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Posts Tagged ‘salad’

 

I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy! These extraordinary times we’re living in seem to be challenging just about everyone–even those with secure jobs and plenty of resources.

Here in Northern California, we’re also experiencing horrific wildfires and the resulting smoke, which makes the air quality so poor you often can’t go outside to escape the stress of being cooped up because of Covid-19. What’s more, the recent heatwave brought thousands of tiny ants into my home, and one day, a few dozen large ones. I tried joking with friends about the “fire, plague and pestilence,” because when you think about it, things are so bad it can seem unreal or surreal, and you almost have to be able to joke about it to keep sane.

I try to cope by reminding myself of all the good things I have in my life–particularly my health and my children’s health. I also remind myself that it’s pointless to worry about those things I have absolutely no control over. And I take joy in small things–like seeing a fawn with its mother on my lawn, a funny meme one of my kids shares with me, a simple but delicious meal or favorite sweet. (Of course, there’s always Netflix, too!)

Back to the food… I love this salad! I’ve been making it nearly every week since May, and I definitely rate in among my top five favorites. It boasts beautiful color, complex flavor and texture, and you can easily source its ingredients all summer and into autumn. It has just the right combination of sweet, savory, soft and crunchy, and the chili-lime vinaigrette gives it just a little added kick. You can make a vegan version leaving out the feta.

Make sure you use a nicely ripe watermelon. My nearly full-proof technique for choosing watermelons is to pick one up and rap on it gently with my knuckles–just like you would knock on someone’s door. If you get a true “hollow” knock, then the melon is ripe. If you get more of a “thud” sound, try another.

 

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)

1/2 a ripe watermelon, rind/seeds removed and cut into 1-inch cubes

2-3 golden beets

1 large handful sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced thin

1/2 cup firm feta (I use sheep’s milk feta)

2 large handfuls arugula leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice from 1 lime* (about 3 Tbsp)

1-1/2 tsp ground chili pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

Optional: 1/3 cup chili lime pepitas (recipe follows)

Mix 1 cup raw pepitas with 1 tsp olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or ancho chili powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and the juice of one lime. Preheat oven to 325F. Spread pepitas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

*Get the most juice out of your lime by pressing down on the lime while it’s still whole, and rolling it while pressing down on it against a countertop or cutting board.

 

Preparation

Trim away any roots or pointed tops on the beets, wrap in foil and roast in the oven or toaster oven at 375F until cooked through, 30-40 minutes. Let cool. Run under cold water to help slide the skin off. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Add cut watermelon, snap peas and arugula and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice chili pepper and salt. Drizzle over the watermelon and beet mixture and toss to coat evenly. Crumble feta over the salad and lightly toss. Sprinkle toasted pepitas if using and serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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Do you sometimes get inexplicable cravings? I’m not referring to the sudden craving for a little something sweet or salty in the afternoon. I’m talking about the sudden, strong craving for a specific dish.

Well that happened to me about a month ago. I suddenly started craving Gado Gado, the common Indonesia salad of fresh vegetables, egg and peanut curry sauce. We don’t go to any Indonesian restaurants here in the Bay Area, so it’s not like I simply hadn’t been in a while and was missing a favorite dish. In fact, we typically go to an Indonesian restaurant only once a year, when we’re in Amsterdam visiting my husband’s family during the summer holiday. But we missed going this year–despite having a reservation at Kantjil in Amsterdam, since our flight from France was severely delayed. (Do not get me started on Easy Jet flight horror stories!)

The strong craving I experienced came on suddenly and would not go away. But luckily, I have a great recipe for Gado Gado that’s super easy!

This is a basic recipe (for 4) which you can modify to your liking. For example, you can substitute other vegetables, but I think this combination makes for the best in terms of taste, texture and color. The great thing about this salad is you need very little prep time, and you can often make it with ingredients you already have on hand.

 

Ingredients

1 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups green beans, trimmed

4 large organic eggs

1-1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1-1/2 cups radishes, trimmed and quartered

1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 package 14oz extra-firm tofu

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp red curry or Madras curry powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp avocado oil

 

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

3 tbsp hot water

3 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tsp Thai red curry paste

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tsp sambal oelek or Sriracha (optional)

 

Preparation

Place tofu on a plate layered with 2-3 paper towels. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water and a sprinkle of salt. Bring to a rolling boil; cover, turn off heat and let stand 12 minutes. Remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon; rinse with cold water; peel and cut in half.

Return pan to boil; add green beans and cook 4-5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain; rinse with cold water; pat dry and set aside.

In the meantime, prepare the tofu. Cut the block lengthwise into four 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on 2-3 layers of paper towels on a plate. Cover with more paper towels and a plate turned upside down. Let stand at least 5 minutes. Cut cross-wise to make 1/2-inch cubes. Combine cornstarch, curry powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Gently toss tofu to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add tofu and cook for 10-12 minutes or until nicely crisp and browned on all sides.

Prepare peanut sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together. Adjust seasoning to taste. If the sauce is thicker than you want, add a little extra hot water to thin it down. Note: I leave out the samba oelek or Sriracha if it’s a family dinner since my kids don’t like things too spicy–yet.

Cut the green beans into 2-inch pieces; arrange on a platter. Arrange eggs halves, bean sprouts, radishes and cucumbers. Serve with sauce on the side. Store leftover vegetables and sauce separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. They make a great lunch the next day!

Enjoy!

 

 

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