Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Freekeh Salad

I haven’t been able to post in ages, but if I don’t post this recipe, I’ll forgot it and I DEFINITELY want to make it again.  This salad is delicious.  It’s complex without be fussy, unusual without being weird.  There are a few steps for a salad, but it really doesn’t take too long and you probably have most of the ingredients at home.  [Note: I substituted balsamic vinegar for the saba.]

Blue Apron recipe, serves 2, (I tripled the amount of Brussels sprouts)

https://www.blueapron.com/recipes/roasted-brussels-sprout-freekeh-salad-with-pickled-raisins-shaved-parmesan-hazelnuts

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Miso-Roasted Vegetable Salad

Ingredients serves 2

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 sweet potato, about 1/2lb (Japanese sweet potato recommended)
  • 1 purple top turnip (8oz)
  • 2 scallions, white part only
  • 1/4 cup sweet white miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp spice blend that includes white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, kibbled nori, and aleppo pepper)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Prep the vegetables.  Thinly slice the scallions on an angle, separating the white bottoms from the green tops. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves. Cut the turnip and potato into 1/4-inch rounds.
  3. Mix together the miso paste and 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Place the  sweet potato and turnip on a sheet pan and drizzle with the miso-water mixture.  Toss thoroughly to coat.  Arrange in an even layer and roast, stirring halfway through, 20 to 22 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. Combine the kale, sesame oil, white bottoms of the scallions, roasted vegetables, and spice blend.  Season with salt and pepper.

Original recipe from Blue Apron.

Salad Dressing: Pomegranate-Apple Vinaigrette

This is my new favorite salad dressing.  It takes a few minutes to put together, but then you have this delightful sweet (but not overly sweet) and healthy vinaigrette.

Directions (Quantities here are pretty flexible, so experiment with it.)

In a blender, add the following and blend until smooth:

  • Pomegranate seeds, about half a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed apple juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 – 4 fresh basil leaves (more if the leaves are tiny)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp or less mustard (Dijon or powdered)
  • a generous palmful of flat leaf parsley

 

This dressing goes well with shredded Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced apples, and crumbled blue cheese.

Brussels Sprout Salad

saladplateAfter eating this delicious salad at Bar Americain, I tried to recreate it here with delightful success.  The original salad called for goat cheese, but I had blue cheese on hand (it tastes good either way).

Your tools and ingredients

  •  The mandoline is VERY helpful for this recipe.  It cuts the Brussels sprouts and apple super thin. Obviously, you can make   this with just plain old knife skills, but I’m a fan of the mandoline.
  • My Blue Cheese Apple Cider Vinaigrette is kept in the handy-dandy Mason jar.
  • You know the rule about retrieving pomegranate seeds, right?  Slice in half, pare back white membranes, beat away (I use the flat end of a meat mallet), and, of course, be patient.
  • A few Brussels sprouts go along way when shredding them, use your own judgement on quantity.
  • A single apple, thinly sliced with yield several salads.
  • Cheese, goat, blue, or other

Directions

  1. Slice the apple and layer on the bottom of each bowl (this is the type of salad that is better platted in the kitchen– it will look impressive and everyone will receive the right ratio of ingredients).
  2. Slice Brussels sprouts and mound on top of apple.
  3. Add dressing and lightly toss (I am very sparing with the dressing).  Sprinkle more cheese on top if desired.
  4. Top with pomegranates and enjoy.

Here’s my finished product (I am not, however, an expert– or even particularly good novice– photographer.  I will have to work on my iPhone skills

Another Variation

If using goat cheese, substitute the pomegranates for roasted beets.  In this variation, use an apple cider vinaigrette rather than the blue cheese one.  Here’s one option for a cider vinaigrette, mix together:

  • 2 Tbsp apple juice or cider
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste (I like a lot)

 

Or use my new favorite dressing: Pomegranate-Apple Vinaigrette

Bar Americain

Yesterday, a heartbeat before New Year’s, my husband and I were corralled into the Times Square area.  I love walking by the tree in Rockefeller Center, but the crowds (and police pens at each street corner), make the experience this close to Christmas / New Year’s a mosh pit nightmare.  Nevertheless, friends were visiting from out of town and had picked a meetup point the in the vicinity.  So we braved it.  The tree was pretty, we inadvertently photo-bombed a dozen snapshots, and we decided to eat at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain.

The restaurant, enormous and full, still managed to showcase a lively style.  We were lucky enough to have a table for two in a cozy corner, interesting for crowd watching but removed from some of the elbow-nearness of the center four-tops.  (And we chatted with the couple seated beside us, a lovely pair in their 60’s who brightened our dining experience).  Now, onto the food.

Ninety percent of the reason that I selected Bar Americain (other than location) was for the Brussels sprout salad.  I am a Brussels sprout fan (usually, I opt for roasted, but I am fully up for variation) and will definitely try to recreate this dish at home.  It was fabulous!

My husband ordered grilled pizza with double smoked bacon, caramelized onions and toasted garlic for his appetizer.  The bacon slabs were delicious (and complimented my salad nicely), but the cheese (mozzarella, I believe) and heft of the appetizer was a bit too much to be paired with the rib eye he also ordered (I eat Brussels sprouts, he eats heart attacks).  He did say the rib eye was delicious.

My entree, lamb loin with quinoa, was good, but paled in comparison to the salad and subsequent dessert.  There was spicy mustard in the sauce (not mentioned on the menu) and I am not a mustard fan.  Alas.  But, here comes dessert!

For dessert I ordered walnut espresso bread pudding with brown sugar Kahlua, mascarpone cream, and caramel sauce.  It was literally one of the best desserts I have ever tasted (and I couldn’t finish it!  How I tried!  But I was just too full.).  Phenomenal!

Ingredients for the Brussels Sprout Salad

  • Brussels sprouts, shredded (definitely use a food processor or mandoline) and, I believe, raw
  • Honey crisp apple, thinly sliced to the point of near transparency (again, I would use a mandoline here)
  • Goat cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Apple cider vinaigritte

I don’t have exact ratios here and I will need to experiment a bit, but the Brussels sprouts were heaped on top, the goat cheese sprinkled lightly around, the honey crisp slices on bottom, and a very generous sprinkling of pomegranate color throughout.  The apple cider vinaigrette was light and crisp and I will have to experiment with that, too.  A definite re-order if ever we venture back.  [Here’s experiment #1]

My Favorite Salad: Chicken, Blue Cheese Dressing

Salad recipes seem silly, I realize, because what is a salad, really, if not the tossing together of the items on hand, but this salad is one of my favorites.
Don’t be put off by the initial prep time; it’s worth it– I promise!

Ingredients for the Chicken

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

Directions for the Chicken

  1. Cut the chicken into 2 inch strips
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together and put in a zip-close plastic bag.
  3. Add the chicken, be sure to coat chicken in mixture.
  4. Squeeze out air and seal bag.
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  6. You have a few options when it comes to cooking the chicken.
    • Option 1: Put chicken on wooden skewers. Grill or broil for 3 -4 minutes per side.
    • Option 2: Lay out chicken on grill pan and broil for 3 – 4 minutes per side.

 

Ingredients for Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese (soft, crumbly)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  • Mix together and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

Ingredients for the Salad (obviously, use your own judgment and what you have on hand)

  • Lettuce, chopped (I usually use romaine for this salad, but whatever your green of choice)
  • Cucumber, skin on, chopped small
  • Pears, chopped (canned will do if you don’t have fresh) or other fruit– strawberry, whatever is in season
  • Toasted nuts (pecans are my preference, but walnuts or almonds work well, too)
  • Dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • Chopped chicken

Grilled Zucchini & Tomato Salad

This recipe (which I’ve halved to serve 3) is courtesy of the truly fabulous cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

Ingredients

  • 4 zucchini
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped (if you don’t want the spice, leave this out)
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp juice of lemon
  • 1/2 Tbsp molasses (the cookbook calls for date syrup, you may also substitute maple syrup)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1/3 oz (or a bit more) chopped flat-leaf parsely
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF and heat griddle pan over high heat.
  2. Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise and halve the tomatoes. Brush cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the zucchini and tomatoes on the heated griddle plan, cut side down for about 5 minutes (do in batches and work toward a nice char).
  4. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and roast for about 20 minutes (until zucchini are very tender).
  5. Allow veggies to cool enough to work with, then coarsely chop them and allow to drain in a colander for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, chile, lemon zest and juice, and molasses in a large bowl. Add the vegetables, walnuts, mint, and parsley. Stir, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Note: The flavors in the dish are quite good, but the appearance is not. The yogurt/molasses mix covers the salad in a beige cream that is not quite suitable for fancy dinner presentation.  I like this for a healthy lunch, but I wouldn’t bring in to a potluck.