Saturday salad festival ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

19 May 2008

Saturday salad festival

Kim came over to cook and hang out. I used this as an excuse to buy and consume all the vegetables in the world, largely in the form of salad.

Salad 1: Cucumber yogurt

red onion
fresh dill
plain yogurt/soy
salt, pepper
(bread and goat cheese)

I think this is the first time I've used an English cucumber instead of my normal Persian ones. Don't use the huge engorged waxy hothouse ones: they're gross and coated in far too much wax.

Get a good big cucumber or two small ones, cut off stem and blossom ends, halve lengthwise, and slice into half moons. If you have a particularly seedy cucumber, you might want to scoop the seeds out of each half before cutting. This shouldn't be too much of an issue with a decent cucumber, though.

Finely dice a quarter of a red onion.

Take half a bunch of dill, strip the leaves off the stems, and chop it up. It's always interesting to try to figure out the difference between dill leaf and dill stem, so just use your best judgment.

Dump all ingredients into a big bowl. Add a couple big spoonfuls of yogurt, several grinds of black pepper and a couple pinches of salt. Stir it all together, make sure the proportions are pleasing to you, and you're done.

We ate this business with sourdough bread and goat cheese. At one point I ended up making a sandwich out of goat cheese and salad; that worked too.

Other things with which you could eat said salad:
- a big egg salad sandwich with the rest of the dill and chopped radishes
- a hot piece of plain white fish with lots of lemon
- a soup in the tomato or roasted red pepper area, hot or chilled, and garlic croutons
- a white bean puree with olive oil on good bread

Things to drink with salad:
- white wine
- awesome juices
- lots of ice water
- lots of iced tea
- Pimm's cups with the rest of the cucumber
- a pink gin with lemon twist

Variations for the actual salad:
- use a vinaigrette instead of yogurt for dressing
- use other herbs, like parsley, instead of the dill
- use other green vegetables: chopped pea pods, chopped green beans, actual shelled peas, etc.
- use other onion: green onion, shallot

Salad 2: Caprese

good tomato

To make this salad good, you only need good tomatoes.

Cut good tomatoes into pleasing chunks. We had these awesome oversized grape tomatoes with pointy tips. Destem and cut or tear up a bunch of basil. Tearing is prettier but also more fussy. Cube mozzarella.

Make a vinaigrette: use a rough 6:1 ratio of olive oil to white wine vinegar/other good vinegar. I don't think you actually need any heavy stuff here, but if you are really into the aged balsamico, go for a few drops. Salt and pepper are the only other things you really need to add, but I like parsley, so I generally chop it up and add it too. Whisk everything together with a fork and you're done.

Put salad equipment into a big bowl, stir it up, and serve.

We had this with the season's first good pomodoro, plus more white wine.

Season's first pomodoro

more of the good tomatoes
olive oil
grating cheese
salt, pepper

I had actually gotten two kinds of tomatoes: the aforementioned oversized grapes and some yellow cherries. So we decided to roast a big panful with garlic and olive oil, then toss it with pasta.

Ahem. Pierce each tomato with a fork, then stick them on a cookie sheet with sides. If you have bigger tomatoes, cut them into halves or quarters. Peel and crush a bunch of cloves of garlic; add them to the cookie sheet. Add some olive oil, toss with your hands, and throw the pan into a low oven. I think we were roasting at about 325F, for slow happy sweetness plus not dying while standing around in the hot kitchen. Roast for a half hour or 45 minutes, checking occasionally to see how things are doing. Start pasta sometime in here. When your tomatoes are done, they should look like this:

John wanted to cook these down a little further with some vermouth, so he stuck them into a pan, added vermouth, and did exactly that. You can clearly just toss them with cooked pasta plus salt and pepper immediately if you want, though.

Add grating cheese if you want. Eat with pasta.

In the morning there was a lot of leftover salad.

Scrambled egg and salad

two eggs
leftover caprese

Warm butter in a nonstick pan on medium-low heat. Beat together two eggs in a measuring cup/other device. I use a cream pitcher, since we never have cream but for some reason have TWO cream pitchers. Add eggs to the pan; add a couple big spoonfuls of leftover salad to the pan. Now start stirring. Stir it up slowly for the entire duration of slow cooking. Scrambled eggs are only good if you stir them nearly continuously. It doesn't have to be 100% continuous, but often. Over heat this low, it should take about ten minutes for your eggs to cook, your tomatoes to warm and juice up, and your cheese to melt thoroughly into the egg.

This business reminded me really strongly of eggs florentine, which was interesting since there was no swiss cheese or spinach involved. Not that I ever eat eggs florentine. I guess the basil and mozzarella were close enough.

Eat it with a fork.

No comments: