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Winter Salad Doldrums

 
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:50 am    Post subject: Winter Salad Doldrums Reply with quote

Even in California, we are experiencing the Winter Salad Doldrums. While we can continue to purchase nearly anything we would want (thanks to south of the border countries such as Mexico and Chile), the quality and taste are not, sadly, top notch. And if WE have trouble buying good produce, I can only imagine what so many others are dealing with these days.

For salad lovers (like my husband), I did come up with this tasty winter option. New "fennel lovers" like Griffin and Erin, take note...This truly came about as a thrown-together salad of ingredients I had handy. It worked so well, I thought you might like to know about it.

Winter Salad with Fennel and Beets (serves 2)

1 head hearts of Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 head fennel, very thinly sliced into half-moons
1 or 2 scallions (green onions), chopped
1/2 half peeled apple, quartered and thinly sliced
1 small/medium,peeled, roasted beet, quarted and very thinly sliced (or 1/2 cup canned beets)
Feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

For Dressing: your favorite vinaigrette made with sherry vinegar and a combination of flavorless oil such as canola plus either olive oil or a nut oil like walnut oil. Salt, pepper.

Toss the romaine lettuce, fennel, scallion, and apple together with the sherry vinaigrette to taste. Add the beets and cheese just before plating.

The sweetness of the apple works well with the fresh taste of the fennel and the earthy flavor of the beets. And sherry vinegar does just to all of these ingredients. (Come to think of it, a handful of toasted walnuts would certainly not hurt, either...) Hope this brightens your winter menus.

(Note: to roast fresh beets, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash beets; cut off tough ends but do not peel; place in a shallow ovenproof dish with a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover with foil. Roast about 50 minutes, or until a sharp knife penetrates the beets easily.)
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The salad sounds great, Georgia.

But fennel here as topped three bucks a bulb. So I won't be making it anytime soon.
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just pulled the roasted beets out of the oven - they are cooling now. We'll be having Winter Doldrums Salad for dinner tonight!

Thanks for the recipe idea. Smile
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Report: The salad is excellent! We were out of scallions so I subbed some thinly sliced radishes (crisp & peppery), and added a small handful of peppered pecans.

The man-person in this household gobbled up seconds and asked if we could have more beets in the future!

Nice combo of flavors; you did a fine job with this creation!
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are very welcome...I'm just really glad you liked it!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I'm not keen on beetroot, but I do have some Elderberry and Raspberry vinegar from the farmer's market so I might substitute the beets and try it anyway.

Maybe with radishes and spring onions/shallots/scallions... tho' the Lady of Scallion doesn't quite sound the same!
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love beets so will keep this is mind.

My winter salad is as follows

finely sliced fennel
green beans semi cooked (ie cooked as little as possible to still be edible to you)
crushed clove garlic
fresh parsley chopped
olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Mix the fennel and warm/hot beans in a bowl
add garlic and mix really well till the heat of the beans has taken the edge off it
when cool add parsley, lemon juice and small drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well again
place in fridge (if in warm climate) or sit on table to allow flavours to develop while you cook the chicken, fish or pork to accompany it

best served room temp and I sometimes add the zest of the lemon to the salad as well if I want a stronger lemon flavour

A nice crunchy and tangy salad to wake up the taste buds
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent, Debbie. It's on my "To Try" list. Tonight, we've got a crowd coming and the salad is green beans, diced red and yellow bell peppers (yes, pricey, but I bought small ones and...face it...everything is pricey in the middle of winter), sliced red onion, fresh herbs, in a mustard vinaigrette.

The combination of nuts (walnuts, pecans), greens, a crunchy fruit (apple, pear, persimmon), a salty cheese (feta, goat, or parmesano-reggiano) with a sherry vinegar-nut oil dressing (or fruity vinegar with mild oil) offers many variations and is delicious. If you candy the nuts, it's even better:

In a small skillet, cover approx. 1/2 cup pecans with water. Bring to a quick boil and then drain immediately. Return the pan to the stove and heat 1 Tablespoon canola oil. Add the nuts and stir to coat with the oil. Sprinkle the nuts with a Tablespoon or two (maybe more) of granulated sugar (and add a pinch of cayenne pepper, if you like a bit of fire) and stir constantly over medium heat until the nuts turn glossy and the sugar melts. THE INSTANT IT STARTS TO SMOKE, remove from the heat. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool. (Do not line the plate with a paper towel...duh...trust me on this...)

I've known folks to get fancier with the nuts or to candy them more heavily, but I like this mild sweetness that just coats the nuts with a bit of sugary crunch. Doesn't overdo it.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yum, sounds delicious.

I love fruit in salad, but only in summer when I can have stone fruit to pair with chicken, ham etc. I always use a sharp feta or chevre frais with the stone fruit and you are right, it gives so much flavour. Nuts are optional for me, but I do like to add steamed baby potatoes while hot. They soak up the dressing and are delicious against the cold and crunchy salad.

Made the mistake of buying carrot salad today. Never again. It was disgusting. No sharpness of lemon and really gluggy with salad dressing instead of vinagrette. YUCK! Mad Oh well, live and learn as they say.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mrs. Poole's Fresh Cauliflower Salad

Grate 1/2 head of raw cauliflower (large holes on grater),
brown 1 cup of fine dry bread crumbs in butter (2-3 tablespoons butter), let cool

sprinkle the above evenly over about 10 cups torn Romaine lettuce that have been tossed with this dressing:
1 cup mauyonnaise
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic mashed
salt & pepper to taste

A fine flavor!
from "Food Editor's Favorite's--Treasured Recipes"
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Georgia, I have some pear vinegar which would make a dandy vinaigrette for your salad! I'll try it out and let you know!

This is a QUITE yummy recipe for gingery green bean salad:

Ingredients
1 pound fresh green beans, organic if possible
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 cup slivered red onion

Dressing:
4 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dark-roasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons of sugar

• Trim and cut the green beans into 1-inch lengths. Cook in rapidly boiling water until crunchy-tender (2-3 minutes for me).

•Drain beans, immerse in ice water to stop the cooking until they are cool, then drain well. I wrap them in a tea towel after I drain them to get off the extra liquid.

•Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk until well blended.

• Toss the green beans with the ginger root, red onion and dressing.

This is great with salmon or roasted chicken - or whatever!
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a hand of ginger and fresh beans yesterday..... guess what I am having for dinner tonight after reading Donna's post?? Might put raw cabbage instead of onion though as it doesn't agree with me.....

The cauliflower salad sounds interesting. I had a craving for cauli the other day and found teh most perfect snow white baby cauli which I steamed and ate with white pepper. Delicious. The salad might be a nice change next time I get the craving though.
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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