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Chicken, Dinner, Dressing, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Veggies

Chinese Chicken Salad

June 19, 2017

Chinese Chicken Salad

There are a number of stories told about the origins of Chinese Chicken Salad and it appears that none are definitive although most agree that it all began in the ’60s.  Wikipedia states that it became especially popular after Cary Grant asked the chef at Madame Wu’s in Santa Monica to add it to their menu after Grant had the salad at another restaurant. Whatever the case might be, it is one of my favorite salads too.  Now, there are so many variations on this salad you could make a different version every day for months.  Some poach their chicken breasts, others use rotisserie chicken. Some use mandarin oranges (no thanks!) or nuts such as peanuts and almonds.  I prefer to use leftover Granny’s teriyaki chicken and when we make it for dinner we plan for leftovers.  The salad ingredients and dressing are quick to put together, and though it does take 15 minutes or so to fry the won ton strips, it is worth the effort.

Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, won bok, however it’s labeled it’s all the same cabbage.  It has beautiful ripply leaves, a crunchy texture and mild cabbage flavor with just a hint of pepper.  Whatever other ingredients you choose to use in your Chinese chicken salad, please don’t leave this out.

Blanched Snow Peas

I love crispy snow peas.  All they need for this salad is a quick 10 second blanch in boiling water. Drain in an ice bath and pat dry before slicing.

Chinese Chicken Salad Vegetables

Won Ton Pi

There are many brands of won ton pi at the markets. I just grabbed this locally made brand at Foodland.  Since you won’t need the entire package for the salad, slice the extra pieces up into larger strips and fry them up for a snack.  They are a favorite Island treat.

Fried Wont Ton Pi Strips for Salad

Fried Wont Ton Pi Chips for Snacking

I used the extra won ton pi for chips. Some of them puff up as they fry, making them light and crispy.  Salt the chips as you take them out of the pan.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 2 grilled teriyaki chicken breasts, sliced thinly (or baked teriyaki chicken)
  • 8 cups chopped napa cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 3 ounces snow peas, blanched and sliced thin (optional)
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • won ton pi cut into thin strips about ⅓" wide (I used about 4 ounces from the 10 ounce package for the salad and the rest I used for larger chips)
  • Dressing:
  • ⅓ - ½ cup rice vinegar, depending on how tangy you like your dressing (unseasoned)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet mirin
  • 2½ tablespoons soy sauce (not light or less sodium)
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • ground black pepper to taste
Preparation
  1. Toss together the shredded napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, sliced snow peas and green onions. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use (either in a bowl or Ziploc freezer bag).
  2. Deep fry the won ton strips until golden brown. I use a medium-sized pot and fry the won ton strips in batches. They cook quickly so watch them closely. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle a little salt over each batch. The won ton strips can be made a day in advance (store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator).
  3. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well.
  4. When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the vegetables with some of the dressing. Divide salad into 4 bowls placing chicken strips to one side. Scatter won ton strips over the salad. Serve with extra dressing.

 

Beans, Dinner, Dressing, Italian, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

June 5, 2017

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

This salad is one you will never get bored with.  Crunchy lettuce, tart pepperoncini, wholesome chickpeas, and savory peppered salami, all tossed together with a refreshing oregano vinaigrette makes this a perfect lunch.  I love serving it with slices of hearty sourdough bread or avocado toasts.  There are many fine chopped salad recipes but this one created by Nancy Silverton and published in The Mozza Cookbook is by far my favorite.  This beautiful salad will bring much satisfaction to whomever you share it with.

Iceberg Lettuce, Radicchio, Pepperoncini, Onion, Chickpeas, Tomato, Salami & Cheese

Peppered Salami

There are so many different types of salami however I always reach for the peppered version. The slightly peppery crust adds an extra level of flavor to the salami.  Leftover slices are perfect in a sandwich or served with slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Oregano Vinaigrette

Don’t hesitate to use lots of dried oregano in the vinaigrette. It really makes the dressing stand out and goes well with the chopped salad.

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
 
Adapted from Nancy Silverton's Chopped Salad Recipe
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed + 1 small garlic clove, grated finely
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • Salad:
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce cut into ribbons ⅓" wide
  • 1 small head radicchio cut into ribbons ¼" wide
  • ½ small sweet white onion cut into thin strips
  • ¾ pounds diced tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces yogurt cheese sliced into ¼" wide strips (you may substitute with provolone)
  • 6 ounces peppered salami sliced into ¼" wide strips
  • 5 medium pepperoncini sliced into rings
Preparation
  1. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl toss the lettuce, radicchio and onions together. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cheese, salami and pepperoncini. Spoon dressing over the salad and toss well so that all ingredients are well seasoned with the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more vinaigrette. You will not need all of the dressing. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and use within a week. Serve the salad with some good sourdough bread on the side.

 

Dinner, Korean, Lactose Free, Pasta, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies

Chilled Somen with Spicy Cucumbers

December 7, 2016

Chilled Somen with Spicy Cucumbers

Cold noodles tossed with crisp vegetables are one of my favorite lunch dishes.  I often make a big bowl of Aunty Ruby’s Somen Salad and take it to work to share with my friends.  This recipe calls for perciatelli or bucatini pasta but I couldn’t resist using delicate somen noodles.  They cook up in 3 minutes and are the perfect partner for the spicy cucumbers.  I found this delightful recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine. The subject of this particular article was Korean Barbecue and a talented Korean cook, Mrs. Pai.  This is one of her original side dishes.

Somen Noodles

Keiki Cukes

These beautiful “Keiki Cukes” are grown on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Big Island Produce is a hydroponic farm that produces cucumbers all year long.  They are super crunchy and don’t have any seeds.  We use them to make dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, and add them to all types of salads.

Chopped Scallions

Korean Chili Flakes

Korean chili flakes or gochugaru (not to be confused with red pepper powder), has a unique balance of sweet and smoky flavors with medium heat.  I have heard that hotter varieties are available but the one I buy from Whole Spice tends to be just the right heat for me.

Spicy Cucumbers

The cucumbers are mixed with Korean chili flakes, scallions, garlic, and sesame oil before being tossed with cold noodles.

somen-1-2

Chilled Somen with Spicy Cucumbers

Chilled Somen with Spicy Cucumbers
 
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine
Author:
Serves: 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces thinly sliced small cucumbers (Keiki, Japanese, Persian)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons Korean chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed in a garlic press
  • 4 tablespoons roasted sesame oil, divided (Kadoya brand recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 package (3 bundles - 8 oz.) somen noodles
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • salt for seasoning
Preparation
  1. Toss cucumbers with ½ teaspoon salt, and let sit for 30 minutes. Transfer cucumbers to a clean dish towel and wring to remove excess liquid from cucumbers. Transfer to a large bowl. Add Korean chili flakes, sugar, scallions, garlic, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, and the vinegar. Mix seasonings into cucumbers; let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook somen noodles according to package instructions. Shirakiku brand cooks for just 3 minutes. Immediately drain, rinse under cold water and place noodles in an ice bath until well chilled. Drain noodles well and add to cucumbers, tossing to combine. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and the soy sauce. Season with salt and additional Korean chili flakes before serving. Leftovers are delicious the following day.

 

Appetizers, Dinner, Italian, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian, Veggies

Puff Pastry Tomato Tarts

November 14, 2016

Tomato Tart

These tasty tomato tarts are so easy to make when using ready-made frozen puff pastry.  Of course if you have time you could make your own, but using already prepared puff pastry reduces your prep time. The key to a delicious tart is to use really good tomatoes.  You want tomatoes that are meaty with few seeds so that the crust doesn’t get soggy.  Our tomato plants underproduced this summer, however, we were lucky to have a handful of really nice tomatoes that I used for tomato sauce, salsa, Mexican rice, salads, and these tarts.

Homegrown Tomatoes

Peeled Tomatoes

I didn’t peel the tomatoes the first time I made the tart but did so the next time around.  The tomato skins don’t soften much or break down when baked so peeling them ensures that when you take a bite of the tart you’re not left with the tomato skin pulling away from the rest of the slice.

Unbaked Tomato Tart with Feta & Thyme

You can make one large tart or divide the puff pastry into two equal portions and make two tarts.  Below I made one with pesto and another with feta cheese.  It was nice to have a variety of flavors.  These little tarts  make perfect appetizers for a small party.  You can make them a couple of hours in advance and still count on the crust being flaky and crisp.

Pesto & Feta Tomato Tarts

Tomato Tart with Thyme

The tomatoes above were not peeled.  You may notice the skins did not cook down much which means that when you take a bite of the tomato tart the skin may come off in one piece.  It’s definitely OK to leave the skins on though if this isn’t bothersome to you.

Tomato Tart with Feta & Thyme

Puff Pastry Tomato Tarts
 
Adapted from Canal House Cooks Every Day
Author:
Serves: 6 - 8 as an appetizer
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen ready-to-bake puff pastry sheet such as Pepperidge Farm
  • 2 - 3 tomatoes, peeled, cored, and sliced (about ⅓-inch thick)
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • basil pesto (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • Maldon or other crunchy sea salt
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit a large baking sheet pan. Place parchment paper on counter. Remove puff pastry sheet from the freezer and place it on the parchment paper. Let puff pastry defrost for 20 minutes.
  3. Roll out puff pastry on the parchment paper to measure 9½ x 12 inch rectangle. If making two tarts divide the pastry in half. Once rolled out, transfer puff pastry (on parchment paper) to your baking sheet. Using the tip of a small paring knife, lightly score a border about ½ inch from the edge of the pastry. Pierce the dough inside the border all over with the tines of a fork to prevent the central area from puffing up too much during baking.
  4. If using only tomatoes: Arrange tomatoes over the pastry. Season with pepper. Drizzle or brush a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes. Scatter fresh thyme leaves over the top.
  5. If using pesto: Brush pesto over the pastry (except border). Arrange tomatoes on the pesto and season with pepper. Drizzle or brush a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes.
  6. If using feta: Arrange tomatoes on pastry and season with pepper. Scatter crumbled feta between the tomatoes. Drizzle or brush a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes. Scatter fresh thyme leaves over the top.
  7. Bake tart(s) for 30 - 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and edges are lightly browned. Season with Maldon salt.

 

Beans, Dinner, Lactose Free, Pressure Cooker, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens

October 31, 2016

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens

A few years ago I purchased Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton’s highly regarded Canal House Cooks Every Day cookbook.  The book has gorgeous photos with straightforward, practical instructions and is formatted by the four seasons.  It’s just a lovely book.  I had not consulted it in several years but I won’t neglect it again.  An example of their beautiful cuisine is this simple and delicious meal that lets the beans and greens shine.

Dried Flageolets

The original recipe calls for borlotti beans but they weren’t available at any of the stores I visited.  Instead, I used flageolets, one of my favorite beans.  Beautiful pale green and ivory colored, they cook up nicely, holding their shape.  I used my pressure cooker to save some time but you can certainly cook them in a Dutch oven if you don’t have a pressure cooker.  As with all types of beans, some will break during the cooking process.  A few will be too soft.  Though it may take an extra 5 – 10 minutes, I sort through the beans discarding the broken and soft beans after they have cooked.  Your finished dish will look beautiful and all of the beans will be the perfect texture.

Cooked Flageolets

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens

Flageolet Beans & Wilted Greens
 
Adapted from Canal House Cooks Every Day
Author:
Serves: 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried flageolet beans, rinsed (sorted through to remove broken beans)
  • ½ medium onion cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces baby kale, spinach, or a combination (I used Organic Girl I Love Baby Kale mixture)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Preparation
  1. For stove top pressure cooker:
  2. Place beans in pot with 5 cups filtered water, bay leaf and onion. Pressure cook for 25 - 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Check beans for doneness. They should be tender and cooked through but not mushy. If they need a little more time, pressure cook for a few additional minutes or simmer on the stove until done.
  3. For Dutch oven stove top:
  4. Place beans in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot along with the onion and bay leaf and cover with at least 2½ inches of water. Bring the beans to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down so the beans simmer gently. Check on the beans after 50 minutes to see how they are doing. Add more hot water as needed to keep the beans submerged. Continue to monitor the beans until they are completely cooked through but not soft.
  5. If you made your beans in advance remove them from the refrigerator and place them in a pot with a few tablespoons of water and a good splash of olive oil (discard onion and bay leaf). Cover and heat on low until just warm.
  6. Meanwhile, put 1½ tablespoons olive oil and the sliced garlic in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Rinse your greens and add it to the pan with the water still clinging to the greens. Sauté the greens, stirring and turning them in the oil, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, place beans in a shallow bowl. Drizzle beans with a little olive oil. Top with the wilted greens and season with salt and pepper. I serve this with open-faced ham sandwiches but toasted garlic bread would be a delicious accompaniment as well.

 

 

Dinner, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Veggies

Corn, Cucumber, Avocado & Mint Salad

October 21, 2016

Corn, Cucumber, Avocado & Mint Salad

Mint has been highly esteemed throughout history, referenced both in Greek mythology as well as biblically. In its fresh form it is one of my favorite herbs.  I use it in tabouleh, cucumber salad, minty tahini dressing, watermelon salad and mojitos.  We always have a container of mint growing in the garden.  This lovely salad was adapted from a recipe I found in the New York Times “What To Cook This Week” email I subscribe to.  Its ingredients include crisp cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and corn, rich and creamy avocado, feta, and of course mint.  When corn is available I make this salad often.  Sometimes I’ll char the corn on the grill for a few minutes if I have time.

Red Onions & Lime Juice

The dressing is quite simple to make.  Mince some red onion and let it macerate in the lime juice for a short time along with fresh ground pepper and salt.  Set the bowl aside while you slice the cucumbers and other vegetables.  Finally, whisk in the olive oil and a bit of cumin.

Red Onion & Lime Dressing

Grilled Corn

If you have time grill your corn for a few minutes. This will add a subtle smokiness to your salad.

Sweet Tomatoes

Corn, Cucumber, Avocado & Mint Salad

In the version above, the corn was grilled before tossing it with the dressing.  I sprinkled Korean chili flakes over the salad before serving.  You could also use Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, or none at all.  The salad below uses corn that was steamed for just a minute in the microwave.  A few sprigs of watercress were tossed into the salad.

Corn, Cucumber, Avocado & Mint Salad

 

Corn, Cucumber, Avocado & Mint Salad
 
Adapted from the New York Times
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (up to 4 tablespoons if you prefer a less tangy dressing)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups tender corn kernels
  • 2 large firm-ripe avocados
  • 1½ cups sliced cucumbers
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • handful of watercress sprigs (optional)
  • handful of mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Preparation
  1. In a medium bowl, combine diced onions, lime juice, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Let macerate for 15 minutes, then whisk in olive oil and cumin.
  2. Spoon a generous amount of the dressing over the corn and toss to coat.
  3. Cut avocados in thick slices and arrange in a random pattern on a platter. Top with the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and watercress if using.
  4. Spoon the corn over the salad, Scatter feta and mint over the top. Sprinkle a bit of crushed red pepper over the salad. Drizzle with extra dressing and serve.

 

 

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