Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Salad

Christmas salad? Really? Isn't this the wrong season? Well, it is red and green and white, and I have an excuse—a new toy. Meet my spiralizer.



It all started in Skibbereen a couple of weeks ago, when we had lunch at the café attached to the West Cork Arts Center. Those nice people were responsible for the amazing red (beet and carrot) soup I wrote about here a while back. They make good food there, including desserts, which of course we had to investigate thoroughly.

They had a beet salad on the menu. Have I mentioned before that I don’t like beets? Well, I’ll have to edit that opinion: I don’t like the gummy sweet kind my mother used to serve. But the simple raw version is growing on me, so I tried the salad.

What was intriguing was that the beets formed a kind of spaghetti-like cluster on top of the greens. You’d think by now I’d have every kitchen gadget known to humankind, but somehow I’d missed the spiralizer. So now I have one (a rather rudimentary version, I will admit—I will have to investigate further options).

Before I tackled the beet recipe I had to experiment with the little critter. Carrots bombed—too tough. Turnips worked once I peeled them. So did potatoes. The zucchini was a pleasant surprise--it worked very well. Apples were a disaster—they fell apart. But the raw beets, once peeled, came out fine. (Note: I now have a stash of vegetable strings in the fridge. Not all would I want to eat raw, so I parboiled the tougher ones for a couple of minutes before refrigerating them. Haven’t gotten to all of them yet, but I fried up the potato strings and they cooked up nice and crisp.)

Turnip


Zucchini

Potato

I tracked down whichever salad green has the red stems (the packages weren’t much help—mostly they say something like “Leafy Medley. The Irish call them “mixed leaves” on menus) which was what the café used, and which fit the holiday color theme. Putting the salad together is simple:



--wash your leaves if necessary and spin dry. Array on individual medium-size plates.

--shred the beets.

--make a nest of your shredded beets (or whatever other vegetables you’re using) on top of the leaves.

--sprinkle with sunflower seeds (the white note)—toasting them briefly gives them a slightly mellower flavor, if you have the time and space in your oven.

--drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette (or any non-creamy dressing)

--Serve!



In hindsight I think marinating the shredded beets in the dressing would have been a good idea, but not for too long or they’d get soggy and limp.



The result? A pretty, easy-to-make dish to add to your holiday table.



And a giveaway! While the next County Cork Mystery, Many a Twist, will be out next month, I thought it would be more appropriate for the season to give away a hardcover copy of Cruel Winter, which takes place during a blizzard and involves cooking for a group of stranded strangers who are snowed in at the pub--and one of them might be a murderer.

Leave a comment by the end of Sunday and I'll pick a winner!




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Spicy Peach and Avocado Salad #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I’m sneaking this in before the last peaches disappear from the grocer’s shelves. I found this recipe in Country Living; my only additions are the splash of red wine vinegar and the bed of greens, although I did rewrite the instructions—magazine style and space considerations aren’t always conducive to clarity!

The original recipe also called for a Fresno chile; lacking same, I subbed an Anaheim, which are readily available.

The only problem with this recipe was that Mercury was not only retrograde, but spinning like a drunken dreidel. Plans called for grilled chicken. Mr. Right discovered that we'd forgotten to refill the propane tank, which forced a change to stovetop chicken---tastier but messier. And grilling the naan directly on the stove burner tastes great, unless you leave it on a tad too long, but hey, carbon is good for us, right? Then I forgot to hold the bowl while I turned on the whizzy-uppy thing, aka the immersion blender. Dinner prep does take longer when you have to stop and wash the olive oil off the floor, change your clothes, and start the laundry.

On the upside, I can assure you this salad pairs well with grilled chicken and naan and a healthy dose of Chardonnay.

Spicy Peach and Avocado Salad

Dressing:
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Anaheim or Fresno chile, thinly sliced
dash of red wine vinegar

Salad:
1/4 cup pistachios, roasted
3 ripe but firm peaches, cut into wedges
2 avocados, cut into wedges
½ cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
mixed greens


Roast the pistachios at 350 degrees, about 10 minutes. (Remember that all nuts will continue baking after being removed from the oven, so don’t overbake!)



Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or an immersion blender. Add the sliced peaches, toss to coat, and marinade at least 15 minutes, up to an hour.


Just before serving, add the avocado and about half the mint to the peaches and toss to combine. Season to taste.


 Arrange the greens in your serving dish. Gently add the peach and avocado mixture, and garnish with the pistachios and remaining mint leaves.



Serves 6-8. Enjoy!


From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Warm Chicken Salad

This recipe was inspired by one I enjoyed in Ireland, but there's nothing particularly Irish about it. It's a lovely summer recipe, easy to make, and you can swap in any ingredients you want.

The source is The Harbour Bar in Leap, just a few doors down from Connolly's, er, Sullivan's Pub. When I first saw it, it was an ordinary pub, one of a cluster on the main road through the village. Then it changed hands a few years ago, and the new managers tore down the old building and completely remodeled it, and found a chef who created menus of local Irish food with an Asian twist. I've been going back ever since, and I've never been disappointed.

This recipe is simple: take whatever greens you like, add a tart creamy dressing, sautee a marinated chicken breast, slice the chicken thinly while warm, combine the lot, and toss in some croutons. It's best if you use local greens only minutes away from the garden, and make your own croutons, but you can buy a bag of lettuce and a box of croutons and you might never notice the different. The end product combines crunchy, creamy textures with savory flavors, and a nice contrast between warm and cold (okay, you could use left-over chicken, but if it's freshly cooked, it's both warm and soft).

Warm Chicken Salad (with a nod to the Harbour Bar)
(this recipe makes two servings, but it's flexible)

Ingredients:

one boneless chicken breast, marinated with olive oil, chopped shallots, salt, pepper and any herb you have on hand, fresh or dry

The US version


The Irish version

one package (or harvest your own) lettuce of your choice (the Irish call them
"mixed leaves" which always makes me giggle)



creamy yogurt dressing:


1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tblsp minced shallot
1 Tblsp chopped fresh chives
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh croutons (I made my own from a brioche roll because I didn't have any packaged ones--just cut up whatever white bread you have handy into cubes and place in a low oven until they turn crispy but not brown)

Instructions:

If necessary, skin and bone your chicken breast. (A note: the ones they sell in markets here are huge. The ones they sell in Ireland are half the size. You can decide how much chicken you want, or cook yours and save some for later--or for your cat.) Whisk together the marinade and let the chicken steep in it for as long as you like.

Rinse your greens and let them dry. Make the croutons if you're going to.

When you're ready to cook, saute the chicken breast in a little olive oil. Important note: cook this over medium/low heat (until it's cooked through)--you don't need to sear it, you want it to remain tender and juicy. Keep an eye on it and turn it a few times so it cooks evenly.



While the chicken is cooking slowly, whisk together the yogurt dressing ingredients and dress your greens.

Dressed greens

When the chicken is cooked, place it on a cutting board and let it cool enough to handle. Then slice it thinly on the diagonal. It may sound odd, but you want the lettuce and the chicken slices to be similar in size and scale.

In individual bowls, place a bunch of your greens, then tuck in some chicken slices (do not overcrowd). Sprinkle with the croutons and serve immediately while the chicken is still warm.

The assembled salad
And there you have the perfect summer dish!

Doesn't it begin to sound as though I go to Ireland mainly to eat? I adore the Field's SuperValue market (I even have a frequent buyer card), I can't stay away from the weekly farmers market (every Saturday, with not only food but crafts and junk), and the burgeoning restaurants (you read about the newest one last week). Maybe next year I'll be able to go to the West Cork Food Festival.

Oh, right, I go to Ireland to do research for books--between meals. But young Rose in the County Cork mysteries is fast becoming a foodie. And that's only one of the unexpected turns in the next book, Many a Twist (coming January 2018).

Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

www.sheilaconnolly.com








Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#Thanksgiving week -- Crunchy Kale and Chickpea Salad


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: My constitutional law professor liked to joke that there are two kinds of people: those who constantly divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.

Let me suggest another way to divide the world: people who insist on eating the same dishes for a particular holiday, year after year, and those who like to mix things up.

Count Mr. Right and me in that latter group. It may be because we are both cabooses, much younger children in our families, and have never actually been allowed to become the hosts of annual family gatherings! Or for me, it may be memories of less-than-stellar holiday cooking. (My mother was an indifferent cook, but a FABULOUS pie and Christmas cookie baker!) Or perhaps, we just enjoy experimenting with the amazing variety of foods available this time of year, which was not the case in our childhoods. (And as proof of the amazing differences between children in the same family, my husband would make tacos for Thanksgiving, while his sister puts her serving dishes away after each holiday meal with a note in them about what dish they hold!)

So if you enjoy rearranging your menu from time to time, this dish is perfect. Plus it counts as both the salad course and a vegetable dish, leaving more room for mashed potatoes and pie. (Maybe not on the same plate, especially if you’re a gravy fan—another way we could divide the world!)

Patting the chickpeas slightly dry allows them to roast rather than steam. The chickpeas and dressing can be prepared ahead of time, with the kale sauteed and the dish assembled just before serving.

Crunchy Chickpea Kale Caesar

2 - 15 ounce cans chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
scant 1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large bunch kale
olive oil, for sauteeing
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
additional Parmesan for serving, if desired

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chickpeas dry and toss them, on a rimmed baking sheet, with the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, shaking and turning the baking sheet occasionally to cook evenly. Set aside to cool.


In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.




Trim the kale, discarding any tough stems, and roughly chop it. Heat oil in a large pan and saute briefly, 2-3 minutes; greens should remain well-colored and tender-crisp. Place in a large flat serving bowl.


Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and stir to mix. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Top with chickpeas and additional Parmesan.




Serves 6-8.

Wishing you all a lovely Thanksgiving – thank you for being part of the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen community!

Are you a traditionalist, or a daring holiday cook? 

From the cover of KILLING THYME (October 2016, in paperback, e-book, and audio---large print coming soon!): 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: This recipe appeared in CRIME RIB, the second Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, set in high summer in the village of Jewel Bay, Montana. It’s perfect for this time of year because everything is in season, it’s easy to prepare, and only one ingredient—the green beans—require any cooking. I’ve also made it in winter—the red and green color combination makes it a holiday fave—and taken it to numerous potlucks. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit since then—as all honest cooks do.

I like wandering out to my garden and picking fresh green beans. In the off season, we use the thin French style, also called haricots vert.  Since then, I’ve migrated from steaming green beans to cooking them briefly in boiling water; steaming occasionally leaves tough skins.

Although I’ve included an easy pesto recipe, I will confess we often use jarred pesto from Costco—it’s thin and pourable, unlike Mr. Right’s heartier version.

On the onion: we prefer a small white onion; sweet, red, or even green onions also work well, but the one time I used a yellow onion, I found it too strong.

We served the salad with Mr. Right's Famous Stuffed Burgers---I'll save that recipe for another time. It's wonderful with pretty much any meat, fish, or chicken, especially grilled!

So, with no further ado —

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad

one pound of fresh green beans, stemmed and cut in bite-sized pieces
1-14 oz can white beans
about a cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
a small white onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh pesto (recipe below) or more, to taste
kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper







Bring 2-3 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the beans and cook until tender-crunchy, 2-3 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking; drain and cool, and place in your serving bowl.

Rinse and drain the white beans and add to your bowl, along with the tomatoes and onions. Toss with the pesto. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled, by itself or on a bed of greens.

Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 cloves garlic, to taste
½ cup olive oil, more or less, to taste
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

Toast the nuts in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, or toss in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to darken and become fragrant. (Don’t overcook; they will continue to cook as they cool.)

In a small (2 cup) food processor, loosely chop about fresh basil leaves. Toss in the garlic—the pesto will blend more easily if you slice or chop the cloves first. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse. Add oil and pulse until you get a good consistency for mixing with other ingredients. Add grated Parmesan and nuts, and pulse to mix well.







From the cover of KILLING THYME. coming October 4 and available for pre-order now: 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Black Bean Salad #Recipe @PegCochran


This salad is a perfect addition to a summer meal—it functions as both a starch and a vegetable getting you out of the kitchen faster and back to enjoying the warm weather.  And if it’s hot, there’s no need to turn on the stove with this recipe.

The recipe is quite “loose” in that you can add/remove whatever you do or don’t like!  It goes especially well with grilled fish or meat.

Ingredients:
1 15 ½ oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
1 small red onion (or half a large one), diced
1 cup of corn (frozen and defrosted or fresh)
1 red and/or yellow pepper, diced
Juice of two fresh limes  
1/3 cup olive oil
Cilantro, chopped (more or less to taste)



Directions:
Putting this together is super simple.  Prepare all your ingredients and toss in a large bowl.  Whisk lime juice and olive oil, pour over salad and toss again.  


Beautiful fresh vegetables!


Whisk together dressing


Delicious and healthy! 


Coming September 6!

 A Romantic Times Magazine TOP PICK!


On her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful—until that peace is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on Shelby’s property during a fund-raiser for a local church. But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby’s good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she’ll have to move fast—before someone else buys the farm. . . .