Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Broccoli 'N' Cauliflower Salad

This is one of my very favorite salads. It was originally published in Southern Living Magazine (contributed by Carolyn Gower of Columbia, South Carolina.)

Broccoli 'N' Cauliflower Salad

1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 pound broccoli, broken into florets
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small purple onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola.)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (I use 1/4 cup or less.)
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
lettuce leaves (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside. Combine oil and next 5 ingredients, stir well, and pour over vegetables. Toss gently to coat; cover and chill 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve with a slotted spoon over lettuce, if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Julie's Notes: I use less sugar than the recipe calls for (1/4 cup or less) and less oil (3/4 cup.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Warm Asparagus with Vinaigrette

I adapted this recipe from one I found in The Washington Post years ago. Steamed asparagus is quick and easy and the vinaigrette adds the perfect flavor. Check out some great asparagus tips from Lindsey at Cafe Johnsonia. (Her timing was perfect.)

Warm Asparagus with Vinaigrette

2 pounds asparagus
slightly less than 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 shallots, chopped
1 egg, hard-cooked and chopped

Steam the asparagus just until tender. Rinse quickly with cold water to set the color and stop the cooking process.

While the asparagus is cooking, in a small bowl, drizzle oil slowly into mustard, beating constantly until mixture begins to blend. Slowly add vinegar to mixture, beating constantly. Finish with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle dressing over warm asparagus and top with shallots, egg, and more freshly ground pepper.

Julie's Notes: I use 2 lbs of asparagus to serve my family of six, but they always want more.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

My friend, Pamela, introduced me to this salad at Sara and Tyler's wedding. I absolutely love it. The strawberry vinaigrette made with white balsamic vinegar is the key. The recipe is from epicurious.com and you can print it here.

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

2 1/2 tablespoons strawberry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces baby spinach (8 cups)
1/2 pound strawberries, cut lengthwise into thick slices (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup pecan halves (3 1/2 ounces), toasted and cooled

Whisk together vinegar, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well. Put spinach, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.

Strawberry Vinegar
1 pound strawberries trimmed (3 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar if berries are not sweet
2 cups white balsamic vinegar

Pulse berries with sugar (if using) in a food processor until finely chopped and very juicy. Transfer to a bowl and add vinegar. Let stand 1 hour. Strain vinegar through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. (Vinegar keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.)

Julie's notes: I was very happy to find white balsamic vinegar in my regular grocery store. I halve the strawberry vinegar and use the extra to make more salad dressing throughout the week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Balsamic Baby Carrots

When we had this for dinner the other night, the bowl was practically licked clean. It is my kids favorite carrot dish. I found the recipe years ago (perhaps in Southern Living magazine?) It was contributed by Gloria Pleasants of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Balsamic Baby Carrots

3 cups water
1 pound baby carrots
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 medium-size red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Garnish: fresh Italian parsley sprig

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan; add carrots, return to a boil, and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat; drain well.

Saute shallots and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in carrots, vinegar, and next 3 ingredients, and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced and vegetables begin to glaze. Remove from heat; stir in chopped parsley. Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.