess Dressing

Adapted from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sub in 1/3 cup mayo + 1/3 cup yogurt)
1 handful cilantro leaves
2 scallions, roughly chopped
¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
½ jalapeno, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon (or more) Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon honey

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Add more or less lime juice and olive oil if you like it thinner or thicker. The dressing can be kept in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Citrus Braised Cabbage, Apple, Goat Cheese, Red Wine Vinegar

photo-1

Walk into any shop right now and you’ll be inundated with SPRING. Yet, walk down the street in New York and we’re still girding ourselves with wooly layers and hot coffee. The in-between seasons make it easy to see the relation between food and fashion. Just as designers are debuting their seasonal collections, filled with florals and color and texture, so are the chefs. With food, it starts with asparagus. Somewhere in the country, the weather is warm enough to grow this springtime delicacy, and it’s shipped in massive quantities to our food stores, giving us a false sense of season. Here in the Northeast, we don’t get the green stuff until May, even June. What’s a cook to do?

I propose embracing the current season for all it’s worth. Just as it’s silly to wear a sundress in a snowstorm, eating peaches (or eggplant or asparagus) is just as silly in the off-season. This cabbage slaw comes from the LA’s Lemonade restaurant cookbook. It epitomizes the in-between season – a bit of winter, with a nod to the sunnier days ahead. It’s really delicious.

 

Citrus Braised Cabbage, Apple, Goat Cheese, Red Wine Vinegar

Adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tart apples, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
1 head red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1/2 large orange, divided
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Slice the cabbage into quarters and cut away the core. Thinly slice the cabbage, set aside.

Heat a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven with olive oil. When hot, add onions and apples and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the cabbage. When it begins to wilt, add the vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Stir occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved orange zest.

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and chill thoroughly. Just before serving, sprinkle with goat cheese and herbs.

Quinoa with Red Plums, Thyme and Crispy Cauliflower

1113131641a

I make some variation on this dish just about once a week. A grain-based, lettuce-less salad is perfect for long-day, late night dinners or work lunches. The idea of using your pantry and supplementing with fresh ingredients works for me. Believe it or not, I don’t reinvent the wheel each night for dinner. Nope. Not even close. I do, however, keep a laundry list of staples on hand as building blocks for meals. Grains, beans, dried fruit, toasty nuts and herbs, herbs, herbs keep things fresh. For this salad, I combined quinoa with tart red plums (a recent discovery from Sahadi’s), scallions, a handful of herbs and (leftover) roasted cauliflower. It was part fridge clean-out, part Balaboosta-wannabe, all together delicious.

Quinoa with Red Plums, Thyme and Crispy Cauliflower

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1/2 medium head cauliflower, tough stems removed and cut into small florets
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 16 ounces water or chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Handful dried red plums, chopped (can substitute dried cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh black pepper

Heat oven to 425F.

Place cauliflower on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toss with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil (3 swirls of the pan). Season with a good 3-fingered pinch of salt. Roast cauliflower in heated oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy-edged, about 20-30 minutes. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, water or stock and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork.

In a large bowl, combine the scallions and dried plums. Add quinoa and allow it’s warmth to soften up the dried fruit. Fold in scallions and cauliflower. Add enough lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil until it tastes good. Delicious eaten warm, room temperature or cold.

Shirazi Salad

Image

I have a high devotion to Dinosaur BBQ. They originated in Central New York, where I grew up, and no early summer gathering was complete without it. Pulled pork, honey hush cornbread, tangy/sweet baked beans…yeah, you get the picture. One of the unsung heroes at Dino was their Tomato-Cucumber Salad. You see, with all that pork fat, butter and brown sugar, you need something fresh and acidic to balance it out. A BBQ palate cleanser, if you will.

This Persian-inspired salad in the same vein, but brightened up with fresh herbs, lime juice and sumac. Never worked with sumac? It’s a wonderful ruby red herb popular in Middle Eastern cooking. It adds a unique fruity tartness to meat, veggies and grains (try it sprinkled over hummus). It’s just the thing to add like to early season tomatoes and cucumbers. I have big plans on making this salad all summer with grilled lamb and chicken kebabs. And maybe some of that honey hush cornbread.

Shirazi Salad

Inspired by The New Persian Kitchen  by Louisa Shafia

Serves 4

  • 5 Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons dried spearmint
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives or scallions
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomato, dried and fresh mint and chives. Add lime juice, olive oil and salt to taste. Sprinkle with sumac before serving.

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Ras el Hanout

2013-03-16 20.03.56 (1)

People often ask me what kind of cook I am. It’s like they’re expecting me to say I am an expert in sushi, or specialize in French macaron-making. The truth is, I don’t claim one particular food or cuisine as mine. I do, however, have certain ingredients and habits I gravitate towards. I strive for everything I make, whether it’s a Bolognese sauce or a taco, to strike a balance between sweet, heat, acid and salt. I also have an infatuation with spices, herbs and other little sprinklings to gild the lily.

Which brings me to this carrot salad. I love shredded salads because I can use my food processor and they allow me to use up the random veggies in my fridge (real talk).I remember a carrot salad I ate during a photo shoot during my college internship. Yes, this was a good 6 years ago now. It had cinnamon in it, raisins and a bit of a kick. I felt so New York City eating that salad. It was also college, so at that point I was subsisting on Barilla Plus with marinara sauce and turkey wraps from Campus Deli. You can imagine why I remember it so vividly.

Now I’m on the other side of the serving table. While I’m still no expert, I do know what I like.

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Ras el Hanout

1 lb. carrots, peeled, trimmed and grated (with a box grater or food processor)
1/4 cup raisins
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout*
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch cayenne
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
Handful roughly chopped parsley

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, raisins and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, ginger, garlic and ras el hanout. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk. Add cayenne, salt, pepper and a bit more lemon juice/honey/olive oil to taste. Pour over carrot mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with parsley.

*Ras el hanout, literally ‘head of the shop’, is a Moroccan spice blend. There are many varieties, but is most likely to include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili pepper, coriander, cumin and nutmeg. Look for it at ethnic markets or in the spice section at Whole Foods (Frontier Organic brand). As a basic-pantry alternative, you can use a combination of ground cumin and a bit of cinnamon.

Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

broccoli salad

I am partial to recipes that far outweigh the sum of their parts. This soup is one of them. And this pesto. And I am forever loyal to these brownies.

Simple, straightforward ingredients are my favorite to work with. They’re a blank slate, up for translation. Take broccoli, for example. You’ve probably already had it boiled, roasted or covered with cheese. But what about whipping it into a souffle, pureed into a pasta sauce or formed into little fritters and topped with creme fraiche. See? Much, much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

This recipe comes from Sara Forte from the wonderfully fresh Sprouted Kitchen via Whole Living magazine. While the magazine will sadly no longer be available in print, the recipes and editorial content will still live online. I love their seasonal, yet approachable, take on eating well. A satisfying mix of  broccoli, creamy chickpeas, lemony vinaigrette and just a touch of richness from the nuts, it’s my new favorite lunch.

Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Adapted from Whole Living

  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 large head broccoli)
  • 15-oz can drained and rinsed chickpeas (about 2 cups cooked if using dried)
  • 5 sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or almonds)
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp grated Meyer lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Steam broccoli florets until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Alternately, blanch them in boiling water for a minute, then transfer to an ice bath and strain. Once cool, chop and combine with chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and pine nuts.

In a bowl, combine garlic, mustard, honey, lemon zest and juice. Slowly add oil, whisking to emulsify, and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle broccoli mixture with dressing and toss to coat. Add salt, pepper and more lemon juice, to taste.

Autumn Salads

While I love the tomato, basil and mozzarella-flecked salads of summer, I look forward to the rough-and-tough meals of autumn.  The cooler weather gives you license to crank the oven and roast, my favorite method for preparing hearty fall vegetables.

Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, squash, cauliflower – they all benefit at 425F. To make dinner happen quicker, roast off a couple trays of veggies on the weekend: toss chopped/sliced veggies with a bit of olive oil and salt. Spread out on a baking sheet (lined with parchment, if you have it). Roast at 425F until golden brown (depending on your veggie, about 15 minutes). When you get home from work, toss room temp or gently warmed veggies with salad greens, dressing and an “extra” or two like crumbly cheese, toasted nuts or beans. If you like the contrast of sweet and salty, here’s your chance to add thinly sliced apple, pear or dried fruit.

A few of my favorite combinations this fall (all with baby chard, kale and spinach greens and my favorite vinaigrette, recipe below):

Roasted acorn squash, Parmesan, apple

 

Roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, avocado

Roasted sweet potato and  {orange} cauliflower, pickled shallot

Cider Vinaigrette
In a jar, combine 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon minced shallot, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, a splash of apple cider and 6 tablespoons oil (I used a combination of hazelnut oil and grapeseed oil, but a not-too-intense olive oil works, too). Shake it up. Add salt, pepper and more of everything to taste.

Grilled Asian Steak Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

Lately, my cooking has been leaning towards the Asian persuasion. I can’t get enough of all things ginger, soy and sesame. One of my favorite things to order out is a good steak salad. There is something inherently delicious about crisp, leafy greens and crunchy veggies topped with tender slices of sizzling steak and piquant dressing. Don’t be shy with the marinade here – add a bit more of this or that as you please.

Grilled Asian Steak Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

Serves: 2 (plus extra dressing)

Ingredients

For Marinade:

  • 1/2 lb. flank steak
  • 2 T. fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T. honey
  • Pinch dried red chile flakes

Ginger-Lime Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. finely minced scallion
  • 1 T. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 T. olive, canola or peanut oil

For Salad:

  • 1/2 head red leaf or Boston bibb lettuce, roughly chopped or torn
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shelled, cooked and cooled edamame
  • 1/2 cup cilantro

Directions

For Marinade/Steak:

Combine ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and chile flakes in a shallow dish or heavy-duty plastic bag. Place the flank steak in the marinade, turning to coat a few times. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours in advance).

Preheat a grill or broiler. Remove steak from marinade and scrape off excess marinade. Grill 4-6 minutes on each side or broil 7-8 minutes on each side (for medium-rare). Let meat rest while you assemble the dressing.

Dressing:
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, scallion, ginger and honey.While whisking, stream in the oil. Taste and season with additional honey, lime or soy sauce to taste.

Salad:
Slice steak very thinly, against the grain at a slight diagonal. Place lettuce on a serving plate. Top with carrot peels, scallions and edamame. Top with sliced steak and drizzle with dressing. Garnish with cilantro.

Two Tomato Artichoke Salad with Parmesan and Summer Herbs

Sometimes the best dishes emerge from nothing. Take this salad. I had a couple tomatoes lying around and unfortunately, not much else. With a little dip in the pantry, I assembled a tasty lunch in under 5 minutes. Feel free to throw in more veggies or protein (zucchini and shrimp would be good).

Two Tomato Artichoke Salad with Parmesan and Summer Herbs

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts (fresh, jarred or frozen, defrosted)
  • 2 small tomatoes, small dice
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup assorted fresh herbs (I used basil, rosemary, thyme and sage), coursely chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Optional: lettuce or baby greens for serving

Dressing

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and Dijon. Stream in the olive oil. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs and gently toss to combine. Add Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on lettuce or baby greens (optional)

 

Fava Bean & Couscous Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing

Fava Bean & Couscous Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fava beans, fresh, dried or canned (for how to cook, see this NYT article)
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 small tomato, cored, seeded and diced (I used a yellow tomato)
  • 1/2 cup couscous (any type), cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 T. tahini
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced into a paste
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, gently combine fava beans, olives, tomato and couscous.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, cumin and garlic. Whisk in tahini and olive oil in a stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add dressing to fava/couscous mixture and toss to coat (be sure not to overdress). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving.