Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

There’s nothing like a good salad.  Sometimes that means an abundance of crunchy veggies, and other times that means hard boiled eggs and bacon and cheese and a really bad-for-you dressing – proving that a “salad” can really be anything you want – over some lettuce and drizzled with some vinaigrette.

This healthful salad has it all – a little crunch, a little cheese and with sweet potatoes and quinoa – it’s quite filling!

What you’ll need:
Greens of your liking
2 sweet potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1 red onion, sliced thick
1 cup prepared quinoa
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thin
Gorgonzola Cheese

Simple Dressing:
1 T Dijon
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.  Toss the onion and sweet potato segments with 2 T of olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Roast in the hot oven until the onion begins to caramelize and the sweet potato is tender – this could take about 30 minutes depending on the size of your sweet potatoes.
Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions and set aside.  In a dry pan toast pine nuts until they become fragrant.  Toss together with the quinoa and season that with salt and pepper.
If you have the time, make the above items ahead of time so they can come to room temperature by the time you assemble the salad – but if they’re still warm that’s nice too!
Prepare the dressing – let the minced garlic, a good pinch of salt and the vinegar sit in the mixing bowl for a few minutes before adding the olive oil.  Whisk to incorporate the oil as you stream it in, taste and season the dressing with pepper and possibly a touch more salt.
Thinly slice the apple last and then assemble – lightly dress the lettuce with a little vinaigrette, layer on top of the greens the quinoa & pinenuts, sweet potatoes & onion, fresh cut apple slices and the Gorgonzola cheese.  Top it all with a bit more vinaigrette.
DSC_0004This concoction makes a deliciously hearty salad and it makes plenty to enjoy the next day for lunch!

 

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Tuscan kale salad

It has been excruciatingly hot here in NYC, pushing 90 degrees with extreme humidity. This heat wave has made the idea of cooking nearly nauseating… but for the sake of the blog, I turned on the ol’ oven this weekend and cooked up some croutons for a delicious and filling tuscan kale salad. Thankfully the croutons were the only ingredient in this recipe that required any cooking at all… otherwise I may not have lived to write this post.

For one serving you will need:
3 large handfuls of washed kale (I used red kale), removed from the stems and ripped into bite sized pieces
1/3 cup cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup asiago or parmesan cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp slivered or sliced almonds
Handful of croutons (preferably homemade — instructions here)
White wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt + pepper to taste

Put the kale and a pinch of salt in a large salad bowl, “massage” (as if you were rubbing the kale’s shoulders) the kale for 5 or so minutes, or until tender and slightly wilted.

Add the beans, cheese, almonds & croutons and toss together. Dress with a little olive oil and white wine vinegar, and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Done! Enjoy!

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Salad for Dinner

In anticipation of overindulging a bit this weekend, next week we’re going to be whipping up some salads that are hearty enough to be a full meal. We’re almost as excited about this post as George and Elaine are! Have a happy Memorial Day weekend, all!tumblr_lu5393ZZpl1qjiwjro1_r1_500.gif

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Bruschetta with Crushed Favas and Mozzarella

Hillary said it – double peeling these favas is an act of true love and dedication.  These bright green beans are truly bright and refreshing though – so I think they’re worth a little extra attention – and really, it’s not that bad.

I made these incredibly easy bruschetta for a lovely al fresco dinner by the river.  Just perfect for a Spring picnic!  Simply prep and pack all the ingredients separately and assemble outside, pair it with a crisp glass of cold white wine (or a refreshing beer like we did!) and enjoy!

What you’ll need:
1 baguette (I used whole wheat…not bad!) – sliced thin, lightly toasted with a sprinkle of salt, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
1 lb. fresh fava beans
2 T lemon juice
2 T + good olive oil
1 clove garlic
8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella
Fresh mint leaves to taste
Sea Salt & Freshly ground pepper
Lemon oil

Assuming you’ve gone through the process that Hillary outlined (boil the favas and peel them, twice) – transfer the favas to a food processor and process with salt & pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.  My fava mixture never got totally smooth, but I like having a little texture to the smashed favas.  Taste for seasoning and mix in the finely sliced fresh mint.
DSC_0004DSC_0024For the bread – preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Thinly slice the baguette and sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little salt.  Toast until slightly crispy.

To assemble – spread the fava mixture over the baguette slices.  Top with shredded mozz, another good dusting of salt and pepper and top with lemon oil.  Light and oh-so-Springtime!
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Fava beans with asiago cheese

A fresh fava bean salad is such a delight on a hot day with a cool glass of wine… and yesterday was certainly a hot day here in NYC, up in the mid 80s with extreme humidity.

Shelling and cooking fresh fava beans is one of those processes similar to sautéing spinach — you begin with mounds of the stuff and after all of your slaving are left with virtually nothing… So you may start making these fava beans with asiago cheese with every intention of sharing them with someone, but by the end you will be treating this dish like your baby bear cub (if you were a mother bear). I guess you could triple or quadruple this recipe but I don’t know if that would change anything…

For a snack for 1-2 people (if you are feeling generous…) you will need:

1 cup shelled beans (from about 1lb fresh fava bean pods)
1-2 oz asiago cheese, crumbled
Olive oil
White wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Shell the beans and blanch for about 2 minutes in salted boiling water. Remove their tough outer skins and reserve the beans in a small bowl. Add the cheese, a splash of white wine vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and enjoy!

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Fava beans

Fava beans

A true sign that spring is upon us – fava beans are starting to make an appearance in grocery stores and greenmarkets. So check back later this week for some fresh, fava-full recipes!

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Rhubarb agua fresca

I had originally wanted to make a fun rhubarb cocktail for this post, but since I have a half marathon coming up this weekend I needed all the hydration I could get! And aren’t mocktails the new cocktails anyway…? So here is a delightful rhubarb agua fresca with muddled strawberry & a splash of lime. Early summer in a glass!

For one drink you will need:

2 oz rhubarb simple syrup (recipe below)
6 oz seltzer
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 strawberry

Smash the strawberry in the bottom of your glass with a muddler or a spoon, add the lime juice and rhubarb simple syrup and top off with some seltzer. Done!

To make the rhubarb simple syrup combine 1 large stalk of rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch slices (about 1 cup), 1 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer over medium heat until the rhubarb is falling apart. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator!

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