Browsing Category

salads

Greek Panzanella + Notes from a Lake Kitchen

July 27, 2019

We’re spending a month by the lake in our new (to us) camp about an hour north of Portland, Maine, near Sunday River and it has made me think a lot about food. We’ve had the house since January, but then it felt more like a ski house kitchen, and I had crock pots of short ribs and spaghetti and meatballs on heavy rotation. This summer we’re here for a whole month because our kitchen and floors are getting redone after we had a leak (and why this blog is so silent lately!). It definitely feels like the longest vacation we’ve ever had, which has been lovely and the days are passing like caramel melts in your mouth, sweet and slow.

I wasn’t sure this would be the case. A summer version of The Shining did cross my mind when I was packing my six kids to come up here. But walks by the lake every morning, swimming and reading every afternoon have given us such great family time and enough structure without any stress which feels…amazing. As Winnie the Pooh says in the recent Christopher Robin movie, “doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” And of course he is right.

When you’re on vacation, you want to eat delicious food but don’t want to clean up. Going out to eat is how many people resolve this but going out to eat with the twins gives me indigestion and makes me want to take a nap immediately, so we avoid it.

At home we rely on our pizza delivery place, but here they a) don’t deliver and b) don’t always know what the difference is between 30 minutes and 75.  So we’ve been making our own. It’s swayed us mightily since they are always easy and good. I’m somewhat obsessed with the margherita pizza we’ve been making and I don’t see that obsession going away anytime soon, though sautéed Brussels sprouts with pancetta is a close second.

For breakfast I’ve been living off of avocado toasts (the twins love it) and my favorite mushroom and goat cheese fritatta.

For dinners I wanted to try out a few new recipes and promptly realized why a stocked pantry is so necessary to cooking. Buying all the asian condiments like hoisin sauce and fish sauce and rice wine vinegar will add to your bill considerably. And may make you wish you did in fact go out to eat. But still this 30 minute Asian beef bowl – which was born from my 13-year olds craving a dish he had had on vacation one time – was worth all the condiments, and it was really good with some broccoli and red peppers sautéed with soy sauce and sesame oil drizzled on it. And this thai chicken flatbread pizza was so good too.

It’s the rhythms of food that always appeal to me, and that stands out so much here. Chopping an onion, mixing a vinaigrette, turning yesterdays meal of roast chicken or grilled veggies into something delicious. Forming these little rituals that will become ways to connect us to our time here through the years. And that’s what seasonal eating is, just relishing the present moment with all its delights. When our neighbor, Bobbie, who has a camp right next to us invited me over for a visit, she offered me some raspberry pie with her fresh raspberries picked from her patch at home. It was like summer sunshine exploded in your mouth. And another friend and her mom were here for a visit and she made raspberry jam that we’ve been spreading on toast. It’s making me want to go home and plant as many raspberry bushes as I can fit into our yard.

I love finding treasures offered up by the local food stores. The road to the ski mountain Sunday River is loaded with wonderful markets and organic offerings, and I found Miso and fresh greens and the best rosé in a can which fits perfectly into the stroller cup holders. I also found great asiago bread at the store in town and toasted it’s delicious – it’s a lot like the cheese bread we get in Pemaquid, Maine. They also have great ciabatta bread and another bakery sells pain au chocolat too. These are the beginnings of our food memories here, and they’re making me so happy.

I turned the leftover bread into panzanella salad this week and decided to make it a greek version – I have a long standing love of Greek salad and could eat it for lunch every day so I always have the makings on hand.

And I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough cucumbers and tomatoes in the summer, preferably with some kind of vinegar.

So much goodness in one bowl. I love the briney olives with the creamy salty feta and chewy bread that’s absorbed all the vinegar.

 

In short, eating on vacation in July is the essence of simple. And the best part is all the walking and swimming and playing in the sun keeps you feeling great.

Next week I’ll be back in my newly refurbished kitchen and taking all the inspiration from this month with me. Stop back here if you want to see what it looks like!

Well, I just heard a splash that means the kids are swimming and I think I’ll go join them. They made up a new game that involves racing off the dock, and that’s pretty much what we dreamed of when we bought this place.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Greek Panzanella Salad

Ingredients

1 small French bread or ciabatta loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large shallot, diced or 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

8-10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup Greek olives (or more if you love them like me)

8 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

For the vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons Red wine vinegar

1/2 t. dried oregano

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Make the vinaigrette, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and pour vinaigrette over them. Toss to coat, and enjoy!

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate

November 7, 2018

I love this salad SO much. It has everything I love about fall produce – pears and pomegranates – plus a tangy apple cider vinegar dressing. The crunchy walnuts and tangy goat cheese just round out the flavors and textures in this dish. It would be beautiful on a Thanksgiving table (and lighter, with a nice note of acid to balance the other heavy foods). You could also sub cranberries for pomegranates too. It’s the kind of dish at a buffet that surprises me and makes me want more.

I recently thumbed through Ina Garten’s Cookbook, How to Cook Like A Pro, and when I got to a page that listed her Apple Cider Dressing, I had to laugh. It was the exact dressing I had just made and put on this salad. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a pro, especially because it’s a very simple, basic recipe that is delicious and easy and you’ll use it all the time.

I actually buy all the ingredients for it in bulk at BJs, including a one pound bag of shallots. I guess I really need to have the makings for it in my pantry. Yes, that is a giant Dijon jar you see there and I love it!

 

This dressing just brings every thing in this salad together. The toasted walnuts…

The pomegranate seeds and crumbled goat cheese…

This salad hits the high notes for flavor but also it’s just so pretty.

That whole ‘we eat with our eyes first’ idea means that our mouths and our tummies will be so satisfied with this on our plate. And you can play around with the ingredients – roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, dried cranberries all play well with this dressing. And I highly recommend grabbing a big wooden bowl like this if you see one! This functions as our fruit bowl but I have made a huge salad in it for parties before and it always dresses up the table and is always one of the first dishes to be polished off.

Hope this salad helps you round out your fall entertaining table! But it is equally as good for a simple dinner or a lunch for one.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

 

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate (printer versions here):

16 oz. of mixed greens (the mix I used had shredded carrot, pretty but optional)

3-4 oz. of crumbled goat cheese

1-2 sliced pears

⅓ cup toasted walnuts

⅓ cup pomegranate seeds (or substitute dried cranberries)

For the dressing:

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

⅓ cup olive oil (I like a 2:3 ratio of vinegar to oil but you make like it 1:2 and use 1/2 cup of oil)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 T. chopped shallots

S & P

 

Directions: 

Slice pears, toast walnuts, and prepare pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, if you’ve bought them whole.

Mix dressing, then add most of it to greens, tasting to see how well-dressed it is. Add more dressing if needed.

Layout in a wooden bowl, then top with sliced pears, pomegranate, goat cheese and walnuts.

 

Blood Orange Salad

June 1, 2017

This season you can find Blood Oranges in the grocery stores, and if you have ever wondered what to do with them (besides juice them and turn them into sangria or buy some of the packaged fizzy blood orange drinks and also turn them into sangria) this salad will help you out. They are segmented for the salad and used in the dressing, and their unique flavor just permeates this salad. But even if they weren’t in season I would still be craving them since I can’t seem to get enough fruit, especially citrus. (I may have eaten 2 of these salads in a row and then ate a grapefruit.)

They taste like sweet oranges, and have a gorgeous jewel color:

I love the combination of citrus fruit, goat cheese, (or blue or feta) crunchy nuts and vinegary dressing. So think of this as a template, and feel free to swap the blood orange for grapefruit or oranges, and use your favorite cheese and nuts. I used Marcona Almonds with Rosemary from Trader Joes, but I am guessing that ingredient is going to be pretty hard to find elsewhere. But I have to say, there rosemary was a really good note in this salad. So feel free to mix plain Marconas with some of this herb to eat alone or add to salad.

The dressing is really easy. Once you get the hang of making vinaigrettes, it suddenly feels so freeing and the possibilities seem endless. Basics are a 3:1 ratio oil to acid, but I actually prefer mine a little lighter and usually keep it 2:1. But the official stance on vinaigrettes is 3:1. If you want a little ‘tutorial’ I just found this post  ‘7 Tips for Making the Perfect Vinaigrette’  that is really helpful, I highly recommend looking it over if you are curious about making your own salad dressing.

I used both blood orange and red wine vinegar here, Dijion, salt and pepper are a must, since you are usually trying to season a lot of veggies and salt brings out all the other flavors. And I found that often times when my vinaigrette needed something it was usually a little sweetness to counter-balance the acidity, and a little Agave syrup or sugar does the trick.

This is such a great first course to a dinner party, or to make a big salad for a party. But it is also great for lunch for 1 or 2, and I have kept the recipe to serve 2. Don’t wait for an invitation to make this – it is too good!

 

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Blood Orange Salad (printer version here): 

Ingredients for Dressing:

Juice from 1 blood orange (2 T)

1 T red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon

1 tsp. agave syrup

S&P

1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients for 2 Salad Servings:

2 blood orange segmented

4 c. Mixed Greens

2 oz goat cheese

1/2 cup Marcona almonds

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together for dressing, saving oil for the last. Stream oil in, whisking as it is added. Taste with a piece of lettuce to check for seasonings, adding more in needed.

Assemble salad with greens on the bottom. Add dressing just before serving.