Tag Archives: salads

Summer BBQ formula + best rice salad ever

welded nail bowlLast weekend I had a few ‘nailed it’ moments. I fixed a ukelele that was literally broken in two. (We now own something called a clamp and a bottle of wood glue, as I’m sure repairs there will be many…) I restrung said ukelele while relying on my own logic and intuition, not a youtube tutorial. And I fixed a very slow kitchen drain sans Draino.  It’s the little things that must be celebrated, yes?

But the thing that I was really excited about was that I finally nailed the summer cookout formula. Pre-Otto, our cookouts involved too many platters and 27 condiments and some ridiculous dessert (roasted bananas in tin foil packets, anyone?). I had too much time on my hands to think about all sorts of things to make.

Last week, on the hottest day of the year, I might add, we had several old friends over for a dinner.  The house was a mess. Otto was constantly at my feet. I wanted everything to be gluten free so that all–allergic or not–could partake in the same meal. And the meal had to be made ahead of time because Otto’s bedtime is smack between cocktail time and ‘when do we eat’ faces showing up. From all this came two solutions. Three no-cook sides, one marinated meat for Adam to grill, and fresh fruit with ice cream for dessert. We had so much fun and everything was so relaxed and delicious. I swore this is how we’ll do it from now on. And the formula I figured out was this:

One meat, marinated and ready to go (we went with skirt steak and this easy chimichurri). One salad that can work as a sauce of sorts in case the meat dries out, or hold its own (for us, that is–and always will be–mizeria). One that has some delightful combination of sweet and savory (we put #13 from the 101 Salads Challenge on peppery arugula). And one that is hearty enough in case you have a Mary Tyler Moore moment and find yourself running out of meat fast. And for that, there’s this terrific rice salad. I used black rice, which made all the colors stand out nicely and also because there’s something a little fancy about black rice. I could see adding beans or chickpeas to it next time. I will make this salad, or some version of it, for forever.

The other nice thing about this formula is the leftovers situation. Old burgers and dried out buns are just sad the next day.

And that’s all…keep having a fun summer!

Welded nail bowl a little something I found on etsy while searching for a ‘nailed it’ poster of some sort.

Week 4 and 7 more

How fun is this paint chip table runner? It’s what I found when doing a Pinterest search for all things tomato, the fruit/veg that’s seemingly/happily part of ever dinner these days. Paint chips are always made into new things like garlands and at least 32 other projects, so it’s nice to see them left as they should be–albeit in the form of a table runner!

Now on to Week 4 of the 101 Salads challenge. I’m still having fun with it! There are a few that were chosen because they have cilantro and I have some leftover from last week’s list and hate throwing it away (which happens a lot with cilantro, I’m afraid). Otherwise, I tried to stick with things that are in season, including all the delicious tomatoes up for grabs at the farmers’ market.

6. Sichuan slaw: Toss bean sprouts, shredded carrots and celery, minced fresh chili, soy sauce, sesame oil and a bit of sugar. Top with chopped peanuts and chopped basil, mint and/or cilantro. (The full trio is best.) [postponed to week 5]

20. Shred Napa cabbage and radishes. The dressing is roasted peanuts, lime juice, peanut or other oil, cilantro and fresh or dried chili, all whizzed in a blender. Deliciousness belies ease. [also postponed to week five...grrrr]

19. Mix cooked cannellini or other white beans, chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and arugula or baby spinach. Lightly toast sliced garlic in olive oil with rosemary and red pepper flakes; cool slightly, add lemon zest or juice or both, then pour over beans. [update 8/20: made this for a little dinner party and we had it as an appetizer. So nice...the warmed oil wilted the greens just slightly. And there's always something about white beans and rosemary. Will make again.]

56. Salade niçoise, sort of: On or around a bed of greens, make mounds of olives, cooked new potatoes and green beans (warm or at room temperature), good tomatoes, capers, fennel slivers, hard-cooked eggs and good quality Italian canned tuna. None of these is crucial; you get the idea. Serve with vinaigrette or aioli. [update 8/20: made this in honor of Julia Child. Was nice but nowhere close to Balthazar's version. Once you've had a nicoise at Balthazar, you're pretty much spoiled, I hate to say...]

50. It’s puttanesca-ish: Egg salad with pitted black olives, chopped tomatoes, capers, anchovies (optional), a tiny bit of garlic and some red onion; mayonnaise as needed. [update 8/20: Also made this last week and found it to be nice, but careful with all the salty things...I used too many olives, I think. And I went overboard with the anchovies, but that seems to happen a lot with me.]

89. Soak or cook rice noodles, drain and rinse; toss with cubed unripe mango, chopped peanuts, shredded carrot and minced scallion. Make a dressing of rice vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, chili and a bit of sugar. [update 8/20: Made this on Saturday and it was a nice combination of flavors, even though I used ripe mango instead. I also wrapped the salad in rice paper just to change things up a bit.]

91. Cereal for grown-ups: Start with puffed brown rice; toss with chopped tomatoes, scallions, a minced chili, cooked or canned chickpeas and toasted unsweetened coconut. Dress with coconut milk and lime juice. [Postponed. Double grrrr.]

2 lists to bookmark

I’m always googling these lists because they’re so useful and inspiring, so I thought I’d share here as well! The first is Mark Bittman’s top 25 favorite recipes from his Minimalist column for The New York Times. I also love this list of Mark’s 101 Simple Salads. Although I look at the list every few months, I’m sorry to admit I’ve only made the one with walnuts, blue cheese, and raspberries. Hmmm….maybe I should do all 101 in 101 days? I like it. That’s the plan once we’re back from our summer vacationing in a couple of weeks and I’m in control of every meal made. Until then, I’ll dabble….today’s salad will be #7, made with blueberries, carrots, and sunflower seeds.

The pretty ombre salad spoons are available on etsy. These would be so pretty with a colorful beet salad, right?

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