Summer Lentil Salad

A spoonful of Summer Lentil Salad
Lentils, with a shape somewhat resembling coins, are symbols of riches and prosperity in Italy. After eight long years, we have finally sold my childhood home this week. What better way to celebrate this little boon than with these symbols of financial good fortune?

Rather than the golden-egg-laying goose the house was expected to be, it morphed into an albatross that created unanticipated familial stress over the last eight years. My oldest sibling wanted to sell immediately, during the real estate collapse, while another mentioned keeping it for 45 years. I managed, surprisingly, to remain neutral over most of the years (caught up in my own personal turmoil, I suppose) until last year – then my exasperation bubbled up, boiled over. Get me out of here – I want to take my share and run! Trouble with the tenants, damage to the property, lawsuits and disagreements between us brought me to the verge of walking away. This house and all its complications was my last fetter to my siblings. Now, no longer financially shackled, I can, should I chose to, slip away never to be found again. Not that I want to, but there’s something liberating in realizing that I could.

Tonight, before I celebrate with my lentil salad, I say thank you to my mom and dad for making this financial provision. I am grateful for this good fortune and I hope to use my portion in a manner that will make them proud.


Lentil Salad

This salad is best served at room temperature.

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ⅓ cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large or two small carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • ⅓ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ head cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup Feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, thyme, garlic, sugar and Dijon. Add olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Set dressing aside.
  2. Cook lentils according to package directions.
  3. While lentils are cooking, in a medium size skillet over high heat, sauté corn, red pepper, carrot and onion until softened and onions are translucent. Do not brown.
  4. Place cabbage in a large bowl.  Drain lentils.  Cover cabbage with warm lentils and sautéed vegetables to help soften cabbage. While salad is still warm, fold in dressing and feta cheese. Cover salad and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to meld. Before serving, season with salt and pepper.

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Roasted Corn and Chimichurri Salad

Corn Salad

Remember how you suffered through the last week of school before summer vacation? You couldn’t wait for summer to begin, concentrating seemed impossible, time in the classroom dragged on forever, and you were incensed if teachers asked you to do any actual work. You just had to get through those…last…few…day.

Déjà vu. I’m one week away from being officially laid off and the hour can’t arrive soon enough. I’m anxious for the moment when my time is once mine to spend as I desire. Sign my yearbook already and let’s get on with it.

In honor of the season (although it doesn’t officially begin until Monday), today’s recipe highlights a summer produce classic – freshly-picked sweet summer corn.


Summer Roasted Corn and Chimichurri Salad

Sweet summer corn pairs well with Argentina’s zesty chimichurri sauce used as a dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, tough stems removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ears corn, roasted
  • ½ cup yellow or red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. In a food processor, finely chop garlic. Add parsley, cilantro, vinegar, oil, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped. Set chimichurri aside.
  2. Cut corn from cobs. In a medium bowl, combine corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion. Drizzle with ¼ cup chimichurri and combine (you will have leftover chimichurri).
  3. Side aside for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with 7-minute eggs, if desired.

Golden Beet Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Beet Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Hearing your manager say the words, “Laid off” strikes fear and panic in most of the corporate set. When those words rang in my ear last week, I heard “freedom” and “new beginnings” and “free time.” I’m sure the severance package softened the blow considerably. So, if all goes as planned, I happily become a member of the unemployed starting in mid-June.

Regarding what I’m going to do next, I plan on taking a nice chunk of time off and then I have a few ideas. I’m quite sure cooking will be on the agenda – and possibly buying an Inn.


Golden Beet Salad with warm goat cheese

I hated beets growing up, but can’t get enough of them as an adult, especially golden beets. This recipe is adapted from one I learned during culinary school.

Ingredients

  • 6 golden beets, peeled and cubed
  • 4 Tablespoons red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and slightly crushed
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 log Chèvre (goat cheese)
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Cook beets in salted water until knife pierces beets easily 10-20 minutes. Drain beets.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onions, thyme, and garlic
  3. In a small bowl, make vinaigrette by combining sherry vinegar, mustard and fennel. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  4. Gently combine warm beets and vinaigrette with onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let flavors combine for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Cut Chèvre into 6 even rounds (this is most easily done with unflavored dental floss). Dip each round in egg and then cover well with bread crumbs. Freeze rounds for 15 minutes.
  6. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add Chèvre and sauté on both sides until bread crumbs are golden brown and cheese is beginning to melt.
  7. Serve beet salad with warm goat cheese rounds.

Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad

If left to my own devices, I’d probably eat and cook nothing but desserts. Butter, sugar, flour – what’s not to love? In spite of this, I’ve got to include something green in my repertoire occasionally and this salad checks that box – and makes my taste buds happy, too.  Sweet, sour, salty, with a touch of heat – again, what’s not to love?


Thai Beef Salad


Ingredients

  • 1 small white cabbage, sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 10-12 oz. ribeye steak
  • 5 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced lemon grass
  • 1 teaspoon minced Thai or serrano chili
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves, torn
  • ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts

Directions

  1. Combine cabbage, carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper in a large bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Sprinkle ribeye with salt and pepper and cook until medium rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice ribeye on diagonal and refrigerate.
  3. Combine lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, lemon grass, and chili and set aside.
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, marinate cooked ribeye in half of the dressing. Add onions, cilantro and mint leaves to cabbage mixture. Pour remaining dressing over cabbage and toss. Arrange ribeye slices and accumulated dressing over salad and garnish with peanuts.

Thai Peanut Chicken Rice Bowls

thai-peanut-chicken-rice-bowl

Thai Peanut Chicken Rice Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup bottled peanut sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup edamame, sprinkled with salt
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. To marinate cucumbers, combine first 7 ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
  2. To make dressing, combine next three ingredients and set aside.
  3. Divide rice between four bowls. Arrange edamame, chicken and cilantro on top of rice. Add marinated cucumbers.
  4. Drizzle with peanut dressing