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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

RECIPE: Bacon Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Another way to enjoy bacon: stuffed into mushrooms. Photo courtesy Dietz & Watson.

 

When we saw this recipe for Gourmet Bacon Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms from Dietz & Watson, it seemed like a companion recipe to these Mushroom Stuffed Bacon Cheeseburgers.

You can make them as a first course or as hors d’oeuvre.

RECIPE: BACON-STUFFED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 large portabella mushrooms or 18 Baby Bellas, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 5-ounce package baby spinach, chopped
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 2 ounces mozzarella, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 pound bacon, diced small
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F.

    2. REMOVE stems from the mushroom caps, finely chop and reserve.

    3. COAT a baking sheet with oil. Bake the mushroom caps, stem-side down, until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

    4. ADD the bacon and cook until crisp. Add the garlic and onion, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom steams and cook until the pan is dry, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach, toss the skillet, until spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

    5. TRANSFER the spinach mixture to a medium bowl, add the breadcrumbs and cheese and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

    6. TURN the mushroom caps stem-side up, fill with the stuffing and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

    Find more recipes at DietzAndWatson.com.

     

    bacon-strip-igourmet-230

    Crumble bacon into mushroom caps. Photo courtesy iGourmet.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Roasted Whole Carrots

    roasted-whole-rainbow-carrots-ohmyveggies-colorfulharvestFB-230r

    Rainbow carrot colors, including the
    now-standard orange, were bred centuries
    and millennia ago from mutations. Photo
    courtesy Colorful Harvest | FB.

     

    Why carrots, you may ask, when such summer bounty abounds? And with all the vegetables to throw onto the grill, how often do you think of carrots?

    Grilling carrots brings out their natural sweetness; the grill contributes a mellow smokey flavor. These grilled rainbow carrots are perfect drizzled with the basil vinaigrette or served with the vinaigrette on the side for dipping.

    And, you can add leftovers to simple green salads for a splash of color and flavor.

    You’re looking for rainbow carrots, that transform the ordinary root veg into something quite spectacular. If you can’t find rainbow carrots (in a specialty produce store or farmers market), simply substitute standard orange carrots. You can also find rainbow baby carrots.

    THE ORIGINAL CARROTS WERE WHITE!

    That’s right: The iconic orange carrot began life as a wild white carrots, similar to parsnips*. With natural mutations, purple and yellow carrots were cultivated more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan.

    Other colors are the product of generations of traditional plant breeding. Orange carrots were first successfully bred in Holland from an orange mutation by Dutch farmers. Here’s more history of carrots, plus an explanation of how the different hues of carrots get their colors.

     

    Try this recipe for Grilled Rainbow Carrots with Basil Vinaigrette: an eye- and palate-pleaser. It’s from In Sonnet’s Kitchen. Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time 10 minutes.

    As a variation from the vinaigrette, you can use pesto or a honey glaze.
     
    RECIPE: GRILLED RAINBOW CARROTS WITH BASIL VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 2 bunches rainbow carrots
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: snipped herb such as chervil, parsley, rosemary, tarragon or thyme
  •  

    Preparation

    This dish can be served warm or at room temperature. The carrots can also be sliced into smaller pieces before serving.

    1. PREHEAT grill to medium-high. Trim carrot tops as desired and slice carrots in half lengthwise (this decreases cooking time).

    2. TOSS carrots with oil (or oil the grill as needed) and grill for 4-5 minutes, until the carrots develop sear marks and are beginning to soften. Flip, cover and grill for another 4-5 minutes. Carrots should be softened, but still retain their crunch. Meanwhile…

    3. BLEND the vinegar, basil and olive oil into a vinaigrette. Season to taste. Serve drizzled over the carrots or on the side for dipping.

    4. GARNISH with herbs and serve.

     
    *Carrots (Daucus carota) and parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are both members of the Apiaceae family, which includes caraway, celery, chervil, dill and fennel.

     

    roasted-carrots-kristin-theendlessmeal-colorfulharvestFB-230

    Yellow carrots were bred from a mutation of the original white carrots. Here, they’re served with pesto. Photo courtesy The Endless Meal.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Deconstructed Enchilada Salad

    Deconstructed-Enchilada-Salad_davidvenableQVC-230r

    Deconstruct enchiladas into an enchilada
    salad. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    We always enjoy a taco salad, but had never set eyes on an enchilada salad until we received this recipe from QVC’s chef, David Venable.

    Instead of wrapping enchilada fillings in a tortilla, the fillings become part of a crunchy salad, and the tortillas are toasted and cut into crispy strips.

    David sent this recipe for Cinco de Mayo, but it’s also a good choice for a light, flavorful warm weather lunch or light dinner.

    Notes David, “With all of the flavor but half of the prep of regular enchiladas, this is a great recipe to whip up for a weeknight celebration.”

    RECIPE: DECONSTRUCTED ENCHILADA SALAD

    Ingredients

    For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut in thirds
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  

    For The Salad

  • 3 corn tortillas*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (we used olive oil)
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, bones/skin removed and shredded
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  •  
    *You can substitute ready-made tortilla chips. They don’t provide the same flavor and texture as frying your own, but they’re delicious in a different way.

     

    tortilla-strips-annahinmancrunchycreamysweet-230

    Homemade tortilla chips. Photo courtesy Anna Hinman | CrunchyCreamySweet.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing: Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

    2. TOAST the tortillas: Pour the oil into a 10″ skillet and set the heat to medium. Heat for 5 minutes, add one tortilla, and fry for about 30 seconds, or until crispy. Flip and fry the other side until crispy. Remove the tortilla from the oil and drain it on a paper towel. Prepare the remaining tortillas as directed and when cool, roughly chop into strips.

    3. ASSEMBLE the salad: Place half of the romaine lettuce in a clear glass salad bowl and layer the ingredients in this order: tomatoes, red onion, the remaining romaine, corn, olives, chicken, red peppers, chopped tortillas, queso fresco, and scallions. Serve with the dressing.

     
    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Salad With Glazed Peaches

    glazed-peach-salad-calpizzakitchen-230

    Glazed peaches add sparkle to a green salad. Photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen.

     

    We brought home an armful of the domestic peaches now in the market, and then set about using them. Beyond snacks, we’ve been grilling them and serving them with main courses of chicken and fish.

    Then, we recalled this delicious salad from California Pizza Kitchen, and made one for lunch.

    The ingredients listed on the company website include field greens, spinach, warm caramelized peaches, cranberries, red onions, toasted pecans and Gorgonzola cheese, tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.

    If you don’t want to glaze the peaches (sauté in butter and sugar), you can grill them.

     
    *We actually prefer the flavor of regular balsamic vinegar. It imparts a brown color to the cheese, but that doesn’t bother us.

     
    RECIPE: SALAD WITH GRILLED PEACHES

    Ingredients Per Serving

    For The Salad

  • 1-1/2 cups field greens mix
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach or arugula
  • 2 slices red onion (or to taste), in bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar*
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons candied pecans (recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese (substitute other blue, feta or goat cheese)
  •  
    Plus

  • Sliced glazed peaches (recipe below)
  •  

    RECIPE: GLAZED PEACHES

    You can also use glazed peaches on ice cream or pound cake. If you do, add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to the recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 1 fresh peach, sliced (we left on the skin; it’s up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MARINATE the sliced peaches in balsamic vinegar for 1 hour or more.

     

    peaches-pompeian-FB-230

    A really good peach is a better than any refined sugar treat. Photo courtesy Pompeian | FB.

     

    2. COMBINE the brown sugar, butter, water, lemon juice and nutmeg in a microwave-safe small bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 15 seconds; stir. (You can also cook them on the grill.)

    3. ADD the peaches. Microwave 30-40 seconds longer or until the peaches are heated through.

    4. ASSEMBLE the salad: Mix the vegetables with the oil and vinegar, plate, and garnish with Gorgonzola, peaches and pecans.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Grilled Shrimp Tandoori Salad with Mango Dressing

    We really enjoyed this grilled shrimp salad recipe from McCormick, and can’t wait to make it again.

    Similar to the tandoori oven cooking method, these Indian-spiced shrimp skewers are roasted on high heat on the grill. They are then added to a salad packed with bold sweet and sour flavors. A fresh mango dressing adds a splash of fruitiness and color.

    RECIPE: GRILLED SHRIMP TANDOORI SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Mango Dressing

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper, ground
  •    

    grilled_shrimp_tandoori_salad_mccormick-230

    A delicious twist on grilled shrimp salad. Photo courtesy McCormick.

    For The Salad

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 packages (5 ounces each) mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup halved small heirloom or specialty tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  •  

    garam-masala5276734GeorginaPalmer-230

    The components of garam masala. Photo by
    Georgina Palmer | IST.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the mango dressing: Process mango in blender or food processor until puréed (about 1 cup purée). Add lime juice, oil, garam masala, salt and cayenne; process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    2. MIX 1/4 cup of the mint, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, honey, garam masala, ginger, salt and cayenne in small bowl. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush with mint mixture. Thread mango onto skewers. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

    3. GRILL shrimp skewers over high heat 4 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once and brushing occasionally with mint mixture. Grill mango skewers 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly charred.

    4. ARRANGE greens, tomatoes and onion on 6 serving plates. Top with grilled shrimp, mango and remaining 3 tablespoons mint. Drizzle with 1/2 of the dressing.

    5. STORE remaining dressing in the fridge. Serve over salad greens, grilled or broiled shrimp or chicken, or toss with couscous or quinoa.

     
    WHAT IS GARAM MASALA

    Garam masala is an aromatic spice blend originating in northern India. It is like other spice blends in that the ingredients and proportions will vary somewhat by cook or manufacturer.

    The ingredients generally include black, brown and green cardamom pods; black and white peppercorns; cinnamon; clove; coriander; cumin; nutmeg and/or mace*; and turmeric.

    Other ingredients can include bay leaf, fennel seeds, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mace, malabar leaf, mustard seed, saffron, star anise and tamarind.

    In Northern Indian cuisine, garam masala is typically used in powder form, while in Southern India it is often made into a paste with coconut milk, vinegar or water.

    In fine cooking, the spices are toasted and ground before use, to maintain the intensity of the flavor. But you can buy preground blends, like McCormick’s garam masala.

    If you want to blend your own, here’s a very simple recipe. Start with these proportions and then adjust to your particular preferences:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (cilantro seed)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  
    *Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree, while the more mild mace is the dried reddish covering of the seed.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE SAY: Season Your Feta

    feta-beauty-eatwisconsincheese-230

    Feta, plain and seasoned. Photo courtesy
    EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     

    If you enjoy a homemade Greek salad or other recipes accented with feta cheese, here’s how to make them even better:

    Roll the feta cheese in dried or fresh herbs before cutting into cubes or strips, or crumbling. It adds instant flavor and dimension. For starters, consider basil, chives, cracked black pepper, dill, oregano and thyme. If you like heat, consider red chili flakes.

    While you’re at it, develop your own signature Greek salad recipe by adding complex flavors and textures beyond the classic six ingredients: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, feta, Kalamata olives and stuffed grape leaves.

    RECIPE: CLASSIC GREEK SALAD

    Ingredients

  • Romaine, torn into bite-size pieces
  • Tomatoes, cut into wedges (or cherry tomatoes)
  • Cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Red onion or sweet onion, sliced
  • Bell pepper, sliced into strips or diced into squares
  • Radishes, sliced
  • Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
  • Anchovies/sardines
  • Feta, cut into cubes or crumbled
  • Kalamata olives
  • Peperoncini
  • Capers
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Oregano plus optional dill and/or flat-leaf parsley
  • Dressing: extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  •  
    The one thing you don’t need is salt: Feta, which is cured in brine (salt water), has enough on its own.

    In Greece, the dish is horiatiki, which translates into country, peasant salad or rustic salad.

    Serve it with crusty peasant bread and a dish of good olive oil for dipping.

     

    Preparation

    1. TOSS lettuce with bell pepper, black pepper, capers, cucumber, herbs olives, radishes and tomato.

    2. DRESS with oil and vinegar/lemon juice if desired (or serve dressing separately). Plate.

    2. TOP with anchovies/sardines, feta and peperoncini.
     
    WHAT IS FETA CHEESE

    Feta is Greece’s most famous cheese*, a pure white, aged curd cheese that crumbles easily. While the cheese has been made since antiquity, the modern name came into the Greek language in the 17th century, from the Italian word fetta, slice, referring to slicing the cheese from the brick.

    Authentic feta is a sheep’s milk cheese, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milks. Outside of the European Union, where it is protected designation of origin (PDO) product, it can also be made of cow’s milk. The cheese is semi-hard, with a flavor that can range from mild and milky to salty with a very tangy acidity.
     
    *Other Greek cheeses.

     

    greek-salad-its-all-greek-to-me-book-230

    Feta cheese with olives, a drizzle of olive oil and bread: a delicious mezze (appetizer). Photo by Frente | Wikimedia.

     

    Authentic feta is formed into bricks and salted and cured in a brine solution. It is aged in wood barrels for 60 days, creating a creamy, tangy cheese with citric notes.

    Only 2% of the feta consumed in the U.S. actually comes from Greece. Much of it is saltier feta from Bulgaria and other countries. Some feta is simply too salty. You can soak oversalted pieces it in water or milk to remove some of the saltiness.

    Find more favorite types of cheese in our Cheese Glossary.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Grilled Salsa Salad

    grilled-salsa-salad-melissas-230

    Like salsa? Make a “salsa salad.” Photo
    courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    Sweet and savory, this delicious salad is perfect for grilling season. It is from Melissa’s wonderful new The Great Pepper Cookbook, The Ultimate Guide To Choosing And Cooking With Peppers.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, total time 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: GRILLED SALSA SALAD

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 6 large roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3 limes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large avocados, halve lengthwise and pitted
  • 1 large mango, halved lengthwise and seeded (do not peel)
  • 1 sweet onion, thickly sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 15 dried tepin chiles, ground (see section below)
  • Salt
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT grill to medium heat.

    2. BRUSH tomato and the next 5 ingredients (limes through onion) with oil.

    3. PLACE fruits and vegetables on grill rack. Grill, rotating halfway through grilling to achieve even grill marks, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set limes aside.

    4. PEEL and finely dice remaining grilled fruits and vegetables.

    5. TOSS fruits, vegetables, cilantro and chile in a bowl. Squeeze in lime juice. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

    6. SERVE with butter lettuce leaves.

     

    tepin-chile-latinmerchant-230

    Tepin chiles. Photo courtesy LatinMerchant.com.

     

    ABOUT TEPIN CHILES

    The tepin (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum) is a hot chile that is native to southern North America and northern South America. It is also called chiltepe, chiltepin/chiltpin, chiltecpinas and chile tepin, variations of the Aztec name. In English, they are called turkey, bird’s eye, or bird peppers, due to their consumption and spread by birds.

    Sold fresh or sun-dried, tepin is a small, searingly hot chile. It has a dry, musty flavor that produces a quick burn.

    Small (approximately 1/2 inch in diameter) and round or oval in shape, looking a bit like large dried cranberries, the name means “flea” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. The tepin is easily crushed and sprinkled on beans, salsas and other Mexican dishes, and to add a red-hot note to soups, sauces and vinegars. Its thin flesh makes it perfect for pickling.

    Substitutes: cascabel, cayenne or pequin chiles.
     
    MORE ABOUT CHILES

    Check out the different types of chiles in our Chile Glossary.

    Editor’s note: THE NIBBLE uses the word “chile” instead of “pepper.” When chiles were first encountered by Columbus’s crew in the Caribbean, they related the spicy heat to the black peppercorn and long pepper which were known in Europe.

    Peppers and chiles are not related, but the misnomer, pepper or chile pepper, has endured in the English language.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Grilled Potato Skewers

    As much fun as the country fair, but tastier:
    your own grilled potatoes on a stick. Photo
    courtesy Stix Mediterranean Grill | New York
    City.

     

    Grilled potatoes on a stick: What fun!

    We expanded on this idea from Stix Mediterranean Grill in New York City and created this recipe, which was a hit on Memorial Day.

    Stix flavored the skewers Greek-stye, with crumbled feta cheese and oregano (shown in the photo).

    We made them more colorful, alternating the potato slices with copacetic ingredients: grape tomatoes, gherkins and olives. You can add whatever you like, from colorful bell pepper strips to pearl onions. For kids of all ages, how about frankfurter chunks?

    We left the skins on the potatoes: better nutrition and no peeling time!

    RECIPE: GRILLED POTATO SKEWERS

    Ingredients

  • Yukon Gold or other small potatoes
  • “Alternates”: cherry or grape tomatoes, gherkins, hot dogs, olives (pitted), pearl onions (parboil for softeness)
  • Seasonings: cracked black pepper, minced chives, oregano, red pepper flakes, smoked salt
  • Optional dip (we mixed Greek yogurt with grainy mustard)
  • Preparation

    1. BOIL potatoes to an al dente consistency.

    2. DRAIN and set aside. When cool to touch, halve the potatoes and thread onto skewers, alternate potatoes with cherry tomatoes, gherkins, olives, etc.

    3. GRILL and serve hot, with or without a dipping sauce.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chinese Chicken Salad

    Since we were a mere tot, we’ve loved Chinese chicken salad. This American invention combines Asian ingredients into a delicious fusion.

    There are variations on the name, but the rules are neither hard nor fast: “Mandarin” refers to the mandarin segments in the recipe. Chinese Chicken Salad uses mandarin or pineapple plus fried chow mein noodles. Thai chicken salad substitutes rice noodles (shown in the photo) for the chow mein noodles. Asian chicken salad, the most generic term, indicates a sesame-soy-ginger vinaigrette or peanut dressing.

    We recently had this “Mandarin” chicken salad at Cafe SFA, the restaurant in Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. It’s easy to whip up. Using fresh mandarin segments instead of canned makes a huge difference, as does fresh ginger instead of powdered ginger in the dressing.

    If you don’t like ginger or peanut dressing, use plain vinaigrette of rice vinegar and vegetable oil, with a touch of sesame oil (taste it—some varieties are very strong, others are on the light side).

    RECIPE: MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD

    Ingredients

  • Roasted chicken strips
  • Mandarin segments or pineapple cubes
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced radishes
  • Rice noodles or Chinese fried noodles
  •    

    chicken-mandarin-salad-cafeSFA-230L

    They call it Mandarin; we call it Thai because of the rice noodles and peanut dressing. Photo courtesy Café SFA.

  • Peanuts (any type—we used both raw and honey roasted; you can substitute cashews)
  • Spring salad mix
  • Shredded red cabbage (you can substitute white cabbage)
  • Green peas, sugar peas and/or edamame
  • Sesame dressing or peanut dressing (recipes below)
  • Optional garnish: black and white sesame seeds (we toasted them)
  •  
    RECIPE #1: SESAME-GINGER DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil or other salad oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and blend on high.

     

    chinese-shrimp-salad-sweetandcrumbly-230

    This variation, from Bullock’s tea room in
    Sherman Oaks, California, substitutes shrimp
    for chicken. Photo courtesy
    SweetAndCrumbly.com.

     

    RECIPE #2: PEANUT DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 shallote, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter (you can substitute tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (preferably toasted)
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and blend on high.
     
    How To Toast Sesame Seeds

    Stovetop toasting: In a large frying pan, heat the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. They are ready when they darken and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Oven toasting: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and bake until the seeds darken and become fragrant, about 15 minutes.

    Allow the toasted seeds to cool; then store in a covered jar at room temperature.

     
    THE HISTORY OF MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD

    Raw salads are not traditional fare in Asia; Chinese salads are typically made of parboiled or stir-fried vegetables. There are different types of cold chicken salads, mostly from Szechwan, such as pong pong (or bong bong) chicken: shredded chicken and bean sprouts dressed with a peanut butter, red pepper and garlic sauce.

    We checked our favorite source, FoodTimeline.org, for the scoop on the emergence of the Asian/Chinese/Mandarin/Thai chicken salads we know and love today.

    According to American food historian Sylvia Lovegren, Chinese ingredient-inspired salads and dressings originated by the 1930s. But these early “Oriental” salads were nowhere close to what’s on menus today. One recipe circa 1923 consisted of diced prunes, dates, figs, chopped nuts, diced pineapple topped with “one cup salad dressing,” a vinaigrette or spiced mayonnaise.

    The “modern” recipe seems to have been introduced in California, and was made popular at Johnny Kan’s restaurant in San Francisco, a Cantonese restaurant that opened in 1953 (and is still operating). It combined shredded iceberg lettuce, strips of cold roast chicken and crispy chow mein noodles, fried noodles made from a combination of wheat and rice flours. The salad was tossed with a slightly sweet sesame oil-tinged dressing with flecks of hot red peppers or pepper flakes.

    The Asian-inspired salads that we know today evolved in the mid-1960s, adding more ingredients (mandarin segments, pineapple, vegetables) and more complex dressings, including the popular ginger-soy-sesame and peanut recipes.

    Asian-style salad dressings—soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil—were promoted in the 1980s as healthier alternatives to mayonnaise-based dressings for green salads. Thai flavors were introduced in the 1990s, with the growing popularity of Thai cuisine.

    Recent additions include edamame, borrowed from Japanese cuisine. Play around with it and create your own signature Asian salad. It will generate a huge demand!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Three Pea Salad

    pea-and-pea-sprouts-hannahkaminsky-230

    Three-pea salad. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky
    | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Before spring turns into summer, try this delicious spring pea salad from Hannah Kaminsky. Spring peas, also known as English peas, are a seasonal delight that can we enjoy as a side, in salads, and in soup.

    Says Hannah:

    “Spring is on my mind, driving me to the point of distraction. Longer, brighter days captivate me while simultaneously throwing of my finely tuned rhythm, and the influx of fresh, vibrant produce easily overwhelms my senses. What to eat first? Where to go, what to do?”

    The best cure for seasonal disorientation is immersion, so let’s jump right in and celebrate the other reason for my pea-brained state: Peas! In all their green glory, this simple salad combines snow peas, pea shoots, and English peas to showcase their myriad textures, flavors, and shapes. The rather silly, rhyming title doesn’t do this combination fully justice, but was unavoidable thanks to the matcha tea-infused dressing, lending equal parts bitterness and sweetness to the blend.

     
    In case you’re suffering from an equally pea-brained daze, a heaping helping of this bright, fresh homage to the humble pea might just be the antidote.”

     

    RECIPE: THREE PEA SALAD WITH MATCHA TEA DRESSING

    Ingredients For 3-4 Servings

  • 6 ounces snow peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 ounces pea shoots
  • 8 ounces raw English peas
  •  
    Green Tea Dressing

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    RSVPea-230

    Fresh spring peas are a delight. Photo courtesy RSVPea.

     

    Preparation

    1. TOSS the sliced snow peas, pea shoots and English peas together in a large bowl.

    2. WHISK together in a small bowl all of the ingredients for the green tea dressing. Beat the mixture thoroughly until smooth.

    3. POUR dressing over the vegetables, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

      

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