Honeydew & Cilantro Salad

Honeydew & Cilantro Salad

I got a honeydew melon from the Harvest Share this month. It’s not my favorite melon as the flavor is not very strong. I was thinking of ways to use it and saw the cilantro sitting in a jar of water in my fridge and thought that might be good. I pulled off leaf and stuck it on a chunk of melon and tried it. It was good, so I set out to make a salad of it.

  • 2 cups of honeydew cut into chunks
  • handful of cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsps of seasoned rice vinegar
  • a sprinking of Tajín

Assemble the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy. Makes one large 2 cup serving. The sweetness of the melon is a perfect foil for the flavor of cayenne and dried lime from the Tajín

Carrot & Cilantro Sandwich Spread

Carrot Cilantro Sandwich Spread

Recently I saw a restaurant menu that offered a carrot sandwich. It included grated carrots, cheese and maple syrup. I was reluctant to try it because I think carrots are very sweet on their own, but it got me thinking about what I might like on a sandwich. This is what I came up with.

  • 1/2 cup of grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp of seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise
  • Cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste

I grated a medium carrot on the second to finest side of a box grater. I chopped a small handful of cilantro, including the stems. I added mayo, rice vinegar, and spices and stirred.

You should use this right away. It does not improve by sitting overnight as water is drawn out of the carrots, making it more watery.

Carrot Cilantro Sandwich Spread`

I added some roast pork, but it would be great with turkey, chicken, and even beef. It also works on its own without meat if you want a vegetarian sandwich. I used enough cayenne that it does not work as a salad, it’s grated too finely and is too spicy. It needs the bread to balance the spiciness.

Yam Salad with Lemon Dressing

Yam Salad with Lemon Dressing

So, I had a hankering for potato salad last month, but had no potatoes. No problem, I decided to use yams instead. But then, I had no celery and no pickles either. I did have broccoli, so I thought why not? Well, it turned out so delicious I made it again, even buying broccoli for the purpose of making the salad. So here it is.

Peel and cube 4 medium yams. Makes about 6 cups of yams. Add to salted boiling water and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, so they are fork tender. Rinse in cool water so they stop cooking. Drain and refrigerate until completely cooled.

Peel and dice one large red onion.

Peel the stem of a broccoli top. Chop the stem and florets into small pieces.

Mix together and dress with your preferred dressing.

My dressing is a light lemony one with a hint of mustard.

I zested one lemon into the salad.

In a bowl, I mixed the juice of one lemon (2 TBSP) with 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar and 2 TBSP of olive oil. I then added 1 tsp of mustard, salt, and pepper and mixed together. Then I tossed it with the salad. This makes about 8 cups of salad.

It’s very light and fresh in flavor, allowing the yams to be the star.

Caramelized Onions, Pear, and Pecan “Pizza”

Caramelized Onions, Pear, & Pecan Pizza

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tsp molasses or brown sugar (optional)
  • pinch of baking powder (optional, 1/2 tsp per pound of onions, so a pinch only)
  • 1 pear, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 TBSP pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Bread dough

In a saucepan on low heat, melt the butter. Add the thinly sliced onion, carefully separating all the rings. Stir and add a bit of salt and continue to cook on low heat for a long time, checking occasionally and stirring. Be patient and go read a book. You can cook it on higher heat, but the goal is not one single bit onion getting charred, so I slow cook it for an hour or even longer. After the onions are softened, you can add a pinch of baking powder to speed the Maillard reaction. I like to add a bit of molasses to make the flavor just that bit more complex. You could also bake it in the oven at 350° but it stains the sides of the pan above the onions and is hard to clean.

While the onions are cooking you could make the bread dough using this recipe a friend gave me. This makes enough dough for eight pizzas or four artisanal boules. I make it and just keep it in a plastic container in the fridge to use when I need some dough. I use it for boules, for pizzas, for fry bread, and for wrapping around cocktail sauces or cheese for snacks. Anyway, the two hours the onions take is plenty of time for the first rise of the dough. 

Turn the oven on at 400°

Roll the dough out as thin as you can and then roll the edge to the center, just one roll so you have a bit of an edge to keep anything from going on the baking sheet.

Spread the caramelized onions on the dough and spread to the edges.

Place the pear slices evenly over the “pizza.”

Sprinkle the mozzarella and pecans over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Makes two services of two slices each.

Let cool for about 10 minutes and cut into four pieces. Letting it cool makes it easier to eat and the flavors are more intense when they aren’t too hot. Also, when it’s hot out of the oven, everything will slide right off the bread.

This is delicious, caramelized onions and pears are pure magic. I’ve made this with blue cheese too and it is delicious as well.

Masa Cakes with Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with Over-Easy Egg

Masa Cake with Kale/Sweet Potato Salad

This was easy and delicious. I have been experimenting with masa harina to figure out ways to cook with it since I got a huge bag from Harvest Share. I’m not fond of cornbread  so I wanted to go in a different direction. I made the salad first and made more than I needed for the masa cakes.

For the salad, this makes enough for 8 masa cakes, but is also good on grilled cheese and with sandwiches. So I don’t mind.

  • 1/2 bunch of kale, cleaned, stripped off the stem, and finely chopped. This is about 3 cups of kale.
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • Juice from 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt.
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled,  cut into small pieces, and parboiled in salted water.

Mix these first four ingredients together and rub the oil, salt, and lemon into the kale to soften it. Add the sliced onions. Drain the sweet potatoes and add to the kale. Let rest for an hour or more in the fridge.

For the Masa Cakes, this makes four masa cakes.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1½ tablespoons  butter, sliced
  • 1 cup masa harina corn flour
  • Dash of Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese (I used pepper jack)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Mix together the masa, salt, sugar, use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter, add milk and stir together until smooth, add the cheese and mix it in.  Divide into 4 balls.

Using a piece of wax paper, but one ball of dough between two layers of wax paper. Press flat to about 1/4 inc. I used a small bowl and pressed down to make the edges smooth, tossing remaining dough back in the bowl to use. This will make 4 masa cakes.

Heat a griddle on medium and put about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on it. When it’s heated, put two on the griddle to cook, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

When you’re ready to serve, fry an egg over-easy. You could poach them instead.

Assemble by putting a torta cake on your plate. Then put a handful of kale salad on top of the cake. Add the over-easy egg so when you eat it, the egg dresses the salad.

Makes four servings.

 

Grilled Havarti Cucumber on Rye

Grilled Cucumber and Havarti Sandwich

This is an easy recipe but must be made in two steps. First, you want to marinate a cucumber in some vinegar with dill weed, salt, and pepper.

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill weed
  • salt and pepper

Slice the cucumbers and put in a sealable container. Add vinegar, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Put the lid on and shake. Stick in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Since you are only using the cucumber slices, you can reuse the vinegar to pickle another cucumber. I like this on sandwiches and have used it on a fried chicken sandwich and on a sandwich with slices of London broil.

Now on to the sandwich. Heat a cast iron skillet on low (3 out of 10 on my stove). Butter one side of a slice of rye bread and lay butter side down in the skillet. Layer thin slices of Havarti Dill cheese to cover all the bread. Then layer the cucumber slices. I layered two layers of cucumber because I think Havarti is a relatively sweet cheese and wanted more vegetable than cheese. Please the second slice of rye on top. Let cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is grilled. Flip and cook the other side. Remove, cut in half and serve.

It’s very important the cucumber marinate so it’s more pickle than cucumber. The unctuous cheese needs that vinegary bite. The dill in the cucumbers reinforces the dill in the cheese. The cucumber retains just enough of its crunch to give you a bit of toothiness. It’s delicious and easy.

Grilled Pear Sandwich with Caramelized Onion Jam & Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pear Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled sandwich? I discovered that pears are delicious on a grilled rye sandwich. I don’t have a grill nor a yard for grilling, but if you turn your stove fan on high and pay attention you can grill thinly sliced pears on the electric burner. Just don’t try to do more than three slices at a time.

To make this sandwich, I heated my griddle to medium heat and buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread some caramelized onion jam on one side and some tomato jerk jam on the other. I layered 1/2 of a pear thinly sliced and grilled on top of both slices of bread and let them cook on the griddle until toasted, putting the sandwich together after it’s done.

Grilled Pear Sandwich

The char on the pear gives it such a delicious flavor, sort of sweet and smoky. The onion jam is deep and herbaceous with the flavor of bay and thyme lifted by balsamic vinegar. The tomato jerk jam is bright, sweet and earthy. Together they all come together into a burst of flavor that is bright, fresh, and satisfying. If you spread the rye bread with olive oil instead of butter, you could make a vegan version.

 

Fennel, Cucumber, and Grapefruit Salad

A bold and fresh-tastic salad for summer made with the tasty vegetables and fruit from Imperfect Produce.

  • 1/3 of a cucumber, quartered, seeds removed, and sliced
  •  1 grapefruit, supremed. (Cut away peeling, and slice the segments into wedges.) Cut over the bowl, squeeze out all the juice you can into the bowl to dress the salad.
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, sliced thinly on a mandoline.
  • 3 asparagus spears, sliced thinly using a vegetable peeler
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Handful of Roast Almonds
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup and 2 tsp of seasoned rice vinegar

I just made this right in the bowl. Mixing things together as I cut them. I blended the maple syrup and vinegar before adding it to the salad and stirring it all in.

The bit of syrup is the perfect complement to the grapefruit. The salad is fresh, vibrant, and full of flavor. Fennel is a flexible vegetable that really needs to be used far more often. Makes one salad entree.

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

This is a light, fresh dressing for a delicious salad. This makes enough dressing for a large dinner salad or four side salads.

The salad in the picture has romaine, feta, cucumbers, and grapefruit with a few almonds on top. To make the dressing, I used a magic bullet to blend

  • 3 fresh strawberries
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP diced onion
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

The salad is a lovely mix of sweet and sour, the balsamic adds a deep richness that makes any salad a treat.

Jerk Pork, Rhubarb Nectarine Chutney, and Cabbage Salad Sandwich

There’s nothing like a delicious sandwich for lunch. The trick is to get a good blend of flavor and texture and this sandwich brings everything. There are three ingredients in this sandwich, roast pork, cabbage, and chutney.

Roast Pork

I like to buy the cheapest pork roast, the shoulder or picnic roasts which run about $1.50 per pound. I spread Jamaica Jerk seasoning over the outside of the roast, top, bottom and sides. I roasted for about 40 minutes at 450° F. Roasting time depends on the size of the roast, so I always use a meat thermometer, removing the roast from the oven to rest when the thermometer reaches 140°.

Nectarine-Rhubarb Chutney

Chutneys are the easiest thing to make. All you do is toss some fruit in with sugar, spices, lots of ginger, and some vinegar or citrus juice, in this case, lime juice. Chop everything up, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about one to two hours so all the substance is cooked down to a thick liquid. These are ingredients in this chutney.  This makes about a cup of chutney.

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb
  • 4 small or 2 large nectarines
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 small lime, use zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Cabbage Sandwich Slaw

Just about any slaw will work, a mix of crunchy cabbage with a dressing of vinegar is all you need.

  • 1 cup finely chopped cabbage
  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 2 TBSP diced yellow onion
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar (more or less)
  • Lime zest from one lime

For this, I finely chopped one cup of cabbage, added cilantro and yellow onion. I added some salt and pepper to taste. I then added rice vinegar, just enough to dress the salad (about 1 TBSP). Mix it up and let it rest for an hour or more so the cabbage absorbs the vinegar. (This makes enough slaw for two sandwiches)

Rye Bread

I suppose you can use any bread, but I am partial to rye. I spread chutney on one slice and mayonnaise on the other. On the side with mayo, I put the cabbage slaw and I put the pork on the chutney side. I spread a bit more chutney over the pork. This helped hold it all together when I put the pieces together and cut it in half.

This is a delicious sandwich with the crunchy freshness of the cabbage with the bit of tang of vinegar and lime. The chutney adds the unctuous sweet and sour. The rye lays down this hearty foundation for the meat and slaw. It’s perfection.