This weekend is for relaxing, or trying to relax and welcome in the summer months. For us that means we are trying to round up one or two bbq's with friends as there is beer to be shared and basketball to be watched. A great salad is a win at any pot luck as it can be the balance to all the crunchy, salty, meaty things happening on a grill. Sometimes its fun to play with herbs and flavors to bring something a little special.
This dressing does just that for us, it adds that extra something something. Its a twist on our usual lemon and olive oil classic with the addition of the tarragon and basil. Tarragon is a herb we are just beginning to explore as it has a powerful and specific flavor sort of like licorice, that can easily over shadow. However, in this dressing, that flavor it is nicely balanced with the Dijon mustard and basil and provides the salad, or any salad, with a floral and herbaceous note. The kids love it for dipping carrots, we always keep a little on the side for their "cruditès" and we liked it especially with a grilled chicken breast or two. Try it this weekend and let us know!
Fresh Herb and Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes about ¾ of a cup of dressing
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon of water
½ tsp. salt
1/3-cup fresh tarragon
1/3-cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2/3 cup Olive Oil
*Can sub in flat leaf parley for any of the herbs, or add to the mix
Place all ingredients except the Olive oil into a blender. Pulse until garlic and herbs begin to break down and then stream in oil, blending dressing until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. You may need a bit more oil, or salt.
Serve with any salad, or as a dip for crudité. It holds up well to hearty lettuces like romaine and grilled vegetables or chicken.
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This easy dip or condiment enhances most dishes with which its paired. It cuts through the richness of lamb and adds a creamy dimension to falafel. It also makes a great dip with veggies and pita. Serve it as a side for any grilled meat you are throwing on the fire this summer. The littlest chef can easily help mix and let the other kids get in on the grating. If you have any left, thin with a bit of water and instantly you have a tasty dressing for your next dinner.
Makes about 2 cups
½ large cucumber, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, minced finely
½ tsp. of salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons minced chives
Mix all the ingredients and enjoy!
Serve with falafel, lamb or lamb meatballs or just as a dip with pita.
The affinity for this dip rests primarily in its luscious color! Who can resist that shade of fuchsia as we certainly eat with our eyes! Beets are a true superfood and a wonderful way to add sweetness to any dish, that aforementioned color, and a ton of vitamin c, fiber, potassium and manganese. Using them in hummus gives a nice twist to a mediterranean classic.
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
2 garlic cloves
1 large red beet, roasted, peeled and cooled*
1 tsp of salt
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 tsp Zaatar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with chips, pita or veggies.
*to roast beets, remove stems and leaves and wrap in tin foil. Place in 400 degree oven and roast until easily pierced with a knife. Rub off skin and cool.
We are always experimenting, trying to find new ways to spice up a salad. Lately, we have been obsessed with grilling some of the vegetables and combining them with raw. It gives the salad a nice combination and texture of soft versus crunchy and the char on the grilled veggies imparts a nice smoky flavor. What really though turns this salad on in the vinaigrette. Sweet, floral, spicy, tart, and tangy. It hits all the right umami notes. Try leftovers in a rice bowl with some steamed spinach and baked salmon.
Kale, Grilled Vegetable and Grilled Chicken salad with Coconut Lime vinaigrette
3 cups kale, stemmed and sliced fine
2 cups red leaf lettuce sliced or shredded into bite sized pieces
1 small eggplant sliced into ¼ inch rings
5 scallions with tips removed
1 zucchini sliced long ways into ¼ inch thick pieces
1 yellow squash sliced long ways into ¼ inch thick pieces
1 firm stone fruit, diced (can be plums or peaches)
¼ cup radishes thinly sliced
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 chicken breast
½ -1 cup coconut lime vinaigrette
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
On the grill or in a grill pan, grill eggplant, squash, zucchini and scallions until tender, then dice. Set aside.
Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and grill in pan or on grill. (About 5 minutes per side.) Remove from heat and dice.
Dress kale with ½ cup dressing and massage. Let kale sit for at least five minutes.
Toss all ingredients together and add more dressing to your liking.
Coconut lime Vinaigrette
Makes about 2 cups
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 3 limes
6 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons of fresh mint, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1-cup full fat coconut milk
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until mixed.
Serve with rice bowls or as dressing for any salad including the Kale, Grilled Vegetable and Grilled Chicken salad.
We may be sliding into fall, and 4th of July has become but a memory, but this condiment is great all year round. My mother, sister-in-law and I all make this a bit differently, but the outcome is same: a spicy, herby and garlicky side to jazz up any basic protein. I like adding oregano, my sister-in-law adds a bit more heat, and my mother makes the below. Once you have the basics, throw in whatever herbs you have on hand and have fun!
4th of July Parsley Chimichurri
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bunches of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
¾ cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together, let sit with thin layer of olive oil on top. Can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Serve with Roasted meats, fish or vegetables.
To make a salad dressing: Place 2 tablespoons Chimichurri, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar in a small bowl and whisk.
This zippy sauce is traditionally used with Bouillabaisse but it can also double as a dipping sauce for a fresh vegetable platter, or roasted potatoes. It is rich and garlicky and the saffron gives it a subtle kick.
Saffron Garlic Mayonnaise (Rouille)
Makes about 1 cup
¾ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon very hot broth from the bouillabaisse or any veggie stock
1 fresh French roll with crust trimmed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup olive oil
Stir in a small bowl the saffron and 2 tablespoons of hot stock. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. In a food processor process roll into crumbs. Add ¾ of a cup of bread crumbs to saffron mixture and mash with fork until a loose paste forms. Add more stock if too stiff. In food processor or blender add red pepper, garlic and salt. Puree and add in the egg yolk. Pulse bread mixture in, little by little until smooth. Slowly stream in the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Check seasoning. Cover and refrigerate. Use same day with bouillabaisse or serve with crudite.
tip: be sure that the broth added is very hot as sauce can separate.
A square meal is satisfying, nourishing, complete.
A round table includes all.