Fattoush Salad

fattouchPita Chips

2 rounds pita bread (8- to 12-inches)

2-3 T olive oil

½ t sumac

Salt and pepper

 

Salad

2 C shredded romaine lettuce

1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded, diced small

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

5-6 radishes, sliced

½ C parsley leaves, chopped

¼ C mint leaves, chopped

5-6 scallions, chopped

 

Dressing

½ C lemon juice

½ C olive oil

1 t sumac

1/8 t cinnamon (optional)

Sea salt to taste

 

 

Toast the pita bread in your toaster oven until dried and crisp but not browned. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Break the pita into pieces and put into the heated oil. Fry briefly until browned, tossing frequently. Remove from the oil and place on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sumac.

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the salad ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss lightly. Lastly, add the pita chips and toss one more time. Serves 4-6.

 


Vegetable Carpaccio

vegetable-carpaccio

 

If you don’t own a culinary mandolin, use a vegetable peeler to get the paper-thin slices this recipe calls for. The inspiration for this salad comes from beef carpaccio, a classic dish of rare/raw sliced beef dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, capers and Parmesan cheese. The root vegetable version was invented by Chef Andy Hollyday of Selden Standard, named Restaurant of the Year 2016 by Hour Detroit magazine. It’s perfect for what’s coming in season right now — baby beets, beautiful radishes of every color, sweet turnips, colored carrots. The carpaccio certainly made an impression in March 2016 at several different demo venues.

A selection of seasonal vegetables that could include:

1 small fennel, shaved thin
1 small red or gold beet, peeled and shaved thin
3 medium sized heirloom carrots, shaved thin
6 small radish, washed and shaved into thin coins or 2 small turnips
1 small celery root, peeled and shaved thin

¼ C capers in brine, drained
¼ C cup fresh herb of choice, chopped – chives, tarragon, parsley or basil work well
3oz. Parmesan Reggiano, shaved thin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon Vinaigrette

Zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 2 T)
1 shallot, minced fine
1 T champagne or white wine vinegar
½ C extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

To make the vinaigrette combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl or a mini-prep food processor, season with salt and pepper and whisk together. In another bowl add the shaved vegetables and enough vinaigrette to generously coat. If there is any vinaigrette remaining reserve for another use. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for 10-30 minutes, mixing once or twice. After 10 minutes, taste the salad again for seasoning. Distribute onto a large platter or on individual plates. Garnish with shaved Parmesan, capers, herbs of choice, and a twist of freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4-6.

 


Warm Potato Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

potatoes

 

 

Baby new potatoes are great in this. The golf-ball sized tubers start hitting farmers markets around April. Use a variety of colors –purple, yellow, red-skinned – if you can find them for maximum nutrition, or stick with red-skinned or yellow Yukons. We love the sweet flavor of the new potatoes in this recipe, but any type of boiling potato works for year-round goodness. If you have a culinary mandolin, use that to slice the potatoes, or better yet, the slicing bade on a food processor. The sauce comes out thick, almost like a chimichurri sauce. Mix and match herbs – tarragon, chives, parsley; or dill, parsley and chives; or basil, cilantro and chives. Mix your sauce in while the potatoes are still warm for maximum flavor, and also to “cook” the raw garlic, making it less harsh. You can serve it any temperature, though it is best either warm or room-temperature. One last thing – if you don’t have a steamer (and lots of us don’t), just boil these gently in about an inch or so of water, covered.  Demoed at USBG in March 2016. Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

1¾ lb. baby potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Kosher salt
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C lightly packed fresh basil
½ C thinly sliced chives
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, wide pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the steamer and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cover and steam, carefully stirring every now and again, until the potatoes are just tender, five to six minutes. Drain and put them back into the hot pan, cover.

While the potatoes are cooking, finely grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the lemon. Put the zest in a food processor and set the juice aside. Add the garlic to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the herbs and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the olive oil, 1t salt, and ½ t pepper and pulse until the mixture is fairly homogenous, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. (Avoid overprocessing or the herbs will heat up and discolor; 10 to 12 pulses should do.) Add 3 T of the lemon juice and pulse once to mix.

Drizzle the herb mixture over the potatoes and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with more salt or lemon juice. Serve warm.


Tahini Sauce with Nut Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

 

tahini

 

 

This combination has it all – tart lemon, crunchy nuts, sweet pomegranate seeds. It’s also chock full of nutrition and it’s versatile. Great over grilled or sauteed fish, grilled chicken or roasted or grilled lamb and even vegetables.  You could serve it as a dip or toss a salad with it.  Pomegranate molasses is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and can be found in specialty food stores or on line.  There’s nothing quite like it, but you can substitute balsamic syrup, made by boiling down balsamic vinegar until it becomes slightly syrupy.  We adapted this from Fine Cooking and demoed it last January. We’re rolling it out again for our September 2015 Mediterranean demos at the US Botanic Garden in honor of its new exhibit from the region. This time, Danielle had the pleasure of making this dish, served on pita bread.

Tahini sauce

6 T tahini (sesame seed paste, available in supermarket health food section)
4 t fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
½ t ground cumin
Kosher salt

For the nut-herb topping

¼ C toasted, finely chopped almonds
¼ C toasted, finely chopped walnuts
¼ C finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. finely chopped red onion
2½  T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T finely chopped fresh mint
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

¼ C pomegranate arils (see note, above)
2 t pomegranate molasses

Make the tahini sauce

Process the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ¼ t salt, and 5 T water in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Make the nut-herb topping

In a medium bowl, gently toss the almonds, walnuts, cilantro, onion, olive oil, parsley, mint, and pepper flakes with ¼t salt and 1/8 t pepper until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve the tahini sauce sprinkled with the nut-herb mixture and topped with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle pomegranate molasses.


Lemony New Potatoes

fingerlingThis treatment of the new potatoes that will soon be showing up in farmer’s markets is full of do-aheads. Parboil your potatoes the day before you plan to serve them; the browning can be done a few hours ahead of time; assemble the rest of the ingredients and the last step of making the sauce will come together in less than five minutes. Ultimately, you can do the whole dish in advance and keep it warm in the oven or microwave it before serving. The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart and was part of our March 2015 repertoire at Brookside and U.S. Botanic Garden.

1 # fingerling potatoes
1 T coarse salt
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C chicken stock
2 T dry white wine
1 T fresh or 1 t dried thyme leaves
1 T butter, chilled
2 T fresh lemon juice
Salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

Garnish
fresh thyme leaves or parsley
coarse salt

Cover potatoes with water in a pan. Add 1 T salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until barely tender, 5 minutes. Drain potatoes, cool, and halve lengthwise. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock and wine. Cook until liquid is reduced by a third, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add thyme and butter, and stir until butter has melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish withm more thyme leaves or parsley and sprinkle judiciously with coarse salt.

 


Winter Salad of Root Vegebables with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

If yroastedou’re sick of roasted vegetables you can take a pass on the veggie ingredients in this salad but you shouldn’t skip the lemon tahini dressing which is delicious on nearly everything it touches, though I confess I have not tried it on chocolate icecream. I bet it would be fantastic on orange or lime sorbet. Just a thought, in the middle of winter when I’m longing for the beach. Meantime, as they say, slather the vinaigrette on a nice piece of fish – say halibut or striped bass or mahi – and pan fry or do what hubby is doing these days, madly using the Cuisinart electric panini grill, a great modern invention; he puts everything on it including the dish towels. One of those fish fillets would be awesome cooked on that baby and you’ll want to drizzle more of the lemon tahini sauce on the fish when you serve. Nuff said about that. I do not tire of anything that includes oven-roasted potatoes so here you’ll have those plus matchstick carrots and parsnips, which we always overlook when we roast vegetables, why I can’t say but there’s no explaining a lack of imagination. And if you’re up to here with cauliflower and you already have divined the dirty little secret about roasted broccoli – don’t ask me, you’ll need to discover it for yourself – then just leave it at that and toss your roots with some fresh greenery and have at it. Or just make a big jar of the tahini dressing and drink a cup for breakfast – you think I’m kidding. I, Adrienne, demoed this in January at Brookside and at US Botanic Garden. Adapted from Fine Cooking. 

16 small potatoes
3/4 C olive oil, divided (more as needed)
1 t salt, divided
fresh ground pepper
½ head cauliflower, curt into ½-inch florets
3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 C fresh parsley leaves, divided
1/4 C lemon juice
2 T tahini (International foods)
1 t honey (optional)
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t ground coriander
4 C sturdy lettuce greens, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces as necessary
½ C chopped fresh dill
4 oz crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Quarter potatoes, place in plastic bag or bowl; toss with 1-2 T olive oil, scant 1/4 t salt, several pepper grinds. Spread potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven until golden, about 30 minutes, turning them halfway through. Place cauliflower plastic bag or bowl, add 1 T olive oil, 1/4 t salt, several pepper grinds; toss until well coated. Spread on one side of rimmed baking sheet. To plastic bag or bowl, add carrots and parsnips, 1 T olive oil, 1/4 t salt, several grinds pepper. Toss and spread root vegetables on baking sheet next to cauliflower. Place baking sheet in the oven and roast until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove potatoes and vegetables when done and cover to keep warm.

Place garlic and 1/4 C parsley in a food processor and process until minced; add remaining ½ C olive oil, 1/4 t salt, lemon juice, tahini, honey if using, cumin, coriander; process, adding more olive oil as needed, until smooth and creamy.

In a large bowl, toss together the remaining parsley, lettuce and dill with 1/4 C salad dressing. Place on a serving platter, top with warm vegetables, drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve immediately, or hold at room temperature for up to two hours.


Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casserole

 

 

 

Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update.

3 to 3¼ lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
4 T unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 C toasted and very finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 C breadcrumbs
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
1 C heavy cream
Eight ¼-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, unpeeled and crushed
2 whole star anise
One 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 T plus 2 t bourbon
1½  t pure vanilla extract
3 large tart-sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Bake the sweet potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake them on the sheet until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, if not working ahead, reduce the oven temperature to 375̊F.

Discard the skins and put the flesh in a medium mixing bowl. With a potato masher, work the sweet potatoes until they’re well mashed (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Make the crumb topping

Melt 2 T of the butter and combine with the pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and two big pinches of salt in a small bowl.

Infuse the cream

Combine the heavy cream, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t boil over) and remove from the heat immediately. Let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in 2 T of the bourbon, the vanilla extract, and ¼ t salt.

Cook the apples

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, season with ¼ t salt, and toss well. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Lower the heat if the apples are getting too dark, but not so much that they soften without browning.

Turn off the heat, carefully add the remaining 2 tsp. bourbon and stir until it evaporates, a few seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of the infused cream and stir until the apples have absorbed most of it, a few more seconds. Set the pan aside and let the apples cool for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally to release steam.
Assemble the casserole

Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9×13-inch works well). Add the remaining cream to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. Arrange the apples across the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the sweet potato mixture over the apples in an even layer. Top with the pecan-crumb mixture.

Bake the casserole at 375̊F until the crumb topping is dark brown (it will be browner around the edges) and the casserole is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake and mash the sweet potatoes and make the crumb topping a day ahead (cover both and refrigerate). Bring the potatoes and crumb topping to room temperature before assembling the dish. You can also assemble and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Return to room temperature before baking.