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Category Archives: Salads

Easy Winter Salad

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I came across this idea in a Slovak cookbook, and I adapted it to our tastes (in other words, I changed the dressing).  Still, the idea is so simple and the vegetables so readily available now that we have been eating it several times a week.  I can’t  pretend that this salad is anything but white in color, but it has a wonderful taste and goes with almost anything.

All you need is a head of Napa/ Chinese cabbage and the white end of a leek.  Slice the cabbage in rings, starting from the head and moving down towards the base.  Dump this into your salad bowl.  Next thinly slice the leek so that there are nice little rings, and arrange these nicely on top of the cabbage.  Finally, top with a basic vinaigrette made with a nice vinegar, and maybe a sprinkle of parsley for color.

You could probably jazz this salad up, but it’s so straightforward that there is now no excuse for not having a salad with dinner, at least in our house.

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Kohlrabi salad

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Kohlrabi is another vegetable that is everywhere in Central Europe, and I quite like its flavor, though it is not very strong.  It has a bit of a peppery flavor, so it goes well with mustard dressing.

Wash, peel and slice a kohlrabi into manageable pieces.  Whip up a mustard dressing by mixing equal parts vinegar, oil, and grainy mustard with some salt and pepper.  You can sweeten this with a bit of honey if you want, or just leave it as is, depending your mustard and your tastes.  Toss kohlrabi with mustard dressing to coat and serve.

Watercress and egg salad

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Watercress is just coming back in season, as is mustard cress.  I’ve happily been making this cress and egg salad for as many people as will eat it.

Loosely chop two to three big handfuls of leafy cress and mix into an equal number of hard boil eggs.  Add in a few pinches of salt, pepper and a bit of mustard.  Then stir in enough mayonaise to bind the salad, or a little more if you want to make a sandwich spread.  Serve on either lettuce leaves or bread/rice cakes.

This is currently my favorite version of this salad, but I have been experimenting, so I’ll keep everyone updated.

Red cabbage and apple salad

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I snagged this idea from a neighbor, whose salad actually tastes a bit better than my version for some unknown reason.  Still the basic principles are the same, and the cook can adjust to her tastes.

Thinly slice half of a red cabbage, making sure to take out the hard stem.  Grate in four or five peeled carrots, and add in four or five chopped apples (less if the apples are huge).  I don’t bother peeling apples, but I suppose you could.  Squeeze half of a lemon over the apples and carrots, sprinkle generously with sugar, and mix.  If you have fresh parsley, add in one cup chopped, otherwise sprinkle the salad with a few tablespoons of dried parsley.  Toss in some raisins and sunflower seeds if you have them.

For the dressing, beat together some mayonnaise and milk to make it just pourable (or yogurt and mayonnaise, if you have it).  Pour over salad and combine thoroughly.  Taste, and adjust lemon and sugar as necessary.

Afterschool cucumber snack

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In honor of all of the school children across the UK marching off to their first day of school today, complete with uniforms and shoes one size too big to allow for “growth”, here is a GF afterschool snack.  I like this snack because Daughter can do most of it by herself, leaving me free to chat to her and take care of afterschool chaos.

Slice a cucumber into sturdy slices, about the width of the tip of your pinkie finger.  I start the cuts for Daughter and then let her finish it with a table knife.  Meanwhile, peel and grate one carrot into a small bowl and add some sliced some green onion, if you have it.  Dab in a bit of whatever dressing the child likes, or put in a small spoonful of white yogurt/ mayonaise/ soured cream with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley.  Let the child mix the carrot mixture together until well-bound, then spoon onto the cucumber slices.  Eat. 

To be fair, this idea came from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, but her version was too complicated, and I wanted something that Daughter could help with.  The possibilities are endless with this snack idea.  You can grate any vegetable a child will eat and serve it on anything sturdy enough to carry it, like pepper/paprika slice or even lettuce rolls.  I’ve also used leftover carrot and apple salad, or made some just for this purpose.

I’ll be making this for Daughter today after her first day of school, and I can’t wait.  Really, the kids are so cute in their uniforms, with their big shoes and skirts/shorts well below their knees.  Daughter is joining them for the first time ever today, and she is so excited that she also hasn’t noticed that her shoes are about one size too big.

Cucumber salad with mint

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I love summer, because we get swamped with fresh veggies, and we are currently up to our ears in cucumbers and zucchinnis.  When we need  a break from the cucumber salad I posted here, I switch to this one, which works well with more Mediterranean meals and is just as easy.

Wash one large cucumber well, and peel if you see fit.  Slice thinly into your serving bowl using the slice bit on the grater.  Finely chop a handful of fresh mint and dump in on top of the cucumbers.  In a little bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add some ground black pepper and a pinch of salt.  Pour on top of the salad and toss.   Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy the summer while it lasts!

Summer tomato salad

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It’s Friday, thankfully, but my computer is running quite slow today. I am just going to post a quick tomato salad to go with all those beautiful fresh tomatoes out now.

For each person, choose a medium size tomato. Wash, core, and slice into manageable slices. Place into serving bowl and top with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a nice olive oil (the one you cook with might work, but please taste it first), then sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or basil, depending on what else you are serving, and serve.

This salad relies on two ingredients for it’s simplicity and beauty – gorgeous, ripe tomatoes and a good olive oil. I usually will only make this salad in the summer when the tomatoes are at their best.  Similarly, I usually will also only make this with my small bottle of really good olive oil.  It is yummy though, and fleeting.  It won’t keep long at all, so plan carefully and eat as much as you can.