Saturday Salad

Most Saturdays around lunchtime you’ll probably find my family chomping on pho, tortas, tacos, dim sum or about a million other delicious things we did not cook. Saturday lunches out with the fam are the best — cheap and low key, a little treat to ourselves for making it through another week.

As much as we love eating great food and not doing the dishes, once in a while we do find ourselves at home on a Saturday at the stroke of lunch o’clock. Thankfully Tim, our resident expert omelet maker, is usually happy to oblige us with his Jacques Pepin-like skills. If left to me, I usually gather whatever hodge podge leftovers we have in the fridge and call it a day. But once in a while inspiration strikes like this salad which was so, so good that I just had to share it. A happy accident of random ingredients in our refrigerator (vegetables, good sour dough bread, grapefruit juice) — I know I will make this one again… but this time on purpose.

Here’s to Saturdays!

Saturday Salad

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Carrots: Pre-heat a lightly oiled cookie sheet in a hot oven (425 degrees). The vegetables (halved brussels sprouts and carrots cut on the bias – both tossed with olive oil and a pinch of sugar) will sizzle as they hit the pan. Start checking them after 2o minutes and remove them when they are tender and golden around the edges. Hit them with a sprinkle of kosher salt and some finely minced parsley and mint. To help you roast each vegetable to perfection, you can cook the brussels sprouts and carrots on two separate baking sheets or at either end of one large cookie sheet.

Rustic Breadcrumbs: Grab a few slices of bread (a rustic loaf is best, we like sourdough) and tear them up by hand into smaller than crouton-sized pieces. Toss them lightly with olive oil then place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and your favorite spices (sumac and paprika in our case). Put them in the oven alongside the vegetables, checking and tossing them every 5 minutes or so and removing them when they are dry and crisped. Break up any too-chunky bits into smaller pieces.

Grapefruit-Shallot Vinaigrette: Finely mince one small shallot and place it in a bowl along with 1 Tablespoon of champagne vinegar, 2 Tablespoons of grapefruit juice and a 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard, as well as a big pinch of salt and pepper. Let it sit to macerate for about 15 minutes. While you whisk, slowly drizzle in about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Keep whisking until your dressing comes together and is nicely emulsified. Taste and adjust to your liking adding more salt, oil, grapefruit juice, vinegar or a pinch of sugar as needed.

Assemble the Salad: This salad benefits from being  layered vs. being tossed in a big salad bowl. Artfully arrange your baby spinach leaves, roasted vegetables, and breadcrumbs on a big platter or individual plates, drizzling with dressing as you go.

You might also like: Crispy Caramelized Cauliflower (aka “vegetable candy”); Jumping on the Crispy Kale Bandwagon; Hurray for Brussels Sprouts

Advertisements

Current Food Obsession: Zucchini-Herb Flatbread

Homemade pizza — It’s my cheap, fun and easy go-to meal when we have friends over and it’s becoming somewhat of a Friday night family dinner tradition, too. My husband is always so impressed that I make my own dough but in truth, it’s really simple and takes only about 10 minutes to put together.  To me, that always seems a lot quicker and easier than running to the store (finding a parking space and shuttling 2 kids) to pick some up, so I guess it’s all in how you look at it. I think I’ll let him continue to be impressed.

Lately I’ve been kind of obsessed with this very simple zucchini flatbread version. It’s the same old pizza dough, rolled as thinly as possible and topped with paper thin slices of zucchini, a scattering of whatever herbs I have in my garden (I like rosemary, oregano, parsley and thyme), a grating of parmegiano reggiano, a drizzle of good olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. The version above included some caramelized shallots too. I have learned through experience to make one corner a little less herb-y for Luca and you might try that if you’re making it for a little one. It’s perhaps not substantial enough to make a full meal, but it’s a fantastic appetizer, lunch or snack. For dinner, we’ve been serving it up along with a simple pureed vegetable soup and an antipasto platter for a mostly vegetarian meal.

I’ve become so obsessed with this flatbread that whenever I make pizza I save a little extra dough (and make sure to buy a zucchini) so I can make this the next day… I’m particularly loving this zucchini-herb combination at the moment, but the possibilities are truly endless. You could absolutely trick this one out, but this no-frills version has reminded me that simplicity has its place too.

Luca loves to help me with any dough project and this is no exception. At the mere sight of the stand mixer he runs to pull up a chair. In addition to helping me measure and supervise the mixer, I save a glob of dough for him play with which is another good reason to make a little extra.

Thin Crust Pizza: The Roman Way

(Adapted from Marco Flavio Marinucci from the Cook Here and Now blog. Here’s his original post that includes his recipe and lots of other great pizza info.) Makes 2 large pizzas.

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup “00 Pizza Flour” (available in bulk at Rainbow Grocery), or substitute Pastry Flour
  • 1/8 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 cups of lukewarm water (more if needed)
  1. Mix yeast and lukewarm water in your mixing bowl (the water should be about the temperature of a baby bottle). Let sit five minutes to foam and activate while you set up the rest of your ingredients.
  2. Add flours, salt and semolina to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix just until a ball forms. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides a few times. Adjust the flour and/or water as needed, a little bit at a time. [If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use the “well method”. Mix the dry ingredients in mound and make a crater in the center for the wet ingredients.]
  3. Let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Knead for 2-3 minutes by machine (or 4-5 minutes by hand) — don’t over knead. Marco says the dough should be tacky like used tape.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and drizzle and coat with olive oil. Place in a bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for a half hour, then refrigerate it overnight. You can also make it a few hours before and leave it at room temperature.

Baking your pizza:

  1. Let the dough come to room temperature. Place a pizza stone in your oven and heat at 500 degrees for about 30 minutes to get it nice and hot. [A pizza stone is a must for any pizza lover.]
  2. Divide the room temperature dough into two pieces (or more pieces if you want small, individual/kid-sized pizzas).
  3. On top of a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil, roll the pizzas 1/16” thick or as thin as you can.  Using the parchment or foil will help you transport the pizza from your counter to the oven.
  4. Lightly spread with toppings. If using sauce it should almost be transparent since the crust is so thin. If using fresh mozzarella, Marco suggests cutting the cheese into small dice so you get nice pools of cheese.
  5. Use the parchment or foil to lift your pizza into the oven. Cook 5-7 minutes until golden and bubbly. You can slide the parchment/foil out from underneath halfway through so that the bottom of the pizza can cook directly on the pizza stone, the parchment/foil should slide right out. Take the pizza out using a peel, a rimless baking sheet or a couple of large spatulas.
  6. Top finished pizza with a drizzle of good olive oil and some fresh herbs.

Fake-bake Tandoori Chicken

Fake Bake Tandoori Chicken

I made this chicken for a party and as soon as it came out the children gathered around it and devoured it.  Contrary to popular belief the red color in tandoori is not from chillies but from food coloring. You can omit the red food coloring – it does nothing to enhance the taste – just makes it look more like “tandoori”.  I call it “fake-bake” because tandoori chicken is typically made in a clay oven (called tandoor) but I make this in a conventional oven.  The spices are also “dumbed down” to make the dish more palatable for the little tastebuds and you can add even less if you prefer.  This recipe is very kid friendly and an awesome way to introduce ethnic food to kids at home.  Great in wraps for school lunches the next day.

Good one for July 4th as it can be thrown on the grill as well.  Tandoori chicken and all that buttermilk ice-cream – strawberry, mango and pineapple!  It will be a HAPPY 4th of July.

Serves 2 adults and 2 kids

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts/thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes

3/4 cup yoghurt (full/lowfat)

1 tbsp ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

pinch (or more) of red chilli powder (optional)

pinch of red food coloring (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Marinate chicken in all the ingredients for at least 2 hours or overnight (longer is better)
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes and if you like it charred you can leave it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes
  4. Serve on skewers for fun presentation if you desire (no need to bake on skewers – the skewers just make the chicken little fingers friendly)

Tips: Marinate in a ziplock bag for easy clean-up and line oven tray with foil.

Sunday Sketch: Al Fresco Lunch at Coffee Bar (SF)

On a recent beautiful spring day we found ourselves on Mariposa and Florida Streets around noon and decided to do some al fresco lunching at Coffee Bar. We went for the “Slim Jim”, one of the sandwiches du jour featuring salami and crispy battered onions. In a nutshell: Tasty coffee, pretty good sandwich and a cool patio setting complete with potted succulents and urban hipsters.

 

Coffee Bar SF_By Stacie.jpg