Salad Niçoise is yummy

I ate a LOT of salad niçoise in Europe, both in Switzerland and France. It seems to be having something of a moment (plus, it also feels very summery to me, salad for dinner). I love the veggie-protein mix, and it’s easy to make vegetarian. When there was a skeleton recipe in the latest Bon Appetit, it seemed like a godsend.

Any Way Niçoise
6-8 servings; Switch this up to suit your preferences, but try to always include a mix of cooked and raw veggies for the best textures.

0.75c extra-virgin olive oil
0.25c fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon, in my world)
2T dijon mustard
1t honey
1t each salt + pepper
6 large eggs
1lb green beans, trimmed; asparagus, trimmed; and/or small waxy potatoes, halved or quartered
4c halved or sliced radishes, cucumbers, fennel, and/or tomatoes
3c shredded rotisserie chicken, oil packed tuna, cooked salmon or steak, cooked lentils, or canned white beans or chickpeas
olives, capers, peperoncini, pickles, or other pickled-briny ingredients

Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add eggs and cook for seven minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water (keep pot over high heat). Peel eggs after ~5 minutes.

Meanwhile add green beans, asparagus, or potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and cook until just tender (cook each vegetable separately, in sequence), 2-4 minutes for green beans & asparagus, 10-15 minutes for potatoes. Transfer to bowl of ice water; let sit until cold, about 3 minutes. Remove, gently pat dry.

To serve, slice eggs in half & arrange on platter with cooked & raw veggies and protein. Top with pickled-briny ingredients, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle dressing over the top.

(You can cook the eggs and veggies up to 2 days ahead of time.)

Homemade Tomato Salsa

a bowl of homemade tomato salsa, with tomatoes, onions, jalapeño, and cilantro.

You know what tastes like summertime? Fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market. The best way I know to use some of them up is homemade salsa. It’s easy to make and we have been known to go through a batch a week.

Homemade tomato salsa

12 small-ish tomatoes (I like early girl, Roma will do in a pinch)
1 onion, quartered
1 jalapeño, remove seeds if you don’t like it spicy
2 cloves of garlic
juice from 0.5 lemon
1T-ish of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
cilantro to taste

Core the tomatoes, put them, the onion, the jalapeño, and the garlic in your food processor. Run it until everything is as pureed as you like it. move to bowl. Add the lemon juice and seasoning salt. Mix. Chop about 2T of cilantro. Taste, adjusting seasoning to your liking. Once satisfied, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Salsa, like soup, tastes better when the flavors have a chance to blend.

A simple easy dinner for an August weeknight

It’s summer. It’s probably hot, or is going to be hot in the next couple of weeks. It’s also tomato season and if you’re a gardener, you may have too many tomatoes. May I recommend something as simple as throwing some pasta into your next caprese salad?

Our ratios:
1.5 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
0.25c extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2T fresh basil, chopped
6oz fresh mozzarella
1lb pasta, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a large serving bowl except the pasta, while the pasta is cooking. Add once it’s done. Mix. Eat. Enjoy.

A meal + leftovers

enchiladas

 

Enchiladas are so messy. How can anyone make them look good? Regardless of what they look like, they are delicious. This is another weekend recipe, albeit one that makes enough leftovers that they can easily stretch to another meal. Especially when you serve them with a scoop of refried beans.

Enchiladas
(from Cook’s Illustrated #62)

1.5T veg oil
1 med onion, chopped fine
3 med garlic cloves, minced
3T chili powder
2t ground coriander
2t ground cumin
0.5t salt
2t sugar
12oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 0.25″ strips
16oz tomato sauce
0.5c chopped cilantro
4oz pickled jalapeños, drained & chopped
11oz shredded sharp cheddar
10 6″ corn tortillas

  1. Heat oil & sauté onion. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add chicken, stirring constantly, until coated with spices. Add tomato sauce & 0.75c water. Stir to separate chicken slices. Bring to simmer, cook for 8 minutes. Pour mixture through strainer into medium bowl. Transfer chicken to plate to cool. Combine chicken with cilantro, jalapeños, and cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Heat oven to 300F. Heat tortillas for about 4 minutes. Once tortillas are heated, increase oven temp to 400F. Smear bottom of 9×13 pan with 0.75c chili sauce. Fill each tortilla with 1/3c filling. Roll each tortilla tightly, place in baking dish, seam-side down. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle an additional 3oz cheese over top.
  3. Cover pan with aluminum foiled, bake for 20 minutes. Uncover & serve immediately, passing lettuce, sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges separately.

Carb-o-riffic dinner

spicy bucatini

 

Spicy bucatini is one of our favorite weeknight meals. It’s quick and easy and simple to make gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. We eat this very regularly. We’ve been making it for so long, I’m not even sure where we got the recipe from. This one’s pulled from my memory.

Spicy Bucatini

2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
0.25 – 0.5t red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
0.25lb pancetta, diced
28oz petit diced tomatoes (You can use the regular diced tomatoes. I prefer the smaller cut.)
2T minced fresh sage
0.5c parmesan, freshly shredded
1lb bucatini or other long, thin pasta

  1. Heat the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pancetta over medium heat in a saucepan until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes, until thicker. Add sage.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 4qts water to boil. Cook your pasta as directed, reserving 0.25c before you drain it.
  3. Return pasta to pot, add sauce & cheese. Stir to combine over the still-warm burner for about a minute. Add as much leftover water as needed to make it smooth.
  4. Serve, with extra cheese to pass if you like parmesan. Mmmm, parmesan.

Soup for the whole family

tortilla soup

I freaking love tortilla soup. I love its warmth, its spiciness, how filling it is, and I love that it’s a soup the rest of my family will eat. I’m the soup person in my family, and finding one that we all like can be a challenge. This is a go-to. Note: this is a weekend recipe, not a weeknight recipe. It takes 60-90 minutes to make, so unless you have extra time, don’t try to squeeze it in after work.

Tortilla Soup
tortilla strips
8 6″ corn tortillas, cut into 0.5″ wide strips
vegetable oil
salt

soup
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs)
8c chicken broth (you can used canned, but homemade is yummier)
1 large white onion, root end trimmed, and quartered
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
8-10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 sprig fresh oregano
salt
2 medium tomatoes, cored, quartered
0.5 medium jalapeño
1 chipotle chile in adobo + 1t sauce
1T veg oil

garnishes
1 lime, cut in wedges
1 avocado, diced fine
8 oz cotija (crumbled) or monterey jack (cubed)
cilantro, chopped
minced jalapeño
sour cream

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Spread tortilla strips on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt. Cook for 7 minutes, flip strips over, cook for another 7 minutes.
  2. While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, oregano, and 0.5t salt to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate (or cutting board), and strain broth into bowl. Discard solids in strainer.
  3. While broth is simmering, puree tomatoes, remaining onion and garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle, and adobo sauce in food processor until smooth. Once broth is strained, use soup pan to heat veg oil over high heat until shimmering. Add puree and cook (still over high heat), stirring nearly constantly, until mixture has darkened in color and most of water has evaporated – about 10 minutes. Stir strained broth back into tomato mixture. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut chicken meat into 0.25″ cubes. Add to broth, then simmer for about 5 minutes. To serve, place portion of tortilla strips in bowl, ladle soup into bowls, pass garnishes separately.

A weeknight pasta

salmon and farfalle

 

Salmon with farfalle is one of our long-standing pasta dishes. It precedes our gluten-free days, but easily adapted since it’s pretty easy to find gluten-free pasta. We use Barilla – but they don’t make it in farfalle form – so we used penne here. My kingdom for all the different pasta shapes with gluten-free ingredients…

Salmon with Farfalle
2T olive oil
2 medium minced garlic cloves
0.25t hot red pepper flakes
20oz can petit diced tomatoes
0.5t salt
0.5lb salmon filet, skinned and coarsely chopped
0.5c heavy cream
ground black pepper to taste
2T minced fresh basil (we skipped it this time as it’s not basil season)
1lb gluten-free farfalle (or regular farfalle. whichever.)

  1. Heat oil, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes in skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Add tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in salt. Add salmon & cream, mixing to blend. Heat for another 5 minutes, until fish is cooked. Add pepper and basil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 4 quarts of water over high heat for the pasta. Once boiling, add 1T salt and pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return to pan. Toss with sauce. Serve immediately.