A passion for food + fashion

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Lemony Green Bean Salad with Feta, Red Onion and Marjoram

In Food on July 26, 2012 at 9:54 am

 

I swear that I’m not on the Food52.com payroll. I’m just a woman obsessed. Food52′s Lemony Green Bean Salad with Feta, Red Onion and Marjoram is the latest gospel I’m preaching. I love any dish that’s heavy on lemon zest since we have a prolific lemon tree in the back yard just begging to be zested into action.

 

I’ve been making this simple green bean salad once a week all summer, and it is fabulous with everything from grilled pork chops to burgers to roast chicken or on its own as the main event for lunch. It takes only a few minutes to prepare—four minutes to cook the green beans (though I like mine a little crunchier so I throw them in for two minutes), during which time you can slice some red onion and crumble a little feta. For the recipe, click HERE.

Calling All Superheroes

In Baby Love on July 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Last weekend not-so Tiny G turned four. FOUR! And like most four-year-old boys he is obsessed with all things superheroes. Which is how I found myself up at 2am hand-painting these damn peg dolls for every kid in his preschool class. Spiderman was very nearly my waterloo. I admit, the 6-hour process was somewhat addictive in a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest sort of way, first drawing in pencil each superhero’s details on the wooden pegs, then painting one color at a time and letting dry before adding the next detail.

Tiny G nearly lost his mind when he saw them the next morning. For the gift bags, I found these little natural cotton muslin drawstring bags and decorated them with a handmade Spiderman rubber stamp that I ordered from Etsy. When it comes to kids birthday parties, Etsy.com—filled with people far more creative than I—is truly a girl’s best friend.

Tiny G handed out a superhero goodie bag to each of his preschool classmates yesterday. Etsy was also the source for these awesome cupcake toppers that can be personalized (however, you’ll have to speak to my sister about baking you some of these AMAZING chocolate cupcakes):

Since he turned four while we were in Vermont, we had his actual party back east last week with his cousins. Each cousin got a personalized superhero cape.

Even Tiny G’s brand new baby brother got in on the action. Because there is nothing babies love more than a cape.

I made this dreadful chocolate cake impaled with a spiderman action figure. I’m having PTSD just thinking about how much red food coloring I used in the frosting.

The highlight of the party had to be this awesome Spiderman piñata—another Etsy find. I filled it with noisemakers and packets of Annie’s organic gummy bunnies mostly as a PR stunt to atone for the toxicity of the birthday cake.

After the party’s over, piñatas also double as excellent scarecrows. Here’s to my super boy turning 4!

Garlic Scape Potato Salad

In Food, Out of Town, Recipes on July 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

Each summer when we arrive at my in laws’ summer place in Vermont, I can’t wait to hit the farm stands to get my hands on some garlic scapes. These are the shoots that grow from a head of garlic, and they have a slightly more peppery flavor and are less pungent than garlic cloves. I love tossing them in salads, pestos and pastas for a quick hit of earthy flavor—easy summer cooking at its best. On these hot summer nights in Vermont, it’s all about throwing something on the grill with a couple of great sides and eating family style outdoors.

And why wouldn’t you?

Last week, I used garlic scapes in a salsa verde that I tossed with squash, shallots and gruyere to make a gratin in one of my mother-in-law’s well-seasoned skillets.

I also used garlic scapes to add some crunch and depth to a creamy dill potato salad that was tangy with buttermilk dressing. The first batch disappeared pretty quickly so I made another a few nights later, using creamy new potatoes from the Someday Farm Stand in Dorset, VT. Garlic scape season is pretty short, so if you see some this weekend at your green market, grab them!

Creamy Potato Salad with Garlic Scapes and Dill

3 lbs new potatoes, halved (or quartered, depending on size)

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tables whole grain mustard

3 tablespoons chopped garlic scapes

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Place potatoes in large pot of salted water. Bring to boil, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Drain, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When potatoes have cooled, toss with mustard mixture (you may not need all of it—depending how creamy you like your potato salad), dill and garlic scapes. Chill for a couple hours before serving.

Chinese Chicken Salad

In Food, Recipes on July 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

 

My dad’s mother was an elegant woman who used to take in fashion shows at Bullocks Wilshire, followed by a ladies lunches in the adjoining Tea Room. In those days, Chinese Chicken Salad—a Southern California invention—was all the rage. Naturally, my grandmother had her own spin on the classic (thinly sliced mushrooms), and her recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad remains one of my all-time favorite meals. It makes for a perfect Saturday lunch and all the better if accompanied by a very cold glass of Chablis and a very good girlfriend or two.

Mama’s Chinese Chicken Salad

For the salad:

2 cups canola oil

12 wonton skins, sliced

2-3 sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced

2 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

½ cup toasted slivered almonds

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

 

For the dressing:

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons agave nectar

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

Heat about 2 cups canola until it reaches 375. Fry wonton slices for about 45 secs, or until crispy and golden, remove with slotted spoon and then drain on paper towels.
Add wontons and remaining salad ingredients to large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and then toss with salad. Serve.
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