Salad Archive

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

lobster and potato salad

lobster and potato salad

One of the aspects of my personality that I should probably be less proud to admit to is that I can be a tad bit lazy. I often consider doing many things when I could be doing fewer things a bother. Much praise may be given these days to the pursuit of busyness, and days jam-packed with frenetically fun activities, but I’m more protective of time that could be spent daydreaming/staring slack-jawed into space and letting disparate thoughts knit together in my head.

lobster, potatoes, scallions, etc.

So, last summer when an editor reached out to me about spending a day with a famous cookbook author as part of a larger magazine story, I had no interest. I didn’t know who this mystery person was but it certainly didn’t seem worth all the work that would be entailed in an over 12-hour day. In actuality, that “work” was later revealed to be horrendous things like “having hair and makeup done,” “gossiping with a famous person’s hairdresser,” “drinking pink champagne,” “eating homemade cookies for dinner,” and “meeting awesome people,” but at the time, I didn’t know this, and I turned it down. Then I learned that this “cookbook author” was none other than one of best-selling cookbook authors in American history and easily one of the three patron saints of Smitten Kitchen (other two: Julia Child and any one of our grandmothers) and I was all “SHUT UP” and punched my husband, who sometimes likes to sit next to me but probably not that day, in the arm.

not my house, sadly

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

greek salad with lemon and oregano

greek salad with lemon and oregano

Recently, I attempted to roughly outline the parameters of the gap between the recipes you see here on this site and what I might have made for dinner last night. In the first category, we’ve got words like aspirational and exceptional or unusual and best in category or just seriously we all need to make this right now. It’s fun, noteworthy stuff. Sure, it’s also our dinner, you know, on the days such exciting things come to pass in my kitchen, but it’s the second category — staples, comforts and easy wins, things that miraculously make all three people around the table happy at the same time — that dominate our table the rest of the time.

crisp vegetable matter

Now, I was perfectly content to keep this dull stuff to myself — workaday salads, breaded thigh cutlets, flatbread with whatever vegetable needs to be used up first — but you asked. And while at first I resisted because I just thought you were being polite in a “We’d love to hear every precious new word your kid used incorrectly this week” or “No, please tell me more about how web analytics work,” kind of way, I’ve since concluded that this is silly. Everyone needs dinner inspiration. Maybe something here could be yours. I hope it will be.

an SK weeknight meal, 1an SK weeknight meal, 2an SK weeknight meal, 3an SK weeknight meal, 4

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 1, 2013

lentil and chickpea salad with feta and tahini

lentil chickpea salad with so much stuff

I have an uneven history with chef cookbooks. I have learned the hard way more often than I’ve wished to that just because I might enjoy sitting down at someone’s restaurant table does not mean that their work will translate into an enjoyable home cooking experience — you know, one without sous-chefs and dishwashers, plural, at ones disposal, and a customer base footing the bill for the Himalayan pink salt. The best of these books make for wonderful reading and bring the fresh air of a new flavors and tricks into your home cooking routine but the worst, well, yikes. You’re not getting those hours back.

onion, tahini, lentils, chickpeas, spice, lemon, sage, garlic
cooking lentils de puy with sage, garlic

So, despite the fact that I gushed about The Breslin nearly a year ago and also in an interview for Amazon, and even though I’ve fussed over The Spotted Pig, I didn’t even consider picking up chef April Bloomfield’s* book, A Girl and Her Pig because the odds felt slim that it would provide me with anything close to the joy that her cooking does at a dark table in the Ace Hotel, with a grapefruit gin-and-tonic (swoon) in my hand.

toasting corriander and cumin seeds

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

egg salad with pickled celery and coarse dijon

egg salad with pickled celery and coarse dijon

Someone pointed out to me a few weeks ago that this site has not a single recipe in the archives for egg salad. However, unlike the time I realized the broccoli archives boasted but a single recipe (and quickly sought to populate it) or the time I accepted that a quickie from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup deserves a place in every arsenal, the egg salad-shaped hole in the archives went unnoticed less due to editorial oversight and more because, well, you know: egg salad; it’s pretty dull. Could anything be more uninspired than an amalgamation of smashed-up hard-boiled eggs and the dreaded mayonnaise? I mean, have you seen the yellow, flavorless mounds of dubious origin and assembly date most delis scoop onto a slice of bread and try to pass off as lunch? It would hardly make an enthusiast out of you. Or anyone.

hoping they're perfect inside
whisking the pickling liquid + helper

But for those of us who see past the lack of beauty-queen stature and fervor around it, we know egg salad can be rather delicious if made properly, which is to say, at home, with perfectly cooked eggs and just enough dressing to cling, not drown them. At home, I make three small additions that I think transform it from the unglamorous status-quo to something I find crunchy, bright and absolutely perfect on a slice of whole-grain toasted bread in the middle of the day. The first is that I love to use coarse, or whole-grain Dijon mustard. Not only is it the prettiest thing in my fridge, the combination of the faintly crisp/crackly seeds and its milder flavor are heavenly here, adding texture and just enough kick to the eggs. The second is finely minced shallot, just a little. You could use red onion, too, but I think the texture is key. You want it to be noticeable enough that you enjoy it but not so loud that it upstages the star, kind of like surprise guests at a halftime show.

sad old celery from the back of the fridge

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Friday, November 23, 2012

spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette

gotta little obsessed

Happy Pie For Breakfast Day, friends! Do you see what I did there? I made it official, which means that you need not feel any regret that you may have innocently come upon a lonely wedge of leftover pie in the fridge this morning, and before you knew it, before you could responsibly hash out the pros and cons of setting your day to the tune of pie, and not, say, a muesli, fresh fruit and herbal tea detox, you in fact did have pie for breakfast and it was wonderful. You need not feel any regret because it’s a holiday, and it was important that you joined in the celebration. You were only doing your part. (Gobble, gobble.)

baby spinach
sliced button mushrooms

And now that we got that out of the way, I bet you could go for a salad. No, not a Salad of Thanksgiving Repentance; that would be rather dull. It might include wheat germ, and it’s too soon for all of that. I firmly believe that on the road from total overindulgence to the kind of mood that leads to my gym being jam-packed with Resolutes on January 1st, there should be some in-between. A salad, yes, one with several whole and wholesome ingredients, but also one that you look forward to eating because it in fact tastes amazing. And for that, I nominate this one. It comes with a warm bacon vinaigrette and old-school vibe. It’s not even a little sorry.

thick, thick bacon

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