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TIP OF THE DAY: Eat More Fish With Sashimi Salad

If you want to eat more fish but don’t like cooking it, here’s an easy idea: sashimi salad.

Just toss sliced fish over greens.

Instead of opening a can or searing the fish tataki-style (briefly seared), sashimi salad is an easy alternative.

A decade ago one of our favorite neighborhood sushi bars closed, taking with it one of our favorite foods, “marinated salmon”—was a mesclun salad with onions dressed in vinaigrette and topped with slices of salmon sashimi.

It was deliciousness, low in calories, and had eye appeal: a culinary home run. We had it several times a week.

When the restaurant was replaced by a cupcake parlor, we had to make it at home. Aside from fetching fresh salmon, it couldn’t have been easier.
 
 
1. SELECT YOUR FISH.

Ask for recommendations at the fish counter. The staff can also slice the salmon or tuna loins into sashimi-thickness slices.

The typical sashimi slice is 2 inches by 1/16 inch, but you can have them sliced longer and thicker as you prefer (longer is also better to drape over a mound of salad, as in photo # 2).

You can also consider the kaku-zukuri cut (“square slice”, photo #5) of 3/4-inch cubes (photos #1, #3 and #4).

The sashimi sold in sushi restaurants in North America is flash-frozen, whether it is local or flown in from elsewhere. It is thawed before preparation. You can purchase flash-frozen fish in your supermarket, slowly thaw it overnight in the fridge and eat it the next day.

You may also find live salmon and other varieties at Asian fish markets, where they can filet them for you.

 
2. PICK YOUR GREENS.

Are you in the mood for something more mild, like a mesclun mix; or a peppery arugula and watercress? A mixture is always a good idea.

If you like crunch, consider shredded cabbage (cole slaw mix).

We like onion in our salad. Japanese recipes use green onions (scallions); but you can add your allium of preference (the different types of onions).
 
 
3. ADD OTHER VEGETABLES & FRUITS.

Use whatever you have, or add whatever you like. We personally like:

  • Avocado
  • Baby beets
  • Blueberries and/or blackberries
  • Carrot curls
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Chinese vegetables: bamboo shoots, bok choy, napa cabbage, etc.
  • Diced honeydew
  • Edamame
  • Japanese pickles (oshinko and tsukemono, available online or at Asian food stores)
  • Lychees or rambutans
  • Mango or papaya
  • Orange or mandarin segments (particularly blood orange)
  • Radish slices, or shredded daikon (Japanese radish)
  • Seaweed salad or kimchi
  • Snow peas or sugar snap peas
  •    

    Sashimi Salad

    Sashimi Salad

    Sashimi Salad With Quinoa

    Sashimi Salad

    Square Cut Toro Sashimi

    [1] Mesclun with tuna cubes, at Kabuki Restaurants. [2] Conventional sashimi strips over a mounded salad, garnished with cherry tomatoes and tobacco, at Natsumi | NYC. [3] Double the nutrition: Sashimi salad over quinoa (or your whole grain of choice), at Sushi Samba. [4] Sashimi salad with wasabi & passionfruit dressing. Here’s the recipe from from Delicious | Australia. [5] kaku-zukuri, square-cut sushi; here, toro from Fish For Sushi.

     

    Shichimi Togarashi

    Nori Strips

    [6] Shichimi Togarashi, a blend of seven Japanese spices (photo courtesy Yahoo). [7] Nori strips, scissor-cut from nori sheets (photo courtesy Food Sharing With Little One).

     

    4. PICK YOUR DRESSING.

    Rice vinegar and/or lime juice with olive oil (and a splash of sesame oil if you have it) make an excellent basic vinaigrette for sashimi salad.

    You can also add salad oil to ponzu sauce.

    Here are some more-elaborate favorites:

  • Wasabi-passionfruit dressing.
  • Yuzu dressing.
  • Nobu’s sashimi salad dressing is simple: onion, rice vinegar, water, mustard and pinches of granulated sugar, sea salt and black pepper.
  • For something more lively, take a look at this mint cilantro vinaigrette.
  • This gluten-free ginger dressing uses tamari instead of soy sauce, plus green onions and a splash of sake.
  • If you like things spicy, check out spicy Korean sashimi salad, hwe dap bap, which uses gochujang, spicy red pepper paste.
  • Or, simply splash some sriracha into the vinaigrette. This fusion recipe combines soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice and sriracha.
  •  
     
    5. PICK YOUR GARNISH.

  • Citrus zest or julienned strips
  • Crispy Chinese noodle or wonton strips
  • Nori strips (photo #7)
  • Scallions, finely-sliceds
  • Sesame seeds—black, white, regular or toasted
  • Shichimi togarishi, Japanese spice blend (red chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed)
  • Tobiko (flying fish roe), available in different colors (green, orange, red, yellow) and flavors, like wasabi tobiko
  •  
     
    6. BEVERAGE PAIRINGS

  • Green tea or black tea, hot or iced (but no milk and sugar in the black tea). We especially like Genmaicha, green tea with toasted rice that gives it a lovely, nutty; flavor.
  • Mineral water, especially sparkling with a high level of minerals.
  • Rosé, sparkling wine or white wine.
  • Sparkling water/club soda, plain or citrus-flavored.
  •  

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 30 Ideas For Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

    For something delicious, impressive, healthful (except when loaded with cheese) and easy to make, we love meaty stuffed portabella mushrooms. We have our favorite fall transition recipes, as the lighter foods of summer transition to the heartier autumn and winter recipes.

    Stuffed portables are so versatile.

  • They can be vegan, vegetarian or stuffed with ground meat or poultry.
  • They can be filled with scrambled eggs and kale for breakfast, used instead of English muffins for a twist on Eggs Benedict.
  • Substitute ‘shroom for bread: the bun of a burger, the slices for grilled cheese.
  •  
    Plan a celebration: National Stuffed Mushroom Day is February 4th.

    MUSHROOM COOKING TIPS

    To avoid sogginess:

    1. WIPE the mushrooms clean. Don’t wet them or or they’ll absorb water. You can use a slightly damp paper towel or a dry mushroom brush, which is softer than other vegetable brushes so it doesn’t bruise the delicate flesh.

    2. PRE-BROIL or pre-bake for 3 minutes or so, to release some of the mushroom’s natural water. Then stuff and return to the heat.

    3. COOK until the topping is just browned. Overcooking will release any remaining natural mushroom moisture into the your filling, as it dries out the mushroom.
     
    DIFFERENT STUFFINGS FOR PORTABELLAS

    Appetizers Or First Courses

  • Herbed goat cheese (garnish with croutons)
  • Mock onion soup: caramelized onions, croutons (or one large crouton) and gruyère (photo #4)
  • Pork or chicken sausage, spinach and smoked mozzarella; or lamb sausage with spinach and feta
  •  
    Salads

  • Artichoke hearts (not marinated) and pimiento (roasted red pepper) with optional pepper jack cheese
  • Caprese: chopped tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, drizzled with EVOO
  • “Cheese course” (photo #4)
  • Corn and black bean salad
  • Israeli salad: chopped cucumbers, tomatoes
  • Mesclun/baby greens with garnishes of choice (photo #1)
  • Salad base (“edible salad bowl”): arugula, spinach (with bacon and chopped onions)
  •  
    Sides

  • Caramelized onions and bacon (or variation: pork belly, proscuitto)
  • Cornbread stuffing, sausage and optional jalapeno
  • Grains: barley, pilaf, quinoa, risotto, wild rice, etc.
  • Gratins
  • Ratatouille
  • Mashed: cauliflower (photo #2), potatoes (photo #3), acorn/butternut squash
  • Pasta: orzo, soup pasta
  • Polenta, topped with shaved radicchio
  • Three bean salad
  • Dressing: bread cubes, onion, celery and anything else you add with the turkey dressing
  •  
    Mains

  • Chicken cubes, broccoli florets and sundried tomatoes
  • Chicken salad with apples, celery, red onion and parsley or other favorite recipe (we like this curried chicken salad with grapes)
  • Grilled cheese: the mushroom becomes the toast
  • Leftovers: stretch short ribs, stew, whatever (photo #7)
  • Portabella “pizza,” with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and your favorite pizza toppings stuffed into the cap (photo #9—anchovies, anyone?)
  • Shredded pork or other protein, with barbecue sauce or other condiment
  • Seafood gratin (photo #8)
  • “Tacos,” with seasoned chopped beef or turkey, chopped tomatoes or drained pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, sour cream or grated/crumbled cheese and a tortilla strips garnish
  •  
    CONSIDER…

  • Brush the caps with a flavored oil—basil, truffle, etc.—instead of olive oil spray.
  • Pay attention to seasonings. We’re big on fresh herbs.
  • Raw mushrooms can be used in salad preparations; but you can cook them if you prefer.
  • Garnish for fun and flavor, from breadcrumbs to pickled jalapeños.
  • Consider international focus, such as spinach, feta and oregano (with optional ground lamb), and curry, almonds and raisins.
  •  
    RECIPE: SPINACH-STUFFED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS

    Frozen spinach is a time saver in this easy recipe (photo #6, the bottom photo at right).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 portabella mushroom caps
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the oven rack in the middle and preheat the broiler on the high setting. Line a baking sheet with foil.

    2. WIPE the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel or a mushroom brush. Remove the stems and reserve for another purpose (eggs, salad, etc.). Spray the caps on both sides with the olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

    3. BROIL for 5 minutes on each side, or until just tender. While the mushrooms cook…

    4. DEFROST the spinach in the microwave according to package directions; place in a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, press on the cooked spinach with your hands and extract as much water as possible out of it. Repeat this until you can extract more water (we wring it with our hands).

       
    Starters & Sides
    Salad-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

    Mashed Cauliflower Stuffed Portabella

    Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

    Garlic-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

    Portabella Gratinee

    Spinach Stuffed Portabella

    [1] Enjoy a small salad in a portabella cap. You don’t have to cook the cap, but you certainly can. Here’s the recipe from Pom Wonderful. [2] Cauliflower purée in a portabella cap, from The Purple Carrot. [3] Mushrooms gratin: Fill with shredded gruyère or other melting cheese. Here’s the original recipe from Urban Accents). We turned ours into mock onion soup, filling the cap with caramelized onions, gruyere croutons. [4] Who could turn down mashed potatoes and bacon? Here’s the recipe from Eat Wisconsin Cheese. [5] This starter or side from A Food Centric Life is filled with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and lots of chopped herbs. We substituted garlic cloves for the goat cheese, and sprinkled on crumbled cheese when the ‘shrooms came out of the oven. [6] Easy spinach-stuffed portables from Healthy Recipes Blog.

     
    5. REMOVE the mushrooms from the oven. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (about 3 minutes). Add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until golden stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, spinach, the rest of the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring to blend, for 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a few minutes; then mix in the Parmesan.

    6. FILL the mushroom caps with the stuffing, piled high. Place back under the broiler on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until the filling is golden.

     

    Main Courses

    Turkey-Broccoli-Cheddar Portobello

    Portobello Pizza

    Lobster Stuffed Portobello

    [7] Toss together leftovers: here, turkey, broccoli and cheddar (photo courtesy Mushroom Info). [8] Turn portabellas into mini pizza (here’s the recipe from Picture The Recipe). [9] Lobster in a cream sherry sauce (photo courtesy Mushroom Council).

     

    IS IT PORTABELLA, PORTABELLO OR PORTOBELLO?
    AND THE HISTORY OF PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS

    How can one mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, have three different spellings? After all, chanterelle is chanterelle, morel is morel, porcini is porcini.

    The answer: When Americans began to grow and sell cremini mushrooms in southeastern Pennsylvania in the 1960s, it was a very small output. The growers were largely from Italy, and grew the creminis they missed from the old country.

    A 1996 article in Nation’s Restaurant News noted that initially there was no market for the creminis. The public wanted pristine white mushrooms. Fortunately, the back-to-earth movement of the 1960s and 1970s opened the door for the growers to make another stab at selling them.

    According to Food Timeline, food experts generally agree on these points when it comes to the history of portabellas:

  • By accident, growers found that creminis that weren’t harvested grew into extra-large mushrooms (what became known as portabellas). These large mushrooms are here today despite early efforts to thwart them.
  • Both cremini and portobello mushrooms are first mentioned in the New York Times during the mid 1980s. The growers named the new variety. Portabella means “beautiful door; portobello means “beautiful port.”
  • In a 1996 article in Nation’s Restaurant News on the growing popularity of portabellas, Wade Whitfield of the Mushroom Council, an industry trade group, noted, “They are really culls. You didn’t want them in the mushroom bed. [Growers] would throw them away. There was no market. Growers would take them home.”
  • Whitfield then noted: “This thing has gone from nearly zero in 1993 to a predicted 30 million pounds this year. It’s a major item. It will be the largest specialty mushroom.”
  • According to The New Food Lover’s Companion, “‘portobello’ began to be used in the 1980s as a brilliant marketing ploy to popularize an unglamorous mushroom that, more often than not, had to be disposed of because growers couldn’t sell them.”
  • There is no definitive spelling. According to Food Timeline, an un-scientific Google survey at one point showed that portobello got the most searches (169,000), followed by portabella (33,100) and portobella (3,510). Wade Whitfield noted The Mushroom Council preferred “portabella”; we use “portabella” because we prefer how it rolls off the tongue.
  • We must point out, vis-a-vis the spelling variations of portabella, that cremini is also spelled crimini, and also called the brown mushroom, Italian brown mushroom and Roman mushroom. Newer marketing names including baby portobellos, mini bellas and portabellinis. “Baby Bella” is a trademarked name.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MUSHROOMS IN OUR MUSHROOM GLOSSARY.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Try These 2017 Food Trends

    What’s trending in 2017? Every expert has an opinion, but here are some from the James Beard House.

    CAULIFLOWER IS THE NEW KALE

    Hmmm…we thought kale was the new cauliflower, back in 2013.

    But we’re so over kale and still in love with cauliflower, that we won’t fight this one! Cauliflower is so much more versatile. It can be mashed, instead of potatoes; it can be riced; it can be grilled like a steak. Each of these recipes is a treat:

  • Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
  • Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
  • Cauliflower Risotto
  • Cauliflower “Steak”
  • Crispy Fried Cauliflower, Indian-style
  • Masala Cauliflower: Spiced Cauliflower & Cauliflower Salad
  • Riced Cauliflower/Cauliflower Rice
  • Whole Roasted Cauliflower
  •  
    SO ARE KALETTES!

    What do you get when you cross kale with Brussels sprouts?

    Kalettes, a dual cruciferous powerhouse. Combining the best flavors of both “parents” results in a fusion of sweet and nutty, which can be prepared in endless ways.

    It’s the first new vegetable to hit the market since broccolini.

    They grow on tall stalks like Brussels sprout, but have leafy heads—as if that solid Brussels sprout turned into feathery kale.

    And they’re much more tender than kale, which is so much more appealing in salads. Here’s more about kalettes.

    Recipes:

  • 16 Kale Recipes, from breakfast through dinner
  • Colorful Kalette Skewers
  • Crispy Roasted Kalettes With Parmesan Dip
  • Kalette, Tomato & Onion Frittata
  • Prosciutto-Wrapped Kalettes
  • Sesame Chili Sautéed Kalettes with Berkshire Pork and Jasmine Rice
  • Thai-Spiced Kalettes
  •  
    WHEY TO GO

    Whey is a by-product of cheese-making. In fact, after centuries of feeding it to the farm animals, a clever cheesemaker figured out how to re-cook it into ricotta (which means “recooked”).

    Why is a byproduct of yogurt-making, too. In Greece, the acidic and delicious whey is used to marinate lamb; in the U.S., it is sold as whey powder in health food stores. But much domestic whey is discarded.

    At last: Bottles of whey for drinking and cooking have been spotted at health food stores and natural foods chains like Whole Foods. In 2017, look to say “Way!” to whey.
     
    SORGHUM: THE ANCIENT NEW “IT” GRAIN

    Sorghum is an ancient grain and a nutritious whole grain; but for the last century or so in the U.S., which is the world’s largest grower, it has mostly been grown for animal feed.

    Made into a syrup, was the most popular sweetener in 19th century America. On-trend chefs have been using it to glaze and braise.

    But until recently, we had no idea that it was sold in grain form. Now, it’s poised to become the latest “new” gluten-free grain of the moment.

    Sorghum resembles Israeli couscous in shape, but is sweet, not earthy. We had our first bite recently, and it is delicious!

    Sorghum can cooked in any grain recipe; it can be popped like popcorn. You can bake with sorghum flour (it’s often part of GF flour mixes).

    Start with Bon Appétit’s delicious recipe for Roast Chicken with Sorghum and Squash.

    Here’s more about sorghum, plus two (of the soon to be numerous) dedicated sorghum cookbooks:

  • Sorghum’s Savor
  • Sorghum Treasures: A Compilation of Recipes Old and New
  •    

    Kalettes Hybrid

    Kalettes

    Spiced Kalettes

    Sorghum Grains

    Roast Chicken & Sorghum

    [1] The newest vegetable in years, kalettes (center) are a cross between kale (left) and brussels sprouts (right—photo courtesy Modern Farmer). [2] Look for packaged qualities (photo courtesy Ocean Mist). [3] Turn them into salads or delicious dishes like Thai Spiced Kalettes (here’s the recipe from One Tomato Two Tomato). [4] Make sorghum your new grain. You can buy it at Whole Foods and other natural foods markets, or online (photo courtesy Easy Me World | Blogspot). [5] Roast chicken with sorghum. Here’s the recipe from Bon Appetít.

     
    WHERE’S THE BEEF?

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the consumption of red meat peaked in the 1970s.

    But until recently, at restaurants around the country, it was rare to find a menu that didn’t offer a juicy steak or other red meat.

    With increased costs, more concern about sustainability (forests are cut down for grazing land, steers generate tons of methane, and both contribute to greenhouse gas), or a change in tastes due to international cuisines that don’t focus on red meat, restaurants and homes alike are using less beef.

    Except for the ubiquitous burger.

    Vying to take beef’s place: duck, lamb, venison, pork, and more vegetarian and grain mains.

    Do your part: Instead of beef, choose something else—preferably a nice veggie burger. Pick up a book on vegetarian entrées.

     

    Tuna Tataki

    Pickled Watermelon Rind

    Waste Free Kitchen Book

    [1] Make this beautiful tuna tataki recipe from Just One Cookbook. [2] Alton Brown’s watermelon pickles, a.k.a. pickled watermelon rinds. Here’s the recipe. [3] Start the year with a mission to stop wasting food, with this wonderful book (photo courtesy Chronicle Books).

     

    VEGETABLES TAKE CENTER STAGE

    For nutrition, weight control, sustainability, easy of clean-up and for flavor, vegetables are becoming the star of the show for non-vegetarians. Vegan restaurants are gaining popularity with mainstream eaters.

    Perhaps this is the year to re-think Meatless Monday, which sounds like abstinence, to Voluptuous Veggie Day.

    And have fun doing it!

    FERMENT YOUR WAY TO HEALH

    Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha are very healthful.

    And fermentation has fascinated chefs for years, as they’ve tried to uncover new ways to create naturally complex flavors, nuanced textures, and other gastronomic excitement.

    The new magazine Cured focuses on aging and fermenting food, and cookbooks like Bar Tartine give explicit instructions about how to ferment your own condiments.

    Fermented foods have been made for millennia. So before you think new, think old: older, bubbling, cultured and fermented. And check out this book.

     
    TIME FOR TATAKI

    Move over crudo and carpaccio. From fish to beef, toro to kobe, tataki is an appetizer expected to sweep the nation.

    The protein is quickly seared, then thinly sliced, brushed with a bright vinegar, and presented with a host of east-meets-west accompaniments.

    Recipes are beautiful, healthful, and very tasty. Start with these:

  • Tuna Tataki
  • Beef Tataki
  •  
    With beef, the benefit with tataki is that with thins trips of red meat, you eat less of it—and spend less on it.

    Never had tataki? Head to the nearest Japanese restaurant for a starter of tuna tataki. Then, pick up some tuna or salmon and make your own at home.
     
    Finally, but perhaps most important:

    WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

    With nearly half of all food produced in the U.S. going to waste, concerned restaurants, professional chefs and even home cooks are learning to create delicious dishes with parts of the animal, fruit, or vegetable that would normally end up in the trash.

    Top chefs are focusing on it; Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio and others are speaking out about how we can all reduce waste in our kitchens. Introductory recipes for waste-less cooking are popping up everywhere.

    It’s not hard: Instead of throwing out watermelon rinds, pickle them! Here’s a recipe.

    Start with this book.

    Seattle is the city pioneer in waste not, want not: In 2014, it began to impose fines on households and restaurants. Here’s the scoop.

    For the health of our planet and our legacy to our grandchildren, this is a trend we hope will have staying power.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Potato Latkes & Beyond

    Classic Latkes

    Potato Pancakes

    Potato Cauliflower Latkes

    Latke Smoked Salmon Caviar

    [1] Nana’s latkes, served with applesauce and sour cream (photo courtesy Melissa’s).[2] A more elegant presentation (from Anne Fruart via Vermont Creamery. [3] Mix it up: potato latkes with cauliflower from Idaho Potatoes (recipe at right). [4] Our personal heaven: latkes with smoked salmon, caviar, filled sour cream and a bit of chive (photo courtesy Diva Eats World).

     

    You might prefer the parting of the Red Sea, the when God delivered the 10 Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, or Passover, when 10 plagues passed over the households of the children of Israel and wreaked havoc on all others, culminating in the Exodus, freedom from slavery.

    But our favorite Hebrew miracle is the Chanukah lamp oil. resulting in the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the miracle of a temple lamp (menorah) which had enough purified the oil for one day. It would take a week to make more purified oil. But a miracle occurred: After the the menorah was lit, the flames burned for eight days—by which time new vats of purified oil were ready.

    Why is it our favorite Jewish holiday? It comes with fried food, commemorating the lamp oil. That includes latkes, fried potato pancakes.

    THE HISTORY OF LATKES

    The popular potato latkes of European Jewish cuisine descend from Sicilian ricotta pancakes that appeared in the Middle Ages. They traveled north to Roman, where the Jewry called them cassola. Here’s a recipe for ricotta latkes. Traditionally sweetened, you can make a savory version with herbs instead of sugar.

    Potato latkes (meaning “fried cakes” in Yiddish) are an Ashkenazi invention that gained popularity in Eastern Europe during the mid 1800s.

    While the ricotta pancakes, a cousin to cheese blintzes are delicious, our bet is that most people would rather have fried potatoes!

    Here’s a longer history of latkes in Idaho Potato (photo #3).

    RECIPE #1: POTATO, ONION & CAULIFLOWER LATKES

    In addition to varying the latke ingredients, you can try different condiments. We made a curry-yogurt dip for these.

    Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 4 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Topping (see below)
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the cauliflower florets in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times until it resembles a rice texture. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

    2. ADD the onion to the food processor and pulse a few times until it is very finely chopped; add to the mixing bowl.

    3. REPLACE the steel blade with a shredding blade or attachment and feed the potato pieces through the tube until all are shredded. Add to the mixing bowl.

    4. ADD the eggs, flour, salt, pepper and parsley to the bowl and combine thoroughly. If liquid begins to accumulate at the bottom, remove with a spoon.

    5. HEAT the oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan and add scoopfuls of the mixture to form pancakes. Fry for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream, Greek yogurt or other garnish of choice.

  •  

    FOR THE TOPPING

    You can serve more than one topping. Our mom always served sour cream and her homemade applesauce (as did her mom); but this is another century. Try fusion seasonings, go crazy (within reason) with toppings like cardamom applesauce, curried Greek yogurt or 3-herb sour cream.

  • Dairy: crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, sour cream
  • Fruit sauce: apple sauce, cranberry sauce
  • Salsa (corn, corn and bean or tomato)
  • Poached egg (for a main course)
  • Gourmet: smoked salmon and salmon caviar (or other roe)
  •  
    Plus

  • Chopped fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, thyme
  • Mesclun salad
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables, ratatouille or other vegetable medley
  • Pesto
  • Asian slaw (no mayo), cucumber salad, carrot-raisin salad, etc.
  •  

    BEYOND POTATO LATKES

    And here’s an even more veg-centric recipe from Good Eggs: the classic potato-onion combination with parsnips, carrots and leeks.

    And for beet lovers, there are (drum roll) beet latkes. Try them now or save them for Valentine’s Day. Serve them Russian style with fresh dill and sour cream.

    You can also make parsnip-centric latkes, carrot and raisin latkes: Go wherever your palate takes you.

    Want cheese with your latkes? Start with this recipe for Ginger Pancakes With Herbed Goat Cheese by Najwa Kronfel of Delicious Shots.

    RECIPE #2: VEGETABLE LATKES

    In photo #5, these latkes are paired with a crunchy Asian slaw.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 white onion, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ¾ pounds parsnip, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Canola oil
  • Coarse salt
  •  
    Toppings

  • Arugula pesto
  • Apple sauce
  • Crème fraîche
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the peeled potatoes and onions in a big bowl; mix with your hands. In another bowl, combine the peeled parsnips, leeks and carrots.

    2. SQUEEZE the excess liquid out of the potato-onion mixture, using your hands, a clean kitchen towel, cheesecloth or your hands. (We use a large strainer and press down the mixture.). Place in a separate bowl and add the eggs, a few big pinches of salt and flour—again mixing with your hands. Form patties about 3 inches in diameter and just shy of an inch thick. Do the same for the parsnip mixture.

    3. ADD oil to a large skillet, until it’s about ¼-inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the first batch of latkes, leaving plenty of room between each of them. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until they’re a deep golden brown on each side, and fully cooked through.

    4. DRAIN: Place the latkes on a platter or in a baking sheet/dish covered in paper towels and sprinkle with flakey salt immediately. Keep the latkes warm in an oven set to very low. Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the latkes.

     

    Latkes With Slaw

    Beet Latkes

    Carrot Latkes

    [5] Latkes with four different veggies and a side of Asian slaw, from Good Eggs (recipe at left). [6] Beet latkes from Williams-Sonoma. Here’s the recipe. [7] Carrot latkes from Elana’s Pantry.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Salads

    As we close in on Christmas, we like to “Christmas-ize” our food, adding red and green garnishes to everything from scrambled eggs (green and red bell peppers or jalapeños) to desserts (mint leaves and raspberries).

    We have fun looking for a different red and green combination at every meal.

  • For sandwiches, we add a plate garnish of lettuce, baby spinach or baby arugula and cherry tomatoes*, which can easily be moved onto the sandwich.
  • For an olive garnish, we use the bright green Castelvetrano olives and bright red peppadews.
  •  
    Last year’s red and green food recipes include:

  • Christmas tartare: salmon or tuna
  • Christmas scallop crudo
  • Christmas sushi
  • Goat cheese rolled in dried cranberries and pistachio nuts
  • Pinwheel sandwiches
  • With cocktails,red and green pinwheel sandwiches
  •  
    Today, we suggest a red and green “Christmas salad.”

    The popular Caprese Salad is certainly red and green enough, but in the winter, when conventional tomatoes are out of season, you need to substitute: cherry or grape tomatoes, marinated sundried tomatoes, peppadews, pimientos (jarred red peppers), red bell peppers, etc.

    You can serve something as simple as a beet and avocado salad. No prep is required, beyond slicing the avocado. The peeled, cooked ready-to-eat beets from Love Beets and other brands are terrific.

    Then, just assemble the first three ingredients and drizzle the dressing (or place the dressing on the plate first).

  • Beets
  • Avocado
  • Mozzarella balls (ciliegine, perilii or other size
  • Balsamic vinegar and good olive oil (you can blend them into a vinaigrette)
  • Optional garnish: microgreens
  •  
    Or, make a green salad from:

  • Cherry or grape tomatoes, whole or cut in hale
  • Radicchio or red endive
  • Radishes
  • Red bell pepper, sliced horizontally (we also use the mini bell peppers, bagged in mixed colors)
  • Red chile slices:
  • Red lettuce, chard, mustard greens
  • Red chile slices, from mild to hot
  •  
    Whatever salad you choose, take this tip from KBlog: cut slices of toast into star shapes with a cookie cutter, and top your salad with a big star. Starfruit (carambola) also works.
     
    SALAD HISTORY: WHY IS IT CALLED “SALAD” IF THERE ARE NO SALAD GREENS?

    The original meaning of salad in European cuisine referred to a cold dish consisting of vegetables—lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers—topped with a dressing. Sometimes it containing seafood, meat, or eggs (think egg salad, tuna salad, etc.).

    The modern word, which entered Middle English around 1350-1400, derives from the French salade, which dates back to the Latin salata, salty. Since Roman times, vegetables were seasoned with brine or salty oil-and-vinegar dressings.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans alike ate mixed greens with dressing. Salads, both layered and dressed, were made popular in Europe by Roman imperial expansion (27 B.C.E. to 284 C.E.)

    In the 1699 book, Acetaria: A Discourse on Sallets, John Evelyn attempted with little success to encourage his fellow Britons to eat fresh salad greens. (You can still find reprints in hardcover and digital versions.

       

    Beet Salad

    beets-avocado-ricotta-radish-marsalareduction-bar-eolo-230sq

    Star Crouton On Salad

    Christmas Salad

    [1] Beet salad with red pickled onions and green accents (photo Sarsmis | IST). [2] Another beet salad, green with avocado and a balsamic reduction (photo courtesy Bar Eolo | NYC). [3] Kathy Patalsky of KBlog.LunchboxBunch.com tops her Christmas Tree Salad with a star-shaped toast crouton. Here’s her recipe. [4] Red endive and leafy lettuce with candied walnuts, from Gordon Ramsay.

     
     
    MODERN SALADS

    In the U.S. and Europe, salads of mixed greens salads (“green salads”) became popular in the late 19th century, and the concept expanded to Asia and other regions of the world.

    The term “salad bar,” referring to a buffet laid out with salad-making ingredients so customers could make their own, seems to date to the 1960s. Restaurants in different parts of the country lay claim to its invention, including New York City’s Steak & Ale and Hawaii’s Chuck’’s Steak House. The attraction was the ability to customize one’s salad—and eat as much as you wanted (more history).

    In truth, for centuries inns and boarding houses placed the food on a buffet for guests to help themselves (the “board” from “room and board”).

    ________________
    *When tomatoes are out of season, cherry and grape tomatoes, raised in hothouses, have the best flavor. You can Substitute marinated sundried tomatoes, pimiento, red bell pepper, etc.

    †The phrase is found in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at the end of Act 1, when Cleopatra regrets her youthful dalliances with Julius Caesar: “…My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…”.

     

    Red Mustard Greens

    Peppadews

    Castelvetrano Olives

    [5] Look for specialty salad greens like red mustard greens and chard (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF). [6] Peppadews (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [7] Castelvetrano olives (photo courtesy The Maiden Lane | NYC).

     

    Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) enjoyed salads of boiled celery root over greens. covered with creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil, and slices of hard-boiled eggs.

    The phrase “salad days,” meaning a “time of youthful inexperience,” i.e. a young person who is “green,” was coined by Shakespeare†, in 1606.

    Today, salads range far beyond the green salads (garden salads) of the 20th century—a concept so prevalent that in the U.S., the word salad unmodified (i.e., corn salad) refers to a green salad with torn, bite-size lettuce and other ingredients cut into small pieces.

    But there other options that are rightfully called “salad”:

  • Various dishes made with beans and legumes, bread, cheese, eggs, fruit, meat, pasta, seafood, vegetables and starches (green beans, potatoes, grains) and more; in any combination; tossed, topped or “bottomed‡” with a dressing and served cold.
  • Ingredients cut in different shapes: sliced, diced, chopped, shredded, etc.
  • Dressings range from vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, seasoned with everything from mustard to sriracha.
  •  
    Most salads are served cold, although warm vegetable salads are not uncommon, and classics such as German potato salad have always been served warm.
     
    Salads can be served at any point during a meal:

  • Appetizer salads: Light salads that stimulate the appetite serve as the first course of the meal.
  • Side salads: These can accompany the main course as a side dish, or be served after it as the “salad course.”
  • Main course salads: Served for lunch or a light dinner, these containing a protein: cheese, hard-boiled egg, sliced beef, chicken breast, ham, or a combination, like Chef’s Salad or Cobb Salad.
  • Palate cleansing salads: Refreshing ingredients lime citrus segments, herbs or a combination can be used to “settle the stomach” after a heavy main course. Sorbet is another effective palate cleanser.
  • Dessert salads: Mixed fruits, gelatin with fruit, whipped cream or mascarpone and other ingredients can be garnished with cacao nibs, fruit coulis (a light purée), pomegranate arils, sweet dressing (e.g. honey-based, lemon poppyseed), sweet herbs (basil, lavender, mint, rosemary, star anise), toasted coconut, etc.).
  •  
    MORE CHRISTMAS SALAD IDEAS

    Salad Snack Tree

    Christmas Stuffed Avocado

     
    ________________
    ‡Instead of topping the salad with dressing, it’s trendy to cover the plate with dressing and place the salad on top of it.

      

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