I Think It’s Rad(icchio) When You Shake Your Couscous
Hi, my name is Angela and I am addicted to high drama. And not the Bravo-flavored, housewife sassin’, backstabbing kind. I’m talking about the cinematic moments where your life blurs into a movie and you get to pen the script and set the soundtrack all by yourself. So it’s no surprise that I live for instances that make my heart ache from their sheer beauty, typically created by a bit of music, an inspiring ingredient, or a splash of design. And sometimes, when I am disgustingly lucky, I’ll get all of the above in one fell swoop. My friends know that in these moments, I’ll tend to gush and grow a little manic trying to cram in my fill, but I chalk it up as a response that makes me inherently me. The moments between these fits is merely life pausing for me, only to resume when my next blissful obsession hits. Continue reading Couscous Salad with Grilled Radicchio, Grapes and Goat Cheese
Is That Phallic-Looking Potato a Dictator?
I’ve been wistful this week, thinking about my fam and the kinds of laughter that would only appear when all of us were together. The kind that makes you cry like a fool and wheeze, you can’t even get it out. Around the time that my little sister was first getting to know my then boyfriend-now husband, she laid some strict rules on him to be accepted into the family (all of this according to her alone, by the way). The most important one of the three (which I remember also included him doing a jump kick and possibly joining Facebook?) was to say something so ridiculously funny to her, she’d break out into silent laughter. It turned out this wasn’t much of a challenge given that my husband tends to be fucking hilarious the majority of the time, but I loved that my sister’s request was so telling of what was so very prized to her and to all of us in the fam. My husband completed a crew that has always (and will always) appreciate the times where we all get to do nothing but chill – I’m talking a backyard feast with plenty of grey goose, barbecue or blue crabs, farmer’s market produce gifted to my dad for playing music for the vendors, and an inordinate amount of stupid puns. Continue reading Potato Salad with Lemon Tarragon Aioli and Haricots Verts
Tart Lemons and Spicy Mamas
I think it’s apropos that this Tuesday following Mother’s Day (aka Dia des Las Madres), the recipe is one of my all time faves that my own resplendent mama taught me. She’s pretty majestic, and given that one day isn’t enough to honor her awesomeness, I’m extending the party to this Tuesday. My tartness is all earned honestly, but I can’t say that I didn’t get any encouragement growing up in a house with some of the sassiest fucking people to ever walk the earth. A sass factory if you will, and I was sentenced to work early on in the game. This original recipe was one of the early ones on Adesina’s Kitchen, and though it’s a clutch go-to every time I need a vinaigrette, the old picture did not sell this salad’s infinite awesomeness. I knew I had to go back and give it the glory that it deserved. Bibb lettuce. Check. Crispier croutons. Check. Snipped tarragon and chives. Check and motherfuckin’ check. Continue reading Throwback Tuesday: French Lemon Tarragon Vinagrette
Cooler Than a Fucking…Well, You Know
This salad is too cool for school – it just stares you down like it’s the reason that your life is spectacular and you should adore it as such. The recipe is wicked simple – just a little chopping and a light vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon juice to hold it all together. It’s versatility, though, is the selling point – meaning that you can serve it with any and all things grilled or top it with feta or mix in some orzo and BAM BOOM, you’ve got yourself a new dish and a new recipe to save for the treasure trove. Don’t thank me – thank the Olive Tree Cafe for the inspiration. They hooked me on the stuff and I had to craft a similar recipe for myself. Continue reading Israeli Cucumber Salad
I first fell in love with this cole slaw after eating at California Pizza Kitchen – trying their chicken potstickers for the first time, I noticed that they came accompanied by an interesting looking cole slaw studded with scallions. One taste and I was hooked – the combination of sesame oil and peanut butter was a palate zinger. I had to learn to make it myself.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler – whisk a few ingredients together and toss with the cabbage and then let the tangle of goodness ruminate on its future awesomeness. Not that cole slaw can think, but if it could, I imagine that’s what it’d be doing. Thinking about how cool it is. Continue reading Asian Cole Slaw
Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish
to go with the warm flat bread.
The art of the homemade vinaigrette is essential for every cook, but is truly as complicated as boiling water. With all the hype that we place on pre-made salad dressings, there’s a need for a call to action with this simple salad topper. You simply twirl a bit of fruity olive oil and bright vinegar around a large bowl and toss. Done. No measuring cups and no real errors – just taste (with your fingers!) and adjust as necessary. It’s not really much of a recipe, but upon eating, you’ll be reminded of why salad is never a chore when it’s time to eat your veggies. Continue reading Green Salad with Lazy Vinaigrette
Despite my undying love for New York City and all of its glories, I hate that sunshine there is at a premium. With much of the year swathed in gray, there’s something endlessly appealing about the 364 days of sunshine that Phoenix has to offer. I’ll probably never truly fit in here on the left coast (I’m an out-and-out East coast ex-pat, who bleeds 100% DC love when cut), but lemme just say that when Cali kids speak of their junkie-esque need for light on the regular, I kind of get it. My move out here to the lawless desert has provided me with blissful sunshine and true blue skies that could cure the seasonally depressed in an instant, and I’m totally hooked.
Nothing speaks more to my adjustment to the bright perfection out here in AZ than my urges to whip up all sorts of cold salads. From chilled pastas and crisp veggies sopping up vinaigrettes, to a simple toss of fresh berries, splashes of liquer and a chiffonade of mint, these chilled dishes keep my kitchen cool and my mood light. Tabbouleh is a favorite of mine – this herby salad is a quick accompaniment to grilled meats, a homey companion on a mezze platter of hummus and olives, or a throw together potluck favorite that pairs up with any and everything on the buffet line. Best of all, it’s a throw-together dish that is forgiving in terms of time – you can prep it ahead or even serve it right away. Arabic for “little spicy,” tabbouleh is the marriage of tart, spicy, savory and sweet – all that you want for a cool summer supper. Continue reading Simple Tabbouleh
Orzo is like a dependable friend – versatile, mixes well with others, but distinct and fun on its own. I’m an out and out fan. In lieu of the traditional radiatore pasta or bowties for a potluck stunner, why not outstanding orzo? This particular combination features peppery arugula, sweet tomatoes and salty mizithra cheese all gussied up with a light vinaigrette. It looks sunnier than Miss America in the Sahara desert.
Mizithra cheese is a rather fun addition – a hard sheep milk cheese made in Greece. It’s salty like feta, but drier and crumblier – perfect for a lively pasta salad. If you can’t find mizithra, you can certainly use ricotta salata or feta cheese. Also, try to use the best olive oil you can get your hands on – when you have a recipe with so few ingredients and little to no cooking, it helps to keep the flavors strong.
Orzo Salad with Arugula and Mizithra Cheese
1 lb. of orzo
2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
3 c. of arugula leaves, loosely chopped
1/2 c. of olive oil
6 oz. of mizithra cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of pepper
4 tbs. of rice wine vinegar
3 tbs. of sliced green onion
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt heavily. Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and cool with running water. Drain again well and add to a large mixing bowl. Toss the orzo with the tomatoes, arugula, olive oil, cheese, salt, rice wine vinegar, pepper and green onions. Chill for at least 20 minutes and then serve.
Summertime has always meant trips to the farmer’s market – from the dripingly ripe tomatoes to the sweetest ears of corn, I couldn’t help but swoon over access to ingredients as flavorful and delicious as these. Despite my dependence on the convenience of grocery stores, shopping at the market was a reminder of the fact that we can all make a commitment to using the freshest ingredients possible. Summertime meant easy access to the most incredible veggies, and took the focus off of planning before shopping. You could go with a blank slate and a lack of a menu, and just resign to be inspired by what was available. It was liberating, really.
This salad is a winner for the spontaneous and the planners alike – during the summer, heirloom tomatoes are readily available and simply begging to be tucked into. Green beans are crisp and sweet and ready to snap the ends and crunch away. You can even access buttery heirloom potatoes for use in this salad that come in just about every shade. The entire salad is held together by a basil vinaigrette that manages to brighten and highlight all of the flavors of the veggies. It makes a gorgeous potluck and the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, but it’s nourishing enough as a main course and absolutely vegan. Like I said before, the perfect summer celebration.
Summer Salad of Fingerlings, Heirloom Tomatoes and String Beans
1 lb. of haricots vert or string beans, snipped of stems
1 lb. of fingerling potatoes
1 c. of heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 c. cubed tomatoes)
juice of half a lemon
3 tbs. of red wine vinegar
2 cl. of garlic
1/2 c. of basil leaves
1/4 c. of olive oil
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1 tsp. of salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt heavily. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain with a slotted spoon and cool with running water. While the water is still boiling, plunk in the haricot verts and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and cool with running water. Add chilled potatoes and green beans to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes to the bowl and set aside.
In a food processor, add the garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Blitz to mince finely. Add the lemon and vinegar and blitz again. While the motor is running, stream in the olive oil. Turn off the food processor and pour dressing over the vegetables. Toss and chill for at least 15 minutes. Serve.
It’s not terribly often that I have a dish that makes me want to have a mini fit, but when it happens, I try to do everything I can to extend the excitement. I had a salad similar to this one at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, Marseille. Between the tender prosciutto, warm buttered croutons and luxe truffle oil dressing, I wanted to hug a stranger and do a jump kick for joy. Truthfully, though the taste is haute, the ingredients themselves are not terribly expensive or hard to come by. With the truffle oil as your only splurge, the real luxury comes from the lovely combination of flavors and texture. Making fresh croutons and serving them warm on the salad is an essential part of the glory – with just a few ingredients joining the peppery bed of arugula, you want to make sure that everything is just right. After all, the end result should be a mini fit, and for a salad to achieve that honor, it’s got to be damn good. Continue reading Arugula Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette