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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cucumber Salad with Chile, Mint and Basil

Here's the last recipe from my demo last week at Blooming Glen Farm.  This one is probably my favorite--I just love the flavors that are in it.  It's kind of a Thai-type of thing going on--sweet, sour, spicy.  I actually made this for one of my clients today.  You'll love it, too.

Oh, and if you like these recipes, check back after my next BGF demo on August 19.  I'll be posting more.

But for now, enjoy this crisp and fresh salad.  Perfect for a side with some grilled meat.  I used Kirby cucumbers at the farm--they're the smaller ones used to make kosher dill pickles.  They have very small seeds, so I didn't seed them.  If you're using the larger, slicing cucumbers, you'll want to seed them to get rid of a lot of water and the tough seeds.  I also left out the peanuts at the farm due to allergy concerns.

CUCUMBER SALAD WITH CHILE, MINT AND BASIL (adapted from Cook's Country magazine)
Serves 4

4 cucumbers (or 8 if using the smaller Kirby variety), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thinly
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 hot peppers (Thai bird chiles or jalapenos, for example), seeded and minced
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
3 Tbsp peanuts, toasted
  • Evenly spread cucumber slices on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate while preparing dressing.
  • Bring vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan over med-low heat; cook until reduced to about 2 Tbsp, 4-6 min.
  • Transfer vinegar to a large bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 10 min.  When cooled, whisk in lime juice, oil, sugar, fish sauce, chiles, salt and pepper.
  • When ready to serve, combine cucumbers, mint and basil with the dressing.  Let stand 5 min; then retoss and sprinkle with peanuts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grilled Cantaloupe and Peach Salad

I love grilled fruit.  Grilling brings out the sweetness and really intensifies the flavors.  You don't have to grill fruit for very long (in fact, too long and they'll get too mushy).  This salad, that I made at my Blooming Glen Farm demo, is a nice mix of flavors and textures.

I used lettuce at the farm since spinach and arugula weren't available and it was great.  But the spinach and arugula add even more variety to the flavors.

GRILLED CANTALOUPE AND PEACH SALAD (adapted from Cooking Light magazine)
Serves 6

1 Tbsp soy sauce
3-4 ripe peaches, pitted
3 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3 cups baby arugula, about 3 oz
3 cups baby spinach, about 3 oz
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cantaloupe, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
3 Tbsp walnuts, chopped and toasted

  • Preheat grill to medium-high.  Clean and oil the grate.
  • Place peaches, cut-side down, on grill.  Grill for 2-3 min or until starting to get grill marks and flesh is starting to soften.
  • Rub more oil on grill grates and place cantaloupe slices on grill for about 1-2 min per side, or until starting to get grill marks and flesh is starting to soften.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, honey, oil, garlic and salt.
  • Combine arugula, spinach, celery, onion and pepper in a large serving bowl.  Remove melon from rind and dice into bite-sized pieces.  Dice peaches as well.  Toss with greens.  Drizzle with dressing to taste.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Smoky Potato Salad

Here's another tasty dish from my demo at Blooming Glen Farm.

Potato salads are always a favorite at picnics and this one is a winner.  It's got a light, but flavorful dressing and the great taste of the grill.  Best of all, no par-cooking the potatoes needed in this recipe.  Cook them all the way on the grill--just as long as you use the right size.

Give it a try!

SMOKY POTATO SALAD (adapted from Cook's Country magazine)
Serves 8

I went a little easy on the chipotle at the farm just in case some folks didn't like much spice.  But feel free to add as much or as little as you like.  Remember that chipotle chiles are smoked jalapenos, so they'll not only add heat, but a smoky flavor.

6 slices bacon, chopped
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
3 pounds red potatoes, small (about 2"), unpeeled and halved
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • Preheat grill to high.
  • Cook bacon in a 12" skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7-9 min; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon fat.
  • Whisk vinegar, mayo, chipotle, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a large bowl.  Slowly whisk in 3 Tbsp oil until combined.  Set aside.
  • Clean and oil the grill grate.  Turn heat down to medium.
  • Toss the potatoes with the reserved bacon fat and 1/2 tsp salt.  Brush onion rounds with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place potatoes, cut side down, and onions on grill and cook, covered, until charred on first side, about 10-14 min.
  • Flip potatoes and onions and continue cooking, covered, until well browned and potatoes are tender, another 10-16 min.  Transfer all to a rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly.
  • Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and coarsely chop the onions.  Add potato, onion, scallion and bacon to the dressing and toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.er to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Here's another dish that I made at my Blooming Glen Farm demo last week.  This is easy, quick and really tasty--nice fresh flavors of lemon and tarragon.

Use globe eggplant for this recipe--the Asian eggplants are too thin and turn to mush pretty quickly.  I used cherry tomatoes instead of regular ones--just halved them.  Parsley can be used if you don't have or don't like tarragon.

GRILLED EGGPLANT SALAD (adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen)
Serves 4

1 pound eggplant
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4" dice
3/4 cup tarragon, chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper

  • Preheat grill to high.
  • Place eggplant on hot grate until flesh is very soft, turning as needed, 15-20 min for smaller eggplants or up to 30 min for large.  Transfer to a cutting board to cool.
  • Cut stem end from eggplant and pull skin off.  Cut into 1/4" dice and transfer to a serving bowl.  Stir in tomato, tarragon, scallion, garlic 2 Tbsp oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.

Asian-Flavored Slaw

Last week, I was happy to do another demo at Blooming Glen Farm.  It's always so fun to make dishes there for the folks picking up their shares.  I get to cook in a beautiful setting, using the best ingredients you can find (and that were grown right there) and I get to talk to people who really appreciate and enjoy good food.

Here's the first recipe of the 5 that I made there.  All are pretty simple, have great flavors and use seasonal ingredients.  So try them!

ASIAN-FLAVORED SLAW (adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen)
Serves 4

I used red cabbage because that's the kind of cabbage the farm had.  And since peas aren't in season, I didn't include them.

1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced or grated (or more to taste)
5 Tbsp rice vinegar (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp black sesame seeds or toasted white sesame seeds
3 cups Napa cabbage, shredded (see note above)
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or grated
1/2 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 scallions, white minced and green thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup snow pea pods, whole, trimmed, stringed and thinly sliced (see note above)

  • Combine garlic, ginger, 5 Tbsp vinegar, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl.  Whisk until sugar dissolves.  Then whisk in oil and seeds.
  • Stir in cabbage, carrots, pepper, scallions and peas.  Toss to mix.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Serve within 4 hours of making.