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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

FOOD FUN: Grow Vegetables Into Hearts & Stars

It’s too late to grow vegetables in star shapes for this July 4th, but you can plan ahead for next year. While you’re at it, plan to grow and freeze some heart-shaped slices for Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.

If only we had a small plot of land, we’d grow cucumbers and tomatoes just so we could create these heart- and star-shaped vegetables. What fun for crudités, salads, cocktail garnishes and general garnishes.

The long plastic tube-shaped, snap-on molds are placed over young vegetables; as they grow, they take on the heart and star shapes of the tubes as the fruits grow and mature.

They’re ideal for cucumbers, plum tomatoes and summer squash.

When the veggies are mature, simply open the mold and harvest the fruits. Slice them diagonally to reveal the shape of hearts and stars. The plastic molds can be reused year after year.

  • Fun gift for your favorite vegetable gardener.
  • Inspiration for the kids to grow vegetables.
  •    

    tomato-hearts-stars-burpee-230

    Tomato hearts and stars. Photo courtesy Burpee.com.

     

     

    heart-zucchini-burpee-molds-230

    Grow your own: Crunchy cucumbers are
    shaped into stars. Photo courtesy
    Burpee.com.

     

    Get yours at Burpee.com.

    Then, plan your “molded” garden:

  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Plum tomato
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  •  
    Any other ideas for what might work?

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Eat Less Red Meat

    People who love red meat tend to like large amounts of it. A one-pound strip steak? Sure, that’s a “normal portion,” just like a pint of ice cream.

    You can cut back on the ounces by enjoying your steak in a taco or on a salad. A few slices equal the three-ounce portions that nutritionists and healthcare professionals recommend, and you still get your steak delivered in a delicious way.

    Steak tacos and steak salad are also ways to stretch leftover steak or other grilled meat (we especially enjoy a grilled lamb salad).

    RECIPE: STEAK TACOS WITH CHIPOTLE SLAW & AVOCADO SALSA

    This recipe is from QVC’s David Venable. David suggests: “A fun way to make sure you get a beer that will go with your meal is to shop by region. If you’re cooking a big Italian meal, try an Italian beer. If you’re going Mexican, stock up on your Coronas. Try this recipe with a dark Mexican beer (like Negra Modelo) to match the heartiness of the steak.”

    Ingredients

    For The Steak

  • 1 2-pound-to-2-1/2 pound flank steak
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 package (10-12 count) 8″ soft taco shells
  •    

    steak-tacos-target-230jpg

    Steak tacos let you enjoy steak—just less of it. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    For The Chipotle Slaw

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons canned chipotle in adobo (or more, to taste), chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 6 cups shredded cabbage
  •  
    For The Avocado Salsa

  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 1/2 of a large jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/3 fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  

    steak_salad_McC-230

    Steak salad (recipe below) provides the opportunity to enjoy steak and salad, while cutting back on the steak. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the marinade. Combine the garlic, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, jalapeño and chili powder in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely minced.

    2. PLACE the flank steak in a large zip-top plastic bag, pour in the marinade and squeeze out any excess air before sealing. Allow the steak to marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours; do not exceed 8 hours.

    3. PREPARE the slaw. Combine the sour cream, milk, chipotle and vinegar in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add the cabbage and stir until it’s completely coated with dressing.

    4. PREPARE the salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl; toss until combined. If kept refrigerated, this can be made up to 2 hours prior to serving.

    5. GRILL the steak: Preheat a barbecue or indoor grill and set the temperature to medium high. Grill the steak for 8 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness. Let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting, diagonally across the grain, into thin slices.

    6. ASSEMBLE the tacos. Place 4-5 slices of steak in a taco shell, top with approximately a quarter cup of salsa and the same amount of slaw.

     

    RECIPE: STEAK SALAD

    Hearty greens, including spinach, peppery arugula and bitter watercress, are good counterpoints to the steak. In the summer, a garnish of berries adds seasonal festiveness.

    Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (try mixed greens, including arugula and baby spinach)
  • Kalamata olives (or olive of choice)
  • Raw mushrooms, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Halved cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomato wedges
  • Grilled steak, lamb or other meat
  • Optional: blue cheese or goat cheese
  • Optional: blueberries or other berries
  • Vinaigrette (soy sauce mixed with rice wine vinegar makes a delicious, low-calorie dressing)
  •  
    Also check out this Thai Beef Salad.

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

     
    Preparation

    1. TOSS salad greens with tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, olives and dressing.

    2. LAYER sliced steak atop the salad. Garnish with crumbled or sliced cheese and berries.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Radish & Stone Fruit Salad

    Fruit-and-Radish-Salad-gentyHyers-chefscollectiveFB-230

    A salad can be much more than dressed
    leafy greens. Photo courtesy Gentyl & Hyers
    | Chefs Collaborative.

     

    Chef’s Collaborative is a nonprofit, national network of member chefs who work to promote clean, sustainable food. They’ve created a cookbook of recipes that are imaginative and refreshing, yet can be enjoyed every day. Sign up for the newsletter on the website for additional ideas.

    The unconventional “salad” recipe below strays from the well-worn path of green vegetables.

    There’s nothing leafy, instead presenting a mélange of peppery radishes, tangy feta cheese, sweet peaches and earthy almonds. You can substitute mangoes or strawberries when peaches are not in season.

    The recipe is the creation of member chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami. You can serve it as a separate salad course or as a side dish. Prep time is 20 minutes.

     
    RECIPE: RADISH & FETA SALAD WITH STONE FRUIT SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 3 to 4 radishes
  • 2 pounds fresh peaches, strawberries, or mangoes, peeled or stemmed as needed) and cut into 1/4-inch slices or wedges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or other mild vinegar like white balsamic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup mild feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  •  

    PREPARATION

    1. CUT the onions into thinly slices, using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. You should end up with about 1/4 cup.

    2. FILL a small bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes and soak the onions for 5 minutes. This mellows the sharp bite typical of raw onions and makes them crisp. Drain the onions and pat dry with paper towels. Thinly slice the radishes.

    3. COMBINE the oil and vinegar in a bowl with some salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add the peaches, onions, radishes, and basil, tossing gently to evenly coat the ingredients. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

    4. DIVIDE the salad equally among six plates and top with the crumbled feta and toasted almonds.

     

    The-Chefs-Collaborative-Cookbook-230

    Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious: Recipes from America’s Great Chefs. The cookbook is a cornucopia of recipes with bright, fresh flavors. Photo courtesy Taunton Press.

     

    GET THE COOKBOOK

    We rarely thumb through a cookbook and want to make everything. Get this one as a gift for yourself or anyone who likes imaginative seasonal cuisine.

    You can purchase it on Amazon.com.

      

    Comments

    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.

      

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