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Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is one of the edible geniuses in the Cucurbitaceae family, also called the gourd family. The most important family members comprise five genuses:

  • Citrullus: watermelon and some other melons.
  • Cucurbita: squash (including pumpkin), summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini), some gourds.
  • Cucumis: cucumber, some melons.
  •  
    Non-edible members include:

  • Lagenaria: inedible (decorative) gourds
  • Luffa/loofah: a fibrous fruit that provides the loofah scrubbing sponge
  •  
    Sweet melons have long been an anticipated summer treat. Pperhaps the most beloved is watermelon: sliced and eaten as hand fruit; sipped as juice, in cocktails, fruit soup and smoothies; made into dessert as fruit salads, popsicles and sorbets; grilled as a side; added to salsa; and so much more.

    Today’s tip: Consider adding watermelon to your salads. It fits as easily into savory salads as sweet fruit salads.
     
    WATERMELON SALAD INGREDIENTS

    Mix and match watermelon with these ingredients:

  • Cucumber (check out the different types of cucumber)
  • Cheese: bocconcini (mozzarella balls), feta, goat cheese, ricotta salata, other cheese
  • Fruit: berries, citrus, cherries, dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.), heirloom tomatoes, mango, other melons
  • Greens of choice: bell peppers, endive, mesclun, romaine, radicchio
  • Onion: chive, red onion, scallion, sweet onions (consider pickling the onions)
  • Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, mint, parsley
  • Protein: grilled chicken or seafood
  • Spicy: baby arugula, jalapeño, radishes
  • Also: pistachios, roasted beets, water chestnuts, whole grains for grain bowl, summer squash
  •  
    Dressings

  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Blue cheese dressing (light!)
  • Honey-lime vinaigrette
  • Infused olive oil (citrus, herb)
  •  
    RECIPE: WATERMELON CAPRESE SALAD

    This festive salad [photo #2] can be the appetizer or the fruit and cheese course. It was created by Gina Homolka of SkinnyTaste.com.

  • You can combine the ingredients below into a standard watermelon salad with a balsamic dressing (cube the watermelon and cheese)
  • If you don’t have a large star-shaped cookie cutter, use another shape.
  •  
    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • Half seedless watermelon, in 16 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 thin slices fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (buy or make your own)
  •  
    Plus

  • 4-inch star-shaped cookie cutter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT 16 from the watermelon. Save the trimmed watermelon for another use.

     

    Watermelon Salad

    Watermelon Caprese

    Balsamic Syrup

    Watermelon On Vine

    [1] Watermelon and cucumber: cousins in a simple salad with red onion (photo courtesy WinesOfSicily.com). [2] An artistic version from Gina Homolka. See more of her inspired recipes and photos at SkinnyTaste.com. [3] Homemade balsamic glaze (photo courtesy EatBoutique.com). [4] Watermelon on the vine (photo by Fred Hsu | Wikipedia).

     
    2. ARRANGE the watermelon on a platter or individual plates. Top each with the mozzarella, arugula, 1/4 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Top with a watermelon star, drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.
     
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF WATERMELON
     
    WHAT IS BALSAMIC GLAZE?

    Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar reduced into a syrup.

    It can be used on savory and sweet foods.

  • No added sweetener is needed for savory uses: aged hard cheeses*, eggs, grilled meats).
  • Consider adding sweetener only if you plan to use the glaze on sweet dishes: berries, cooked fruit dishes, fruit salad, ice cream, pudding).
  •  
    The better the balsamic vinegar, the better the glaze.
     
    Ingredients

  • 16 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon honey or sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the vinegar to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. (The glaze will further thicken when it cools.)

    2. REMOVE from the heat; taste and stir in the optional sweetener and salt. Let cool completely.

    3. STORE in the fridge in an airtight jar.

     
    __________________
    *Hard aged cheeses include Cheddar, Cheshire, Emmental, Gouda, Gruyère, Mimolette and Parmesan/Parimigiano Reggiano, among others. It is also delicious with Roquefort and other strong blues, and with over-ripe bloomy-rinded cheeses like Brie and Camembert.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Combine Summer Fruits & Vegetables

    Corn & Peach Salad

    Removing Corn Kernels From The Cob

    [1] Mix summer fruits and vegetables into a salad or a grain bowl (recipe below; photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers). [2] Use the “bundt technique” to neatly remove the corn kernels (photo courtesy SimplyRecipes.com).

     

    Mix it up this summer. Beyond fruit salads and mixed grilled vegetables, combine the two produce groups into new concepts.

    Almost everyone has made a mixed fruit or vegetable recipe, but how about mixed fruit and vegetables?

    Think grilled pizza with figs and yellow squash or arugula and nectarines; raw or grilled skewers (bell peppers, cucumbers, melon, stone fruit, summer squash), or the corn and peach salad recipe below. Here’s a reference list for your combinations:
     
    SUMMER VEGETABLES

  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, loganberry, raspberries, strawberries
  • Melon: cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw, honeydew, persian, watermelon
  • Stone fruits: apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • Miscellaneous: avocado, grapes, fig, loquats, longan, lychees, mango, passionfruit
  •  
    SUMMER VEGETABLES

  • Colorful: beets, bell pepper, corn, red jalapeño, radishes, red endive, red onion, tomatoes
  • Green: arugula, baby spinach, butter lettuce, Chinese long beans, edamame, French beans, green beans, sugar snap peas, tomatillos, watercress
  • Pale: bok choy, cucumber, chanterelles, endive, sweet onions, Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Summer squash: crookneck, yellow squash, zucchini
  •  
    Plus

  • Whole grains for a grain bowl
  •  
    RECIPE: FRESH CORN & PEACH SALAD

    This refreshing summer salad is delicious with grilled proteins, roast chicken, or on a salad buffet.

    You can prepare steps 1 and 2 a day in advance.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4-6 ears fresh yellow corn (2 to 2-1/2 cups kernels)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • 2-3 cups greens, washed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup shredded/julienned fresh mint or basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or flavored vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1/2 lime)
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Optional: red chili flakes
  • Optional: whole grains, cooked
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CLEAN the corn and cut the kernels from cob. It’s neater if you use the bundt pan technique: Steady the ear of corn in the hole at the top of the funnel of a bundt pan (see photo 2 above). When you cut the kernels, they fall into the pan for neater gathering. If you have a silicon pad or other nonslip surface, put it under the bundt pan before you begin,

    2. COMBINE the corn, peaches and seasonings to taste in a medium bowl. Add the oil, vinegar and lime juice; toss to coat. Add the seasonings to taste. When ready to serve…

    3. PLACE the greens at the bottom of a serving bowl or individual plates (if using grains, add them first). Top with the corn and peaches, then the mint or basil. If using a serving bowl, toss before serving.
     
    Grilled Variation

    You can grill the corn and peaches before making the salad.

    1. BRUSH the shucked ears of corn and halved peaches with olive oil and grill on a covered grill over medium heat for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn occasionally for even browning.

    2. REMOVE from the grill and let cool to the touch. Then cut the kernels and slice the peaches.
     
    Caprese Variation

    Make a Caprese Salad of peaches and tomatoes, with the corn substituting for, or in addition to, the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with basil and olive oil.

    Here’s a recipe.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY : International Spins On Potato Salad

    Homemade potato salad is one of our favorite summer sides. Mom’s recipe combined sliced boiled red jacket potatoes, small dices of red onion and green bell peppers, chopped parsley and dill and sometimes, chopped hard boiled egg, bits of carrot or sweet pickle relish. It was bound with mayonnaise blended with a bit of Dijon mustard.

    We’ve discovered a world of variations over the years, greatly aided by the greatest recipe book of all time, the internet. Each summer weekend, we try to make a different one.

    This week, we received three international-themed recipes from the Idaho Potato Commission, a resource with dozens and dozens of potato salad recipes. We’ve included some of them at the end.

    After you’ve perused the recipes, check out the different types of potatoes in our Potato Glossary.
     
    RECIPE #1: MASSAMAN CURRY POTATO SALAD

    First up, Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic used Thai spices—Thai red curry paste and crushed red pepper flakes—to create Massaman Curry Potato Salad (photo #1). It can be made up to two days in advance.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Idaho (russet) potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup mayonniase
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste), plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COVER the potatoes with 2 to 3 inches of cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook with the lid ajar until the potatoes are fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and cool for a few minutes.

    2. WHISK together the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: mayonnaise, vinegar, red curry paste, coconut sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Gently add the potatoes and all but 1 tablespoon each of the peanuts and the scallions. Stir gently to combine. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

    3. TRANSFER to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoons of peanuts and scallions and more chili flakes as desired. Serve chilled.
     
    RECIPE #2: PERUVIAN POTATO SALAD

    Potatoes originated in Peru, so it’s about time someone created an homage potato salad.

    The recipe (third photo) incorporates aji amarillo paste, from the Peruvian yellow chile pepper (Capsicum baccatum). It’s a popular ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. You can find it in an international or Latin supermarket or online.

    Corn originated a few countries away in Mexico.

    The recipe is from Melissa Bailey of Hungry Food Love.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup chorizo, cooked and crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •    

    Thai Curry Potato Salad

    Potato Beet Salad

    Peruvian Potato Salad

    Idaho Russet Potatoes

    [1] Thai Curry Potato Salad. [2] Estonian Potato Beet Salad. [3] Peruvian Potato Salad. [4] “Idaho potato” generally refers to the russet potato variety grown in the specific terroir of Idaho (all photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission).

     
    Preparation

    1. BOIL the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Let them sit until cool enough to cut into small cubes.

    2. WHISK together the mayonnaise and aji amarillo paste in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    3. ADD the potatoes and gently combine until well coated. Add the rest of the ingredients and gently combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

     

    French Potato Salad

    Provencal Potato Salad

    German Potato Salad

    [4] Classic French potato salad. [2] Provençal potato salad. [3] German potato salad is served warm with a bacon vinaigrette (photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission).

     

    RECIPE #3: CLASSIC FRENCH POTATO SALAD

    Want something lighter? Here’s a classic French-style potato salad, re-created by Lisa Goldfinger of Panning the Globe (photo #4).

    There’s no mayo here: The dressing is white wine vinegar and tangy Dijon mustard.

    This recipe can be made up to two days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

    If you’re a fan of French food, also take a look at this Ratatouille Potato Salad recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (3 large potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking water (from the potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground white or black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a large pot halfway with cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Peel one potato and slice it crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices, dropping the slices into the water as you go to prevent discoloration. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.

    2. BRING the water to boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender, 3-4 minutes. Check doneness by tasting; don’t overcook.

    3. SCOOP out about ¼ cup of the potato cooking water and set aside. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. While the potatoes are warm, add the wine and 2 tablespoons of cooking water. Toss gently to combine and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the liquids to absorb, tossing occasionally.

    4. COMBINE in a small bowl the vinegar, mustard, scallions, parsley, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Pour the dressing over potatoes and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

     
    MORE POTATO SALAD RECIPES WITH INTERNATIONAL FLAIR

  • Argentinian Chimichurri Potato Salad
  • Brazilian Potato Salad
  • Caprese Potato Salad
  • Estonian Potato & Beet Salad (Rosolje)
  • German Potato Salad with bacon and bacon vinaigrette
  • Guacamole Potato Salad
  • Japanese Potato Salad
  • Kimchi Potato Salad
  • Korean Potato Salad
  • Mediterranean Grilled Potato Salad With Seafood
  • Mexican Chipotle Potato Salad
  • Mexican Jalapeño Potato Salad
  • Mexican Spicy Cilantro Pasilla Potato Salad
  • Middle Eastern Potato Salad
  • Niçoise-Style Potato Salad
  • Provençal Fingerling Potato Salad
  • Ratatouille Potato Salad
  • Russian Potato Salad with beets, carrots, dill and peas
  • Tuscan Potato Salad
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Sweet & Sour Cucumber Salad

    June 13th is National Cucumber Day. How about a refreshing cucumber salad? It’s a perfect accompaniment to almost everything: a great sandwich side, hot dog topping, cookout and picnic fare, and a complement to grilled foods and Asian dishes.

    This recipe is from Sunset Growers, which used their One Sweet mini cucumbers. The mini cukes are seedless or have limited seeds, and the petite slices are nice visually. But conventional cucumbers are fine.

    It’s also much lower in calories and higher in fiber than mayonnaise-based side salads.

    This cucumber salad is dressed with a yummy sesame vinaigrette. You can make the recipe a day before serving. Turn it into a first course or luncheon salad with cooked shrimp.
     
    RECIPE: ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD

    Ingredients For 4 to 6 Side Servings (3-1/2 Cups)

  • 6 mini cucumbers or 1-1/2 large convention cucumbers
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Optional: dash of Asian chili sauce
  • 1 green onion (scallion), very thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup tiny-diced red or yellow bell peppers
  •  
    For A Luncheon Salad Or First Course

  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp
  • Green salad for base (we use mesclun)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Heat the oil in a small saucepan heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add the sesame seeds and stir until toasty, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cool to room temperature; then stir in the chili sauce. Meanwhile…

    2. THINLY SLICE the cucumbers. Combine the cucumbers, green onions and bell peppers in a bowl and add the cooled sesame dressing. Toss well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve using a slotted spoon.

    3. ADD the greens for lunch or an appetizer, top with the cucumber salad and garnish with the shrimp.

     

    Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe

    Mini Cucumbers

    Gulf Shrimp

    Top: Cucumber is refreshing, versatile and low in calories: a win-win-win. Center: OneSweet mini cucumbers (photos courtesy Sunset Growers). Bottom: Cook some shrimp for a luncheon salad or first course (photo courtesy I Love Blue Sea.

     
    MORE FOR NATIONAL CUCUMBER DAY

    Here’s a cucumber cocktail recipe—Cucumber Lemonade made with gin—and the different types of cucumbers.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: A DIY Grilled Stuffed Avocado Bar

    We’ve written a lot about “party bars” for entertaining, where guests add their favorite fillings or toppings to customize a food. Check out:
     
    BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER

  • Breakfast & Brunch Party Bar
  • Lunch & Dinner Party Bar
  • Sushi Hand Roll (Temaki) Party Bar
  •  
    DESSERTS

  • Brownie Sandwich Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Pudding Party Bar
  • Assorted Desserts Party Bar
  •  
    SNACKS

  • Guacamole Party Bar
  • Popcorn Party Bar
  •  
    BEVERAGES

  • Apple Cider Party Bar
  • Flavored Shots Party Bar
  •  
    And now, a…

    GRILLED STUFFED AVOCADO PARTY BAR

    The California Avocado Commission sent us the idea, from recipe developer Rachel Matthews of ASouthernFairytale.com. She takes grilled avocados to a higher level by letting each person select his or her favorite fillings.

    “A Grilled Stuffed Avocado Bar is so incredibly easy to put together,” says Rachel, “and it’s a great way for people to get creative with their food.”

    The concept can be used for sides or appetizers and snacks with beer and wine. Prep time is 1 minute, cook time is 10 minutes, plus prep time for the fillings.

    Of course, you can also have a plain DIY Avocado Bar, with uncooked avocados.
     
    Ingredients Per Serving

    For The Avocados

  • Ripe avocados, seeded, unpeeled
  • Olive oil
  •  
    For The Fillings

    Consider savory, spicy and sweet options. Some suggestions:

  • Black bean and corn salsa
  • Cherry tomato/grape tomato salad
  • Chili
  • Chopped olive salad
  • Corn salad
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese: blue, cheddar, cotija, feta, goat, jack, etc.
  • Cucumber salad
  • Diced fruit: mango, peach, pineapple, strawberry, or fruit salsa
  • Grilled and diced or shredded protein (chicken, steak, etc.)
  • Grilled shrimp
  • Rice/grain, bean, or lentil salad
  • Seafood salad
  • Sour cream
  • Tomato salsa or tomatillo salsa
  •  
    Plus

  • Lime wedges
  • Optional: tortilla chips for garnish and dipping
  • Optional: hot sauce, salt and pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill to medium-high and set out the fillings, plates and utensils.

    2. BRUSH the flesh side of each avocado half with olive oil, to keep them from sticking to the grill. Place them flesh side down on a medium-high heated grill. Cook for about 5 minutes. If you want cross-hatch grill marks, change the direction the avocados lie on the grill. Either way, grill them another 4–5 minutes or until you see the skin of the avocado change colors (it’s really noticeable).

    3. PLACE the avocados on a platter next to the fillings, and watch your guests enjoy creating their food.

     

    Avocado Halves

    Avocados On The Grill

    Grilled Avocados

    Fajita-Stuffed Grilled Avocado

    Grilled Avocado With Strawberries

    Top: Halved avocados, ready to grill. Second: Face down on the grill. Third: Turn the avocados to get attractive hatch marks. Fourth & Fifth: Rachel Matthews’s favorites: Grilled Fajita Avocado and Strawberry Balsamic Avocado. Top photo courtesy Tio Gazpacho, other photos courtesy Rachel Matthews | California Avocado Commission.

     
    Rachel’s favorite creations:

  • The Fajita Stuffed Grilled Avocado: grilled steak fajita meat, black bean and corn pico, tortilla chip.
  • Strawberry Balsamic Stuffed Grilled Avocado: chopped strawberries, balsamic vinegar, feta cheese.
  •  
    Let us know your favorites!
     
    FIND MORE DELICIOUS AVOCADO RECIPES AT CALIFORNIAAVOCADO.COM.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Vietnamese Cabbage Slaw, a.k.a. Cole Slaw

    Asian Slaw

    Classic Cole Slaw

    Red Boat Fish Sauce

    Top: Vietnamese slaw, made with a fish sauce-accented vinaigrette. Center: Conventional American cole slaw with mayonnaise (photo courtesy Blu Restaurant | NYC). Bottom: Vietnamese fish sauce (photo courtesy Red Boat).

     

    So many slaws, so little time! On summer weekends, we try different slaw recipes and different potato salads.

    When made without mayonnaise, cole slaw is a very low calorie food, and cabbage is an antioxidant-packed cruciferous vegetable. That’s what you’ll find in the Asian-style slaw recipe below.

    Today’s tip also highlights a relatively unfamiliar ingredient to Americans, fish sauce. But first:
     
    WHAT’S A SLAW & WHY IS IT “COLE?”

    Long part of the culinary repertoire, “koolsla,” short for “koolsalade,” means cabbage salad in Dutch; Dutch travelers to the New World made the dish with local cabbage. Instead of being torn into bite-size pieces like lettuce salad, the cabbage was thinly sliced or shredded.

    Cabbage, the “kool,” is pronounced “cole.” “Sla” is short for “salade.” The term got anglicized in the 18th century as cole slaw (and sometimes, cold slaw).

    In English, “slaw” came to specify a salad of shredded vegetables. Over time, shredded cabbage slaw was joined by carrot slaw and more recently, broccoli slaw and shaved Brussels sprouts slaw.
     
    WHAT IS FISH SAUCE?

    Called nam pla in Thai and nuoc mam (“salted fish water”) in Vietnamese, fish sauce is an amber-hued condiment prepared from fermented anchovies and salt. An umami flavor lauded as “the fifth taste” after sweet, sour, bitter and salty, fish sauce is a major ingredient and condiment in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

    Numerous brands are imported to the U.S., including Red Boat Fish Sauce.
     
    Umami, The Fifth Taste

    Fish sauce provides a flavor known as umami, often explained as savory or brothy.

    We consume “umami foods” every day: anchovy paste, asparagus, beef stew, bouillon, cured ham, ketchup, lamb shank, miso sauce and soup, MSG, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, ripe and sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce, among others.
     
    European Garum & Colatura Di Alici

    Umami and fish sauce are also part of Western culture. Beginning in Greece and appearing in nearly every ancient Roman recipe as early as the 7th and 8th centuries B.C.E., garum, a fermented fish sauce, was the universal condiment used to add flavor to food.

    As ketchup (and more lately, hot sauce) is to American fare, as soy sauce is to Chinese cuisine, the favorite condiment in ancient Rome was garum, an anchovy sauce. It involved into colatura di alici, juice of anchovies, still popular in Italy. It’s also called anchovy sauce or anchovy syrup; the latter is inaccurate, as a syrup is a thick, viscous liquid.

    As strange as “anchovy juice” may sound, colatura is an aromatic condiment that enhances any dish, adding flavor without fuss.

     
    Ask any great Italian chef, and you’ll probably find that colatura di alibi is their secret ingredient. Chef Lidia Bastianich uses a touch of colatura instead of salt.

    Colatura (the word comes from the Latin colare, to strain) is made by curing anchovies with salt and extracting the free-run liquid that drains from them. It’s a laborious and painstaking process to create a truly artisan food. Different brands are imported from Italy.

    Things came full circle in the 19th century when a British sea captain Henry Lewis Edwardes (1788–1866) brought the recipe for a fish sauce condiment home after travels in India. It somehow got to John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, two dispensing chemists (pharmacists) in Worcester, England, who created the first “umami sauce” (Worcestershire Sauce) sold commercially in England, in 1837.

    Here are more uses for fish sauce, colatura di alici, or whatever you choose to call it.

     

    RECIPE: VIETNAMESE CABBAGE SLAW

    This recipe was created by Gail Simmons for Pure Leaf Tea. She pairs it with Sweet Honey Green Pure Leaf. We paired it with Unsweetened Green and Unsweetened Lemon Flavor Pure Leaf.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  •  
    For The Slaw

  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 1/2 head small Napa cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 4 radishes
  • 2 mini seedless cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples
  • Garnish: ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts or toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing so the shallots have time to marinate. Whisk the ingredients except the shallots in a large mixing bowl. Then add the shallots and set aside.

    2. FINELY SLICE the cabbages, radishes and cucumbers using a mandolin or a food processor with the slicer and grater attachments. Grate the carrots and separate the cilantro leaves.

     

    Asian Cabbage Slaw

    Apple-Infused Coleslaw in a Jar-nestle-230

    Top: Thai Cabbage Slaw. You can add an optional peanut garnish (photo courtesy ACommunalTable.com, which added coconut). Bottom: Use your Mason jars to serve slaw (photo courtesy Nestle).

     
    3. CORE the apples and finely slice them into thin half–moons. Place everything into the mixing bowl with the dressing and toss together well. When ready to serve, top with the peanuts and extra cilantro leaves.
     
    MORE SLAW RECIPES

  • Apple Cole Slaw With Lemon Ginger Yogurt Dressing
  • BLT Slaw
  • Dijon-Vanilla Broccoli Slaw
  • Pear & Cabbage Slaw
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Amp Up The Potato Salad

    Russian Potato Salad

    Fresh Dill

    Top: Add beets, dill, carrots, peas and onions for a Russian-style potato salad (photo IdahoPotato.com). Bottom: Fresh dill is a delicious accent for any potato salad, but is often used in Russian recipes (photo courtesy PaperChef.com).

     

    With Memorial Day Weekend just a week away, we’re revisiting one of our favorite cookout foods: potato salad.

    To us, a basic potato salad includes quality mayonnaise, diced raw vegetables (carrots, celery, red onions, maybe some bell pepper) and fresh dill and parsley. This was our mother’s potato salad.

    But these days we want more: more layers of flavor, more excitement. We try new recipes on most warm-weather weekends, and delight in the process of invention (our reigning favorite, mini whole potatoes, salmon caviar, a sour cream-mayo blend, sweet onion and lots of fresh dill).

    Here are two we’ll be making for Memorial Day festivities. Both from the Idaho Potato Commission. There are links to more recipes below, for a total of 16 specialty potato salad recipes.

    RECIPE: RUSSIAN BEET & POTATO SALAD

    Ingredients

  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 5-ounce can sliced beets, drained, slices quartered
    (alternatively, you can dice whole beets)
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish mustard*
  •  
    _______________
    *You can buy horseradish mustard, but it’s simple to make. Just combine Dijon mustard with prepared white horseradish. Start with a 3:1 ratio, and add more horseradish to taste.

     
    Preparation

    1. ADD the potatoes and salt to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.

    2. COMBINE the potatoes, peas and carrots, and onion in a large bowl.

    3. WHISK together in a small bowl the mayonnaise, yogurt, dill and horseradish mustard. Add the potato mixture and gently combine.

    4. PLACE the beets on a paper towel and gently blot dry—or else your potato salad will turn pink! Fold the beets into the potato mixture very gently; do not over-mix. Serve within 1 hour for peak flavor and appearance.

     

    RECIPE #2: RED CHIMICHURRI POTATO SALAD

    The signature condiment of Argentina, chimichurri sauce is a parsley-based, garlicky vinaigrette with a verdant green color.

    Red chimichurri, a more recent development, adds paprika and red wine vinegar, which create a dark red background for the herbs. Both are served as accompaniments to grilled meat in Argentina, which makes them a great match with what you’re grilling.

    This recipe was created by Latino Foodie for the Idaho Potato Commission.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds Baby Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, trimmed
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, trimmed
  • 3 green onions
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. They are small so they should be done in about 10 minutes (be careful not to overcook or they will turn into mashed potatoes). To test for doneness, insert the tip of a steak knife into the middle of a potato. If it slides off easily, they are done. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool slightly.

    2. ADD the remaining ingredients except the oil to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Slowly drizzle in the oil while pulsing the food processor. You can make the sauce chunky or smooth, as you prefer.

    3. HALVE or quarter the potatoes. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes with a quarter of the chimichurri, adding more as needed. The remaining sauce can be used to marinate the vegetables or steak for the meal.

    4. STORE any remaining chimichurri in a tightly-sealed jar. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

     

    Chimichurri Potato Salad Recipe

    Red Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

    Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes

    Top: Red Chimichurri Potato Salad. Center: Red chimichurri sauce, a classic Argentine condiment (photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). Bottom: Baby Dutch yellow potatoes (photo courtesy Melissas.com).

     
    MORE POTATO SALAD SPINS

  • Arugula Potato Salad
  • Barbecue Potato Salad
  • Baked Potato Salad
  • Beer-Roasted Potato Salad With Brussels Sprouts
  • Brussels Sprouts Potato Salad
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage Potato Salad
  • German Potato Salad With Bacon & Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Green Bean Potato Salad
  • Grilled Potato Salad With Hot Dog Chunks
  • Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (especially for Memorial Day and Independence Day)
  • Smoked Salmon Potato Salad
  • Warm Potato Salad
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Rhubarb Recipes

    We’ve only ever published sweet rhubarb recipes: in compote, pie, preserves, even ice cream. Today’s tip is: Try a savory rhubarb preparation before the end of rhubarb season, typically the end of May in the U.S.

    We have a recipe for Green Salad With Roasted Rhubarb, plus links to savory recipes from sides to soups below.
     
    RHUBARB HISTORY

    According to FoodTimeline.org, rhubarb is an ancient plant with different species originating in China, Siberia and southwestern Russia. The name comes from the Latin Rhabarbarum, meaning “Rha of the barbarians.”

    Rha is the Scythian name for the Volga River in Russia, the longest river in Europe. Rhubarb was cultivated by the Tatars there (“Tartars” is a misspelling), called barbarians—which referred to foreign people who were neither Christian, Greek nor Roman.

    Rhubarb has been grown for millennia. Chinese rhubarb (Rheum officinale) was grown for its roots, which were ground up and used medicinally as far back as 206 B.C.E. Garden rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) was grown for its edible stalks (the leaves are toxic).

    It was cultivated in Britain in the 17th century and added to stews; with the advent of affordable* sugar in the 18th century, it became a sweetened filling for tarts. (Sugar, originally from India and Southeast Asia, was cultivated in the Middle East in the 12th century, then in other areas of the Mediterranean. European Crusaders brought sugar home with them. It created a stir but was a pricey import, analogous to other Eastern spices. The first printed record of sugar in English is in the late 13th century.)

    Rhubarb seeds were imported to America shortly after the American Revolution. The term “pie plant” originated in the U.S. some time during the 19th century. Rhubarb was a popular pie filling and early American cookbooks show rhubarb recipes for cobblers, conserves, sweet pies and tarts.

     
    RECIPE: GREEN SALAD WITH ROASTED RHUBARB

    We adapted this recipe from CilantroCooks.com and added a number of optional ingredients, so you can customize it to your ideal.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound rhubarb
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup seedless green, purple or red grapes
  • 1 cup of Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 2 medium cucumbers (ideally seedless)
  • 1/2 cup of blue, feta or goat cheese, crumbled
  •    
    Beef With Roast Rhubarb

    Chicken With Rhubarb Salsa

    Savory Rhubarb Soup

    Top: Beef tenderloin with roasted rhubarb. Center: Roast chicken with rhubarb salsa. Photos courtesy Bon Appetit. Bottom: Rhubarb soup from La Cucina Italiana.

     
    Optional Ingredients

  • Beets: halved baby beets or diced regular beets (canned)
  • Fresh dill
  • Peppery greens: arugula or watercress
  • Red onion or sweet onion
  • Toasted pecans or walnuts
  •  
    For A Dinner Salad

  • Grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • Grilled salmon fillet
  •  

    Fresh Rhubarb

    Rhubarb Salad Recipe

    Top: Slicing fresh rhubarb (photo courtesy CilantroCooks.com). Bottom: A recipe variation from SumptuousSpoonfuls. Blogspot.com. Their recipe roasts the rhubarb with honey and dresses the salad with a Honey Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette.

     

    For The Roasted Rhubarb Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 the roasted rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon poppy seeds or chili flakes
  •  

    Preparation

    1. TRIM the tips (including all the leaves) and root ends from the rhubarb. Cut the stalks into 1 inch slices. Place in a greased (spray is fine) baking or roasting pan and roast in the oven at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool (in the fridge, if necessary); half will be used for the salad, half for the dressing.

    2. PREPARE the dressing: Place half the rhubarb and all other dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor; blend until completely smooth. Adjust the honey if you need more sweetness.

    3. TOAST the walnuts: Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray. Set the nuts on the tray in a single layer and toast on the bottom rack of the oven at 400°F for about 5 minutes, or until they are fragrant and slightly browned. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.

    4. PLACE the vegetables in a large bowl; then add the completely cooled rhubarb and the cheese and toss with the dressing. Garnish with the toasted nuts and serve.

     
    MORE SAVORY RHUBARB RECIPES

  • Beef Tenderloin With Rhubarb & Red Wine
  • Rhubarb Potato Gratin
  • Rhubarb Butter For Basting Chicken
  • Rhubarb & Radish Salad
  • Rhubarb Salsa
  • Roast Salmon With Rhubarb & Red Cabbage
  • Vietnamese Sour Rhubarb Soup With Rhubarb
  •  
    _____________
    *Sugar originated in Southeast Asia. The people of New Guinea were probably the first to domesticate sugarcane, possibly as early as 8,000 B.C.E. The cane juice from the stalks was used as a sweetener. However, the extraction and purifying technology techniques were developed by people living in India, around 350 C.E.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bouquet Of Crudités

    At every party and dinner, we have a basket of crudités as a better-for- you option and for those with dietary constraints. For Mother’s Day, we’re adding some flower power with this Bouquet Of Crudités from Hidden Valley,

    Hidden Valley serves them with their Original Ranch Dressing; we’re making a nonfat yogurt dip.

    RECIPE #1: BOUQUET OF CRUDITÉS

    Prep time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 orange bell peppers
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 2 mini orange, red or yellow bell peppers (or substitute 2 more conventional size)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes (substitute radishes)
  • 6 snap peas
  • 6 six-inch bamboo skewers
  • Yogurt dip (recipe below)
  •  

    Crudites Bouquet

    Take an artistic approach to crudités with this vegetable bouquet (photo courtesy Hidden Valley).

     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dip (recipe below) and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

    2. WASH and seed the peppers. Cut jagged edges into the tops.

    3. STICK the snap peas on the skewers to create the leaves. Insert the skewers through the bottoms of each pepper and put the tomato in the center as shown. Arrange in a flower pot, vase or on a plate.

     
    RECIPE #2: GARLIC-LIME-HERB YOGURT DIP & SAUCE

    This recipe can be served as a dip with crudités, pretzels and other snacks, or as a topping/sauce for grilled fish, meat, poultry, even burgers. You can also mix it with boiled potatoes, macaroni or shredded cabbage for a fat-free potato salad, macaroni salad or cole slaw.

    Or sweeten it and use it as a fruit dip.

    The recipe makes a small bowl of dip, or 4 sauce servings for a main course. You can use your creativity to mix and match the seasonings to your main.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (you can substitute other plain yogurt, but Greek style is the thickest and creamiest)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, basil, chives or other favorite herb, minced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND the yogurt, garlic, lime juice and ginger in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

     
    VARIATION: YOGURT DIP FOR FRUIT

    1. REPLACE the garlic with one teaspoon agave, honey or sweetener of choice. (Only lightly sweeten the dip: You want to appreciate the sweetness of the fruit, not overwhelm it.)

    2. REPLACE the herb with grated lime zest or other citrus zest (lemon, grapefruit).
     
    ___________________________
    *The Hidden Valley recipe combines 1/2 cup Original Ranch Light Dressing and 8 ounces softened fat-free cream cheese, chilled until ready to serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bok Choy & Endive ~ Veggies To Grill

    We wager that anyone who likes veggies looks forward to vegetables cooked outdoors on the grill, for as long as the weather allows. Asparagus, bell peppers, corn, eggplant, onions, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini are popular.

    But why not try vegetables you’ve never grilled before?

    Previously we’ve recommended grilled cabbage, grilled cauliflower and grilled romaine for a Caesar Salad.

    Today, for your consideration: Belgian endive and Chinese bok choy (both grown in California).

    WHAT IS ENDIVE?

    Endive is one of the vegetables that were once available in the late fall. Once imported from Europe, it is now grown year-round in California.

    Endive can be grilled, added to salads, or used as “boats” to hold finger foods at parties. You can even make a type of Tarte Tatin using endive instead of apples.

    Endive, Cichorium endivia, is a member of the chicory genus in the Asteraceae family. The genus includes other bitter leafed vegetables, including escarole, frisée and curly endive and radicchio. It has a crisp texture and a sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness. It can be served raw or cooked.

    Endive is pricey, because it’s one of the most difficult vegetables to grow. There’s a two-step growing process:

  • The seeds are planted and grow into a leafy green plant in 150 days.
  • They are then harvested, the leafy tops are cut off and the deep roots are dug up and placed in cold storage, where they enter a dormancy period.
  • The dormant roots are removed from cold storage for their second growth, which takes 28 days in dark, cool, humid forcing rooms (similar to a mushroom growing facility).
  • The control over the initiation of this second growing process allows for the year-round production of endive.
  •  
    You can sometimes find good prices on endive, especially when the edges of the tips start to brown, reducing the aesthetic. Since they brown on the grill anyway, it’s an impetus to grill.

    Bonus: A leaf of endive has just one calorie! It’s a good source of potassium, vitamins and minerals, high in complex fiber and promotes digestive health.

    Here’s an easy recipe from Endive.com, which has many more endive recipes.

    RECIPE #1: GRILLED ENDIVE

    Ingredients

  • 3-4 heads endive, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: chopped fresh rosemary
  •    

    Grilled Endive

    Endive With Root

    Top: Endive hot off the grill. Bottom: This is what endive looks like when it’s pulled from the ground. The huge taproot is grown from seeds, harvested, placed in dormancy, and then re-planted to grow the endive heads. This technique enables endive, once a cool weather vegetable, to be grown year-round. Photos courtesy Endive.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill over a medium flame. Brush each endive half with olive oil and place on grill, cut side down. After 8–10 minutes, flip and cook another 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally and lowering the flame if needed until the endives soften.

    2. SEASON with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped rosemary. You can serve it hot off the grill or at room temperature.

    3. VARIATION: You can also toss cooled grilled endive into a salad. Cut it into one inch slices; mix with arugula, watercress or other bitter green; and toss with an olive oil-lemon dressing. Garnish with crumbled chèvre or feta cheese and roasted nuts.

     

    Grilled Bok Choy

    Grilled bok toy and lamb patties. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

    RECIPE #2: GRILLED MISO BOK CHOY & LAMB PATTIES

    Bok choy, a member of the powerful cruciferous* vegetable family (Brassica), has even more nutrients than some of its cousins (see the list below).

    This easy dinner is a cultural fusion: Chinese bok choy (also called pak choi and Chinese cabbage) meets Middle Eastern lamb patties. The bok choy doubles as a salad and a vegetable side; the miso butter gives it a celestial flavor. The fresh herbs are icing on the cake.

    The recipe, from Good Eggs, takes 15 mins active time and 10 minutes cooking time.

    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • ½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped (substitute 3 teaspoons dried oregano)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons miso
  • 3 heads bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise and rinsed
  • Lime wedge
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the lamb, feta, egg, oregano, and salt and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix well with clean hands and form into patties about 1” thick and 3” wide. Set aside.

    2. MIX the yogurt, garlic, mint, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Taste and adjust salt to taste (not too salty, as you’re also using salted butter). Set aside.

    3. MIX the butter and miso in a small bowl with the tines of a fork. Melt two tablespoons of the mixture in a cast iron pan over high heat. When melted and hot, tip the pan to coat the bottom of the pan with the mixture.

    4. ADD the bok choy cut side down and sear until it is a deep golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook on the back side for about a minute. Remove from the pan and squeeze a bit of lime over the bok choy. Return to the pan to finish cooking. When the bok choy is finished…

    5. WIPE the pan clean, add a tablespoon of olive oil and place the pan over high heat. When the oil is hot…

    6. ADD the lamb patties, leaving 1” in between each patty. Cook over high heat for about 4 minutes until the patty is golden brown. Flip to the other side and repeat. When both sides have good color…

    7. CHECK for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into the center of a patty. If the center has a flush of light pink, they’re ready. If the center is still dark pink, pop them in the oven (or toaster oven) at 350°F for 2-3 minutes.

    8. SERVE with the minted yogurt and bok choy. If desired, garnish with a sprig of mint or oregano.
     
    ________________________
    *The botanical family Brassicaceae, also known as the brassicas, cabbage family, cauliflower family and mustard family, consists of nutritional powerhouses that are packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants). Brassica members include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower, horseradish/wasabi, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna (Japanese mustard), mustard greens, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini, rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips, among others.

      

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