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Posts Tagged ‘vinaigrette’

Cran almond and feta salad

Since I’ve lived in two very different yet both remote locations these past two years, I’ve learned that a yearning for delicious food and the absence of many of my favourite items makes for some intense cravings. Last year, I would have done just about anything for something other than palm oil and broken-grade rice; this year I would do just about anything for something other than a tasteless carrot or bitter celery.

As a member of the local volunteer fire department and ambulance service, I’m learning about standing up for myself in conversations dominated by men. This past weekend we had a pot-luck at the firehall, and I knew the food would be heavy on “man food”, which I’ve determined through my engagement in the department to mean meat-heavy (always) and often sauce-based dishes or casseroles. The food is usually delicious, but it lacks in the veggie dimension. I hate to follow the entrenched rules and bring light food as is expected of a woman, but at the same time the extreme lack of the vegetable and fruit food group made my final decision to bring a salad a no-brainer. I knew it would just reinforce stereotypes, but that’s something I can handle.

Here’s the recipe for the delicious salad we brought along to the potluck!

Cran Almond Feta with Vinaigrette

Ingredients – 6 servings

1 head lettuce (anything except iceberg if you can help it), washed, dried, and torn into pieces

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2/3 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cucumber, quartered then sliced

Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp grain dijon mustard

11/2 Tbsp cider vinegar

4 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 shallot, minced

1 tsp crushed tarragon

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Once melted add the maple syrup. Once hot and mixed, drop in the almonds and cook, stirring every minute or so, until they brown. Allow them to cool and make sure the clusters are not too big by separating them with your fingers.

Wash the lettuce and cucumber and prepare. Place lettuce in a large salad bowl, and sprinkle the cucumber over top, along with the feta and the cranberries, and then the maple-candied almonds. Cover until ready to serve.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the mustard and vinegar well. Add the oil and stir vigorously until it combines. Add the shallot, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pour over salad when ready to eat!

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My final exams are quickly approaching, and I admit to frequent procrastinating via cooking. I happened upon a recipe that combines three of my favourite ingredients, and couldn’t resist trying it for dinner!  I love the nuttiness of quinoa, and frequently pair it with a parsley lemon vinaigrette.  The ingenuity of this recipe comes with the addition of pomegranate and baked acorn squash.    The squash caramelizes as it bakes, providing contrast to the acidity of the pomegranate. And, oh is this dish lovely looking!

I tinkered with the original recipe’s proportions by doubling the dressing and upping the pomegranate quota (one can never have too many pomegranate seeds…)  This tasty and beautiful dish comes from A Thought For Foods blog.

Quinoa with Acorn Squash and Pomegranate

Quinoa with Acorn Squash and Pomegranate

Serves 4 as an entree, or 6 as a side

 

Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa, cooked

1 acorn or kabocha squash

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or 1 pomegranate)

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

3 scallions, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for roasting squash

Juice from one lemon

Zest of a lemon

Salt and pepper

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. With a sharp knife, cut the top and bottom off the squash.  Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Cut each piece in half again lengthwise.  Then slice each quarter lengthwise, creating 1/2 inch slices.  Place squash slices into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Spread across the pan and arrange so each piece sits flat. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa.  In a separate bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, and scallions.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Once the acorn squash is finished, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

5. Mix together the cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and dressing in a big serving bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with the roasted squash pieces.

Bon appetit!

 

– Catherine

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It’s that time again. Packing boxes. Giving stuff I’ve accumulated away. Thinking of how lucky we’ve been to live in such a lovely home for the past 3 years.

Thinking it’s even more crazy that I’m not even sure where I’m going to be in the future. It’s kind of fun; kind of scary at the same time.

I’ve been emptying the fridge and freezer this past week, just like Catherine. That has meant revisiting many a chili, chickpea stew, and soup that I have made since the winter began. I realized that even though frozen left-overs are convenient, I really prefer cooking meals fresh every day. The convenience of frozen left-overs removes one of my favourite things to do. But they are handy sometimes, I’ll admit, just not when I actually have time to cook!

So to compensate for all these left-overs, I have been craving fresh, crisp vegetables with a lot of flavour. Like crazy. So I made this salad, which suited me so well I’m going to make it over again today I think.

Ingredients – salad for 4

Salad

-1 bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
-1 ripe orange, segments cut into 3-4 pieces each
-1 tbsp fine slices of purple onion or shallot
-1/2 cup pecans
-1.5 Tbsp (approximately) white sugar
-generous knob of butter

Dressing

-1 Tbsp grain mustard
-1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
-3 tbsp olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Wash the watercress. In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat until bubbly. Sprinkle the sugar and pecans in, and stir. Reduce heat and let them turn golden for 10 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.

Make the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl by first mixing the mustard and vinegar well together, and then adding the oil one spoonful at a time and stirring vigorously. Place the watercress in, along with the oranges, onion slices, and pecans. Toss it all together and serve immediately!

-Sitelle

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