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Vegetable centric cooking

Category: Salad

Grilled peach salad

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Grilled peaches are one of my favorite summer fruits.  They are wonderful atop this salad, where they slightly warm the feta and wilt the arugula. Although a grill is ideal, a cast iron pan works well too. If the radish greens are tiny and fresh, you can add them to arugula or even use as a substitute.  If the greens are a little tough, save to saute for another dish.

Serves 2

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Radish salad w/ oranges and black olives

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I guess I am just into radishes after last week’s dinner.  Well, they are in season — the Borough Hall farmer’s market has generous bunches topped with fresh greens that you can cook or eat as a salad green.   This salad balances sharp, salty, sweet and creamy and is a lovely side to a Middle Eastern meal.  We had it with warm hummus, pita and sautéed radish tops.

Serves 2

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Arugula salad w/ pomegranate dressing

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Strong flavors, avocado and feta make this salad far from dainty — it is a nice dinner with lentil or black bean soup.  Pomegranate molasses is concentrated stuff, with a strong, sour taste made from simmering pomegranate juice with a little sugar and lemon. You can get it at Middle Eastern grocers, and it goes wonderfully with smoked paprika. Do not confuse with Pom Wonderful, which is thinner and sweeter and comes in a cooler bottle.  And definitely go for good feta made from sheep or goat’s milk.  I happen to like Bulgarian feta, which is quite tangy.  Greek and French are also very good — Greek is sharp and a little drier, while French is very creamy.  Any of bunch is tastier than domestic cow’s milk feta.

Serves 2

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Chopped salad

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I am rarely a salad-as-a-meal guy.  Salad with lunch or dinner, all the time. But even a hearty salad never seems enough without at least a light side, like soup or bread and hummus.  That said, this salad is a meal, the proof being the leftovers we could not finish.

Of course, this recipe has a ton of variations.  Always use ingredients with a variety of colors, textures and degrees of richness, and and cut every ingredient to roughly uniform size.  The result will yield some very interesting forkfuls that just might fill you up.

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side

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Tahini-miso slaw w/ daikon

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We got this addictive dressing recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Really, miso and tahini are a great combination.  Think something like the thick orange stuff you get on three pieces of iceberg lettuce in Japanese restaurants, only so much better.  She uses sugar snap peas.  I say the salad is all about the dressing, and anything green and crunchy has the right idea — a crisp and refreshing salad that balances a spicy main course.

Serves 4

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Arugula salad w/ spaghetti squash

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Roasting a squash must be the vegetarian equivalent of bringing home a hunt. Two people make only a dent in a five pound squash.  If it’s butternut or kabocha, I like to blend leftovers for soup.  If it’s spaghetti squash, I like to mix leftover squash strands into a weekend “squamlette.”  Or make this salad.

Serves 2

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Beet carpaccio w/ pickled red onion

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We love the zucchini and carrot carpaccio at DOC wine bar in Williamsburg (although it is off the winter menu), and make carpaccio from nearly any vegetable that will slice cleanly on a mandoline.   Asparagus, fennel, radishes, most root vegetables and even raw winter squash all work great.  Quick pickled red onion has much less burn than a raw onion — wonderful on most salads.   Although many quick pickling recipes call for sugar, it’s not necessary.

Serves 2

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Autumn slaw with za’atar

This is a hearty and well-seasoned cold-weather salad.   Although za’atar varies, it does usually include sumac, sesame seeds and a grassy herb like thyme.  You get a combination of earthy, nutty and sour — yum!  Use the knobby carrots they sell at farmer’s markets in purple, yellow and orange. Wash well, but don’t peel.

Serves 4

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