Gorgeous (Nearly) All Green Salad – Avocado, Asparagus, Grapefruit and Baby Spinach

The asparagus has been amazing, this year. I see it on a ton of menus, and every time I find it, even in the most “regular” of grocery stores, the spears are thin, tender, and gorgeous. Yay asparagus. For this recipe, I sauté them, very lightly, with some olive oil and lemon, as a means of brightening them and making them stand out against the dressing.

Also, the vinaigrette for this is made with mustard and fresh grapefruit juice. I love this so much, for a variety of salads, but particularly with avocado. Delicious! It is one of the ways that I am using my mother’s Christmas gift to me: a NutriBullet. I poo-pooed this contraption before getting it–because, my heart belongs to the Vitamix that I don’t yet have. But, I’m happy to say that I’ve found a variety of uses for this wonderful contraption–it does a really wonderful job for not only smoothies, but salad dressing, soups, and more. Anyway, enough with my testimony! On to the recipe…


(Nearly) All Green Salad

2015-05-24 14.27.43Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: as entree, 2 people; as side-dish, 4 people

Salad Ingredients:

  • sauted asparagus
    • 10-15 spears asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 t olive oil
    • 1/2 lemon
    • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1/4 fresh red grapefruit
  • 1/2 small Haas avocado
  • 2 T roasted pumpkin seeds

2015-05-24 14.20.14Dressing Ingredients:

  • juice of 1/4 fresh red grapefruit
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 T dried herbs (your choice)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t fresh ground pepper
  • 2 T olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat, on high, a small sauté pan. When hot, add olive oil.
  2. Add asparagus, and quickly move around the pan to coat with oil. Add salt and pepper and then squeeze lemon over the asparagus.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until bright green and lemon juice is completely evaporated.
  4. Pull off of the fire and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  5. Separate the flesh of 1/4 of a grapefruit (from the “salad” ingredients list) in a large bowl. This is a bit messy, but try to keep the sections into chunks. There will be some juice that settles in the bottom of the bowl. Pour that juice into the blender cup.
  6. Make the dressing by first squeezing the other 1/4 grapefruit directly into the blender or blender cup. Feel free to include some of the grapefruit flesh.
  7. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the blender cup and blend until completely emulsified and frothy (will be a light yellow and completely opaque). Set aside.
  8. Put all of the salad ingredients into a salad bowl and drizzle the dressing over it (dress as heavily as you desire–I tend to use only about 1/4 of the dressing, but keep the rest in the fridge for additional salads over the next week.

2015-05-24 14.27.55Serving hint: I like to keep the salad somewhat pristine as I put on the table. Toss the salad before actually loading onto plates. The avocado and the grapefruit will break up and make the salad even more creamy than the dressing, alone.

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Carrot Lentil Salad

Carrots and LentilsWell, I said that I was going to do a series on salads, and I completely dropped the ball on that. So, now, post-graduation festivities, and as a means of procrastinating on efforts for my upcoming move… salads it is!

I’ll begin with the one I actually made today! I originally posted this in August, of last year. It is one of my favorite go-to recipes, especially when I buy a gang of carrots for something else. This time, I enlisted my step-brother to over-buy carrots for the cold sesame noodles that I made for my graduation get together. Oops, but one that converts into one of the most satisfying salads that I make, regularly.

You can make this way ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, undressed. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to a single portion, which made this super sweet but still delicious! I also recommend squeezing about 1/2 a lemon or so on it (you may want to serve it with lemon wedges, so folks can decide for themselves). The very earthy worlds of carrot and lentils feel lifted, just a tad, with the acid. During winter, I suggest leaving the acid off, for something far more comforting.

As I said in my original post: All of the flavor comes from the lentils, and the salad is dressed simply, with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Do not dress until you are ready to serve and eat, as the salad will simply absorb the oil and become really dry (I do add the olive oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl I carry to work for lunch–but it is certainly better when it is freshly dressed).

Ingredients:

  • 1 c dry whole red lentils
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 t whole fennel seed
  • 1/2 t whole coriander
  • 1/2 t whole cumin
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1 unsalted veggie bullion
  • 3-4 large carrots, grated
  • salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste
  • additional dressing, if desired: 1-1/2 t balsamic vinegar or the juice of one lemon

Directions:

  1. In a mortar, add the cumin and coriander, and crack with a pestle (not a fine grind, but until coriander is in 1/2 pieces or so)
  2. Add to a saucepan: the lentils, wine, water, bay, fennel, coriander, cumin, pepper, and bullion.
  3. Cover and bring the saucepan to a soft boil.  Once boiling, uncover the pan and turn the heat down to medium, and cook lentils until tender but not falling apart (20-30 minutes).
  4. Drain the lentils (if needed), and pull the bay leaf.  Cool lentils to at least room temperature.
  5. Combine the carrots and lentils.  Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.  Serve.

Carrot Lentil Salad

Carrots and LentilsI’ve been meaning to share this recipe all summer long.  I have kept a large bowl of the base mixture (the carrots and lentils) in my fridge on and off for the last few months, making it easy for me grab it as a quick and simple meal when I’m not feeling like cooking.  It is good as an entree or a side dish.

Now it seems that it will be my go-to for late summer. It packs well and is great cold from the fridge or at room temperature.  It has a subtle sweetness that contrasts with a generous combination of floral and warm spices.

All of the flavor comes from the lentils, and the salad is dressed simply, with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Do not dress until you are ready to serve and eat, as the salad will simply absorb the oil and become really dry (I do add the olive oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl I carry to work for lunch–but it is certainly better when it is freshly dressed).

Ingredients:

  • 1 c dry whole red lentils
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 t whole fennel seed
  • 1/2 t whole coriander
  • 1/2 t whole cumin
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1 unsalted veggie bullion
  • 3-4 large carrots, grated
  • salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste

Directions:

  1. In a mortar, add the cumin and coriander, and crack with a pestel (not a fine grind, but until coriander is in 1/2 pieces)
  2. Add to a saucepan: the lentils, wine, water, bay, fennel, coriander, cumin, pepper, and bullion.
  3. Cover and bring the saucepan to a soft boil.  Once boiling, uncover the pan and turn the heat down to medium, and cook lentils until tender but not falling apart (20-30 minutes).
  4. Drain the lentils (if needed), and pull the bay leaf.  Cool lentils to at least room temperature.
  5. Combine the carrots and lentils.  Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.  Serve.

Corn Fritters

I suggest doing this in two different ways.  You can make these delicious corn fritters less seasoned (without the green curry paste) and then add a drizzle of cayenne flavored agave.  But, I really (really) also suggest adding between 1 1/2 teaspoons (at least) of green curry paste to your batter and skipping the agave, as well.  Trust me on this one.

And, if you aren’t sure, simply cut the batter in half and then make a batch of each kind–remember to adjust your curry amount if you split the batter.  See which you like best, or just serve them both!

Also, pick your beer as you would a wine–cook these with a beer you find delicious and would serve.  An IPA or  other hoppy beer is going to render a delicious result.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Corn Fritters

Adapted from Eric Warnstedt’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 large ears corn, shucked
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • large pinch sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon green curry paste (optional, see paragraph above)
  • 1 bottle your favorite beer
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 c agave nectar + 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • fleur de sel or your favorite salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the corn kernels from the ears of corn and discard the cobs. Place the kernels in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Put the agave nectar and cayenne in a tiny saucepan and heat on medium high.  When the agave just begins to bubble, take it off the heat and let it cool while you do the rest of the recipe.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, green curry paste, and beer in a medium bowl and whisk until you have a smooth, lump-free batter.
  4. Add enough batter to the corn kernels to thickly coat them.
  5. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed pot 6 inches deep with vegetable oil (I love a cast iron skillet for this). Heat the oil until it reaches 350ºF on a thermometer.  If you don’t have a thermometer, think about heating the oil on medium to medium high.
  6. Carefully drop 4 generous tablespoons of battered corn into the oil and fry until golden brown. Transfer the fritters to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.
  7. Continue working in batches until all of the corn has been used, making sure that the temperature of the oil returns to 350ºF before frying a new batch.  Think about bringing the oil back up to the original temperature.  You can do a tiny test fritter to be sure.
  8. To serve, drizzle the warm fritters with the agave mixture and sprinkle with salt, or just sprinkle with salt.

Fried Yellow Rice by Manjula

Yellow rice is amazing! Try this recipe with a little less oil if you are worried about keeping your fat intake lower. However, remember that some oil in your diet is necessary.

Use grapeseed oil, which has a smoke point that is perfect for stir frying and contains high doses of Omega-6, or an extra-light (refined) olive oil. In other words, don’t be afraid to use oil, in moderation. Besides, you wanna keep your skin and hair soft and glowing, too!