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Latin-Twist Summer Salad with Gooseberries

Gooseberry Salad.

OK, let’s get one thing straight, I have no idea what to call this salad. For me, dishes with cumin, lime and avocados just make me think of Ecuador or Argentina. The point is that the flavors play really nice with the gooseberries. The greens could be anything, literally — but a pinch of cumin and a squeeze of lime can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, and they really bring gooseberries to life.

So when you see those tart, tangy little grape/tomato-looking balls of happiness in the farmer’s market or grocery store in late June/early July, you may wonder what the heck to do with them. They are full-flavored pops of drama, and this salad is the perfect stage.

Summer Salad with Gooseberries

1 bunch red chard
1 avocado
1 lime
1 pint gooseberries
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Optional: 1/4 cup cotija cheese

Prep chard. Wash and thinly slice the chard by stacking the leaves, making lengthwise slits, then slicing every half inch down to the stalk. Add to large salad bowl.

Prep avocado. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Make crosswise slices, then push against skin to release the chunks in a bowl. Slice the lime in half and juice over the avocado then toss to coat. This will help prevent the avocado from turning brown.

Prep gooseberries. Wash the gooseberries; remove any leaves or stems. Slice the gooseberries in half.

Finish salad. Combine the sliced chard, chopped avocado along with lime juice, and gooseberries in a salad bowl. Add enough olive oil to coat, the cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat completely and serve. Optional: Sprinkle with cotija cheese before serving. The cotija is a nice salty topping, but can be difficult to find so omitting it is just fine

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No-Mayo Creamy Potato Salad

No Mayo Creamy Potato Salad

I love mayonnaise on my sandwiches, but I always shy away from putting heaps of it in salads. This is a no-mayo potato salad recipe, leveraging hard-boiled eggs and olive oil as a mayo replacement. Picnic-style potato salad (aka best served cold) can be prone to dryness, so sour cream is added for creaminess, though plain yogurt would work just as well. The capers add little pops of salt which is addicting. Dill and shredded spinach is added for extra flavor, though any dark green leaf vegetable — kale, mustard greens, collard greens, etc. — would work just as well. Just mix it all together after the potatoes have cooled off.

Potato Salad

1½ pounds small potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
1 cup spinach, sliced thinly
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon dill, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallots
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Boil the eggs. Place eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water until the eggs are covered by an inch. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; when water is at a rolling boil turn the heat off, keeping the lid on. Let sit for 12 minutes. Fill a bowl with ice and water, and move the eggs to the ice bath. Let sit for a couple minutes then remove shell. Chop the eggs and place in a salad bowl.

2. Cook the potatoes. Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and partially cover. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a sheet pan to cool, then add to the salad bowl with eggs.

3. Mix the salad. Add the sliced spinach, sour cream, olive oil, capers, minced dill, minced shallots, salt and pepper to the potatoes and chopped egg. Stir gently until all of the ingredients are well combined.

4. Store and serve. You can serve this right away or, even better, make it ahead and store up to several days ahead so it is completely chilled.


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Fabulous Winter Kale Salad

Winter Kale Salad
Winter Kale Salad with Cauliflower, Blood Orange and Pepita Purée

Now that I’m in the food business, I realize that many a’chef-recipe likely arises from trying to use up remnant ingredients. Such is the case with this salad. I had a small container of puréed pepitas in the fridge since the fall and I wanted my shelf space back. Even though making the pepita purée is very easy, I believe that almond or cashew butter blended with a little extra salt and olive oil would be just as tasty. Maybe even peanut butter, as long as it is all-natural and unsweetened.

This salad is fantastic! I am not, by nature, the type of person that goes bonkers for a kale salad, but this was really good! The creamy purée tempered the bitter greens and crunchy cauliflower, and the citrus gave bright pops of sweetness.

Makes 2 servings

Winter Kale Salad with Citrus, Cauliflower, and Pepito Purée

Pepita Purée*
1/2 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch kale
2 big florets cauliflower
1 cup citrus fruit, such blood or mandarin oranges

*If you don’t want to make pepita purée, substitute with almond or cashew butter, thinned with olive oil and lightly salted.

Roast the pepitas. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate or baking dish. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 8-10 minutes, stirring once, until lightly browned and crisp; let cool completely.

Make the pepita purée. Transfer the roasted pumpkin seeds to a mini food processor. Add the olive oil and pulse until the seeds are ground to a paste. Season with salt.

Prepare the salad ingredients. Stack the kale leaves and cut them into chiffondae (thin strips crosswise). Slice the cauliflower into small bite-size pieces. If you have a small citrus, just peel and break apart the pieces. For a larger one, cut into quarters then remove the outer peel with a knife, careful not to remove too much fruit. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Mix it all together. Combine the kale and cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Pour the pepita purée over it and mix until all the vegetables are evenly coated. Top with citrus and serve.


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