Entries Tagged as 'Salad'

Hosting A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 21, 2013

7804f2516d947a454417d264332c6e9c
(Although I wish this was my own feast that I was muchin’ down on, it is not. As a change of pace on VV, I’ve borrowed most of the photos in this post so please click on the images to check out more beautiful photos from the original authors)

 

I’m a total planner. Anytime my boyfriend mentions he’d like to go on a trip somewhere, I’ll have a full day by day itinerary wrote up and emailed to him by the following evening. He usually has forgot he even mentioned anything by the time he receives the email but I know he has to smirk a little in that moment he opens it to find days (usually by the hour) planned out with restaurants, museums, sights, road stops, forests, and campsites. At least, I know I smirk a little when I re-read those emails. I don’t realize I’m doing it but I’m being exactly like my father in those moments. He would take us all (my brother, my three cousins who lived with us, and my step-mother) on a two week vacation every August when I was growing up. For the months leading up to it, he would pull out the atlas after dinner and compare tourist books (this was before the internet was a real big thing) to what was along the route. I remember how playful he always was in those planning moments and he’d tease me with comments like ‘should we go gambling in Vegas or take that 7 mile hike all uphill to see the rock that resembles a monkey head?’ (as if either of those things were appealing to a 10 year old).

Most of these trips I plan are just ideas – tucked away in email folders – never to actually be carried out. Sometimes I wonder if I have more fun planning adventures then actually taking them. There is just something comforting about these plans being there – comforting in the sense that if we did ever decide to sneak away to the Smoky Mountains or Lake Powell or Montreal at the last second, we wouldn’t miss a thing because I’ve got an itinerary for that!

Anyhow, I bring this story up because I planned out Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is sort of like a trip – you spend months planning and prepping only to have it carried out in one big meal. The funny thing is I’m not even hosting Thanksgiving this year. We always have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house up north and all I do is pick out a few recipes to make the day of and demand a Tofurky. However, even though I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, I still made a Thanksgiving menu. You know, just in case I ever feel like throwing a Thanksgiving dinner on a non-Thanksgiving holiday or something? Okay, that sounded crazy. I just mean that I did it because I enjoy planning. Planning can be a hobby, right?

So, to get to the point, if you are looking to host a Vegetarian Thanksgiving this year or just still need a few ideas on some sides, here is how I envision the perfect Vegetarian Thanksgiving:

Read More

Grilled Maple Bourbon Glazed Panzanella Salad

Posted on: August 7, 2013

maplebourbonsmallpanz4

My idea for this was to make a savory bread salad without it turning into bread pudding or baked french toast (which was sightly harder than you might think). But adding tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil (peppers would be good too!) – it creates that sweet and savory sensation which is irresistible in this salad!

This time of year is all about cooking with fresh-from-the-garden produce. It’s that time where salads shine and raw is more. This makes me appreciate the method more than ever. No 30 steps involved in getting to that end casserole or sautéing followed by roasted following by rolling followed by baking. With fresh summer recipes, it’s about slightly cooking (if at all) to achieve a hint of flavor that accents the fresh flavors of your colorful produce.

I think this is the reason I love grilling so much. It’s simple and feels very natural to grill veggies over an open fire to bring out their flavors. Or to slightly caramelize fruit until it melts in your mouth. This salad is bursting with raw flavors while meshing perfectly with the smoky nuance of the bread and fruit.

maplebourbonpanzz

And yes, I burnt some of the bread (see picture above – maybe it was because I was grilling in high heel sandals?!). That is one of my favorite parts about cooking… even after years in the kitchen (or in this case…the back yard), I’m still making mistakes and learning. I’ve been camping most weekends for the last month so my delusions about knowing my way around the grill were at a record high. Wyatt usually takes charge of the grill and you can most certainly tell by the state of that piece on the way left.

Also, moving on from talking about this salad, I wanted to let you know that I know that I’ve been a little absent on here lately. It’s not my fault… well sort of my fault. Summer has brought house guests staying for days on end (and more coming!), random cross country adventures, and desires for new hobbies. But I do have to admit, even after having loads of fun with these out-of-the-ordinary adventures, I still always want to come back to cooking. Flying 10 hours across the country is really just an opportunity (in my mind) to gather new recipe inspiration from road side diners and produce stands by the ocean. Taking up sanding is just an excuse for me to build more shelving units for blog props. You get the picture…I miss being around here and am glad to be back. : ]

maplebourbonpanzsmall1

Grilled Maple Bourbon Glazed Panzanella

Serves 2
  • 1 loaf of day old bread (I used a baguette), sliced in half
  • 1 large cucumber or 3 small cucumbers, sliced into bite size strips
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Combination of Stone fruit (I used 2 peaches and 2 plums), halved
  • Handful of basil, torn
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

For the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • dash of Salt / Pepper

maplebourbonpanzsmall12

In a small saucepan, whisk together the glaze ingredient and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside to thicken (about five minutes).

Start the grill. Brush the bread and fruit with honey bourbon glaze. Stick on the grill (watching closely!) and brown on each side. Time will completely depend on how hot your coals are but mine took about a minute on each side for bread and 3 minutes for the fruit.

Dice the bread and fruit into bite size pieces and toss with cucumber, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, 2 Tablespoons leftover glaze, salt, and pepper. Serve warm.

 

maplebourbonpanzsmall2

Chickpea Cobb Salad Cups

Posted on: July 21, 2013

chickpeasmall2

 

It has been hot hot HOT here in the Midwest. It’s hard to get motivated to eat copious amounts of food (let alone turn your oven on) in this heat. I’m not complaining… this is always the time of year that I start to master my salads. When  you start eating the things three times a day, you are bound to get creative with them. Corn relish, seasoned chickpeas, baked goat cheese, preserved lemons, stuffed tomatoes, polenta croutons…the options with salads are endless!

 

chickpeacobbsmall

 

When imagining these cups, think Americanized lettuce wraps (and not the kind you get at P F Changs). These little cups are filled with a vegetarian Cobb inspired salad. You can fill the cups with goodies before hand or put all the toppings in individual bowls and let people pick and choose how much of everything goes into their cup. Or you could even do it lettuce wrap style and mix the salad ingredients together in one bowl and then let your guests scoop the desired amount into little raddichio leaves.

If you’ve never had raddichio before, it’s a must try (especially for any salad lover). They look like mini red cabbages but have a flavor profile closer to the endive. Raddichio is slightly bitter and is part of the chicories family along with endives and escaroles. You can mellow out the slightly spicy / bitter taste by roasting the vegetable but I personally think it gives the perfect raw edge to this, otherwise pretty tame, Cobb salad.

 

chickpeasmall11

Read More

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: June 29, 2013

…And time for some inspiring links from around the web:

       

1. ADVENTURING // Headed to the west coast at the end of July to join a friend on her cross country road trip. I’ll be tagging along on the part from San Fran to Portland which means I’ve been going a little crazy with planning. We are definitely hitting up the Redwoods and ocean. Anyone have any recommendations for San Fran / Portland / anything in between?!

2. INSPIRING // Look at this salad from Gourmande in the Kitchen! Don’t all the wonderful colors, textures, and shapes make you want to eat this for every meal? Love Love Love feeling inspired by vegetables. Now, the only problem I need to get over is my dislike for beets…they are so beautiful…why can’t I just like them?!

3. CREATING // I’ve been familiarizing myself with dreamweaver and Issuu a lot lately in hopes to start making my own VV online magazine / zine. This has triggered hours and hours of flipping through magazines and online design books in the name of “research”.

4. CRAVING // Milkshake Strawberry Banana Cake?! Yes, please. This ‘milkshake turned baked goods’ trend has been popping up all over Pinterest but no one has done it quiet as beautifully as Hungry Rabbit.

 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned! I’d like to do some adventuring to the lake but the forecast calls for storms all weekend. It might be a sign that I’m overdue for a day getting lost in the kitchen…

Wild Rice & Wheatberry Grain Salad

Posted on: April 1, 2013

  Wild Rice and wheatberry grain salad

 

Helloooo, April. April Fools has always been one of my favorite holidays. I’m ruthless about it. My childhood pranks consisted of unplugging the fridge and turning the house upside down in the name of ‘Aprils Fools’. My teenage April fools jokes only got more cruel – from telling my mother I was pregnant to calling my father crying about dropping out of school. I was just plain awful.

I feel a little unprepared today. I usually have a list of pranks that I spend the day playing on people. But this year I have nothing. No silly string was bought in advance and no text messages were craftily worded out. I wonder if I’m loosing my touch? I think I’m just having a hard time drawing the line between what are acceptable pranks at my age? If I was to trash a house then I’d have to clean it up – sooo… jokes on me (and we all know that’s no fun). Do any of you guys have some really good pranks planned today?

Anyhow, so I feel the need to point out that April Fools has nothing to do with this salad. I just wanted to talk about April fools. And now I want to talk about salads (I can do…you know, pick topics…because it’s my blog). So we are going to talk about grain salads.

The lettuce has been looking pretty sad at my co-op these past few months so I’ve been turning to grain salads more and more for my lunches. They are portable, easy to make a big batch ahead of time, and super filling.

If I could, I would eat wheat berries for every meal. They are wonderfully chewy and filling and stuffed full of fiber. However Wyatt isn’t a big fan so I’ve been hiding them along with other grains. It’s been working out wonderfully! They give a hidden chewiness to the salad that makes you work a little harder and leaves you feeling more satisfied! This salad is on the sweet side because of the maple syrup so I would suggest serving it with a side of almond butter and toast. Or if you want something savorier, swap out the maple syrup and orange juice for balsamic vinegar. Don’t be afraid to play around here!

 

Wild-Rice-And-Wheatberry

 

Wild Rice & Wheat Berry Grain Salad with Dried Cranberries & Almond

  • 2/3 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup wheat berries, rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped almond
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • juice from half an orange
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Salt / Pepper, to taste

First, prepare the grains. Place the wheatberries in 3 cups of water and let simmer for 45 minutes. Place the wild rice in an pot with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once the wild rice water is boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. Drain both the pots (if there is any water leftover after the wild rice has absorbed it) and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes (or until softened). Add in the garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix the wild rice, wheat berries, and onion mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Serve right away or stick in the fridge for an hour to help the flavors meld together.

 

Wild Rice and wheat berries

 

PS – Want to turn this lunch salad into dinner? Why not stuff a roasted acorn squash with it?

Cilantro Couscous Salad with Roasted Carrots & Chickpeas

Posted on: January 23, 2013

I have had a seriously absurd addiction to couscous lately. Ever since I received that tagine for Christmas, I’ve been throwing everything over the stuff. My go to for dinner is often times roasting whatever veggies / beans / tofu I have on hand with garlic then throwing it over some type of starch. It used to be rice or pasta but lately… it’s been all about the couscous. This has actually caused a battle in our house…Wyatt is a basmati rice lover and he has not happy about all this couscous trend. It’s been a fun challenge to see who can get to the simmering water first and what gets thrown in.

I ate this salad warm and also cold the next day (which was probably even more flavorful the couscous and veggies absorbed the dressing). This salad is a ridiculously delicious lunch and super portable (cannot wait to start bringing it on picnics). Feel free to substitute whatever veggies you have on hand and experiment! Root vegetables seem to be the appropriate option this time of year but I cannot wait to try a summer version with roasted tomatoes, corn, and basil.

The carrots are roasted in olive oil and honey which helps bring out the tiniest hint of sweet in the overall salad. The chickpeas are a great addition (warm or cold) and help to keep you feeling full for longer. Feel free to experiment with other beans you have on hand as well.

 

CoussousSalad

 

 Cilantro Couscous Salad with Roasted Carrots & Chickpeas

  • 4 carrots, sliced into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or agave to make vegan)
  • 1 preserved lemon, skin only and sliced very thinly (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 cup couscous

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 1/8 cup olive oil (may need a little more to thin out the dressing)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • dash of paprika
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combines the carrots, 3 garlic cloves (whole), half the olive oil, honey, and a dash of salt in a bowl. Spread out into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the carrots are browned and tender (I like mine with a little crunch but keep in for longer if you like them more roasted). Remove from oven and let cook slightly. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze out the garlic from the outer cloves and mix in with the carrots.

Make the dressing while carrots are roasting: In a small food processor, blend together half the cilantro (1/4 of a bunch), cumin seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic clove, and paprika. Pulse until a smooth paste has formed. Add in more olive oil if it is too think. Season to taste and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add in the couscous and cook until toasted (about five minutes – stir frequently). Add in 1 cup of boiling water and simmer for about ten minutes or until the water is absorbed and the couscous is cooked all the way through.

Combine the couscous, carrots, chickpeas, preserved lemon, leftover cilantro and dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm or stick in the fridge for a refreshing snack later.

 

couscous2

 

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie