food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘salad

minced chicken salad

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Loosely based on Thai Larb, this minced chicken salad makes a tasty summer meal.

lao-style-chicken-salad

To cook the chicken you will need some Thai chilli paste in soya oil. Add 3 tablespoons of the paste and some of the oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add 450g (1 lb) of minced chicken thigh meat and cook, mixing well and breaking the mince into small pieces. If necessary add a little water. When the chicken is cooked set it aside to cool. In a bowl make a salad of finely shredded celery, finely sliced red onion, julienned carrot, plenty of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint, bean thread noodles (cooked for 2 minutes and shocked under cold running water), chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped fresh red chilli and chopped roasted peanuts. When the chicken has cooled add it to the salad and season with fish sauce and fresh lime juice to taste.

Written by michelle picker

April 17, 2017 at 5:51 am

carrot salad

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This Turkish salad was a perfect way to enjoy our home-grown carrots.

carrot-salad

Shred or finely julienne approximately 5 cups of carrots. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add the carrots, stirring until they are just starting to wilt and change colour. In a bowl whip 1 cup of thick natural yoghurt with 2 crushed cloves of garlic and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Combine the yoghurt and carrots adding fresh herbs of your choice (I used mint and parsley) and mixing well. This salad makes a great side dish for any Turkish or Middle Eastern meal. We enjoyed it with left-over roast lamb (fried souvlaki-style with onions and Baharat spices), a green salad and Greek pita bread.

souvlaki-plate

Written by michelle picker

March 12, 2017 at 5:44 am

watermelon and feta salad

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I waited far too long to try this salad. Sweet and salty, easy to make and perfect for a hot Summer’s day.

watermelon-and-feta-salad

Cut some watermelon into bite-sized chunks and add some finely sliced red onion. Crumble in a generous amount of a good feta cheese and some sliced fresh mint. Drizzle with olive oil, toss and serve.

Written by michelle picker

January 11, 2017 at 5:47 am

broad bean and feta salad

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These lovely young broad beans came fresh from our garden.

broad-bean-and-feta-salad

Steam 450g (1 lb) of fresh broad beans until just tender.  Drain and shock them under cold running water. In a bowl combine the beans with a generous amount of fresh mint, 60 – 80g (2 – 3 oz) of feta cheese and the finely grated or chopped rind of half a lemon. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl. Add 4 times as much olive oil and plenty of freshly ground black pepper then whisk to emulsify. Add this dressing to the beans and toss to combine.

Written by michelle picker

October 25, 2016 at 6:08 am

blue corn tamales

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Tamales originated as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. The Aztec and Mayan civilisations, as well as the Olmec and Toltec before them, used tamales as portable food, often to support their armies, but also for hunters and travellers. Tamales are generally wrapped in corn husks or plantain leaves before being steamed. In Mexico they are a favourite comfort food, eaten as both breakfast and dinner. Tamales exist in various forms throughout Central and South America and even in the Phillipines and Guam, once Spanish provinces of Mexico. They also made their way to Spain with the Conquistadors who took them there as proof of civilisation. This recipe is adapted from Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe and even though I had no corn husks and had to make do with baking paper, the result was excellent.

blue-corn-tamales-wrapped

To make these tamales you will first need some blue corn masa. For 6 tamales combine 1½ cups of blue corn masa with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of milk. In a large bowl or stand mixer whisk 250g (9 oz) of butter with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1½ teaspoons of salt. Incorporate the masa mixture into the butter 2 tablespoons at a time while whisking to keep the mixture light. Fold in 1 cup of cooked corn kernels, 1 diced chorizo and ½ a cup of chopped coriander (cilantro) until well combined. Divide the mixture between 6 corn husks, or baking paper. Roll the tamales and tie the ends. Steam them for 30 minutes and serve with a fresh salad and some refried black beans. For this salad I first pickled a finely sliced red onion and 2 green chillies. In a small saucepan combine ½ a cup each of white vinegar, water and sugar and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the onion and chillies and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a small frypan and add ¼ of a cup of pepita (pumpkin) seeds, some smoky paprika and some salt. Fry until they just begin to colour and remove them to a plate. To assemble the salad lay out rows of tomato and avocado wedges. Spread the pickled onion over the top and garnish with the pepita seeds.

tomato,-avocado-and-pickled-onion-salad

To make refried beans, 1 cup of beans and 4 cups of water will produce 2½ cups of cooked beans. If you remember, you can soak them overnight but a quicker method is to boil them for 4 minutes and then soak them for 1 hour. Next they need to be cooked for 45-60 minutes (or 10 minutes in a pressure cooker) until tender. Drain, retaining the liquid, and set aside. In a saucepan, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil and sauté 1 finely diced onion and 1-2 cloves of garlic until translucent. Add any or all of the following dry herbs and spices to your taste: cumin, oregano, chilli, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper. Add the beans and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Now add some of the liquid and salt to taste.

blue-corn-tamale-with-salad-and-black-beans

Written by michelle picker

August 14, 2016 at 5:49 am

salade niçoise

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I’m enjoying a sojourn in Provence, in the south of France, where the local produce and hot weather make this salad a perfect choice for a meal. Of course, fresh tuna would be fantastic but this version is the kind you can make with ingredients you have to hand.

salade-Nicoise

First prepare some potatoes and place them in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to boil and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked. Remove them and allow them to cool. If you want to save on saucepans, you can carefully add some eggs to the same saucepan once the water has boiled. Cook them for 10 minutes, remove and shock them in an ice bath and set aside. Trim some green beans and steam them until just tender. Run them under some cold water to stop them cooking further. Slice some tomato into wedges and chop any soft fresh herbs you might have. Now you’re ready to assemble. Start with a bed of lettuce, roquette or any salad leaves you prefer. Place pieces of potato, green beans, sliced tomato and hard-boiled eggs around the plate and scatter with the fresh herbs. Drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing. Drain a tin of good quality tuna and place some in the middle of each salad, topped with a spoonful of good mayonnaise and some capers. A few anchovy fillets and some black olives are a good traditional addition if you have them.

Written by michelle picker

June 27, 2016 at 5:59 am

freekeh salad with lamb

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Freekeh (or farik) is roasted green wheat which derives it’s name from being rubbed (farīkor) or threshed. The wheat is harvested when the grains are yellow and the seeds soft and is first sun-dried then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn. The high moisture content of the seeds prevents them from burning. It has been used in Arabian cooking since the 13th Century and is still widely used in North Africa and the Middle East. My salad uses a mix of these influences.

lamb-and-freekeh-salad

To cook the freekeh, boil it in water until the grains are soft but still a little chewy. This will take quite a long time -even with a pressure cooker the grains will take 20 minutes to cook. When they are cooked, shock them with cold water, drain and place in a bowl. Meanwhile season some fresh diced beetroot with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook in a generous amount of olive oil in a covered frypan over medium heat. When the beetroot is becoming soft add an equal amount of seasoned diced pumpkin. Cover again and cook until beginning to soften. Add some diced garlic to the pan and cook for a further minute or two. Cool the vegetables a little then add them to the freekeh along with handfuls of chopped mint, coriander (cilantro) and spring onions, the juice of 1-2 lemons (to taste), more olive oil if necessary, salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the dressing combine equal parts tahini and yoghurt with some grated or crushed garlic, sumac or lemon juice (or both), salt, black pepper and enough water to make the desired consistency. Pile the salad onto some baby spinach leaves or greens of your choice. I topped my salad with roasted lamb but if you prefer a vegetarian version try feta or grilled haloumi. Drizzle with the prepared dressing and garnish with either dukkah or za’atar (both are available from Middle Eastern stores).

Written by michelle picker

March 11, 2016 at 5:45 am