Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Salad Series {Post #8} Winter Panzanella AKA Italian bread salad

Pottery handmade by Catalina Aguirre Hoffman

Winter Panzanella – well, my interpretation anyway…

French and sprouted green lentils, roasted butternut squash, dandelion greens, whole wheat raisin croutons with a lemon-thyme vinaigrette.
One of my favorite salads is a summer panzanella, super ripe tomatoes, basil, maybe a little mozzarella and day old bread to mop up all the tomato nectar – it doesn’t get better.  I guess the only traditional ingredients that overlap between the summer and my “winter” panzanella are the bread and onions. This is a great example taking a classic recipe and making it through the seasons, with what’s in season. Instead of the tomatoes and basil I used dandelion greens and squash. I used a whole wheat raisin loaf I didn’t get to finish before it staled. Because this is such a healthy salad I felt it justified to saute the croutons in a pan with a little butter and olive oil – my favorite way to enjoy croutons. Although I don’t think traditionally the bread is toasted, I like the extra crunch and it keeps the bread from getting too soggy (which is one of my least favorite things, ewww). This is also a very hearty salad, it’ll fill your belly and warm your soul in the cool of winter. Not that we see very cool weather here in South Florida, I guess that’s why I’m making salads, not stews!  I used Feta, which is what I had on hand, but I would love this salad with goat cheese. Use whatever leftover bread you have, though I really liked the sweetness the raisins added. If you don’t use raisin bread, I’d toss in a few raisins or dried fruit of some kind, soaked in warm water for a few minutes to soften them. Dandelion greens aren’t for everyone, especially when their more mature = pretty bitter, but they sure are good for you! The slight bitterness plays really well with the other ingredients in this salad. If they’re too earthy for you, arugula, spinach or frisse would be a great substitute. Just about any squash or root vegetable will work in this recipe – just don’t over cook them, you want them to have a slight bite and hold their shape. Using a few different types lentils made this salad extra interesting. This is the first time I’ve used sprouted lentils – if you can get your hands on some,  their wonderful.

January 17, 2012

Salad Series {post #7) Carrot Salad with Feta, Toasted Hazelnuts and Spicy Pan Roasted Shrimp

Pottery handmade by Catalina Aguirre Hoffman

Pottery handmade by Catalina Aguirre Hoffman

Carrot Salad with Feta, Toasted Hazelnuts and Spicy Pan Roasted Shrimp

It turned out to be a very exciting week as my pal Val (grinning) handed me a clipped newspaper article with the headline “Largest asian market to open in south Florida”, and they grow their own vegetables! Could this be true? And within driving distance of us? This is extraordinary news, but not exactly around the corner. It takes a special kind of place to get us to drive out of our comfortable 2 mile radius, and it usually involves some sort of ethnic food. But, if we have to drive “out west” there’s no better way to go than with my extra special friend Val, in her extra large, extra cool 62′ Cadillac. So, as soon as we coordinated our schedules we headed to the market, chatting non-stop about all the possibilities (giant fish tanks, pleasantly unfamiliar smells, crazy looking fruits and vegetables that we don’t know how to prepare…but will buy anyway).
Just a single wrong turn and we finally made it to the market, full of anticipation. As we walked through the large double doors it was just as exciting as our imaginations lead us to believe. There they were, large fish tanks stacked 3 tall and 6 across with live shrimp, snapping crabs, fish of all shapes and sizes, jet black eels (((slithering))). We quickly moved past the cute little frogs and turtles lined in a row, staring up at us from the bottom tanks. Each step was more exciting than the prior. Giant clams, sea snails, jelly fish! Val’s fish of choice was a whole Pompano, and after much pondering, I chose these beautiful shrimp. Discovery after discovery, we made our way through the rest of the market, leaving with an array of baby pickled vegetables including tiny heads of garlic and lotus roots, granulated honey, julienned dried red chilies, fresh udon and a mixed bag of exotic, extra ripe fruit discovered on the bargain rack. During the ride home I felt inspired and satisfied – day dreaming about the little frogs and turtles, secretly planning for their future escape.


January 9, 2012

Salad Series {post #6} Salad in the Raw – Simple and Sweet!

Baby Winter Greens, Honey Bell Tangelo, Mixed Raw Seeds, Soy-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Pottery handmade by Catalina Aguirre Hoffman

Life sure is sweet at our house this week.
For as many years that I’ve been living in Florida, I’m kind of embarrassed to say this is my first Honeybell Tangelo (which is a cross between a Dancy tangerine and a Duncan grapefruit). How could I have possibly overlooked them?! People were starting to crowd around them at the market stand, stopping to ask me if they were the luscious, super sweet and juicy Homeybells. As the swarm of people started to close in on me, I quickly tossed a few in my bag while the getting was good – having just learned they’re only in season and available for the month of January (and at their peak as I type). I WAS PLEASANTLY SHOCKED at the amount of juice that came out of this little piece of fruit, and sweet like candy – you know when you eat something so good you can’t help but giggle? Well, maybe that’s just me. I was well into my second one, thinking about a third before realizing I had to save some for my salad!

I also found some beautiful little tomatoes from Lady Moon Farm – I’m not sure which were sweeter the Honeybells or these cherry tomatoes. Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person on the planet living here in South Florida, the sun shines all year – which means we get produce that probably many of you have to wait for summer to enjoy…I know, just don’t hold it against me ;)

I’m really loving these baby greens (yes, I did use them in my last post, and I’m sure you’ll see them again before my salad series is over!). THAT’S A GOOD THING, it’s a mixture of baby swiss chard, tatsoi, spinach and arugula, if you can find them at the market make sure to pick some up.

My friend U came up with this raw seed mixture over the summer.  I’m hooked and have completely stole the recipe from her (thanks U!) –  It goes into most of my salads during the week, such nice textures and flavors. I usually have a batch of this soy – balsamic vinaigrette ready to go in the fridge – one of our favorites. A batch of this seed mixture stored in a jar and this vinaigrette on hand – you’ll have no excuse not to eat a fresh green salad every day ~ and enjoy it!

For the raw seed mixture – any combination of your favorite seeds in equal proportions. I use pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia and a good amount of ground flax seeds (I grind my own).
For the salad – A few handfuls of baby mixed greens, 2 Honeybell tangelos (or what you have available), mixed cherry tomatoes, a good sprinkle of the raw seed mixture and a drizzle of soy-balsamic vinaigrette (below).

January 2, 2012

Salad Series {post #5} Soba Noodle Salad

Soba Noodle Salad – Roasted Broccolini, Baby Winter Greens, Raw Almond & Miso Dressing

Pottery handmade by Catalina Aguirre Hoffman

This is always such an exciting time of year. Pencils down for 2011 and welcome 2012! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, we sure did. I’m entering into the new year feeling rested, very grateful, loved and full of optimism – the air is fresh and a clean slate for the new year…anything is possible.

Soba Noodle Salad with Roasted Broccolini, Baby Winter Greens & Raw Almond & Miso Dressing

I’m not sure where to begin, there are so many things I love about this salad. What makes it extra special is the roasted broccolini which gives it a nice smokey-crunch, and the raw almond-miso dressing. What I like the most about this dressing is the use of raw almond butter, it’s like a peanut dressing but with raw almond butter instead. I’ve adapted this dressing from the amazing cookbook/restaurant Cafe Gratitude who specialize in raw and organic food. They opened up a cafe in Santa Cruz over the summer during our stay. What a treat, everything was so fresh and flavorful, I can’t wait to return next summer. But in the meantime, I’m learning so many things from their cookbook. Ok, so I didn’t sprout my own broccoli or make my own coconut milk – but the year is young, maybe a kitchen farm is on the horizon…


6 oz organic buckwheat soba noodles
1 bunch broccolini (cut into 2″ pieces)
2 cups grated carrot
1/3 english cucumber (halved, thinly sliced)
1/3 cup scallions (thinly sliced)
a few large handfuls of baby winter greens
broccoli sprouts
1 recipe Almond-Miso dressing

Raw Almond and Miso Dressing

1 cup coconut milk (organic)
1/2 cup raw almond butter (organic)
1 jalapeno (seeded, minced)
1 T. + 1 t. fresh ginger (grated)
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. miso paste (red or white)
2.5 T. fresh lime juice

Pre heat oven to 425. Place the broccolini on a sheet pan and sprinkle with a touch of oil, sea salt and fresh pepper -roast for 15-20 minutes until tender and charred. Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and the soba noodles. About 2 minutes before the noodles are cooked, add the grated carrot. Drain and run under cool water, set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad (you may need to run the noodles under warm water before adding to the salad to loosen them up). For the dressing, add all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to combine (if it seems a little thick you can thin it with some coconut water or regular water – also, you may want to add the jalapeno in stages-peppers vary in hotness). To finish, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle on the dressing to taste – toss and serve.

**The dressing is a loose interpretation from a recipe adapted from “I am grateful” cookbook. I increased the amount of jalapeno and ginger, store-bought the coconut milk and used white miso paste (it’s what I had on hand, they used red miso), I didn’t have any dates so I left them out–next time I’ll make sure to get them in there (2 t. if your interested).

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