Guest Post: Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad

 

Today I am truly excited to share with you a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers Rosa, from Rosa’s Yummy Yums. It is a unique and seasonal Potato Salad, a wonderful unconventional addition to your Thanksgiving table! I am a huge fan of potatoes and I adore this recipe. Just look at the beautiful photos.

If you are a food blogger, I am sure you know Rosa. Whenever I am visiting blogs, her comments are always within the first three. She happens to be a very talented lady and so I imagine she has super powers that allow her to be on all blogs at once spreading encouragement to bloggers throughout the blogosphere.  If you don’t already know Rosa and her aptly named blog, go on over there and check her out!

I have been following Rosa’s blog for many years now, since I became a food blogger, actually (her blog has been around a lot longer than mine). Her creative, vibrant and flavorful recipes have always kept me coming back for more and inspired me as a budding blogger. In fact her participation in the Daring Bakers and the beautiful things she made, prompted me to sign up and bake with them for a few years, too! Rosa is not afraid of flavor, spice or color in her dishes and there is always a side of pizazz to go with it! Clearly I admire her.

Besides kitchen creativity, Rosa is also well known for her amazing photography, not only of food, but also the countryside of Geneva, Switzerland where she lives. Besides food we share a love of all things Scandinavian, genealogy and nature. I would love to go visit her someday, and taste some of her amazing recipes, cooked by Rosa herself.  So here’s Rosa!


I have known the lovely Jenn Campus for quite a while now and have been visiting The Leftover Queen” since its launching in 2007. During all those years I have followed her adventures striving towards the goals of sustainability, preparing traditional foods and seasonal feasting, and have admired her courage when she moved to Northern Vermont in order to live out her dream and become self-sufficient (growing her own vegetables as well as raising her own animals).

So, the day Jenn asked me to write a guest post for her there was no way I was going to refuse her generous offer as I hold her ideas (ideals) in esteem, envy her countryside lifestyle and share similar visions with this captivating young lady who is extremely knowlegeable reagarding all things linked to Nature and homesteading. It is a real honor for me to be invited into her awesome space.

As she advocates healthy eating and enjoys creating culinary delights based on simplicity as well as everyday foods that can be traced locally and respect the earth’s cycles, I thought that it would be a brilliant idea to invent a potato salad which could be adapted according to what’s on the stalls of your regional farmers markets and savored as a fulfilling main course that can stand alone.

I have always been an immense fan of spuds and worshipped them because they are marvelously versatile, nourishing and delicious. There are so many varieties available and an astonishing number of amazing dishes can be made with them. Without a doubt, it is the king of vegetables.


Other ingredients I very much idolize and venerate are tahini, peppers, nuts, paprika and mustard. They literally make my world turn and I cannot imagine my extraordinarily well-stocked pantry and fridge being devoid of them (of course, I buy bell peppers solely from July to October).

Good food and good eating aren’t a class thing – anyone can eat good food on any budget as long as they know how to cook.

Jamie Oliver

Thanks to my immense collection of condiments, herbs and spices (it is an addiction), my cuisine is intensely savory, makes good use of seasonings hailing from all over the world, is highly inventive, ecclectic and can be described as “fusion”, yet those are not the only aspects which characterizes it. Budget-friendliness is also an integral part of my style of cooking as I only have an acutely limited amount of resources I can spend on groceries every month. This forces me to juggle like crazy and find ways of getting more for less. It means that I never eat meat or fish more than once a week (generally lower cuts or bargain spicimens) and have to manage my larder intelligently.

Nonetheless, being restricted money-wise and following good existence habits doesn’t obligatorily mean that you have to eat like an austere monk on a strict diet, a New Age prophet living on love and fresh air nor restrain your kitchen activity and stop concocting exciting meals. Quite the contrary. It is indeed absolutely possible to count your pennies as well as satisfy your body and soul simultaneously with refined and tasty grub (please read my article “13 ways to eat on a budget and improve your health at the same time” that was published on The Rambling Epicure).


“I don’t know what folks are going to do,” she said “because they don’t know how to be poor.”

- Marilyn, http://culinate.com

I strongly believe that in this period of global financial crisis, more people should be concerned about learning how to survive hard times and to reduce their consumption costs by being more aware of what can be done in order not to throw their dollars/Euros/Francs out of the window, yet without compromising on the nutritional quality the of their dinners and on self-indulgence. Our ancestors were forced to find methods to get through dearth, so there we should maybe start learning from them as their teachings could prove useful in the future – the impacts this behavior has on our environment are either not negligible…

So, the harmoniously tasting (sweet, sour, salty & hot), quirky, colorful and elegant “Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad” I am presenting here today englobes all of those aspects. It provides cheap nourishment, incredible gustative pleasure and is well-balanced, especially if paired with proteins such as fish, meat or eggs.

Most potato salads contain mayonnaise and, although I have nothing against this practice (I am a big fan of the homemade version), I preferred to whip up a dressing with sesame paste which offers a similar creaminess than its calorific counterpart, but is a lot less fattening and adds a delightful nuttiness to the whole dish. Then, for more color, crunch and sweetness I incorporated a grated carrot, a handful pomegranate seeds and a thinly sliced red bell-pepper (see comments for more info), and for extra gusto and dimension I used plump walnuts, sweet German mustard (or “Weisswurstsenf“), pimentón, finely chopped leftover smoked ham and fresh coriander.

The result was electrifying and even my boyfriend who is not the biggest fan of potatoes in their boiled form was impressed by my invention and had seconds, and even thirds. As a matter of fact, the salad disappeared as fastly as it arrived on the table!

I  hope that you’ll be blown away by this “Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad“as much as we did and wish to thank all of Jenn’s readers for having taken a moment to read me as well as to express my gratitute to my kind host for inviting me on her platform…

~ Tahini, Pomegranate And Coriander Potato Salad ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland at “Rosa’s Yummy Yums”, November 2011.

Serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients For The “Salad”:
750g Small firm potatoes
1 Medium Carrot, coarsely grated
1 Red bell pepper, cubed (see comments)
1 Medium red onion, cut into thin rings
30-40g Smoked ham, finely chopped
50g Walnuts, coarsely chopped
A big handful (or to taste) pomegranate seeds
Fresh coriander, chopped, to taste
Ingredients For The “Dressing”:
3 Tbs Tahini
3 Tbs Milk
1 Tbs Water (or more if the dressing is too thick)
1 Tbs Malt vinegar
1 Tbs German sweet mustard (or French old-fashioned mustard)
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tsp Horseradish cream sauce
1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/3 Tsp Smoked paprika
1/4 Tsp Onion powder
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Directions For The “Dressing”:
1. Mix all the ingredients together, until you get a thickish mayonnaise-like sauce.
Directions For The “Salad”:
2. Cook the potatoes in water until tender. Drain them and let them cool until tepid, then cut them in two, lengthwise.
3. Delicately mix all the ingredients together and add the sauce.
4. Serve and decorate with a little extra coriander.

Comments:
I used small Charlotte potatoes, but you can also use waxy potatoes such as Désirée, Nicola, Bintje or Kipfler that are perfect for making salad.
I made this recipe when bell peppers were still in season. As they are now out of season, I recommend you to replace them by either 1 1/3 cup fresh muscade pumpkin cut into small cubes or thin matchsticks, raw betroot cut into thin matchsticks or finely shredded Brussel sprouts.
If you wish, you can substitute the walnuts with any nut of your choice.

Serving suggestions:
Serve alone as main course or accompanied with smoked fish (salmon or mackerel), rollmops, small shrimps, cold meat or hardboiled eggs.


Guest Post: An End of the Season Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and White Bean Salad

I have one more guest post to share with you, for now, dear readers. This one comes to you by my friend Diana, from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. Diana and I have been foraging a friendship over this last year based in a love for the land, animals, and real, wholesome food. I love Diana for her honesty, and the way she really opens the door to her life on her urban homestead in Iowa through her blog. I know, doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron, that someone living in Iowa would consider their home to be urban? But again, that is the beauty of sharing lives with each other through blogging – you learn how wrong you are about so much and how much there is still to learn! I love that.

Diana and I both raise heritage breed chickens, and love to garden. Even though we are mostly at the end of our garden season here, many of you are still awash in tomatoes and eggplants, and this recipe is perfect for you. For the rest of us, let’s stock it away for next year! Now for a recipe straight from the garden, the lovely Diana takes it from here.

 

Thank you, Jenn, for inviting me to guest post on your blog.  You always inspire me in your dedication to live a life in sustainability and stewardship.

I’ve had the privilege of befriending Jenn over the past year.  Kindred spirits you might say.

We share a passion in real food and homesteading including calloused hands and dirt grimed fingernails from working our own pieces of land.

 

I an urban homesteader and she a homesteader.  Besides a shared appreciation of worm castings and poop, what I enjoy about Jenn is her love of fine cooking.

As much as I adore to work in my organic gardens and raise backyard urban chickens for eggs and meat, I find joy when I’m able to share the fruits of my labor with family and friends at the dinner table.

When Jenn asked me to share a simple seasonal recipe, I decided to share with you something special using end of the season eggplant and cherry tomatoes.

 

Eggplant has a sort of villain/superhero kind of reputation.  Some love it while others despise the notion of even looking at such an odd fruit that comes in so many shapes and sizes.

I enjoy eggplant and find that as long as it’s cooked along side other vegetables and herbs, it brings out the best in it’s texture and flavor.

A sure way to make any vegetable pleasing, including eggplant, is to roast them sprinkled with celtic sea salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

 

It deepens their flavor and when it comes to eggplant, gives them a bit more sustenance without the creaminess.

An End of the Season Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and White Bean Salad

 


This is a simple salad to make using white navy beans, tuna, roasted eggplant and tomatoes.  It’s mixed in a balsamic vinaigrette and topped with feta cheese and fresh cut rosemary.  Deep and vibrant it makes a perfect side dish for a busy weekday meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white navy beans
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (use some green unripened tomatoes if you have them), cut in half
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tbls fresh cut rosemary, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Feta cheese to garnish

Method:

1. In a baking dish, add the diced eggplant and half cherry tomatoes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Roast in a 375F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Once roasted, remove from the baking dish and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix the beans, tuna, roasted eggplants and tomatoes.  Add the balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil and fresh cut rosemary.  Add salt and pepper to taste and toss well.

3. Garnish with Feta Cheese.

Buen Provecho!

Smoked Mackerel Salad and My Journey from Vegetarian to Omnivore

 

Have many of you bought a fish like this? With the eyes still there? This was a new experience for me. Even though I am no stranger to the cycles of life and how food gets to my plate, I never bought or ate a whole fish before. I have not really cooked much seafood in my kitchen career, but I do enjoy it. I love smoked fishes, and there is a store sort of near to us called Healthy Living, that actually sells several varieties of whole smoked fishes. The last time we were there, they had this guy, for about $9, which is a steal if you are used to buying smoked fillets. So with an adventurous spirit, I bought it, bones, fins, eyes and all.

Funny story interlude…so Healthy Living also has a great variety of local meats and sustainable seafood– things like pork, beef, venison, lamb, duck, chicken – pretty much you name it, it has probably graced their shelves at some point. So I like to go every so often, and buy a small variety. So on the day we bought Mr. Mackerel, we also bought some Highland grassfed beef, duck rillettes, some venison shanks, several packages of chicken wings, pork belly, cans of tuna, fresh marinated anchovies etc. That was all we bought – no veggies, no fruit, and no dairy. So we get to the check-out line, and our cashier was kind of scowling at us. Her lips were pursed and her nose wrinkled like she smelled something really foul. As she was scanning our box of meat, she was only touching the corners of the packages and moving them across the scanner as quickly as possible. Then it dawned on me, and I said “I hope you aren’t a vegetarian”, and she responded, “No, I am a vegan, actually”. SCREEEECH. Talk about a clash of cultures.

But it really got me thinking about my days as a vegan (all 6 months of them), and I felt like, even though we take very different approaches, this girl and I both care about the welfare of animals and are taking action to opt out against the inhumane slaughter of them for human consumption. She was young, so you never know where her path might lead. When I was a vegan, and a vegetarian (for 10 years) I never in a million years would have thought I would raise animals for meat. But once I saw first-hand how animals can be raised humanely and with love and respect, for consumption, and how feeding your family from the sweat of your brow and your own hands is more honorable than buying non-meat items that are subsidized by the government, (like soy, a major vegetarian protein and something I ate a lot of) to the detriment of us all, animals included…and when I learned enough about the natural world that I had been so disconnected from, and learned that even if I was a vegetarian, in order to eat, animals had to die, I decided there had to be a better way, a way where I could take full responsibility for the food on my plate while at the same time take my place in the natural world, as a part of it- and this is one of the reasons I do what I do on the homestead – because I love animals and because I am an animal. To the cashier that probably sounds so backwards, but I have been forward, back and back again!

 

So anyway, back to Mr. Mackerel…like I said, I love smoked fishes, and I wanted to showcase this beautiful fish in a nice spring dish. I decided on a mackerel salad. Mackerel is packed with protein and essential fatty acids. It has a nice meaty texture and smoked it is just delicious! One of our favorites. To make the salad, I mixed together half of the fish (after I opened it up, took the bones out, etc) with 2 hard -boiled eggs, capers, roasted red peppers a splash of red wine vinegar and a touch of homemade mayo. I then served it on a bed of greens. We dined al fresco on the porch looking at the mountain and admiring the buds on the trees, the greening of the grass and the beautiful tulips in bloom.

Also, don’t forget – you have a few more days to enter for your chance to win the book Root Cellaring, and to get your very own Leftover Queen Award  ! I want to hear your tips -what are some small things do you do in your kitchens that make you a “Leftover Queen”?

Chioggia Beet Salad

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Here is a quick but beautiful and romantic salad perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration or any other romantic occasion. The beauty is in the freshness and color of the ingredients, naturally. Valentine’s Day menus typically focus around red foods, chocolate and other aphrodisiacs.

I don’t think there is anything more tantalizing than a warm beet salad, with creamy goat cheese and cranberry-balsamic compote to get your dinner started off right. The best thing about it is that it is quick so you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, instead focusing on more important things!

Chioggia Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Cranberry-Balsamic Compote


INGREDIENTS:
2 giant organic Chioggia beets (the ones I had probably weighed 1 lb each), sliced into ¼ inch rounds
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt, pepper and herbs de Provence to season
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup red wine
Handful of fresh organic cranberries
Goat cheese (sheep milk feta would do nicely too) – quantity depends on your taste, but a nice hefty crumble between each layer is good.


METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place sliced beets on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning (to your taste). Bake for about 35-40 minutes. You want the beets to be nice and roasted, but still soft.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, place the balsamic, wine and cranberries bring to a boil over medium heat and then lower heat and let simmer until it has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, layer the beets, goat cheese and compote, in a stack until all has been used up. Serves 4

For dessert, why not try these quick and easy Dark Chocolate Covered StrawberriesSpicy Mayan Hot Cocoa or Raw Chocolate Pudding – each of these recipes take under 10 minutes to make!

Enjoy!

Tuscan Inspired Grilled Polenta and Sausages in Wine

We are getting near the end of outdoor grilling season here. Of course you can grill outdoors all year round, if you don’t mind the weather. But those lazy summer days of sitting outside eating grilled foods, is past for this year, here in Vermont. To celebrate ushering in Autumn, my most favorite season, I will share with you this recipe for a Tuscan inspired grilled meal.

I also wanted to share with you, my loyal and faithful readers that for the next month, at least, I will be blogging Gluten Free. As many of my loyal readers already know, I started watching my gluten intake over a year ago, but to be honest, I only did it about 80% of the time. It has helped, a lot, however, there are a few more minor issues I want to see if being 100% gluten free resolves. So now it is time to get down to serious business and see what  life is like at 100% GF.

If I was so close why did it take me this long to go all the way? I asked myself this question a lot, and the truth was because I have been afraid. Afraid that it would be hard to lead a normal life, go out to eat with friends, or be THAT PERSON who can’t just go with the flow, mucking up the works. But then I realized, nothing about me is NORMAL! :)

Even though I have plenty of blogging friends, with GF blogs to get inspiration from, I just wasn’t ready. But I am now. I know I am ready, because instead of being afraid, I am excited!I am excited about this change because it means many new kitchen experiments with breads, pizza and baked goods. I am also excited because I will be able to share how easy, economical and delicious gluten free eating can be. I also am excited to show my readers, that eating a gluten free diet does not mean going to the grocery store and buying all new pre-made items that are part of a “gluten free” line. Instead one can just eat foods that are naturally gluten free, and there are many.

This meal is a perfect example – and I promise you will not miss gluten for one minute! We accompanied it with a garden fresh caprese salad, using the best quality fresh mozzarella we could find and a delicious glass of full bodied red wine.

*note – this is a great meal to serve to a crowd. We were expecting company for dinner, but they couldn’t make it at the last minute. So this is for 6-8 people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted Veggie and Edible Flower Salad

We started our garden about a month late – our moving date was not well timed with the Farmer’s Almanac this year. So now, we are harvesting veggies that everyone else in our area harvested 4-6 weeks ago. In some ways it makes us feel really behind in our gardening, but in another way it is actually good – having a second harvest! The first time around we bought these goodies from the farmer’s market – second time around from our garden!

Less than two weeks ago we got our biggest harvest yet – 5 beets, 10 carrots, fresh herbs and lots of beautiful edible flowers – nasturtium and borage.

FLOWER POWER!

Nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible and have a wonderful peppery flavor. Even the seeds can be pickled – they apparently taste like capers. The flowers are high in vitamin C, and have been used to treat colds. It can also be used topically for bacterial and fungal infections because of its mustard-oil content.

Borage flowers are perhaps one of the only truly found in nature blue foods, beyond blueberries. They have a very sweet taste. The flowers are also rich in minerals, most notably potassium. Medicinally the leaves are often used as support to the adrenal glands and for inflammation. Probably the most well-known use for borage is borage oil. Borage oil is very high in gamma-linolenic acid, GLA. GLA is an essential fatty acid, omega-6 oil. Borage oil supplements are most beneficial for arthritis and chronic dry skin, such as eczema.

We really planted both of these flowers in accordance with companion planting – plants that keep bugs and disease, as well as other garden pests away from the plants you are growing for food. So these plants have a dual purpose. Plus they are very pretty as an edible garnish. My stepdaughter Gwen had never had an edible flower until we served this salad for dinner recently. At first she didn’t want to try them, but after some coaxing, she did, and she really liked them!

I love roasting beets for salads, and pairing them with goat cheese. There is something so good , and not to mention aesthetically beautiful about the combination of goat cheese and beets. So I decided to roast the whole lot, and arrange them on top of fresh greens from the garden, also. As we have been harvesting plenty of those for months now.

This is a perfect dinner salad on a hot summer night, when your family is looking for something light. This would also be a wonderful first course to a summer harvest dinner. It is colorful, delicious and healthy on so many levels!

INGREDIENTS:

5 small beets, cut in half
10 baby carrots
2 TBS fresh rosemary
1 TBS fresh thyme
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
5 cups fresh greens – arugala, red leaf and green leaf lettuces, nasturtium leaves
olive oil to toss the greens in
salt & pepper to season greens
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
nasturtium flowers, as garnish
borage flowers, as garnish

METHOD:

Stir the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs until well coated. Roast in a preheated 400 F oven for about 45 minutes, turning once halfway through.

In the same bowl, add mustard and maple, dump the roasted veggies in and stir to coat. Then toss the greens with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Crumble the goat cheese on top, arrange the roasted veggies and the edible flowers. Serves 4 as a main dish.

Simple Smoked Mackerel Salad and The Pleasures of Eating Local

Smoked Mackerel Salad

We are still without internet, here at the homestead, so my absence in the blogosphere continues…but I have been amassing so many great recipes since we got here, I just have to keep sharing, as I can. I am just so inspired to shop for food and cook here!

This is a local, or at least regional salad with products coming from Northern New England (or grown by me – in the case of the lemons). This salad features the beautiful and delicious bounty of spring and is packed full of nutrients and major brain food.

I am excited to be featuring some delicious products from several awesome local producers here in beautiful Northern Vermont. This just goes to show how easy and pleasurable it is to eat locally, when you are in a community that really supports local agriculture and food producers. Especially when these products are readily available and easy accessible to the community.

That really is the crux of the local food movement– even though our growing season is much shorter here, there is always an abundance of local products available. Having local products available year round is an important goal of this community, and because it is a community effort, you really can find local products year round. This includes produce, meats and dairy in addition to local coffee roasters, bread bakers, beer and wine makers, peanut butter producers, as well as salsas, sauces and condiments. Not to mention the maple syrup and raw honey! The produce variety may not be as extensive as if you were going to the regular grocery store, but that is part of the joy and challenge of seasonal eating. Plus, learning simple techniques like canning and preserving can really prolong the bounty of a shorter growing season, adding color, flavor and nutrients to the winter months. So if you plan ahead, you can actually eat quite well during harsher months. Thinking that weather is the key factor in the availability of local foods in a community, is a terrible misnomer. I found it much harder to find true local staple products in Florida, which is one of the reasons we left. I lived there for over 3 years. I have lived here less than 2 weeks.

This focus on local and sustainable food is just one of the many major reasons we have decided to make this part of the world our permanent home. We really are so lucky to have found a community that shares our strong core values, which is important on so many levels. Living in a place where your ideals are supported and just a “normal” part of life is a welcomed relief. People are adaptable and can make do anywhere, finding hidden treasures, but being able to live according to your values with ease is a true blessing. I am looking forward to sharing many other finds with you over the coming months and years.

Local Products

* Bar Harbor Mackerel, Bar Harbor, Maine -all natural, wild caught, naturally hardwood smoked Atlantic mackerel. Sustainably harvested from the clear cold waters of the Gulf of Maine. I consider Maine as well as the rest of Northern New England and the Quebec province of Canada (25 miles as the crow flies) to be local to us. This mackerel as well as wild herring fillets are available from a local market, Apple Tree.

* Pete’s Greens – Four Season Organic Vegetable Farm, Craftsbury, Vermont – Salad mix featuring: red rib dandelion, endive, fennel tops, wrinkled cress, red leaf amaranth, tatsoi, ruby red chard, bright lights chard, arugula, upland cress, spinach, orach and purslane. These were some of the most delicious and aesthetically beautiful greens I have had. We first had them at the Bee’s Knees an amazing local restaurant. I asked the server where they got their mixed greens, and then we were able to procure some from another local market, The Green Top Market.

* Elmore Mountain Bread Elmore, Vermont– Wood fired micro bakery. They use a long fermentation process in their bread making. Each loaf takes a total of 16 hours. Sometimes it is hard to resist bread like this, and so I was indulging on it when we first got here and I wasn’t having any ill effects from it. Now I know why…just another blessing, considering many of the restaurants in the area, as well as local groceries, and markets sell Elmore Mountain Bread. Being able to eat a sandwich or burger at a restaurant is a true luxury for me. Thank you, Elmore Mountain Bread!

* Farmer Sue’s  Peperoncini Peppers Bakersfield, VT – Do you know how hard it is to find peperoncini peppers without corn syrup? I love these little pickled peppers, and now I have an alternative to making my own . Farmer Sue makes all kinds of delicious pickled vegetables and sells at the year round Lamoille Valley Artisan Farmers Market .

RECIPE:

Smoked Mackerel Salad

INGREDIENTS:

6-8 oz. smoked mackerel fillets
juice of ½ lemon
salt&pepper to taste
hefty sprinkle of herbs de provence
1 TBS fresh chives, chopped
1 TBS mayonnaise
2 peperoncini peppers chopped
drizzle of olive oil
2 cups salad greens

METHOD:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, reserving a little lemon juice for the greens. Dress your greens with olive oil and lemon juice and toss. Place a mound of the mackerel salad on top. Serve with slices of sourdough baguette, if desired.

Be sure to share the mackerel juice with any feline or canine friends you might have at home. They will love you! :)

Serves 2

Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates…on a salad with balsamic glaze

stuffed-date-salad_ready-to-eat

A few years ago when I was still teaching at the cooking school, we had a summer camp program for kids. It was really fun teaching a room full of young people the joy of cooking and food. Inspiring them to eat with their taste buds, and not worry about whether they thought they liked something or not based on principle, but to expand their horizons. Little foodies in the making. As part of this teaching we tried creating dishes with unique flavor profiles, that packed a wallop, a real flavor sensation!

stuffed-date-salad_preparing

One of the dishes we made up covered all the basics – super sweet, salty and savory. We stuffed dried dates with parmesan cheese, wrapped them in bacon and broiled them until the bacon was nice and crispy. We called them bugs – because that is kind of what they look like if you are a kid. For me, I easily looked past their outward appearance, this was one of the most amazing flavor combinations! One of those bites that you really can’t wrap your head around, until you have tried it! For me, it was love at first bite.

It has been a while since I last had these, but recently I got a craving for them. We had just picked up some dried dates from the health food store and I had some turkey bacon in the fridge that needed using up – and of course we always have Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar in the fridge (what kind of displaced Vermonters would we be without it?), so a plan started coming together in my head. We also had some nice peppery arugula in the fridge, straight from the farmers market and I thought that would marry nicely with the sweet and savory date bites. Topping everything off with some thick, black balsamic glaze, and it really was heaven on a plate. The stuffed dates are great on a salad, but certainly can be served alone as an hors d’oeuvre . They are so quick to put together, but the taste is totally amazing. Sure to impress anyone. Go ahead and make some – you know you wanna try them!