Monday, June 24, 2013

Meatless, Luscious and Fun: Cool and Spicy Indian Salad

Much fun, fun, fun on Saturday afternoon...we went BOLLYWOOD. Oh, yeah. Saris, ankle bells, jeweled bindis* and lots of hip thrusting led by our dancing guru, Angela. Of course it was followed by a yummy Indian lunch. I make a lot of Indian food at home - I love the interplay of all the herbs and spices like floral coriander seed, smoky cumin, spicy ginger and garlic, piquant chilies and warm, aromatic garam masala. The perfume of the spices fill the kitchen and all who walk in are eagerly anticipating what will appear on the table.

Although Indian tastes great year round, I especially when the weather turns warm - because its the perfect pair for a glass of chilled rose! Whether your rose hails from France, Italy, Spain or California, its fruit forward, crisp, clean flavors make it an excellent quaff with the zing of the beet salad.

This meatless recipe is super by itself along with a side of naan bread for scooping or a great companion to anything off the grill.  It's really easy to make ahead of time, and just keeps getting better as it sits in the fridge. If you don't like beets, you can shake up the recipe by using the fragrant spice blend with roasted fingerling potatoes, too. (But, you'd be surprised how many people I have swayed to the "beet side" with this salad!)

*A bindi is a decorative mark worn on women's foreheads in India. If it's spelled with an "h", like  bhindi it means okra!

Cool and Spicy Indian Salad

12 – 24 Beets, cooked and sliced (You can buy cooked beets or roast them yourself. If you buy canned beets, make sure to rinse them well)
2 TB Extra Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, Grated*
1 Tsp Grated Ginger
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp Red Chili Flakes
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1/4 Tsp Ground Cardamom
Zest and Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper 
Baby Arugula Leaves
Chopped Cilantro for Garnish

Step One
In a large skillet, Sauté the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and chili flakes over medium heat, until they become fragrant - a couple of minutes.

Step Two
Add the beets, coconut milk, cardamom, lime juice and zest. Cook and stir until well-mixed and warm, or about 3 minutes. 

Step Three
Transfer the hot salad to a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge to cool, at least a couple of hours, or overnight. Serve on a bed of arugula and garnish with the chopped coriander.

*I'm using a microplane for grating my garlic and ginger

Taste and Savor is featuring Indian recipes all week! Tomorrow check out the Avocado and Hearts of Palm Salad you on the plate above, and the Friday Four this week will be Easy Tandoori Chicken!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meatless, Luscious, Fun - WAY South Peach and Lime Salad

I love this time of year. Just when the season for one juicy, wet and sweet fruit like cherries begins to wane another is right on its heels. Peach season has arrived in Georgia. (WooHoo!) Last Friday night I  got to use a bunch of them to toss up a luscious, local, super-seasonal salad at the Lilburn Farmers Market.

Peaches are great in savory dishes like BBQ sauce or as glaze for a fat pork chop, but this way of using them is one of my favorites. Based on the Mango and Lime Avocado Salad in my cookbook, I swapped the mango with peaches and used Georgia pecans as the nuts. Of course, avocados and limes are not grown in Georgia, thus the name: WAY South Peach and Lime Salad.

Try it as a side salad or add some grilled shrimp on top and call it dinner. Anyway you eat it, it's divine

WAY South Peach and Lime Salad

1 TB Lime Juice
1 TB Lime Zest
½ Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp Hot Pepper Jelly
1/3 Cup Toasted Nut Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1 Bag Baby Spinach
6 -8  Ripe Peaches, Peeled and Chopped
1 Pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
3 Ripe Avocadoes, Chopped
1 Cup Toasted Pecan Halves
About 6 Stems of Basil, Leaves in “Chiffonade”

Step 1
To make the dressing, add the lime juice, zest, mustard, jelly and oil to a jar. Shake well to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside.

Step Two
On a large platter, layer the spinach, then peaches, tomatoes, avocadoes and finally the pecans. Drizzle the dressing over all. Garnish with the Basil.

*What’s Chiffonade? Make a stack of your basil leaves and roll them up like a cigar. Slice through the roll thinly. Voila! Chiffonade

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Meatless, Luscious, Fun - Cherries and Berries Salad!

Do you like cherries? I do! And happily, they are loved the world over. I was thrilled to see cherries as part of a beautiful fruit plate in our hotel room in Fez, Morocco last week. (By the time I thought about taking the picture, I had almost eaten all the cherries – there are still a few lurking around the edges, tho…)

In Georgia, we are in the midst of cherry season. I will return home this week and immediately start pitting! Here is one of the recipes I will be making – full of cherry flavor, accented with the flavor of the Middle East, too.

Cherries and Berries Salad

2 ½ Cups Water
1 Cup Wheat Berries*
2 TB Lemon Juice
2 TB Canola Oil
1 TB Pomegranate Molasses (or Honey)
½ Tsp Cinnamon
¼ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Cup Pitted and Chopped Cherries
1 Cup Berries, (You Choice - Chopped if Necessary)
1 Cup Shredded Carrots
¼ Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
6 Cups Baby Spinach
¼ Cup Chopped Dried Cranberries, Cherries or Blueberries
½ Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans

Step One
Bring the water to bowl in a small saucepan. Add the wheat berries, return to a boil and simmer covered for 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Let cool before tossing the salad.

Step Two
Make the Dressing by combining the lemon juice, oil, molasses cinnamon, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the cooled wheat berries. Stir in the cherries, berries, carrots and green onions. Top the baby spinach with salad and garnish with the cranberries and pecans.

*You can find wheat berries at Whole Foods, a health food store or an international market. Can’t find wheatberries? Try using cooked lentils in the recipe and begin your salad at step two.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, cherries are much more than just sweet  - they're a powerful, bite-size health boost Cherries contain anthocyanins - the red pigment in berries. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants under active research for a variety of potential health benefits.