Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing

Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing
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Dressing
  1. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Couscous
  1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) Israeli couscous, sometimes called pearl couscous or maftoul
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  5. 12 ounces grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or baby heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, halved (about 2 cups)
  6. 4 ounces (about 1 cup) feta, coarsely crumbled or chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  7. 1 cup jarred red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
  8. 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  9. 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  10. 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  11. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. For the couscous: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together the spinach, tomatoes, cheese, peppers, parsley, almonds and mint in a large bowl. Add the couscous and the dressing. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve.
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Smears and Dips, Slathers and Spreads; Ode to the Condiment by Kelly Sears

I confess, I have a condiment problem.  At any given time, our refrigerator looks more like an apothecary than a cooling unit, filled mostly with big jars, little jars, half-filled jars, and jars chock full. There are smears and dips, slathers and spreads all just begging for the star protein or vegetable to give it life and make it shine.

 

We all have our favorites.  Bright, spicy, smooth, silky, or chunky, condiments are the pop, the surprise, the little something extra that elevates ordinary to extraordinary.  Condiments work because they help us achieve balance.  When making any dish, we strive for balance to make that dish a success.  Balance comes from the ying and yang of tastes like bitter vs. sweet (dark chocolate brownies) or sour vs. salty (sour cream onion dip with chips).  Richness, temperature, and texture also play a part in keeping the palate scale level.  Yet balance can’t always be achieved by one component alone; enter the condiment!

 

Let’s start easy.  Ketchup and mustard are two of America’s most popular condiments so let’s examine why they work.  Vinegar give both their tang, both are bitter and acidic with sugar, salt and spices in the blend.  Usually served with burgers, brats, sausages or other grilled meats, the richness of the meat gets relief from the acidity (so you don’t feel like you are eating a stick of butter straight up!).  The meat is usually hot, the condiments cold; ketchup and mustard are smooth while the meats have some tooth.  Thus without even knowing it, balance is achieved just by eating a burger with the works.

 

Now let’s take another step up, relish, pickles, mayonnaise, and barbeque sauce. Again, these work just like ketchup and mustard to even out the flavors of the base component.  Fatty ribs love barbeque sauce, creamy mayonnaise and blt’s are great friends, and what perfect Chicago dog isn’t topped with a pickle or relish.  Starting to make sense?

 

Okay, we’re on a roll, so let’s not stop there.  A condiment doesn’t have to be just a store-bought accompaniment to food; a condiment can also couple as a solid component to a dish.  A condiment can be a dip, drizzle or dollop over a vegetable, a slice of meat, or on grilled toast to add sparkle and spice to the final dish.

 

I feel you starting to apply the brakes – work zone ahead!  I know its summer and the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time in the kitchen. So don’t!  Make a stop at the butcher and pick up some proteins for the week, visit your favorite farmers market for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and you’re almost there. We can whittle the kitchen time down to about an hour for two of my favorite condiments. Each one can be made and stored in the refrigerator for at least a week and each has multiple uses depending on your main course selection and meal time constraints.

 

Pepperonata plays nice with chicken, beef, and pork; it’s delicious added to Italian sausage, both on a bun or on a plate.  It can be a stand-alone side dish (although the true definition of a condiment is that it isn’t eaten by itself. Sssh, I won’t tell) or I like to serve it on grilled toast with a smear of ricotta or burrata.

 

The green goddess, although technically a dressing, qualifies as a smear, a dollop or a slather. It wears so many hats. This creamy green goodness is the perfect match for summer’s first bacon, lettuce and tomato; add a slice of avocado and a hard-boiled egg for an extra dose of flavor. Green goddess skips happily along when drizzled over garden fresh (or someone else’s garden!) lettuce, dolloped on cold shrimp, slathered on a roast beef sandwich, or served as a dip for roasted or raw farmer’s market fresh vegetables. A great way to utilize those fresh herbs in your garden, green goddess will make your taste buds happy.

 

The simplest definition of a condiment is that “it imparts flavor onto another food.” Beyond that, it gets subjective.  Make your own rules, combine your own flavors, find your own balance and enjoy a dip, a drizzle, a smear or a dollop of your favorite condiment.

Pepperonata (Caramelized Onions & Peppers) & Green Goddess Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. Pepperonata
  2. 2 large onions, julienne
  3. 3 large red peppers, julienne
  4. 3 large yellow peppers, julienne
  5. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  6. 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  7. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
  8. 5 basil leaves, chiffonade
  9. 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley
  10. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  11. Green Goddess Dressing
  12. 1 ½ cup mayonnaise
  13. ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
  14. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  15. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  16. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  17. 1 garlic clove, rough chop
  18. 1 anchovy filet
  19. Buttermilk for thinning (or regular milk works fine too but I like the tang buttermilk brings to the dish)
Instructions
  1. Pepperonata
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the onion, oregano, red pepper flakes, and peppers until lightly golden; this should take about 20-25 minutes, longer if you want them super caramelized and sweet. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in basil, parsley, and thyme.
  3. Green Goddess Dressing
  4. Blend mayonnaise and all other ingredients in a food processor or immersion blender. Thin with buttermilk. The consistency should work for your intended purpose. This will vary per application, thicker for a smear or a dollop, thinner for a dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, adjust and enjoy!
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

White Bean Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

White Bean Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
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Garlic Croutons
  1. 2 cups white or wheat bread, cubed (day old is best)
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil (or other neutral oil, such as grape seed or avocado)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Beans
  1. 1 15-ounce can white or butter beans, rinsed and drained
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for topping
Salad
  1. 10 ounces kale, chopped, large stems removed
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  5. Pinch each sea salt + black pepper
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
Dressing
  1. 1/3 cup tahini
  2. 1 clove garlic, minced
  3. 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  4. 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  5. Pinch each sea salt + black pepper
  6. Hot water to thin
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add bread cubes to a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper, and pour over bread. Toss to combine. Season once more with a bit more garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss once more. Spread on a bare baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip/stir at the 10-minute mark to ensure even baking. Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, add drained beans to a small mixing bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and fresh parsley. Toss to combine. Set aside.
  3. Add kale to a large mixing bowl with lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper and minced garlic. Use your hands to massage the kale and break down its texture a bit, and to season the salad.
  4. To prepare dressing, add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, then add hot water to thin until pourable. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  5. Lastly, add beans, croutons, and 3/4 of the dressing to the kale and toss to combine. Serve with any additional dressing and garnish with vegan parmesan cheese (optional).
Notes
  1. Best when fresh. If serving later, store dressing and croutons separately.
Adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad

Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds carrots
  2. Olive oil
  3. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  5. 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  6. 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  7. 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  8. 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
  9. 6 ounces baby arugula
  10. 6 ounces goat cheese, medium-diced
  11. 2/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Trim and scrub the carrots. If the carrots are more than 1 inch in diameter, cut them in half lengthwise. Cut the carrots in large diagonal slices 1 inch wide × 2 inches long (they will shrink when they roast) and place in a medium bowl with ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss well and transfer to two sheet pans. (If you use just one, they’ll steam instead of roasting.) Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once, until the carrots are tender. Transfer all the carrots to one of the sheet pans, add the maple syrup, toss, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are caramelized. Watch them carefully! Toss with a metal spatula and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the arugula in a large bowl and add the carrots, cranberries (with their liquid), goat cheese, almonds, and the vinaigrette. Toss with large spoons, sprinkle with salt, and serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Cooking for Jeffrey
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Cooking for Jeffrey
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Autumn Greens with Cider Vinaigrette

Autumn Greens with Cider Vinaigrette
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Ingredients
  1. 1 shallot, minced
  2. 1 tablespoon apple cider
  3. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  4. ¼ cup walnut oil
  5. salt & freshly ground pepper
  6. 5 cups mixed greens, such as Belgian endive, Swiss chard, watercress and Romaine
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, cider, and vinegar. Whisk in the walnut oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the greens and divide among four plates. Serve immediately.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Wild Rice, Pear and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts

Wild Rice, Pear and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups water
  2. 1 cup wild rice
  3. 1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into ½” cubes (4 cups)
  4. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  5. ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  6. 2 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  7. 2 medium ripe pears, cored but not peeled, cut into ½” cubes
  8. ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  9. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  10. ½ teaspoon salt
  11. ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  12. ½ cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
Cook the wild rice
  1. Add the water to a 2 quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook. Start checking the rice after 20 min. Rice may take anywhere from 20-45 min. to cook, depending on whether it’s hand harvested or cultivated. Tender wild rice just starts to split apart at the ends. Drain well. Let cool.
Make the salad
  1. As the rice cooks, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fork tender, 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Combine the wild rice, sweet potatoes, parsley, scallions and pears in a large mixing bowl. (If you plan to refrigerate the salad for a few days, leave the pears out and add them right before serving).
  3. Whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl, until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the wild rice mixture and toss to coat. Serve topped with walnuts.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast
  2. salt and pepper to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/2 cup Louisiana hot sauce (Frank's, Etc.)
  6. salad greens (Iceberg, Romaine or mixed greens)
  7. 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
  8. extra blue cheese crumbles
  9. celery hearts, leaves intact
Blue Cheese Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup whole milk
  3. 1/4 cup sour cream
  4. dash of Worcestershire sauce
  5. 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  6. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. With a sharp knife, carefully slice the chicken breast in half from top to bottom; you will have two similarly-sized chicken breasts that are thinner. Sprinkle all sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté chicken on both sides until golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet and pour off any excess fat but do not clean the pan.
  3. Off the heat, return the chicken to skillet and pour the hot sauce into skillet. Turn the chicken to coat and let it sit in the sauce while you prepare the other ingredients.
  4. Toss the lettuce in a large bowl with just enough salad dressing to lightly coat.
  5. Heap tossed salad into two individual bowls. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles over the top. Slice the chicken on the bias into thin slices and arrange them over the top of each salad. Top the salad with more blue cheese crumbles and serve with celery hearts.
Blue Cheese Dressing
  1. To a bowl add the mayonnaise, milk, sour cream and Worcestershire and stir until combined. Stir in the blue cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. If salad dressing is too thick, thin to desired consistency with additional whole milk.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound green beans
  2. 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  3. 1 can cannellini or navy beans, drained
  4. 1 large shallot
  5. 3 T. red wine vinegar
  6. salt
  7. freshly ground pepper
  8. ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. basil or other herb, optional
Instructions
  1. Trim green beans and parboil them in salted water until tender. Drain and immediately spread them to cool. Cut tomatoes in half. These steps can be done in advance.
  2. For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot finely and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes with the vinaigrette; this can sit awhile.
  3. Do not add green beans or cannellini beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette. Garnish with basil or another herb.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Provençal Potato Salad

Provençal Potato Salad
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French Potato Salad
  1. 1 pound small white boiling potatoes
  2. 1 pound small red boiling potatoes
  3. 2 T. good dry white wine
  4. 2 T. chicken stock
  5. 3 T. Champagne vinegar
  6. 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
  7. 2 t. kosher salt
  8. 3/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
  9. 10 T. good olive oil
  10. 1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
  11. 2 T. minced fresh dill
  12. 2 T. minced flat-leaf parsley
  13. 2 T. julienned fresh basil leaves
Provençal Potato Salad
  1. 1 recipe French Potato Salad
  2. 1/2 pound haricots verts, stems removed
  3. 1 6-ounce can Italian tuna, drained and flaked
  4. 1/2 cup capers, drained
  5. 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  6. 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
  7. 1/2 cup black olives, pitted
  8. 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered, optional
  9. 6 anchovy fillets, optional
French Potato Salad
  1. Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in half (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.
  2. Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Provençal Potato Salad
  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch haricots verts for 3 to 5 minutes, until barely tender. Drain and immerse into ice water for 5 minutes. Drain again.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the haricots verts with the potato salad, tuna, capers, tomatoes, onions, olives, eggs, and anchovy fillets. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Vitamin Boosted Black Rice Salad

Vitamin Boosted Black Rice Salad
Serves 4
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For the vinaigrette
  1. sea Salt and pepper
  2. 1 t. French Dijon mustard
  3. 1 t. honey
  4. 2 T. sherry vinegar
  5. 6 T. olive oil
For the salad
  1. 1 oz. walnuts
  2. 1 cup black rice
  3. 1 pink grapefruit or 1 orange
  4. 1 fennel bulb, without greens, cored and sliced paper-thin (use a mandolin)
  5. 1 cup red grapes, cut in half
  6. 2.5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  7. 1 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 1 T. chopped chives
  9. 1 T. chopped dill
To prepare the vinaigrette
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients in the order listed. Whisk to emulsify.
To prepare the salad
  1. Toast the walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat for 5 min., or until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and let cool. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  2. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. Check whether it’s well cooked and drain if there’s still water in the pot; let cool.
  3. With a sharp serrated knife, peel the skin and pith from the grapefruit. Cut the fruit into segments, discarding the membrane; dice, cover, and set aside until ready to serve.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, fennel, grapes, grapefruit, cheese and walnuts. Toss the salad gently with the dressing and fresh herbs and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/