Chayote Salad

As it’s been so hot recently, wanted to make a refreshing salad that pairs with Mexican food.  Remembered a great one from a Mexican cookbook I have, Mexico The Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the Regions of Mexico. It’s with chayote squash and pretty simple.  The hardest part is peeling the squash.

Ingredients

2 lb (1 kg) chayotes (vegetable pears/chokos)
salt
6 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

image

Directions

-Place the chayotes, unpeeled, in a large saucepan. Cover with water, add a pinch of salt and cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until they can easily be pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool for 5 minutes. Peel the chayotes, cut in half, then cut each half into 3 or 4 strips. Chill.
-Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano. Stir well and correct the seasonings.
-Before serving, mix the chayotes with the dressing, top with the onion and sprinkle with more oregano if desired. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Very refreshing, easy to make and pairs well with tuna steaks, salsa and guac, too!  Oh, and margaritas, of course.

image

New addiction

I was roasting some bell peppers last week and realized I’d been given a bunch of fresh rosemary that I needed to use.  So I threw it (the whole stems/stalks/whatever you want to call them) on the baking sheet with the the peppers.  When all was done I just grabbed a piece of the rosemary and munched on it, then them, and more.  I barely got to the peppers.  It was so good.  Just nice and crunchy and so much flavor!  Love fresh herbs.

image

Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette

Need a nice refreshing salad with these crazy hot summer temps?  There is a great one from the March issue of Food & Wine.  It’s Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette.  The brussels sprouts aren’t cooked so it’s a nice cold salad.  And it’s lactose free and gluten free.

image

Ingredients

1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
1 Pink Lady apple—halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1 serrano chile—stemmed, seeded and very thinly sliced (I didn’t use this)
1/2 cup chopped mint
Black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Directions

In a small skillet, toast the white sesame seeds over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and let cool. Add the lemon zest and juice, then add the vinegar, garlic and honey and puree until a chunky paste forms, about 1 minute. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil and puree until nearly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the vinaigrette into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add the brussels sprouts, apple, shallot, chile and mint to the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if using, and serve right away.

image

It was so nice and crunchy with the sprouts and the apples, and so nice and cold.  Perfect with the crazy hot temps!

First taste of Ethiopian

My friend finally talked me into trying Ethiopian food recently.  I was told I would not have to worry because there is no dairy in this stuff.  So I checked it out.  We went to Addis Adaba in Silver Spring, MD, just outside of Washington, DC (sorry they don’t have a website).

image

I had heard that with this cuisine you get to use the hands (only) so this was going to be pretty interesting.  I let my friend order because he’d been many times.  So the decision was Beyaynetu, a vegetarian platter combo of Meiser Wat, Yatekilt Wat, Kik Alicha, Tikil Gomen and Gomen.

The definition of these:

Meiser Wat: Spicy lentil stew with berbere and garlic
Yatekilt Wat: Green beans, carrots, potatoes, jalapenos with Ethiopian spices and herbs
Kik Alicha: Yellow split peas with garlic, peppers and onions
Tikil Gomen: Fresh cabbage with onions and carrots
Gomen: Collard greens cooked with onions and jalapenos

And this is all served with injera, the traditional Ethiopian bread, aka your fork.  After a quick google search, I have found that this is:

Injera (Amharic: ənǧära እንጀራ [ɨndʒəra]; sometimes transliterated as enjera; or “taita” Tigrinya: ጣይታ) is an East African sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour, it is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

It was a super cool sponge texture, indeed, as darn tasty.

So dinner came out and pretty interesting.  Very colorful and quite good!  I am very glad my friend got me to go.  Will definitely have to enjoy this food again and explore other Ethiopian restaurants, as well.

image

 

 

7 Locks Brewing

Microbreweries are growing and growing.  One of the latest is in Rockville, MD (just outside of DC), 7 Locks Brewing.

7LB-logo1(logo source: 7locksbrewing.com)

They have a nice spread of beer on tap, which can of course always change.

image

When I checked it out, my friend and I split of flight of 6 (4 oz each), which is only $8.  We also did this because they were sponsoring a 5K that we had to run not to long after we were going to enjoy the brew.  All were nice to try, not all were my (personal) favorites.

The brewery is great because they have lots of events, from runs to concerts to yoga, and more, all including beer.  Can’t go wrong with that.

 

Citrus-Cured Salmon

Finally made a recipe the other day that I’d been eyeing for awhile.  Had to plan ahead because it needed at least 24 hours to be ready.  It’s the Citrus-Cured Salmon from Bon Appetit.
Ingredients:

5 ounces kosher salt (1 cup Diamond Crystal or ½ cup Morton)
⅔ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound skin-on, boneless salmon fillet, preferably wild king
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

 

image

Prep:

Combine salt, granulated sugar, brown sugar, peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.

Spread half of curing mix in the center of a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet roughly the same size as the fish. Place fish, skin side down, on curing mixture. Spread lemon zest, lime zest, and orange zest evenly over fish; cover with remaining curing mixture. Bring edges of foil up and over salmon and crimp to enclose.

Place another baking sheet on top of salmon and weigh down with several large cans or a heavy pot. Chill, unwrapping and flipping fish halfway through, 24 hours.

Rinse fish and pat dry; place, skin side down, on a cutting board. Using your longest, sharpest knife and wiping down blade with a moist towel between slices, cut on a diagonal ⅛”–¼” thick, leaving skin behind.

Do Ahead: Salmon can be cured 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and chill.

Overall very good.  But problem on my end is that I ended up getting fish with no skin. At first didn’t think it would matter.  Come the end I realized that this meant the salt got into the salmon full strength from both sides.  So, this was some salty fish.  The flavors were all very nice, but do remember to get the skin-on salmon. Will have to try it again with the proper cut/side of fish.

image

 

New veggie salad

Found a new recipe to try from a recent issue of Health magazine, Tomato, Cucumber and Green Bean Salad with Walnut Dressing.  Sounded perfect for these hot days.

Ingredients

1/3 cup broken walnut pieces
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1-in. lengths (grabbed the frozen  ones from Trader Joe’s)
Salt
6 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (that quantity seemed low, almost doubled it)
1/2 cup thinly sliced (lengthwise) red onion
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into 1⁄4-in. slices (added more)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (I accidentally grabbed flat leaf parsley)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

image

Preparation

1. Combine walnuts, garlic and salt in a food processor and blend until finely ground. (If preferred, walnuts, garlic and salt can be pounded into a paste with a mortar and pestle.) Combine walnut mixture, oil and vinegar in a salad bowl and whisk until blended. — I ended up with a nice paste.

2. Cook green beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain well, rinse with cold water, spread on a dish towel and pat dry.

3. Add green beans, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, cilantro, dill and mint to walnut dressing and toss to blend.

Very refreshing.  As mentioned, I grabbed parsley instead of cilantro, so it can likely taste even better than it did.  Nice for hot summer days.

image

Quinoa Goes Poof

Was at a friend’s place and saw a small chip-like bag sitting around and had to inspect.  Based on the name, it had to have something to do with quinoa.  The name was I Heart Keenwah.  In the bag, quinoa puffs.  Poofy little things, and this bag was sea salt truffle flavor.  These things are addictive!  Nice crunch, nice and airy.  And, all things considered, not bad for having 3 servings in the bag.  Am totally going to have to go buy some.  And based on the website, they have some other cool products!

 

image

 

image