Kale Caesar Salad Remixed

  IMG_3687Kale salad has become pretty ubiquitous recently (I blame it on Bon Appétit calling it the best restaurant dish of the year a few years ago) but I still love it. My current favorite iteration is a take on the traditional Caesar, with plenty of crunchy greens, a lemony dressing with lots of umami flavor from the anchovies, and (the best part) a runny poached egg instead of mixing the eggs in the dressing.

IMG_3690Since kale can be a little tough to swallow (literally), I love cutting it in ribbons like a slaw to make it easier to grab with a fork and bite. You could also easily add a different protein like chicken or salmon for a heartier meal, but as-is, this makes a pretty lovely lunch.

IMG_3684Also, some news! Ari and I are leaving for Bologna, Italy (where we both studied abroad in college) and Nice, France this afternoon! It's the first time I'm going back to Italy since studying there, and I can't wait. We'll be back on the 26th, and I'll report back on restaurants, gelato, and all of the pizza–and I'm planning on writing a bit more about moving across the country and adjusting to a new city. IMG_3692

Kale Caesar Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 3 or 4 tablespoons, divided
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 eggs
1/2 baguette or other crusty bread, torn into bit-size pieces
14 ounces  kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)

Combine lemon juice, anchovy fillets, garlic and dijon mustard in a blender; purée until smooth. With machine running, slowly add 3/4 cup oil, drop by drop, to make a creamy dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. (Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Heat remaining olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread and toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bread is golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool.

Bring a small pan of water to boil, then add vinegar. Carefully crack 1 egg directly into pan, then quickly move egg so it stays together with a slotted spoon. Let cook (water may boil over) until egg is just set, 2-3 minutes, then remove egg with spoon. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Toss kale and dressing in a large bowl to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, croutons and poached eggs.

Soba Noodle Salad

IMG_1062 We've been eating a lot of soup lately. Winter, unsurprisingly, usually makes you crave hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food, like stews, baked pasta and occasionally Shake Shack. But when you are tired of lasagna, sometimes a cold and light noodle salad will do the trick, even when it's 5 degrees outside. Cucumber and radishes add excellent crunch, and thanks to buckwheat soba noodles, you can eat a heaping plate and not feel too full (all the better to save room for dessert.)

IMG_1053

IMG_1068I probably shouldn't be writing this now considering we likely have at least two more months of chilly weather, but I for one am looking forward to spring. I love squash and apples and potatoes as much as anyone, but you know, one can only eat so much. We're leaving for Paris(!) in a week, and I'll be back in March with pictures (and of course, where we ate–I have a running list of approximately 50 places right now.)

IMG_1057

IMG_1051

Soba Noodle Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit)

Chile-Scallion Oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 star anise pods

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

½ cup vegetable oil

Noodles And Assembly

12 oz. soba noodles

tablespoons soy sauce

tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

scallions, thinly sliced

½ large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

Chile-Scallion Oil

Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar and cover until ready to use.

Noodles And Assembly

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, chicken, and scallions; toss to coat.

Toss with cucumber, radishes, and cilantro and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

_MG_7459Brussels sprouts were one of those vegetables I stayed away from as a kid because someone told me they were gross, and once I finally tried them as a teenager, made me kick myself for missing out all those years. _MG_7469We eat them all the time in the winter, usually simply roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper until they are super crispy, but when I came across this salad from one of my favorite little restaurants in NYC, I knew I had to give it a try. I made do with what I had, but since you only need a few ingredients, the salad comes together in minutes and is a study in simplicity. It goes perfectly with roast chicken or short ribs, and makes a great alternative to traditional winter roasted vegetables. _MG_7465

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad (adapted from the New York Times)

24 brussels sprouts

½ cup raw walnut halves (I only had almonds, so I used that instead)

¼ cup fork-crumbled parmiggiano reggiano

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Trim bottoms of brussels sprouts and discard any discolored or loose outer leaves. Using a mandoline, the slicing attachment on a food processor or a very sharp knife, shave sprouts into the thinnest of slices.

In a large bowl, combine shaved sprouts with the other ingredients, mixing roughly by hand so that the greens begin to wilt a little. Season to taste with salt and add a little more olive oil and lemon juice if necessary.

 

Shrimp and Asparagus Salad

_MG_6418 Hotter temperatures call for lighter meals, generally. I don't usually feel like a giant bowl of pasta when it's 80 degrees out (though there are , of course, exceptions) so we have been eating a lot of salads lately. When it's hot I'm always craving Thai or Mexican food (I think it's something about the spices),and I think the shrimp and asparagus go really well with a soy dressing. The peanuts add a little crunch, and the lime provides a hit of acidity – pair with a cold beer, and what else do you really need on a hot June night?_MG_6422

_MG_6421

Shrimp and Asparagus Salad (serves 3-4)

For dressing:

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/8 cup fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into 1-inch pieces

10 oz. mixed greens

1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shrimp, and asparagus and sauté until shrimp are pink and cooked through and asparagus are bright green and crisp-tender. Remove from heat and place shrimp and asparagus in a large bowl. Pour dressing over, then add greens and peanuts and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

 

Iceberg Wedge Salad

_MG_5671 _MG_5675Most of the time, my preferred salads are either of the crunchy Asian variety, or some type of arugula-blue cheese-pear mash-up. But every now and then, all I really want is crisp iceberg lettuce, creamy blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon, and of course, avocado – yes, it might be old-fashioned, but sometimes you just can't beat a good iceberg wedge salad. I made these to go along with the wings while we were watching the Super Bowl, and I must say, it was pretty perfect. If you're anywhere on the East Coast, you're probably snowed in, or at least had a pretty bad commute this morning – and I think that this salad is the perfect antidote, hearty but crunchy, doused in a rich dressing and filled with salty delicious bits -- just how it should be for a snow day. _MG_5674

_MG_5686Iceberg Wedge Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit, serves 4)

4 oz. slab bacon (we used turkey bacon instead)

1/2 finely chopped shallot

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup crumbled mild blue cheese

1 small head of iceberg lettuce

1/4 thinly sliced small red onion

1 avocado, thinly sliced

Place a skillet over medium heat. Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces, and add to pan, cooking until crisp, 7-8 minutes. Place on a paper towel. Whisk shallot, sour cream, buttermilk, chives and vinegar in a small bowl, then slowly stir in blue cheese. Season well with salt and pepper.

Quarter the iceberg lettuce into wedges and place onto four plates. Drizzle with dressing, then sprinkle red onion, bacon, avocado and additional chives. Serve immediately.

Chicken & Cabbage Salad

_MG_5439This time of year, I remember why I love New York. All of the streets are lit up, there's a crispness in the air that isn't bitter cold yet, and you can't help but smile at all of the holiday decorations and Christmas trees. But with December comes a rush of holiday parties and with them an abundance of sweets, drinks and delicious little cheesy cocktail appetizers (you know what I mean). Some nights, you might just want a salad. Personally, I need salads with a lot of crunch, and some interesting elements besides just lettuce (and I can't always justify adding cheese and bacon). This salad has quickly become one of my favorite weeknight meals -- quick, inexpensive and delicious. _MG_5446

_MG_5442

Chicken & Cabbage Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit, serves 4)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/3 cup vegetable oil or olive oil 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons  brown sugar 1 teaspoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam) 1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger Kosher salt
1/2 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups) 2 medium carrots, peeled, shredded 6 scallions, whites and pale greens only, thinly sliced 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or 3 chicken breasts, roasted and shredded 1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 avocado, thinly sliced

Whisk chile, oil, lime and lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and ginger in a large bowl; season with salt. Add cabbage, carrots, scallions, chicken, spinach, and cilantro; toss to coat. Top with peanuts and avocado slices.

Summer Panzanella

_MG_4771In my old apartment, I had a basil plant on the kitchen window -- here in New York, we have to try pretty hard to bring the outdoors in, with few windows and outdoor space at a premium making it difficult. There wasn't a ton of sunlight, but somehow that plant survived the winter and when I brought it to my new apartment (which somehow gets even less light, being on the first floor), I was hopeful. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have inherited my parents' green thumbs and it lasted less than a month. Basil is one of my favorite herbs, a smell that means all sorts of wonderful things -- like Italy, and pesto, and summer. I'm very excited to see it back at the farmer's market, along with the season's first greenhouse tomatoes. This salad makes an excellent main course when you don't feel like doing too much cooking, or is a perfect accompaniment to roast chicken or rack of lamb (as we had it)._MG_4770 _MG_4766

_MG_4781

To make this salad even easier, you could skip roasting the red peppers and just chop them up raw, but I love the smoky layer of flavor they add.

_MG_4776

_MG_4772

Also, my second post is up on Wine & Bowties! See my family's recipe for classic tomato-basil bruschetta here.

Summer Panzanella (adapted from Eat This Book)

1 baguette or loaf of French bread, torn into bite-size pieces

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers

2 red peppers, roasted over an open flame, then diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss bread pieces with 1/4 cup olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Toast until bread is golden-brown, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk garlic, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients, toss, and season as needed. Lastly, add toasted croutons and stir.  Serve immediately.

Zucchini Carpaccio

I know, I know. Two zucchini posts in a row. But this carpaccio is so simple and delicious that I had to post it for you all. There might still be some zucchini left at the farmer's markets, even though it's now been pretty much taken over by apples and squash. I made this for a quick and easy lunch last weekend, but it would also make an excellent first course for a dinner party. Be sure to use a mandolin (if you have one) to make the slices of zucchini as thin as possible; otherwise, use a very sharp knife so that they are almost transparent. ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Zucchini Carpaccio (adapted from Tyler's Ultimate by Tyler Florence)

1 zucchini, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as basil, mint, and parsley

2 teaspoons capers

Zest and juice of one lemon

1/4 - 1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Layer zucchini in overlapping slices on a plate. Sprinkle herbs and lemon zest over, then drizzle lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over, then season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for ten minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Serve immediately.

Arugula Salad with Maple-Balsamic Figs

Someday, I'm going to have an orchard. Having grown up in Minnesota, where there are only apples, and now living in New York, where there is clearly not enough space on my fire escape even for tomato plants, my dream of an orchard will still be just that: a dream. But someday, I'll have avocados, lemons, peaches, and especially figs. Figs are only available for a couple of short months at the end of summer here, which means that I buy them whenever I can find some. I stumbled upon these beauties at the fruit stand outside my office, and immediately brought them home to figure out what to do with them. Of course, I love figs with just a bit of honey and Greek yogurt for breakfast, but this salad has definitely become one of my favorite summer meals. And on top of that, it's impressive enough to serve at a dinner party.

Arugula Salad with Maple-Balsamic Figs (serves 2-3 as a main course, 4-5 as a first course)

1/2 + 1 tablespoons butter

1 lb figs, cut into quarters

2 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup white wine

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

8 oz arugula

2 oz blue or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

3 oz walnuts, toasted

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add figs, and cook one minute. Turn heat to medium-high, and add maple syrup, vinegar, and wine and cook until liquid begins to boil and figs are beginning to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Season with black pepper. Drain figs, reserving liquid in a small bowl. Set figs aside. Return liquid to pan and boil over high heat, until it is reduced by about half. Remove from heat, and let cool.

Meanwhile, melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until caramelized and golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk balsamic-maple syrup mixture with olive oil in a small glass or measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper. Place some arugula on a plate, top with walnuts, shallots, and blue cheese. Spoon figs over, then lightly drizzle with vinaigrette (you may have extra). Serve immediately.

Arugula Salad with a Fried Egg

At some point, these 98 degree days have to end. Of course, I will be missing them in winter, but for the moment I am running out of sundresses to wear. Dinner has become whatever I can throw together in a few minutes, preferably with little to no cooking time. This salad comes together quickly, and can easily become a main course with the addition of sliced ham, avocado, and a fried egg -- which makes everything better, clearly. I love the contrast of the crisp, peppery arugula with creamy avocado and the tart vinaigrette. You can also poach the eggs for a slightly healthier version of this salad. Arugula Salad with a Fried Egg

6 oz arugula

2 ears corn

2 oz prosciutto or Ibérico ham, thinly sliced (optional)

1 avocado, diced

Handful walnuts, lightly toasted

2 shallots, diced

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Pinch sugar

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 eggs

1 tablespoon butter

 

On a grill, roast corn until kernels turn bright yellow and are slightly charred, about 7 minutes per side. Alternatively, roast corn in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool then cut off kernels with a serrated knife into a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Add arugula, toasted walnuts, avocado, and ham and mix well. In a small glass or jar, whisk shallots, mustard, vinegar, and sugar until blended. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream while whisking, and mix until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, then add to salad and toss well.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Crack egg directly into pan and season with salt and pepper (one at a time is easiest). Cook until white is about half-way set, approximately 1 minute. Flip egg over with a spatula and cook until white is set but yolk is still runny, about 30 second (longer if you like your eggs cooked more). Repeat with remaining egg. Add salad to two bowls, then top each with an egg.