……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Asparagus, pea and radish salad June 27, 2012

For the first time ever, I’m growing radishes in my yard. They’re terribly exciting because the red starts to show through the soil very early – and the greens grow to be enormous rather quickly.

As a result, I’m been looking for radish recipes – and something along these lines seems to be quite the thing this summer. It’s quick, easy and really delicious.

Note that it’s important to eat this right when it’s done. While it’s still edible, refrigeration does nothing good to the dish.

Asparagus, Pea and Radish Salad– adapted from a bunch of sources; everyone seems to like some combination of radishes and peas as a summer salad

2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill

1.5 lbs. asparagus, tough ends discarded
5 oz. frozen peas, thawed
8 or so radishes, greens discarded, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. butter

In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, lime juice and honey. Slowly add oil, then stir in dill. Set dressing aside (or refrigerate if you’re making ahead of time).

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender (less than you normally would), then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Let it cool completely, then pat dry. At this point, you can refrigerate the asparagus for up to a day.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium. Add asparagus and heat until it begins to get warm. Then add peas and cook until vegetables are warm, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir in radishes.

Pour dressing over and stir to coat. Serve immediately.


Shaved Squash Salad June 22, 2011

At my [rented] house in Philadelphia, I have a vast, spacious yard tiny patio with a large[ish] planter box. It is just perfect for growing squash. My squash plants have become, since I first planted them in April, crazy giant monster plants. So, now, I have an incredible amount of squash. [The boyfriend is quite pleased that it’s a mild yellow squash – he was worried he was going to get saddled with pounds of butternut squash when I told him what I planted.]  So, when I saw a recipe on B.A. for a squash salad that involves no cooking but lots of garlic, I knew I had to try it. And, it’s great. Went quite nicely with the other things I served at my recent mini-dinner party.

Shaved Squash Salad 

3 Tbs. almonds, roasted, then coarsely chopped
1 lb. summer squash [I used 2 yellow squashes and 1 zucchini]
3 to 4 handfuls of baby arugula

Dressing [I doubled this part of the recipe since I like the flavor of garlic better than the flavor of squash]
2.5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
Salt and pepper

Trim the ends off summer squash. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the squash lengthwise into strips and transfer to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing, then pour over squash shavings. “Toss” (as much as you can toss squash shavings) to coat, and let rest for a few minutes. Then, add some handfuls of baby arugula to the mix.

Garnish with the almonds. [Yes, it’s worth it to buy almonds – without the texture differential in there, the salad doesn’t seem as exciting.]


Curried Mango Quinoa Salad June 16, 2011

M and I, though we haven’t lived in the same apartment for 3 years now–and we never cooked them together when we did share an abode, both love quinoa salads. I’d say that they’re just perfect for warm weather, as M also recently made a delicious berry quinoa salad.  But, they’re also nice in the fall and winter, as evidenced by our fall vegetable quinoa hash and pomegranate quinoa dish. Basically, we eat them year-round. I just happened to make a summery one.

I made this one to take to a fancy shmancy barbecue that, sadly, we weren’t able to attend since the boyfriend didn’t feel well. So, I’ve been eating what I intended to leave there (yes, for you, my vegetarian friend who’s eaten on the road too much lately) and thoroughly enjoying it. It goes quite well with the kale-mushroom quiche I made this week.

Curried Mango Quinoa Salad from Bon Appetit

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions, then cooled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs. cider or white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. mango chutney [preserves also work if you don’t have chutney]
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup chopped, peeled mango, plus mango spears for garnish
1 cup chopped cucumber
4 Tbs. chopped green onion, plus 1 Tbs. for garnish
Baby spinach

In a small bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, chutney, and spices, whisking well to blend.

In a larger bowl, combine cooled quinoa, mango, cucumber, and green onion, mixing to combine. Then add about 3/4 of the dressing, tossing all to coat.

To serve, place a bed of baby spinach on a plate, then spoon quinoa mixture on top of greens. Add more dressing as desired. Garnish with the mango spears and reserved green onions.

Also, in case you’re not an expert mango chopper, here’s B.A.’s tip:

Cut mango in half lengthwise, slicing around the pit. Cut a half-inch grid into flesh of each half. Using your thumbs, push up skin side so cubes stick out. Slice off cubes at base.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad June 2, 2011

This recipe is quite similar to the recent post on a cold strawberry-quinoa salad, but I’m omitting the grains here and switching up the fruit. An easy (and really pretty) dish that can add some cool tanginess to a hot day.

For the salad:

1/2 sugar baby watermelon, diced into 1- or 2-inch chunks

1-2 seedless cucumbers, w/ seeds scraped out and thinly diced

1 bunch scallions, diced

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons lemon juice (or lime juice)

1-2 teaspoons black pepper

Prep the watermelon and cucumbers and place in a bowl or tupperware. Add the diced scallions. Pour the vinegar and lemon juice over the mixture until everything is evenly coated, but not saturated. Spice with black pepper to taste. (I just added a pinch or so.) I wanted to add fresh mint to this, but didn’t have any on hand… other cool accents could be fresh dill or rosemary, or some kind of infused balsamic vinegar instead of the regular (such as pear-infused white balsamic or raspberry-infused red). Also, according to K (and the larger foodie community), feta cheese is apparently the thing to pair with watermelon. So if you’re inclined, please crumble some on top!  The salad should keep for 2-3 days.


Cooking Together: Summer Berry Quinoa Salad May 30, 2011

This weekend, we actually got together to cook, instead of just prepping meals from our kitchens in separate states. The results were lovely  – and we did a typically excellent job of combining ceaseless conversation with red wine, good food, and packaged cookies.

Since it was incredibly hot, we opted for some low-cooking dishes that didn’t require too much attention to the stove. (Yes, K decided that throwing a frozen pizza in the oven counted as dinner, and yes it was M who made the healthy salad.)

Summer Berry Quinoa Salad

For the salad:

4 cups cooked quinoa (2 cups dry quinoa + 4 cups water)

1 pint strawberries, washed/trimmed and cut into small pieces

2-3 bunches scallions, diced

1-2 cucumbers, diced

For the marinade:

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

lime juice

garlic powder

black pepper


Cook the quinoa according to directions on your package (for us, that meant combining the water and quinoa in a sauce pan, bring that to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is evaporated.)  Set that aside and prepare the strawberries, cucumber(s), and scallions.

Now, start the marinade. Here’s the thing about my marinades: I don’t measure at all. So if we’re ballparking things, here’s what you do (obviously to taste): in a small bowl mix together equal parts balsamic and oil (start off with 2 tablespoons each if you feel the need to measure this) and then spice to taste. Mix in about 2 tablespoons lime juice, and then pour the mixture over the strawberries, cucumbers, and scallions. If you need more marinade, repeat the above. If not, combine the berry mixture with the quinoa and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes (or until the quinoa is cool… you want this to be a cold salad).  This can be made the day before if you like– the marinade probably will taste better the next day too.