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Salad Week – Deconstructed Greek Salad

I thought what with Summer now upon us……well some places are getting Summer anyway….that it would be a good time to roll out “Salad Week”.

I love salads and the combinations are endless, so let’s see what we can come up with.

Today we have “Deconstructed Greek Salad”.

Now don’t be intimidated.   This might sound all “Chefy” but it couldn’t be simpler!

Impress your friends with this simple tasty salad.

Gather all the ingredients typically found in a Greek salad and cut them into even sized bits.

Here we have:

  • Green pepper
  • Yellow pepper
  • Red onion
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • Kalamata olives

So chop them up evenly and put them in little piles in a flat casserole dish like small 9 x 9 glass lasagna dish.

Then make up the dressing:  Thee parts oil, one part vinegar

  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • chopped fresh herbs – parsley, oregano etc

Stir up and then pour all over the vegetables and let them marinade for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

When you are ready to serve, arrange even piles of the individual vegetables around the plate.

Here we have a dollop of goat cheese, but crumbled feta would do nicely too.

Season with salt & pepper and sprinkle with additional chopped herbs if you have them!

Voila!  So simple and so good!!

Deconstructed Greek Salad

Please feel free to share YOUR  favorite salads with me.  Post a link to your blog if you’d like my friends to check it out too.

Happy Salad Week!

Slitty potatoes

Have been seeing these everywhere lately and thought it was time to try them.

I have reason to believe they are really called “Hasselback” potatoes and are originally Swedish in nature.  Although I have seen Laura Calder on the Food Network’s  “French Food at Home make them on her show too so I imagine a few cultures lay claim to them.

So start with some nice potatoes.

Mine weren’t too big, about goose egg size.  That way they cook quicker.

Oh and turn on the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and dry the potatoes, then very carefully start at one end and make a bunch of evenly spaced slits along the whole length of the potato.

Be careful not to cut all the way through.  You want to stop just short of going through the skin on the bottom.

Meanwhile, and this is up for interpretation, but what I used in this particular incidence was……..

In a small bowl mix a few spoonfuls of soft butter, a couple of shots of olive oil and some very finely chopped fresh rosemary sprigs.   Stir that up well.  You could also just use olive oil if butter isn’t your thing.

Then take each potato and slog on this mixture, being sure to get some down into each slit.

Repeat until they are all covered.  Then give them all a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Then bung them in the oven for up to 45 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.

But obviously keep an eye on them and give them a poke near the end to know if they are done.

Feel free to add a little more butter or what ever you please once they are done!  I’ve added a little blue cheese to mine.

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Serve with your favorite meal.

Left overs salad

I think sometimes people get hung up on what food is supposed to “look like”.

As in they think that there are some kind of rules about what something is, just because you call it something.

Example, salad.

When you say “salad” what immediately comes to mind?  Some kind of lettuce, few chopped carrots or cucumbers, maybe some sliced radish for colour……..

Or maybe you go to chunky potato salad with the obligatory cup of mayonnaise?

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of those, but sometimes it is okay to get out of the box.

Came home and needed something to eat.  What to do?

Well, I had some slightly old baguette so I chopped that up into bite size squares and tossed it with some chopped garlic, chopped rosemary and some olive oil.   Then on to a tray and into the oven to crisp up.

What next?

I had a romaine lettuce so I washed it and chopped it up and dried it well.

In the bottom of the bowl that I tossed the croutons in, there was some of the oil, garlic and rosemary left, so I used the same bowl and made a little dressing.

Mostly, it was a Caesar dressing only minus the raw egg and anchovy:

  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp Keen’s hot mustard ( or Dijon)
  • a few shots of Worcestershire sauce
  • juice of half a lemon
  • a couple of twirls of olive oil
  • salt & pepper

whisk that up at the bottom of the bowl.

Then add the Romain lettuce and toss with the dressing.   Then add a few handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

But is that it?  No no no……let’s see what we have in the fridge??

Well, how about some left over roasted cauliflower?  Why not?

I just tossed it into a saute pan for a couple of minutes to take the extreme cold off of it and mellow the flavour a bit.

What else do we have?  Oh, here is some left over South West salad, let’s toss that in too!

All right then, I think we are in business!

We have the lettuce tossed in dressing with cheese, then cauliflower and then the bean salad.  Last but not least, the croutons and toss well and serve!

Perfect any night “Salad”!

What have you got in YOUR fridge that you can call salad?

“Left Overs” salad

Kale Chips

I know, I know!  Everybody and their brother are making these right now…..but I was talking to a friend about them who happened to NOT have actually seen them before …. so this is for HER!

These things are great.  So easy, so tasty and SUCH a great way to hide kale!

Here is what you will need:

  • kale
  • olive oil
  • nutritional yeast
  • salt

Start with your kale, however much you want to make.  Start with one bunch to try, in case for some crazy reason you don’t like them.

Wash the kale really well and dry it even better.

Cut, rip, tear however you like, reasonably large bits of kale from the thick stem.  They shrink a lot so what might seem too big probably isn’t.  And if they are too small they might shrivel up.

So with your torn kale all set, drizzle with a good shot of olive or other quality oil.   Toss very well to make sure the leaves are well coated.

Then sprinkle with nutritional yeast.   And mix well again.

You don’t HAVE to use the yeast, but not only does it add extra nutrients, but it gives the kale a wonderful  almost “cheesey” additional taste to them that is quite delightful.

Spread them evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then sprinkle with sea salt.    But don’t go crazy with the salt, just enough to make them “chip like”.

Put them in a 300 degree oven.   Keep a close eye on them.  There are so many variables as to how long they will take.   Basically you want them to be dried “chip like” things but to catch them before they blacken in any way.   If you go too far, it makes them bitter.

So watch carefully!  But let’s say it is a 10 – 20 minute operation.

Unless of course you are making them in a dehydrator which in that case, follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Then enjoy as a wonderful snack.   Or, as we did the other day, used them as a sort of “crouton” on top of a salad!

And feel free to jazz them up with other stuff too.  I have often added a few dashes of my favorite chipolte Tabassco sauce or a few sprinkles of dried garlic…….the combos are endless!

And the BEST thing?  All the money you will save!  I have seen “kale chips” going for like $10.00 for a small little bag at the health food store!

Take that!

South West Supper

We very much enjoy the taste of the South West around our house.  Even if we DO live in the North West.  Maybe that’s why?

Tonight I have made a South West beef stew, a South West salad and some South West corn bread muffins.  All together, you have a South West Supper!

I started with the stew so it would have some time to get acquainted.   I have to warn you that this stew will seem remarkably similar to chili.  That’s cause it most is the same only instead of ground beef I used stewing beef.

So in your dutch oven, brown in a few splashes of oil:

  • cubes of stewing beef dredged in a little flour ( or whatever protein you are into)

Once they are browned on all sides, remove to a resting bowl.   Then add to the pot:

  • 1 large onion sliced and or cubed
  • 1/2 of 1 large red pepper cubed
  • 1 small carrot cubed

Try to keep all of these things the same size of cube for consistency.

Cook these till they are nice and sweaty looking and then add:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika ( smoky adds more flavour)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes ( depending on your tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves minced fresh garlic

Feel free to use more or less of anything depending on your taste.

Mix those into the vegetables well, then return the meat to the pot with any juices that may have collected.  Stir it all well.

Then add:

  • 1 small tin tomato paste
  • aprox 1 cup water or stock

Stir, cover and let come up to a boil, stir again and turn down to a simmer.

Shortly before serving add:

  • 1/2 can rinsed black beans

Stir in and turn off heat.

South West Stew

While your stew is simmering you can put together your South West Salad.

Add together is a bowl:

  • the other half of the can or black beans
  • 1/2 a can of nibblet corn ( keep other half for corn bread)
  • the other half of the red pepper diced ( same size as corn and beans)
  • 2 green onions ( green part only) sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 large handful of fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Toss all that together.

Just before serving add:

  • 1 ripe avocado diced
  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • S & P to taste

Toss again and serve.

South West Salad

Put these two dishes together with some nice corn bread muffins to soak up the sauce and you’ve got yourself a tasty South West Supper!

South West Supper

Greek night

Well now that I have a nice batch of Tzatziki  ( see yesterday’s post) on my hands why not just have Greek night?

How about a nice pork souvlaki pita and Greek salad?

I guess there are many ways to ask for some sort of meat on a pita, referring to it as a “sandwich” or wrap or what have you.  But in Montreal you call them “souvlaki pita”.

So we need to start with some pork.  The kind that you can chop into large chunks, like a pork loin or even thick pork chops.   On this occasion I just picked up a package of “stir fry” pork.  So what ever is easiest.

If not already cut, chop it into 1 to 2 bite sizes and then in a glass bowl add:

  •   pork
  •  2 gloves chopped garlic
  •  1 tbsp dried oregano
  •  the juice of half of a lemon
  • a splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

And then let that marinate for at least half hour, but the longer the better.

marinating pork

Then for the Greek salad. I put together some “Greek like” ingredients.

  • chopped tomato
  • chopped English cucumber
  • large chunks white onion
  • olives
  • oregano
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • goat cheese ( or feta)

Mix these up in no particular order.  You could also add chopped green peppers, but I just went with what I had around.  Then let that marinate for awhile too.

Greek salad

 Then we will need something on the side.  How about some Greek style potatoes?

I used red potatoes and chopped them into a fine dice. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and a bit of salt. Put them in a hot oven and let them roast, taking them out and  stir them from time to time so they don’t stick to the bottom.

Once the potatoes are almost roasted, take them out and pour about 2 tbsps of fresh lemon juice over them and toss them around.

We are ready to start assembling everything.

Ideally the pork should be cooked on a bar b que or grill pan of some sort to give it that nice char flavour that everyone enjoys so much.  But on this occasion I just tossed the whole marinating roast pan into the oven and let the pork “roast” instead.  The advantage to this is that it keeps the pork moist.

First we need a pita bread.  Lay on a flat surface. 

I just happened to have some wax paper wrappers that are very useful.

So, pita bread, then add a few scoopfuls of cooked pork, a few dollops of tzatziki sauce, a spoonful of chopped onion and a handful of chopped lettuce.

Souvlaki pita

Roll it all up nicely in the wax paper.
 
 
Put all the elements together and you have yourself a lovely Greek meal!
 
OPA!!
 
 

Greek meal

My favorite Tzatziki sauce

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but my top three “cuisines” to eat are Indian, Mexican and “Mediterranean”.  I know I am cheating with Mediterranean because it encompasses the food of several different countries.  Like Greek, Italian, Persian, Lebanese, Morraccan…..you get the picture.  Cuisines with deep roots and strong flavours!

When I lived in Montreal we would often frequent the many Greek restaurants.  I’ll admit, probably because most of them were “bring your wine” type establishments.  Meaning you can drink a bunch more wine for your dollar!

The one thing that was always so good at the Montreal Greek restaurants, that regrettably I have not tasted again in my travels, is the Tzatziki sauce.

So since then I have been trying to replicate it myself and have come pretty close with this one.

First you will need some full fat plain yogurt or “Greek style” which is more and more readily available.

I then strain it to thicken it up.   I just purchased an inexpensive reuseable coffee filter and put it on top of a container and then pour in the yogurt.  Put it in the fridge for awhile, the longer the better, till all the liquid drains out.

 
Strain the yogurt

Then grate about a 3rd of an English cucumber into a clean tea towel.

grated cucumber

 
 Then tie up the tea towel and stand over the sink and twist as hard as you can till as much liquid comes out of the cucumber as possible.  Then place the squeezed cucumber in a bowl. 
 

Squeezed cucumber

 
 
Then finely mince 1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic and add to the grated cucumber.
 
Then, when it is well strained, add the yogurt and mix well with the garlic and cucumber.
 
Some people also add a bit of sour cream to make it nice and thick, but I find if you strain the yogurt long enough it isn’t necessary.
 
Then season with salt and pepper and about a teaspoon of dried or fresh dill.
 
Mix well and then refrigerate till all the flavours exchange well.
 
Then when you are about to serve it, give it a quick shot of nice olive oil.
 
 
 

Tzatziki sauce

 
Serve with some pita wedges or with your favour Greek dishes.
 
 

Tzatziki and pita

 
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