vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

Posts tagged salad

12 notes

There is almost nothing as boring as writing about eating more whole grains. Maybe reading about eating more whole grains. It’s excruciating.
So I will just say this: I bought a bag of black rice at the grocery store and really enjoyed it and have been eating it more and more lately. I find the color really satisfying (deep purpley-black), and I like the taste (nutty), and it has a nice chewy texture. It takes more time to cook than, say, microwave rice, but not that much more time than regular rice, and it has enough oomph that you can build a meal out of it.
Black Rice with Beets and Feta
One or two bunches of beets. (Most beets this time of year will come with greens; save them! They’re wonderful— tender like spinach but much sweeter.)
Black rice
Butter
Salt & Pepper
Shallot (minced or thinly sliced)
Feta (crumbled)
Optional: a dressing with mustard, sherry vinegar, a tiny bit of maple syrup, and olive oil.
Chop off the beet greens, leaving a bit of stalk on the beet (don’t cut the beets themselves or they’ll bleed like crazy) and wash beets. Steam the beets until tender. This can take anywhere from 25 minutes for very little beets (ping pong ball sized or smaller) to an hour for really big beets (tennis ball sized). Just check periodically. You should be able to pierce them with a fork easily. Once they’re ready, take them off the heat and let them cool a bit, and peel the skins off with your fingers. You can also leave the skins on, honestly, but they come off steamed beets really easily.
While the beets are cooking, cook the rice. The package I bought says to combine 1 cup rice with 1 3/4 cups water along with a teaspoon of butter and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 35 - 40 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
Top rice with beets, shallot, and feta. Season with salt and pepper. I drizzled some salad dressing on top, but you could use sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar with olive oil.

There is almost nothing as boring as writing about eating more whole grains. Maybe reading about eating more whole grains. It’s excruciating.

So I will just say this: I bought a bag of black rice at the grocery store and really enjoyed it and have been eating it more and more lately. I find the color really satisfying (deep purpley-black), and I like the taste (nutty), and it has a nice chewy texture. It takes more time to cook than, say, microwave rice, but not that much more time than regular rice, and it has enough oomph that you can build a meal out of it.

Black Rice with Beets and Feta

  • One or two bunches of beets. (Most beets this time of year will come with greens; save them! They’re wonderful— tender like spinach but much sweeter.)
  • Black rice
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Shallot (minced or thinly sliced)
  • Feta (crumbled)
  • Optional: a dressing with mustard, sherry vinegar, a tiny bit of maple syrup, and olive oil.

Chop off the beet greens, leaving a bit of stalk on the beet (don’t cut the beets themselves or they’ll bleed like crazy) and wash beets. Steam the beets until tender. This can take anywhere from 25 minutes for very little beets (ping pong ball sized or smaller) to an hour for really big beets (tennis ball sized). Just check periodically. You should be able to pierce them with a fork easily. Once they’re ready, take them off the heat and let them cool a bit, and peel the skins off with your fingers. You can also leave the skins on, honestly, but they come off steamed beets really easily.

While the beets are cooking, cook the rice. The package I bought says to combine 1 cup rice with 1 3/4 cups water along with a teaspoon of butter and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 35 - 40 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Top rice with beets, shallot, and feta. Season with salt and pepper.
I drizzled some salad dressing on top, but you could use sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar with olive oil.

Filed under salad eating less meat dinner

16 notes

Lemon, Cucumber, Feta, and Orzo Salad and Letting Go
I was in the grocery store the other night and picked up some red onions. There was an older man in a suit by the onions, picking up and inspecting each red onion in order to find the most perfect red onion. I swept in on the side and grabbed two and threw them into my cart. And the guy turns to me and asks how I’m able to pick out onions so quickly. And I look at him and say, “you let go” and walked away.
You don’t need to find the most perfect red onion because you’ll peel off the outer layers and if whatever bruise or ding has made it past the outer layers, you just cut it off and it doesn’t matter at all. All the red onions are fine. It doesn’t matter. Just grab one.
Summer cooking, man. It’s pretty great. I mean, it’s pretty great now that I’ve let go. Because in the summer there’s so much delicious produce available, and the answer to most seasoning issues can be “dump a handful of herbs on top,” and I don’t think anyone craves a hearty stew in 90 degree heat.
Which gets us to the lemon, cucumber, feta, and orzo salad above. It’s good, and it’s easy, and you can spend a lot of time figuring out the perfect set of herbs or vegetables or seasoning or you can wing it and add more salt later if you need to. One might get you a better, more consistent pasta salad. The other will make you happier.
Just Do Whatever It’s Summer Pasta Salad
Orzo (I think I cooked 1 cup dried? Maybe 2 cups?)
1 - 2 cucumbers, cut up (depends on the size of the cucumber. You can halve them lengthwise first, or quarter them lengthwise first, or just slice them into rounds)
frozen peas (I added these because we were a little thin on the ground with the orzo. I microwaved them first. This is probably some kind of locavore failure, which I’ve accepted and bothers me not one single iota.)
feta
handful of mint, chopped (hint: stack up the leaves on top of each other, roll them lengthwise, and then slice the roll of leaves. Presto! Chiffonade!)
handful of parsley, chopped
1 lemon (both the lemon zest and the lemon juice)
olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook your orzo according to package instructions (probably: boil in a pot of salted water until just tender, drain). Toss with a little olive oil and let cool slightly.
Add the cucumbers, peas, feta, herbs, and lemon zest and toss. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste. It’s likely you didn’t add enough lemon juice and salt, so add some more.

Lemon, Cucumber, Feta, and Orzo Salad and Letting Go

I was in the grocery store the other night and picked up some red onions. There was an older man in a suit by the onions, picking up and inspecting each red onion in order to find the most perfect red onion. I swept in on the side and grabbed two and threw them into my cart. And the guy turns to me and asks how I’m able to pick out onions so quickly. And I look at him and say, “you let go” and walked away.

You don’t need to find the most perfect red onion because you’ll peel off the outer layers and if whatever bruise or ding has made it past the outer layers, you just cut it off and it doesn’t matter at all. All the red onions are fine. It doesn’t matter. Just grab one.

Summer cooking, man. It’s pretty great. I mean, it’s pretty great now that I’ve let go. Because in the summer there’s so much delicious produce available, and the answer to most seasoning issues can be “dump a handful of herbs on top,” and I don’t think anyone craves a hearty stew in 90 degree heat.

Which gets us to the lemon, cucumber, feta, and orzo salad above. It’s good, and it’s easy, and you can spend a lot of time figuring out the perfect set of herbs or vegetables or seasoning or you can wing it and add more salt later if you need to. One might get you a better, more consistent pasta salad. The other will make you happier.

Just Do Whatever It’s Summer Pasta Salad

  • Orzo (I think I cooked 1 cup dried? Maybe 2 cups?)
  • 1 - 2 cucumbers, cut up (depends on the size of the cucumber. You can halve them lengthwise first, or quarter them lengthwise first, or just slice them into rounds)
  • frozen peas (I added these because we were a little thin on the ground with the orzo. I microwaved them first. This is probably some kind of locavore failure, which I’ve accepted and bothers me not one single iota.)
  • feta
  • handful of mint, chopped (hint: stack up the leaves on top of each other, roll them lengthwise, and then slice the roll of leaves. Presto! Chiffonade!)
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon (both the lemon zest and the lemon juice)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Cook your orzo according to package instructions (probably: boil in a pot of salted water until just tender, drain). Toss with a little olive oil and let cool slightly.

Add the cucumbers, peas, feta, herbs, and lemon zest and toss. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste. It’s likely you didn’t add enough lemon juice and salt, so add some more.

Filed under summer salad

56 notes

My Mum’s Chicken Salad
This is probably the least cool post I have ever had on my tumblr, which is saying a lot, because approximately half the posts on my tumblr are objectively uncool. First, it’s about chicken salad. Second, it’s my mum’s chicken salad recipe, not even some newfangled hipster chicken salad with sriracha. Third, it’s illustrated with what turns out to be a blurry phone photo so it’s hard to get much detail beyond it looking like a lumpy beige mass. Fourth, the key cooking technique here is poaching, which you would be surprised still exists as a legitimate way of rendering meats edible given the amount of media coverage it gets.
While the rest of you are grilling shit I’m just going to be over here gently simmering my skinless boneless chicken breasts in water, thanks.
It’s really good chicken salad, though. Fantastic in a sandwich, but also great on its own.
And here’s the deal on poaching: it’s super uncool, but it’s a great for things like chicken salad, because the meat comes out evenly cooked and really moist.
My mum wrote out this recipe for me at some point when I was in college and she was worried about my being able to feed myself (not an unfair concern: there was a year or so when I subsisted on frozen peas, carrots and dip, takeout from a nearby Japanese restaurant, toast with taramasalata and tomatoes, and ice cream. And vodka cranberries. I weighed less in college.)
Poach the Chicken
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
(optional: 1/2 an onion, chopped; 1 carrot, cut up; 1 stalk celery, cut up; some parsley)
Combine the chicken and any of the aromatics in a pan. Cover with water. Cook slowly at a simmer until the chicken is somewhat resistant when pressed— it will continue to cook a bit once you take it off the heat— take off heat and let cool in broth.
Prepare Salad
Poached chicken
2 cups seedless grapes, cut in half (my mum does not specify that the grapes have to be cut in half, but they always are, and it really dramatically improves the salad-eating experience)
1/2 - 1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 - 1 cup thinly sliced celery
For dressing:
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
salt and pepper
(This, by the way, is where my mum’s recipe ends, because while I think she didn’t want me to starve, it was also beyond her ability to imagine that I couldn’t figure out the next steps on my own. This is the same reason my grandmother’s pie crust recipe includes only a very rough list of ingredients.)
Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Cut up or shred the chicken. Add the chicken and salad ingredients to the dressing and toss to coat.

My Mum’s Chicken Salad

This is probably the least cool post I have ever had on my tumblr, which is saying a lot, because approximately half the posts on my tumblr are objectively uncool. First, it’s about chicken salad. Second, it’s my mum’s chicken salad recipe, not even some newfangled hipster chicken salad with sriracha. Third, it’s illustrated with what turns out to be a blurry phone photo so it’s hard to get much detail beyond it looking like a lumpy beige mass. Fourth, the key cooking technique here is poaching, which you would be surprised still exists as a legitimate way of rendering meats edible given the amount of media coverage it gets.

While the rest of you are grilling shit I’m just going to be over here gently simmering my skinless boneless chicken breasts in water, thanks.

It’s really good chicken salad, though. Fantastic in a sandwich, but also great on its own.

And here’s the deal on poaching: it’s super uncool, but it’s a great for things like chicken salad, because the meat comes out evenly cooked and really moist.

My mum wrote out this recipe for me at some point when I was in college and she was worried about my being able to feed myself (not an unfair concern: there was a year or so when I subsisted on frozen peas, carrots and dip, takeout from a nearby Japanese restaurant, toast with taramasalata and tomatoes, and ice cream. And vodka cranberries. I weighed less in college.)

Poach the Chicken

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • (optional: 1/2 an onion, chopped; 1 carrot, cut up; 1 stalk celery, cut up; some parsley)

Combine the chicken and any of the aromatics in a pan. Cover with water. Cook slowly at a simmer until the chicken is somewhat resistant when pressed— it will continue to cook a bit once you take it off the heat— take off heat and let cool in broth.

Prepare Salad

  • Poached chicken
  • 2 cups seedless grapes, cut in half (my mum does not specify that the grapes have to be cut in half, but they always are, and it really dramatically improves the salad-eating experience)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 - 1 cup thinly sliced celery

For dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper

(This, by the way, is where my mum’s recipe ends, because while I think she didn’t want me to starve, it was also beyond her ability to imagine that I couldn’t figure out the next steps on my own. This is the same reason my grandmother’s pie crust recipe includes only a very rough list of ingredients.)

Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Cut up or shred the chicken. Add the chicken and salad ingredients to the dressing and toss to coat.

Filed under chicken salad