missmaggiepops

Eating my way around the world

Category: Salads

Healthy Flight Salad aka “Clean Out My Fridge Before I Leave So That I Don’t Have A Rotting Mess When I Return” Salad

 
 For those of you that know me personally, you know that I fly fairly often. Whether it’s a short domestic trip, or a long-haul around the world, I almost always fly with my own food. I do this mostly out of necessity because of my soy allergy (it’s in Everything processed), but also as part of my flying ritual. If you fly frequently, you probably have a ritual as well, and I would love to hear about them in the comments. 
  
I like to make non-perishable items to fly with, like this salad that was inspired by the NYTimes, and I like to bring a lot of it. After claiming my bags, possibly going through border control, maybe with a toddler in tow, and getting to my destination from the airport which can sometimes take up to 2hrs depending on where I’ve landed, by the time I reach my accommodations I’m exhausted, hungry, & possibly severely jet lagged. Searching for food after all of that just makes me want to cry. Which is why I will bring more than enough food on my flight(s) so that I can unpack, tend to the toddler if he’s with me, and collapse, ready for the next day with wide eyes & a bushy tail.

Along with this type of salad, I like to fly with non-high-maintenance fruit such as apples, oranges, grapes, or stone fruit when in season. I’ll usually throw in some Lara bars, and a good bar of chocolate too. If the toddler is with me, I bring copious amounts of cheddar bunnies & animal cracker packets. The above mentioned fruit is on the toddler’s “approved-foods” list (which is mostly diminishing in length *sigh*). I also like to make farçou for the toddler to snack on in the most likely case he hates everything there is to offer at the airport/on the plane. I will also pack my suitcase with peanut butter and almond butter packets, and squeeze packs of fruit purees for the toddler when we reach our destination.

  
Back to the adults: the great thing about this salad is that it doesn’t have any meat or dairy in it, which means you could fly from NY to Tokyo with it, and it will still be decent to eat by the time you get to your hotel 20hrs later. And if you don’t have the exact same ingredients as I did for this salad, don’t sweat it. Neither did I when I loosely followed The NYTimes’ version of this salad as well. Any sort of veggie roasted would be great in this, and toasted almonds, and/or walnuts would be great too. If you have a lemon, not a clementine, use that. And if you only have apple cider vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, that will taste great too. Don’t worry, it’s just a salad:

 -1c green or black lentils (these hold their shape when cooked)

-1 or 2 bay leaves

-pinch of salt 

Place lentils, bay leaves, & salt in a pot with 3c of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20min, or until fork tender. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve/collander. Set aside to cool (or run under cold water until cool to quickly reduce the temperature as I did), and discard the bay leaves.

Pre-heat the oven to 425F, and chop into bite-sized pieces:

-1 large sweet potato

-1/2 large red onion, cut into wedges

-3 medium-sized parsnips

-2 medium-sized carrots

-1/2 of a very large golden beet

-big handful of rosemary, minced

-2 large garlic cloves, minced

Throw all of this onto a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, toss/mix to combine, and roast for about 20-30min. Just until it looks soft & the edges of the chopped veggies are starting to char. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven for about 20min. I’ve discovered that when you do this, the vegetables start to dehydrate a bit, maintaining their shape when you toss them in salads. I don’t know about you, but I hate mushy roasted veggies that don’t hold their shape.

Make the dressing:

-Olive oil

-Sherry vinegar

-Dijon mustard (about a tsp or so)

-Salt & pepper

-The juice of 1 large clementine/mandarine

The amount of oil & vinegar is to your taste, which is why I’m not giving you amounts. This is good practice when making any vinaigrette. I normally do more oil than vinegar if that helps, and I’ll start off with a tsp of mustard & take it from there taste-wise. Whisk everything together.

In a dry pan, toast some chopped pistachios until fragrant. Be mindful you don’t burn them (I’m constantly burning any toasted nut I do…)
When the lentils have cooled, place them in a large bowl & splash them with the dressing. You want just enough dressing to give them flavour, but not so much that the pool of liquid will get you in trouble when going through airport security. Add the veggies, toss to combine, & add more dressing if needed. Add in the pistachios, toss to combine. Some chopped flat-leaf parsley would be nice to toss in this too.
I like to keep the plastic to-go containers from the Whole Foods deli section for flights as I can just recycle them when I’m finished eating & not have to worry about carrying tupperware with me for my whole trip. And I can find disposable cutlery in any airport to eat with. 

This will fill about 3 medium-sized containers, perfect for the airport & dinner later.

  

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

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Hey there! Thanksgiving is coming up in a few days, have you decided what you’re going to make? Me either! You & I must be one in the same person- procrastinate until the last minute then chain smoke cigarettes (or down red wine like nobody’s business, whatever your vice is, I’m not judging)  while you stress out over what to make.

Are you in charge of the entire dinner? My first bit of advice is to thaw out your bird two days before in the fridge. I made that rookie mistake years ago when I lived in San Francisco & cooked the beast for the first time. I think we ate at 11pm. Don’t do that to your guests.

If you can prep the day before, even better. I’ll normally chop up all the ingredients for the salad the night before, and prep the dressing separately. I’ll buy pre-grated parm if needed, and bagged & washed greens to make my life easier. Don’t be a hero- take shortcuts whenever possible because if you are in charge of everything for the big day, you’re going to be exhausted doing everything else that can’t be prepped beforehand. Same goes for a roasted veg, a pie if you’re in charge of that as well (I would recommend starting your dough today to give it time to rest), a soup could be made the day before if you’re having that as an app, dips can be prepped the day before for your apps, and you can also start on your stuffing the day before too.

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I loathe making gravy, my husband does the gravy because by the time I’ve set out apps, cooked the turkey, mashed the potatoes, rewarmed the stuffing and whatever veg I’m serving, set the table, prep the condiments such as cornichons, and pour myself a glass of wine, I’m so exhausted I could give a f**k about the gravy- I’m about to pass out face first into the latticed apple pie. That’s where the husband magically appears and saves the day. If you have someone you can count on to help with the tedious task of gravy, I urge you to do so. ***A hint for thickening the gravy that absolutely Nobody tells you is warm up your water and flour mixture. Because the temp of your thickener will be almost the same temp as the drippings in your pan, the gravy will thicken up quickly. Same goes for the stock you’re going to whisk in.

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Here are a few recipes I love making for the holidays:
-Bon Appetit’s Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad is a regular request. The fried almonds really make this salad for me, and can easily double/triple to feed a humongous crowd.
-101Cookbooks Roasted Pumpkin Salad will be a winner-winner-turkey-dinner for your vegetarian and gluten-free guests. I am Obsessed with the cilantro dressing. I add in a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar to my version of this dressing, and throw in roasted broccoli & parsnips to bulk the salad out. I love love love this. It can easily be doubled and tripled.
-I also love Heidi’s Heirloom Apple Salad. The crème fraîche dressing is divine.
-And while you’re still on Ms. Swanson’s wonderful blog, check out her Caramelized Onion Dip. So. Damn. Good.
-I love Food & Wine’s Warm Winter Vegetable Salad. I have doubled and tripled this as well, and you can totally prep it the day before and just rewarm it the next day. Add in the dressing, toasted nuts, and cheese at the last minute.
-Do you know of garlic confit? Elevate your mashed spuds and impress your guests with French cooking techniques.
-Instead of rolls (how predictable…) why don’t you make a loaf or two of brioche instead? If you have a stand mixer and 2 days to spare, meaning start tonight, it’s actually not that hard to make, you just need time. All of that butter will be worth it, trust me.
-Do you just want to say “bucket” to turkey this year and make something else? I love Bon Appetit’s Beef Short Rib Pot Pie. This can feed a small crowd for sure. To make this dish less labour intensive, start your crust today, simmer the meat tomorrow and let it sit overnight in the fridge for the flavours to intensify even more, throw everything into a baking dish and lay your crust on Thanksgiving morning/afternoon, and bake.
-Instead of pecan pie, why not make my favourite little Canadian treats instead? Butter Tarts are the unsung heroes of the dessert world.
-Are all of these suggestions just a bit too ambitious for your needs and/or lack of time? Nigella Lawson has the easiest side dish of Butternut Squash with Pecans & Blue Cheese you can prep the night before. Make as much or as little as you need.

Good luck & happy cooking! And remember, when in doubt, just pour yourself a glass of wine and start delegating.

The Great Salad Round Up

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a long weekend comes up, all of the recipe boards feature meat meat meat. In copious amounts of it, in almost obscene combinations and variations of it (ie: bacon & pork belly stuffed beef short rib pot pie, bacon popsicles, etc). What if you’re a vegetarian or vegan? What if you’re trying to be a bit more healthy and incorporate some green fiber into your life? What if you just don’t feel like eating meat because you want to rebel against all of the meatapalooza advertising that’s being bombarded your way? And since this is a pretty big bbq/pool party weekend in the US (4th of July), you’re most likely going to be asked to bring a dish to share to wherever you’re being invited to. I say be self-absorbed with this one- bring something you really want to eat; bring something you want to fill your plate with and not have very much room for all of that meat being passed around. Bring one of these salads:

  • I love this salad, it’s one of my favourites for summer. It’s the grated hard-boiled egg & saffron infused marcona almonds that just elevates something so simple into something extraordinary: Blue Kale Studio Salad
  • I love love love Za’atar. I discovered it on a meditation retreat in California years ago. It was a silent retreat, but you could leave messages for the teachers to ask questions about your experiences, etc. I left messages for the chef; this spice mixture was one of my discoveries: Chickpeas & Za’atar
  • This is the salad pictured above. Feel free to leave out the fennel as I did if you’re not into it. The dressing is awesome. I love how Heidi’s dressings are so much more than oil & vinegar: Kale Market Salad
  • A-Ha! This one features a grill so that you’re not the only one who misses out on the famed charcoal action that exemplifies a long weekend. The dressing is amaze: Grilled Romaine Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing
  • When you incorporate grains into your salad it gives it more heft, and makes it more of a “1-bowl-meal” sort of thing. Perfect if you’re trying to avoid all of that meat: Heather’s Farro Recipe
  • If you’re gluten-free, the quinoa in this salad will fill you up. It’s the dressing that gets me every time with this one. Love love love: Quinoa & Grilled Zucchini
  • I love the yoghurt dressing in this. I use farro instead of barley, I like the toothiness of the farro instead. It adds a nice counterbalance to all of the softer elements of the salad: California Barley Bowl
  • I love this jalapeno dressing. It eventually tempers a bit the longer it sits. If you like it spicey, make the dressing just before serving: Greeny Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
  • This makes A Lot, is super pretty, and has rosewater in it (such a great conversation starter….): Purple Power Salad
  • The humble lentil is put into the spotlight with this amazingly flavourful dressing. Double the dressing if you’re adding in a lot of chopped veggies to bulk out the salad (which will help you feed more people): The Best Lentil Salad
  • Everybody needs a coleslaw recipe. Yotam Ottolenghi is one of my cooking gods: Grilled Sweet Corn Slaw
  • The sweetness of the grilled pineapple is so delicious in this salad. Don’t worry if you can’t find watercress, I used arugula instead: Cuban Avocado, Watercress, and Pineapple Salad
  • I have doubled this salad before to help feed a lot of people. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure: Rainbow Chopped Salad
  • Ok, not exactly a salad, but is super pretty: Blue Cheese & Red Potato Tart
  • Jamie Oliver was one of my first influences in cooking. He had this show called ‘The Naked Chef’ years ago that I used to watch in my early 20s. His premise was to use as little ingredients as possible and to do almost everything by hand; he made it look so simple. And he was just a yr older than me, so he made cooking “cool”: Superfood Salad

I hope this little list will come in handy for you this summer. Happy 4th of July!

Birthdays

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The kid & I share November as our birthday month. We both had chocolate in some form as our cake, because it’s not dessert if it’s not chocolate. Am I right?!??
Mine, pictured above, is The Best Chocolate Cake I have ever had. Period. It’s the combo of the sweet & sour sour cream-based icing paired with the ultra-moist, dense, & rich chocolate cake that made me have 2 slices per serving….
Chocolate Dump It Cake by Food52.

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The kid didn’t have a traditional cake, he had A16’s Chocolate Budino as his dessert which he happily ate like a fiend. We typically don’t serve these unmolded, we just don’t own a million little spring form pans to serve picture perfect little cakes. Instead, we serve them in porcelain ramekins and usually omit the cake bottom of the recipe which leaves us with only the custard. Sprinkled with grey, flakey sea salt and drizzled with olive oil, these end up being divine Italian versions of chocolate pot de crème.

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For the kiddo’s 1st birthday party, we also served an assorted charcuterie & cheese plate, Food & Wine’s Green Goddess Chicken Salad (this will be your go-to chicken salad from now on after trying this recipe. Trust me. And don’t try swapping the mayo for 0% fat Greek yoghurt, it just won’t be the same- I’ve already tried…), Heidi Swanson’s Farro Salad, and A16’s Monday Night Meatballs, although the recipe is really just a guideline for my husband. He has skewed so far from the original they’re basically his own. And unfortunately, he changes them each time he makes them, which means his versions have never been written down.
Every month should be birthday month in my opinion.

Lentils with Avocado, Fried Hazelnuts, and Micro Greens

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I’m not really sure what compelled me to finally start a food blog after just having given birth. I guess I somehow think I have a lot of free time. When my son was first born I was a zombie, barely managing to eat once a day when I could remember to feed myself. I subsisted on granola bars I had made & froze while pregnant for that very reason, and takeout. Lots and lots of takeout. After a few months I decided I had gotten into enough of a routine(ish) that I could attempt to cook again; It took me about 2 days to make a salad, literally. In my mind that was progress. This salad I’m about to share can be accomplished in about an hr or so (give or take how many infants are clamouring for your attention and whether or not you have to strap the kid into a front carrier to accomplish anything that day) and it will taste healthy yet indulgent.

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One of my biggest inspirations is Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks. Heidi is my cooking goddess actually, I bow down and kiss her kale. Her recipes remind me of San Francisco where she’s based, where I used to live. She has inspired me to make hearty salads using the wonderful produce she finds at the market. This is an adaptation of one of her creations. I changed the dressing a bit to make it more of a vinaigrette, and I fried the hazelnuts in oil instead of toasting them because I wanted the salad to taste a bit more indulgent. I think it would also taste good with some chive blossoms, although I had that epiphany after the fact.

A side note: micros greens are basically a rebranding of thinned out seedlings from the garden. If you don’t have a garden you can substitute sprouts, pea shoots, baby spinach, etc.

Adapted from 101cookbooks.com:

•a big handful of fresh oregano leaves
•5Tbsp good olive oil
•1tsp honey
•1tsp dijon mustard
•juice of 1 lemon
•salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Set aside.

•a few big handfuls of hazelnuts, chopped
Fry the hazelnuts in a couple of glugs of olive oil. When they get to a deep brown, drain on paper towels, salt liberally.

•1.5c uncooked green Lentils du Puy
Bring 2.5c salted water to a boil. Add lentils, turn the heat down all the way, simmer for about 20min or until al dente. Drain, cool to room temp.

•2 avocados, chopped
•1 bunch chives (or a big handful of chive blossoms), chopped
•a few big handfuls of well rinsed micro greens/sprouts/pea shoots/baby lettuce or spinach

Dress the lentils with the vinaigrette in a big serving bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients in and toss to combine. Enjoy! Serves about 4, although this recipe easily doubles (and makes great leftovers to take for lunch the next day).