I make a LOT of salads. Salads for lunch at work, giant salads for dinner, salads forever. I think it’s the colours that draw me in every time, putting together a huge plate of fresh brightness is a lovely way to play in the kitchen. My standard dressing is sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper but when I have time I like to make this salad dressing with Greek yogurt and fresh basil. The basil can be easily substituted with a different fresh herb; parsley, dill, thyme, and even cilantro are all wonderful. You can make this salad dressing without the mayonnaise if you want to, but I find it really gives the recipe some heft – fat is always a great flavour booster and shouldn’t be feared.
greek yogurt and basil salad dressing:
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (full fat will taste the best)
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of half a lemon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of fresh basil, cut in a fine chiffonade
1 tsp. kosher salt
Plenty of freshly cracked pepper
Combine all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before using. This salad dressing will keep for 2 days in the fridge.
A beautiful spacey love song by Dntel to brighten your evening.
Dntel – Anyone Anywhere
Ian is having oral surgery tomorrow so I thought I would celebrate his last night eating solid food for the next couple of days by cooking a steak dinner complete with caramelized onions, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, and roasted asparagus. Unfortunately, I went for a run and then showered before deciding around 6 o’clock that I should start on the aforementioned caramelized onions and an hour later, faced with a pan of half-browned onions and little else I decided that an emergency light snack was needed immediately. Serendipitously enough, I had a fruit bowl containing an avocado, a mango, and a packet of cherry tomatoes. I diced everything together, added cilantro, a tiny amount of minced garlic, dried chilies (works in a pinch!), and generous amounts of kosher salt and lime juice. I’ve been eating cucumbers lately at a somewhat alarming rate and with the advent of an oncoming steak dinner I thought they sounded like the perfect dipper for my impromptu fruit salsa break. Salsas in general sound fussy to make from scratch but are actually very simple, combine the crunchy fruit and vegetables of your choice in somewhat equal amounts and add something to give heat, something sour, and salt – that’s all it takes! Let sit for 15 minutes to let the flavours get to know each other and serve with cucumbers, corn chips, chicken, fish, grains, etc., etc.
Tonight I was convinced there was nothing to for dinner in the fridge. I’ve been sick this past week and mostly living on canned soup and homemade frozen yogurt. Deep down I knew we had at least one innocuous set of ingredients lying around but frankly I haven’t felt up to cooking and the thought of eggs and dry toast did little to inspire that urge. Curious about a bag containing 3 purple sweet potatoes I had bought the week before I decided to at least cut them open to see their electric purple interiors, an absolutely beautiful but foreign colour to see on your cutting board. I have found that purple sweet potatoes tend to hold their shape better and are less mushy than baked orange sweet potato fries, they’re also sweeter and denser in texture. I scrubbed the peel really well and cut them up into large matchsticks to save time but the peel also adds a pleasantly chewy sensation to the finished product.
baked sweet potato fries:
(makes 2 generous servings)
3 purple sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into large matchsticks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cumin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the sweet potato matchsticks in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil evenly and sprinkle with salt, paprika, and cumin. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve alone or with a condiment of your choice.
After a day of way too much strawberry ice cream I needed a meal that was ridiculously, obviously healthy; there is no way this salad could be misconstrued as anything but colourfully nutritious. I have cucumber, radishes, strawberries, yellow sweet peppers, grated carrot, avocado, romaine lettuce, edamame, parsley, pepitas, chia seeds, and black sesame seeds. I made a salad dressing out of dark sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, minced garlic, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and grated ginger (basically, raiding my pantry for ingredients that would work well together). I dressed the salad and let it sit for about 10 minutes to get the crunch out of the chia seeds and because, well, I just happen to like my salad on the soggier side.