I can’t believe I haven’t posted since August! I certainly didn’t stop making salads for the last 2 months, I just couldn’t find the time to post them. So here is a little run down of what I’ve been into as far as early fall salad eating is concerned…

The roasted squash salad above was my first foray into autumnal eating. I roasted an acorn squash along with a fennel bulb, and tossed it with salad greens, mustard vinaigrette, and goat cheese. I was super into goat cheese for 2 weeks in September. I’m more into blue cheese at the moment.

I continued on my roasting kick and decided to roast a whole cubed eggplant. Then I mashed it up with very thinly cut raw garlic, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It was so great! I loved eating it on crackers.

More recently I’ve been crazy for hazelnuts especially in combination with fall fruits. The salad above was salad greens, herbs, apples, toasted hazelnuts and a mustard vinaigrette.

And this one was red leaf lettuce, thinly sliced red onion, thinly sliced pear, toasted hazelnuts, and my new favorite simple vinaigrette which is just champagne vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Sometimes I add some honey if my greens are bitter and could use some sweetness. I am totally into champagne vinegar!

So in short this fall I’m into roasting, hazelnuts, and champagne vinegar. What about you guys? Do you have any fall favorites?

Yogurt Dill Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • chopped dill
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and drizzle on top of the salad of your choice.

+++++++++++++++

Red cabbage is so beautiful, it seems almost too brightly colored to be natural. Plus it tastes good and is nice and crunchy so it’s easy to add to whatever. I bought a head of it a while ago and I’ve been slowly slicing my way through it and making various salads ever since. The one pictured above was my favorite. It was red butter lettuce, shredded carrots, sliced red cabbage, toasted walnuts, and this yummy dill dressing. I am almost afraid to get into creamy mayonnaise based dressing like this because they don’t seem very healthy but they taste so good…. like ranch dressing!

Ingredients:

  • good tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Chop up the tomatoes into a pulp, you could pulse them in a food processor if you like. Try to retain all of the juice and put the whole shebang into a bowl.

Add a fair amount of salt and pepper to the tomatoes until it’s tangy and salty. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes at room temperature.

Whisk in olive oil (you will use about 2 parts oil to one part tomato slurry.)

Serve on top of the salad of your choice.

+++++++++++++

Tomatoes have a lot of acid in them so I thought maybe I could use them as a base for salad dressing, instead of lemon juice of vinegar. It turned out very well, sweet and tangy and really tasty. It is my new favorite dressing to use on raw zucchini which needs a lot of extra flavor I think. Anyway, it’s a great thing to do with extra tomatoes.

Ingredients for the crust (based on a Jacques Pepin recipe):

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to mix these dry ingredients.

Add the butter and pulse for 5 seconds until the mixture looks like coarse corn meals and the butter is in pea sized pieces.

Add the water and pulse for 5 more seconds until it all comes together.

Remove the dough and knead it for a few seconds until it all sticks together. Pat the dough into a disk and refrigerate it while you cut up the plums for the filling.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 15 small plums
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of Demerara sugar

Pit and slice the plums into thin slices.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the dough into a 13-inch circle and place it on a piece of parchment. Place the parchment onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the white sugar evenly over the dough. Starting 1-inch from the outside edge arrange the plum slices into a neat circle with the skin sides of the fruit all facing the same direction. Then make another circle of plums inside the first. Keep arranging the plum slices in this way until you reach the center and the dough is totally covered (except for the 1-inch rim of dough around the edge). Fold the 1-inch rim in towards the center until it meets the fruit. Sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the entire thing including the crust.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbly and the crust is brown. Cool before eating.

+++++++++++++++

I always go a little nuts at the fruit stand at the farmer’s market. This time I bought way too many plums so I decided to make a flat rustic tart with all of them. I actually assembled it, covered it in plastic wrap, and froze it for a couple of days. Then I just popped it in the oven when my pals were coming over, like a Mrs. Smith’s pie but fancy. I wanted it to be just barely sweet but in actuality it was a little bit too tart. Good thing we had vanilla ice-cream so it was no biggie. (I have since upped the sugar in the recipe.) Besides that  this was a total winner. The crust recipe is especially great, it’s easy to work with,  takes less than 60 seconds to make, and comes out totally light and flaky.

Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb tomatoes, halved
  • 4 ounces stale crusty bread (I used a baguette) cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1  cucumber, peeled seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnishing
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika (plus more for garnish)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • a cup of water

Squeeze the juice and seeds from the tomato halves into a mesh strainer and press the juice through into a bowl. Discard the seeds. Chop up the tomato flesh and add it to the juice.

Add all the ingredients except for the water to the tomato mixture. Mix it up and let it sit at room temp for an hour.

In 2 batches blend the mixture with the water in a food processor or blender and then push it through the mesh strainer.

Chill for another hour.

To serve drizzle the soup with additional olive oil, paprika and pepper.

++++++++++++++++

I wanted to make lunch but I didn’t want to go to the store. Just as I was deciding whether to have scrambled eggs and crackers or rice and cabbage  it dawned on me that I had all the ingredients to make gazpacho!

When I was a kid I used to eat a lot of gazpacho in the summer when I would visit my grammy in Connecticut. It came out of a red can and it was delicious. In later years she actually started making her own white gazpacho with sour cream and it was also delicious. This is notable because she wasn’t a very good cook so gazpacho was always the culinary highlight of my trip. (I don’t mean to talk badly about her, she was a great card player, a champion fisherwoman, and an all around hoot but cooking just wasn’t her thing.)

This is an actual no-cook soup which is always great in the summer and it’s the perfect time of year for all these ingredients. Plus, as I was whipping my batch up the smell made me think about my summers in Connecticut and that made me happy.

Adapted from Canal House Cooking “An Italian Summer.”  Ingredients for the Tonnato Sauce:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 can of tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 1 can of anchovies in olive oil, not drained
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pepper

Whisk the yolks with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt until well combined.

Combine the olive oil and canola oil and then whisk them into the yolk mixture a few tablespoons at a time. Make sure the oil is totally incorporated before you add more. Gradually the sauce will thicken as you add more oil. Congratulations, you have just made mayonnaise!

Place the tuna, the anchovies and the oil from the anchovies, the capers, and the garlic in a food processor along with 1/4 cup water. Bend it until it’s totally smooth. Press this slurry through a sieve into the mayonnaise and mix it into the mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon some onto a plate and top with sliced tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Eat!

+++++++++++++++

I’m not much of a recipe follower (except when it comes to baking) but when I saw this dish in the new Canal House magazine I knew I had to make it. I’ve been big into tuna lately and I’m always into homemade mayo so I knew I’d love it. I want to put this sauce on everything now. I think it would be so good on poached chicken but it’s too hot to poach anything so I think I’ll just stick serving it with cold raw things for now.

It’s finally tomato season around here and I’m pretty happy about it. The only problem is that I go kind of crazy at the farmers market and get way too many tomatoes every time I go. But there are far worse problems to have. I will just have to make some spaghetti sauce and freeze it or something.

I’ve also been making this delicious gem a lot: a baguette with mayonnaise, salt pepper, and tomatoes. So good!

So now that I’m back from Mexico City I am missing the food big time. I think it’s going to be a while before I go to any of my favorite New York City Mexican restaurants, there’s just no way they can compare to what we ate there. These beautiful little 1/2 beef and 1/2 chorizo “Campechano” tacos were from the taco stand right outside our apartment and they were so good. And the guys who made them were so nice and would wave and say hi every time we walked by. The best! They also had a juice bar where I got a daily pineapple and lime agua fresca which is one of my new favorite things. I kind of want to get a blender just so I can make it.

Throughout our trip I kept seeing women holding baskets full of these ultra bright half-moon shaped cookie things. And on our last day in town I finally bought a pack of them for myself. This picture doesn’t do justice for how bright they were. Anyway, they didn’t taste like much (kind of like a communion wafer) but I thought they looked so incredible, all day-glow with tiny pumpkin seed teeth.

Now that I’m back I’m going to start posting salads (and cookies and stuff) again soon. It is nice to be able to cook again!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.