Being home in quarantine and limiting grocery store runs to every 2 weeks now I have had to get really creative with cooking and find my buying patterns are off. Gone are the days you run into the store to pick up a little something for dinner. I have never bought so many fresh vegetables at one time. I get nervous seeing wilting occur and start thinking "oh my I can't throw that out!" I know we are so lucky to get anything fresh at all and have food on our table so I want to make the most of it all. I think cooking is like an art project for me! Get's my creative juices flowing. I think, I hope..the weather will warm up a bit and in the interest of being "homebound" I'm trying to come up with some lighter dishes so I have a trio of salads here that can work for many palettes. use staples in your pantry.
With so many request after posting pictures on Instagram, here are a few easy recipes to try for you.
I have always loved the crunch of celery. While a radish is not my go to vegetable usually, they seem to be always available, last a while and are relatively cheap. A great companion to the celery and the lemon taste. I'll be honest I bought the celery for tuna fish ( see that recipe below) and had planned to use it in my chicken soup and STILL had leftover celery...so that's where this was born, but it did remind me of a fresh summer market as soon as i started putting it together:) I had bought Pecorino Romano for a pasta dish. That is not usually a cheese I keep on hand- Parmesan works fine here but if you do have or can get Pecorino it does seem to compliment the salad quite well.
It is really important to clean the celery well. They have lots of dirt in the stalks at time. I strongly recommend peeling the celery too. I know some people are mixed about that...I always do it.
I sued a mandoline to finely chop the radish- i realize many people don't have those. Just finely chop with a knife if you don't have. I have a very cheap one and a very fancy one...the inexpensive one's work fine. Be very careful if you haven't used one before theya re sharp! The last thing you need is a major cut at this time!
I have 2 different versions- both of these are available on Amazon.
This one has many attachments and is a good tool for many different kitchen prepping chores. I also like the "bowl" attachment underneath for easy cleaning and organizing.
Celery Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup good olive oil zest of one lemon 2 lemons- freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons minced shallots 1 tbl parsley fresh ( if you don't have fresh skip this- dill or tarragon work fine too) 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste- or 3 anchovy fillets Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 5 cups thinly sliced celery hearts, tender leaves included, sliced on an angle (about 12 stalks) 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese 1/3 cup finely chopped radish Whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
At least 1 hour before you plan to serve the salad, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, the shallots, parsley, anchovy paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
rinse and clean celery and radish. I peel the outer stems of the celery- and feel very strongly about this so you don't have all the stringy stuff! I also intentionally use the smallest inside stalks with the celery leaves, and chop the leaves fine and add to the sliced celery. I like the radish very finely chopped and used a mandoline for making tiny matchstick pieces, your size preference and taste is fine - anything works! Add half the grated cheese here and toss all together.
Add enough dressing to moisten well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the celery to crisp and the flavors to develop. ( you will definitely have leftover dressing. store in airtight jar in fridge for other uses.
When ready to serve, arrange the celery on a platter, shave extra cheese onto the celery with a vegetable peeler, then sprinkle and serve immediately.
I also made Orange Vinaigrette today. I saw a delicious recipe on the Feed Feed I plan to make and while I had many of the ingredients out I put together another salad dressing to use later this week. This dressing is the marinade over salmon and goes in a quinoa bowl on the Feed Feed. I am planning to use it on another salad I concocted out of beets and oranges.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinagrette
serves 4 as an appetizer portion
1 bunch beets- I love mixing red and golden beets if you can find both colors.
(I happen to see blood oranges this week in the grocery who would have thought in quarantine so I added one of those too!)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese ( feta would work fine too)
1/2 cup pistachios or hazelnuts- either work great
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Scrub the beets clean. Even tho you will peel the beets after cooking I still like to clean them first. Dry them well. Wrap the beets in a bundle of aluminum foil and roast them for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I find beets come in all sizes and if a small medium beet- 45 minutes will do , if you get the big fat ones you really need to roast a full hour to get soft enough to cut. When done take out and let cool. When cool enough to handle the "skins' will peel right off the beets. Peel all of them and cut into chunks. toss very lightly with dressing. The beets BLEED. If you haven't worked with beets before beware...use gloves or it will stain your hands and does stain counters too. I usually peel them right over the foil WITH gloves on. They also with make the oranges a bit red too so i toss them separately then arrange on platter.
In the meanwhile you can cut the oranges into wheels, quarters or pieces. Toss lightly with dressing. Arrange with the beets on platter. Sprinkle nuts and cheese over the top and ENJOY!
My Grandmother was known for her tuna fish. Any day of the week you could stop by her house for a quick lunch, which we did often. We would call up and say "Granny, you got something to eat, and her reply was "sure I'll have it ready in 10 minutes!" She had SOO many cans of Bumble Bee tuna in her pantry. If she got down to 6 cans it was like an emergency situation and she would say she had to go to the store to restock. I guess she knew more about a quarantine situation than we did??!! SO here we start to get rumors about the virus and we go to the store to stock up on canned goods. Let's be honest how many can goods have you eaten lately??? Sure I keep pasta and rice and chicken bouillon on hand, do I eat and or use it often not soo much and besides that and beans for my turkey chili I really don't have than many cans of anything on hand. First thing I go to buy is this tuna when quarantine loomed, and let me tell you I forgot how much I liked it. Grandma Bea acutually used Miracle whip if you even know what that is, it's like the Southern version of mayonaise. She also had pickle relish and egg in it, yeah don't ask, I suppose another Southern variety. When I was a caterer I adapted the recipe and it was a favorite. I hope you like it too!
Grandma Bea's ( modern day version) Tuna Salad
3 cans Bumble Bee tuna in water
2 stalks celery cleaned and chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 green apple finely chopped
1/2 lemon juice squeezed
1/2 cup Hellmans Mayo
salt and pepper to taste
Drain the tuna and flake into a bowl. Add celery, apple and lemon juice and cherries. Dried cranberries work fine too, I just happened to prefer a sweeter cherry. Add Mayo, salt and pepper to your liking, maybe a little more or less.
Pro Tip; I feel strongly about using Hellmans mayo- pictured above is the lite version- it was all I could find at the grocery in my quarantine shopping. It did not have that much of a taste difference so if you are looking to go a little lighter it's just fine, the regular tho does have more of a richer taste.
I highly recommend Nuts.com. I have been ordering from them for years. The products are fresh as can be. They happen to ship extremely fast. Even in quarantine they say they have delays but my last shipment arrived in 2 days. I buy all kinds of nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, candies and seasonings from them. I keep dried cherries on hand from them. You can find any variety of nuts from them as well.