Emerald City Salad

I’ve been thinking about making this salad since I got my copy of Feeding the Whole Family. But frankly, I was scared. I was afraid of the raw dark leafy greens. But, looking for a quick-ish side dish and a variation on a green salad, I finally tried it.

Oh, man, is this a salad. My husband’s review:

“This salad is so good! I could eat this all day!”

My son tried it, my daughter refused to. You can’t take their word, though; their combined age is less than eight. I loved it, and I will be making it again. It seems like something that would be very easy to pack for a lunch at the park. And the kids won’t ask to share it, so more for me!

Speaking of kids, I did, in fact, keep my resolutions today. I played on the floor with them (I read the same Curious George story three times, which I think gets me extra credit), I took photos of them, I got goofy with them (a little. It’s only March 1st. I need to pace myself).

And I even kept track of the cute things they did. My son tried to give a block to a little one-year-old. He put his hand gently on her head and then put the block in front of her face. When she didn’t take it, he tried to hit her in the head with it, but I got there in time. He also managed to make me understand that he was asking for ketchup by repeating, “Det-dut!” over and over again, getting increasingly frustrated at my ignorance. My daughter built a dwelling for her stuffed toys out of materials she found in the yard to replicate the homes of early farmers. And she carried around her Andean Condor feather to show to everyone we met, but she was too shy to tell anyone what kind of feather it was. That was my job.

And I made a kick-A salad. There’s a great video of this on cookusinterruptus. Check it out, then go make yourself a salad. Oh, and I used red bell pepper and green kale, and I used olive oil instead of butter. And I used no cheese (and my husband didn’t add any to his serving! That’s how good this salad is!).

Emerald City Salad


Recipe reprinted from Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

This colorful salad is inspired by the beautiful deli salad at Puget Consumer’s Co-op, Seattle’s beloved chain of natural foods grocery stores. It is so popular that I have filled many classes with the mere mention that I would be demonstrating how to make this salad.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups water or stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 cup wild rice (black; ½” long)

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped fennel bulb, core removed
½ of a red or yellow pepper, diced
½ cup chopped red cabbage
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups very finely chopped dark leafy greens (6-7 leaves of chard, kale, or collards)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pecorino or gorgonzola cheese (optional)

Bring water or stock to a boil.  Add butter, ½ teaspoon of the salt and rice.  Bring to boil again, cover, lower heat and simmer 60-65 minutes.  Check to see that until all water is absorbed by tipping the pan to one side.  How to cook wild rice is described in a separate video.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt in a large serving bowl.  Add fennel, red pepper, cabbage, parsley and then the greens.

Once rice is fully cooked, cool until it quits steaming but is still warm, and then spread like a banket on top of the greens.  When the rice cools to room temperature, toss rice, vegetables and dressing together. Taste the salad and adjust seasonings, some extra salt and/or lemon may be required.  Garnish with cheese if desired.

Preparation time: 1 hour for wild rice, 20 minutes for salad
Serves 6-8

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Garlic Roasted Green Garbanzo Beans, Non-Crispy Version

I made the non-crispy green garbanzo beans Wednesday. My friend Timbra tried them, and they got her seal of approval. My family all loved them, too. The baby signed and said, “Mo! Mo! Mo!” almost as soon as he put a bean in his mouth. Of course, he also eats cat food, so you might want to take Timbra’s word for it rather than his. If she eats cat food, it’s news to me.

These are more of an “eat with a spoon” dish than a finger-food because they’re a little greasy. I’m thinking you can use much less oil than the recipe calls for (I decreased it myself from the original, but I think you could decrease it to 1/2 cup or less and have it be fine).

This recipe is based on the Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard Recipe at Epicurious.com

I didn’t make the swiss chard part, but I’m betting it’s great, too. Click the link above for the original recipe, including the swiss chard part.

Garlic Roasted Green Garbanzo Beans, Non-Crispy

3 c frozen green garbanzo beans

10 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large shallots (the original recipe didn’t specify what exactly to do with these. I used 1 mondo one and peeled it and halved it before adding it to the beans)

3 small bay leaves

1 t fennel seeds (For some mysterious reason (perhaps because it seemed like a good price to buy them in bulk), I bought a pound of these about two and a half years ago. I’m glad to have another recipe to use them in.)

salt and ground pepper

1/2 to 1 c extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1 cup, but I’m thinking less might be better)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place everything but the oil in a casserole dish that’s about 8 inches square. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pour the oil over the mixture and cover the casserole with a glass lid or aluminum foil. Cook until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain off excess oil and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Roast Fresh Ham (with a Side of Kale and Blackeye Peas)

I’ve been holding onto a recipe for Roast Fresh Ham from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated for a few years now. I could never figure out how to get a fresh (uncured) ham. Sure, I could have asked at the meat counter, but those guys always seem in such a hurry, and I just can’t figure out how to broach the subject of how to get something that isn’t in the display case. The one time I did try to special order a corned beef brisket, the butcher guy said, “Oh, there’ll be plenty! You don’t need to special order it.” When I went to get the brisket he said, “Sorry. All the ones we have are reserved for people who special ordered them.” Not really worth confronting my fear of talking to store employees.

As luck would have it, I got a fresh ham in my meat CSA share from Christiansen Family Farm a few months ago. I’ve been holding onto that ham just waiting for the right occasion to roast it up. The recipe is basically an all-day affair, plus the 24 hours of brining that precedes the actual cooking, so I needed to find just the right combination of time off for my husband and no plans for the rest of us.

The stars aligned this weekend, just in time to have Roast Fresh Ham for New Year’s dinner! I served it with a side of Kale and Blackeye Peas, traditional New Year’s fare which I kind of threw together.

The ham turned out even better than I’d imagined it would. My husband raves about it. He said he would have been satisfied had he gotten something like this at a fancy-shmancy restaurant in San Francisco. Although it’s a little like, “Wow! That’s so good, I’m amazed that you cooked it!” I’ve decided to take it as a compliment. The kids even loved it, but they’re big meat eaters. (My 16.5-month-old walked in the kitchen while I was carving the roast, yelled, “Meat!” and went to get a plastic plate out of the kid-dishes drawer.)

Roast Fresh Ham with Maple-Orange Glaze

Roast Fresh Ham

reprinted from Cook’s Illustrated‘s The Best Slow & Easy Recipes, published by America’s Test Kitchen, 2008.

Ham and Brine

1 (6- to 8-pound) fresh bone-in half ham with skin, preferably shank end (I’m not sure what part ours was. I think it was more like 3-4 pounds, though.)

3 cups packed brown sugar

2 cups table salt (I used 4 cups kosher salt)

2 medium heads garlic, cloves separated and crushed

10 bay leaves

1/2 cup black peppercorns, crushed (I put the garlic cloves and peppercorns in a big Ziploc freezer bag and beat them with the bottom of a pan, then poured them in the brine liquid.)

2 gallons water

Herb Rub

(I made a half recipe of this since our ham was so much smaller than called for. The amounts below are the original amounts)

1 cup lightly packed fresh sage leaves

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

8 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped coarse (about 8 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1 recipe glaze (see below)

1. For the ham and brine: Carefully slice through skin and fat on the ham with a serrated knife, making a 1-inch diamond pattern; be careful not to cut into the meat.

2. Dissolve the sugar and salt in 2 gallons water in a stockpot or large container. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns, submerge the ham in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

3. For the herb rub: Process the sage, parsley, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a food processor to a smooth paste, about 30 seconds. (I ended up adding a tad more olive oil to make this the consistency of pesto.)

4. Set a wire rack inside a roasting pan. (I wrapped the rack with foil and poked several holes in the foil.) Remove the ham from the brine and rinse. Pat the ham dry with paper towels. Transfer the ham, wide cut side down, to the prepared wire rack. (If using the sirloin end, place the ham skin side up.) Rub the garlic and herb mixture all over the ham, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. (I didn’t allow enough time for this step, so I skipped it and just put the ham in the oven at this point.)

5. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Roast the ham for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and brush (I just spooned) the ham with the glaze (recipe below). Continue to roast the ham, brushing it with the glaze every 45 minutes, until the meat closest to the bone registers 145 to 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 1/2 hours longer.

6. Transfer the ham to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest until the meat closest to the bone registers 155 to 160 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Carve the ham and serve. (I didn’t let the ham rest. I just roasted the ham until it was ~160-ish degrees then took it out and called it done.)

Maple-Orange Glaze

reprinted from Cook’s Illustrated‘s The Best Slow & Easy Recipes, published by America’s Test Kitchen, 2008

makes 1 generous cup, enough to glaze 1 spiral-sliced or fresh ham

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup orange marmalade

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cook all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes. (The glaze will thicken as it cools between bastings; rewarm over medium heat as needed to loosen.)

Kale and blackeye peas

Kale and Blackeye Peas

2 cans blackeye peas

1 large leek, cleaned well and chopped

1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and torn or cut into bite-sized pieces

salt

rice or apple cider vinegar

In a large saute pan, mix the peas, leek, and kale. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and the mixture is hot. Add a dash or two of vinegar and salt to taste.

Ah, Endorphins and Clean(er) Air…

Between the lovely rains that came through today and cleaned out a good chunk of the pollution and the wonderful workout I had this afternoon, I’m feeling in a much better place than I have been for the past week. I’m pleasantly sleepy and know I’m going to be sore tomorrow. But I also have a Yin Yoga DVD I got from the library, so I can do that tomorrow and soothe my poor Yanged-up muscles.

For my workout, I went to a different gym location at which they have a steam room. The steam room was lovely. I think it may have been 2001 or 2002 when my husband and I went with some friends to their family’s condo in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a weekend. Our friends very generously gave us the master suite, which included a steam shower in the bathroom. Once we figured out how to work it, it was absolutely divine.

After that weekend, I vowed that one day I would have a steam shower in my home. So far, it’s not worked out that way. While we were house-hunting, I did look at one place that had a magnificent basement master with ten-foot ceilings and a steam shower that the whole family could easily have fit in. But the house was about $130,000 over what we wanted to spend and had no yard, so I remain steam-showerless.

It’s kind of funny that I like steam showers so much because, as a rule, I hate humidity. But perhaps I actually like humidity as long as I can choose when to experience it and escape it before it ceases to be fun. And there’s nothing like the intense aridity of Utah to make a person crave a little humidity.

A co-ed steam room in a gym is slightly less awesome than a steam shower in the privacy of one’s own master suite, but it’s still better than no steam at all. My husband’s not thrilled at the idea of me sitting in a bikini with three men in swim trunks, but he knows there’s an alternative. If he decides it’s worth the expense, I’m happy to sit by myself in a steam shower in my own home.

At any rate, I loved my workout and then my steam. The men who were in the room didn’t bother me much. My glasses, predictably, became covered with an opaque fog the moment I set foot inside the steam room, so I took them off. From my myopic perspective, I was sharing the room with three indistinct blobs in swim trunks that periodically stretched or massaged where I guessed their feet would be or left for a swim and then returned to steam some more. I would have preferred to share the steam room with blobs wearing bikinis, but as my dad always used to say, wish in one hand, spit in the other (only he didn’t say “spit”).

And the air! Oh, my, how lovely it was to see the blue sky again, if only for a brief time! And my dizziness almost disappeared today with all the breathing I was doing of air that was comparatively lower in particulates and chemicals than it has been for the past week!

I’m going to round out the day by going to bed early (ish), so I’ll just leave you with a smoothie I made last week. I’ve been just throwing together smoothies with whatever I happen to have around the house. I noticed that the raw cranberry sauce/relish I’d made for Thanksgiving was getting a little old. So, I tossed it in the smoothie with a couple of enormous swiss chard leaves, a cored comice pear, a peeled navel orange, a banana and a half (I was only going to use one banana, but the baby asked for a banana so I gave him half and put the rest in my smoothie. He smooshed his half in his little fists and then rubbed it in his hair), and about a cup of rice milk.

The result, artfully arranged with some autumn leaves my daughter left lying on the table:

 

Cranberry Sauce Smoothie

It tasted so good that I wished I’d bought a ton of cranberries while they were still at the store and packed them into my freezer. Except that they wouldn’t have fit, and I would had to have bought a chest freezer.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how to make raw cranberry sauce/relish, use a bag of cranberries, a cup of sugar, and the zest and pulp of one valencia orange (making sure there aren’t any seeds in it). Put everything in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and masticate for, I don’t know, like 30 to 60 minutes. Until it looks chunky but juicy and the sugar is all dissolved. The cranberries will try to jump out of the bowl at first. I just stand there with my hands blocking the edges and getting cranberry juice on my shirt until enough of them burst that they settle down and get crushed like good little berries. There’s likely a better way to do this, but this one works for me for the one time a year I make the cranberry sauce.

If I find more cranberries, I’ll make more sauce and post the prettied-up recipe with a picture.