Now that we’re a fresh and free-wheeling three weeks into the New Year, it’s clear that you’re doing everything right. You’re hitting the gym, drinking less, sleeping better and pounding back salads for lunch like it’s your job. Right? Three out of four? Really it’s that last part that’s cause for most concern.
There’s a pandemic of bad dressings out there, and Caesar seems to be the hardest hit. Of course not everything from the store shelves or restaurant kitchens is bad but, like many things in this life, if you want something done right you gots to do it yourself. Be not afraid, kitchen commandos, of what looks on paper like a flirtation with disaster and halitosis. The combination of raw garlic, anchovies, mustard, lemon, cheese and a raw egg yolk (you’ll be fine; I promise) produces something fresh and magical that’s tough to replicate in a bottle. Give it a go; you’ll see what I mean.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s just say what we’re all thinking: the idea of a crouton is pure divinity. Wrestling with a 1-inch cube of stale, dry herb-coated, roof-of-your-mouth shredding bread is, in a word, not. Enter the crispy bits. Making your own crunchy salad topping by toasting coarsely chopped fresh bread is the only way to go. They’re crunchy; they’re chewy; they actually fit in your mouth; and “salad topping” is just the tip of their iceberg.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Seared Lemon Caesar Salad
Not that salads ever go out of style, but the farmers’ markets are currently bursting with greens, making me deem this salad season. While side salads definitely offer a green counterpoint to whatever else you’re eating, they can be standalone meals — if you know what to add. If you’re looking to turn your salad into more than just a side, follow these steps to make it into a meal.
1) Start with greens: Try to vary your greens for different textures and nutrition. Romaine gives a nice crunch, while Boston lettuce is soft and buttery. A dark leafy green like kale or Swiss chard will boost the vitamin A and K content of your salad — just slice it into fine ribbons.
Continue Reading How to Build a Power Salad
I resorted to blowing the dust off from one of my old culinary schoolbooks the other night while canvassing for confirmation of a culinary fact in dispute. Welcome to my world. As I cracked the spine and thumbed through pages of notes (I’m a big advocate of writing in my books), an unexpected kick of nostalgia provided inspiration for that night’s dinner plans.
One of my culinary school’s go-to “beginner” recipes was a super simple but amazingly satisfying beet salad tossed with mustard vinaigrette and topped with a crispy round of goat cheese. It’s a salad with a bit of everything going on: roasted vegetables, a basic vinaigrette and a warm and crispy garnish. It was a total benchmark of achievement to go from having it served to you as a freshman to preparing it for others as a sophomore.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Beet Salad With Crispy Goat Cheese
Arugula is one of those greens that tastes amazing all on its own. It’s a little bit spicy so you don’t need much to make a complete salad burst with flavor. Complement the spice with a citrus or creamy dressing, add in nuts or crispy bacon for crunch and toss with vegetables or protein to turn arugula salad into a complete meal.
1. Artichoke Arugula Salad With Parmesan (pictured above)
Lighten up your weeknight salad with this recipe that features arugula topped with artichokes, an excellent source of fiber. By using frozen hearts instead of fresh, you save time fussing over trimming them just right — which means less time in the kitchen.
Continue Reading Sensational Sides: 5 Ways to Use Arugula
We’re keeping the math pretty simple this week, folks. I am such a sucker for a classic, stuffy, old-fashioned iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, and a big ol’ steak dinner also happens to make me weak in the knees. What happens when we put these two wondrous creations together? BOOM! Steak House Chopped Salad night, baby!
Blue cheese dressing can do no wrong, in my eyes. It’s such a nostalgic thing for me, bringing me back to my days working on the cold prep station at my first-ever restaurant job (it was the house’s most-popular dressing). My husband, however, is not the biggest blue cheese advocate in all the land. If he had his way, we’d be enjoying a nice sharp cheddar — and a delicious salad dressing that does not make. In our house, we met in the middle with a Danish-style mild blue, but feel free to crank it up with something more pungent — like a Stilton or Roquefort — if you prefer.
As you probably already gleaned from the picture, a few key players of the quintessential steak dinner lineup are missing: namely the baked potato and heaping pile of creamed spinach. To make up for their absence — and still leave us feeling satisfied at the end of the meal — I’ve subbed in crunchy radishes, creamy avocado and sweet grape tomatoes. As always, feel free to swap out whatever vegetables you like, just keep those textures and taste sensations in mind.
All we’re missing is a hearty glass of red wine to wash it all down. Was that the sound of a popping cork I just heard?
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Steak House Chopped Salad
Time was not on my side this last week. I know you know the feeling — work meetings, cat feedings, domestic chores and professional bores (c’mon, that was pretty good, right?). Point is, when it came to making dinner, it was the last thing I had time to commit to.
While tearing through the aisles of my local supermarket, I noticed one amazing improvement: They had completely remodeled the salad bar! I’m not talking a new variation on ranch dressing or shredded carrots. I’m talking a complete overhaul (much like the ones I see in other bigger cities when I’m traveling with production crews). They had added new, lighter dressings (like the lemon one I used here), more vegetable variety and — best of all — precooked grains. While the pick of this week was wheat berries, they told me they’re also cycling in quinoa, farro, bulgur and barley. What a hearty and delicious timesaver!
Pairing a quick-cooking piece of protein like a pork tenderloin with the helping hand of fresh, natural and already prepared ingredients from the salad bar is definitely an ace in the hole I won’t soon forget. Just goes to show you that it pays off to explore your local store a bit — they’re always adding in something new.
Glazed Pork Loin With “Salad Bar” Salad
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Glazed Pork Loin With “Salad Bar” Salad
Cooking Channel takes you behind the scenes at the 2012 Sweetlife Festival.
This past Saturday, Cooking Channel went behind the scenes of the East Coast’s most eco-friendly music and food event of the season: Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Festival.
Sweetgreen, a DC-based salad restaurant known for locally-sourced ingredients and sustainable practices, is expanding fast and bringing its unique salads and eco-friendly philosophy of “living the sweetlife” with it. While jamming to indie-pop, alt-rock, electronic and hip-hop, fans chowed down on eco-friendly fare from all-natural chicken sliders to organic kettle corn, all washed down with earth-conscious cocktails.
Check out the best bites paired with the best music from the festival, plus get Sweetgreen’s best salad recipe to try at home:
Continue Reading Party With a Purpose: Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Festival
I set out not to write an ode to eggs. I was afraid I would be too obvious, embarrass myself with my unabashed affection for them.
My love started long ago. Mom would serve eggs for breakfast every morning before school. It got me through until lunchtime, headache and hunger-pain free. Those things tasted good and stuck with you, too. I was sold. I preferred the drippy yolks then as I do now, on anything from toast or pancakes to polenta or frisee au lardon.
Continue Reading Un-Ode to Eggs, Cholesterol and All
The simplicity of a fresh salad is one of the hallmarks of all our meals. Regardless of what is on the menu, a simple seasonal salad is our favorite way to start the feast. Fresh, crisp lettuce, a bright addition of fruit and tangy vinaigrette is the perfect starter to please the palate.
Continue Reading Pomegranate Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
We’re kicking off our season long Fall Fest 2011, which welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll help you to enjoy all that this season has to offer. First up is the autumnal favorite: apples.
You could spend hours browsing the extensive selection of in-season apples at the farmers’ market, but I’m happy to head straight for the Honey Crisp variety. Some might call these “fancy” because they cost a little more. But one bite of this super sweet and crunchy gift from the orchard and I promise, you’ll be sold.
So I’m happy to eat these as soon as I can get my hands on them, but their super-sweet quality and zero chance for mealy texture makes them the perfect candidate for a salad mix-in.
Continue Reading Fall Fest: Apples Give Salad Crunch