Walnut Vinaigrette

walnut vinaigrette - trust in kim

When I was in France last summer I picked up a tube of walnut Dijon mustard. It isn’t something that is easy to find at home; in fact, I’ve never seen it, even in specialty stores, in Vancouver. Soon I will devise a recipe for it, so we won’t have to search for it anymore.

Here I’ve also used a walnut oil, just to bring out the nutty flavour. I love a combination of garlic and walnut, so I put in a clove of garlic. It needs to sit for a while, so you’ll need to make this a few hours in advance or the day before if you want to get that garlicky flavour in there.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon walnut Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic

What you do:

  1. In a bowl or jar combine the mustard, sugar, and a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add a little bit of the vinegar to mix into the mustard, then add the rest, beating with a fork until combined.
  3. Add the walnut oil slowly, whisking in with the fork.
  4. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Peel the skin off the garlic clove, cut it in half and place it in the dressing. Let it sit for a few hours to allow the garlic flavour to be released. You can leave the garlic clove in the dressing for a week or two, or as long as it takes you to use it up.

Fresh from the Cupboard Salad

canned vegetable salad - trust in kim

This is my new favourite quick salad for bringing leftovers to work or a picnic (when we’re back in picnic season, that is). Everything you need can be found in the cupboard (if you stocked up ahead of time) except the spinach, which you can easily do without. Plus it is healthy and so tasty.

It’s really as easy as adding  a vinaigrette to cans of veggies and adding some greens. If you leave the spinach out it keeps great for leftovers, and you can just add the greens when you eat it.

I found the recipe in a terrific cookbook that has a lot of great information about which vegetables to eat for different needs, like improved energy, stronger bones, stress relief, cardiovascular care, and so much more. The recipe is called ‘Veggie Yard Dash Salad’ in the cookbook; I’m not sure my title is any better, but I wanted to call it something that would let people know that it didn’t have a lot of ingredients that you might not have on hand. The book is The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure by Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos. The only thing I did differently from the original recipe, aside from adding the spinach as I served it instead of mixing it in, was to use home-roasted red peppers instead of jarred. I think they taste way better, and I make them ahead of time and keep them in the freezer. But jarred work well too!

Feel free to use more or less of whatever you like; I made my recipe a lot bigger so I’d have more leftovers, and I love red peppers and artichokes, so I used more of them. This recipe serves four people, more or less.

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup jarred or homemade roasted red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained
  • 1 cup peaches and cream (or whatever kind you like) canned corn
  • 1 – 227mL can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/4 cup canned sliced artichokes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup vinaigrette of your choice (herbed vinaigrette recipe below)
  • a bunch of baby spinach

What you do:

  1. Pour the canned goods into a bowl, chopping the artichokes up a bit if they aren’t already. I used the juice from the canned corn, but the original recipe says to drain it – up to you!
  2. Add the sunflower seeds.
  3. Add the vinaigrette and combine all the ingredients.
  4. Chop up some spinach and add it to the portion you will be serving, or add a whole bunch of you think you’ll eat the whole thing in one go.

Enjoy!

Here’s the vinaigrette recipe:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • a bit of chopped fresh or frozen basil (recipe say dried but I think this is 100x better!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Crush the garlic and let it sit for 5 minutes, which is supposed to release more health-promoting properties.
  2. Combine the ingredients.

Voila, done!

Nicoise Salad

nicoise salad - trust in kim

Niçoise salad makes a great meal salad. I made this one in the summer, and am finally getting around to posting it now.  Of course you can make it in the winter, but just make sure to try to get the freshest tasting ingredients.  A good bet for tasty winter tomatoes is to buy cherry tomatoes; they seem to have more flavour. It is still September, so I still have a few tomatoes on the vine that I’m going to use to make this again soon.

Oops! I never measure when I make salad dressings, so I’ve given approximations. When the dressing is mixed you’ll have to taste and see if you need a little more of anything.

Part of what makes this a successful recipe is that you add some of the dressing to the potatoes while they are hot. When they are still hot they absorb the dressing really well. No more of those cold, bland potatoes sitting on the side of your niçoise salad!

What you need for the salad:

  • one large free-range egg per person
  • tomatoes
  • fresh green beans, or a mixture of green and yellow
  • tender salad greens
  • new potatoes, cut in half
  • olives (niçoise if you can find them – I could not – kalamata work too)
  • (niçoise salad often has tuna on it; add that if you wish)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil

What you do:

  1. Begin by placing the eggs in a small pot; cover with a lid and let this heat up until they have just barely reached a boil.  Now turn off the heat, keep the lid on and set the timer for 12 minutes. Pour the hot water out of the pot and place the eggs in cold water. There are many methods for boiling egg – in this one we don’t actually boil it; boiling an egg makes it tougher.  12 minutes works for a large egg; use more or less time with different sizes of eggs, and longer if you are at a high altitude. When they have cooled (I actually like to add them when they are still slightly warm) you can peel and quarter them.
  2. Place the halved potatoes in a pot with some salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook until you can pierce the potato easily with a sharp knife. You will need to prepare the dressing while they are cooking.
  3. Chop the onion.  Add the Dijon, sugar, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper to a bowl. Mix the onion into this.  Now slowly add a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar as you mix with a fork until combined.  Drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil, constantly mixing with the fork, and stopping to taste as you go. Add as much olive oil as you think tastes good, then adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water.  Keep the potatoes in the pot and add about half of the dressing to them while they are still hot, and then give them a gentle stir.  Set them aside to cool.
  5. Bring another liberally salted pot of water to a boil while you clean and cut the ends off the beans. Some of the salt will absorb into the beans as they cook. Have a large bowl of ice water waiting for the beans when they come out. Cook them for only a few minutes; they should still be bright green and tender-crisp. I say better to err on the side of undercooked. As soon as they are done, drain the boiling water and add the beans to the ice bath. Leave them there until completely cooled.  This stops the cooking process, so you don’t end up with sad wilted beans. I like to drain them and then roll them in a clean dish cloth to dry them off.
  6. Wash the tomatoes and cut into wedges if you are not using cherry tomatoes.
  7. Toss the salad greens with a little bit of dressing, then arrange on the plate.  Decorate with the beans, potatoes, eggs tomatoes and olives. You can add a drizzle more dressing if you want. I like to add another little sprinkle of salt and pepper to the top.

 

Fresh Fava Bean and Summer Vegetable Salad

fava bean salad - trust in kimfava beans - trust in kim

This winter I saw a few recipes that called for fresh fava beans, but I’ve never been able to find them in a store, so I chose this to be one of my experimental crops in my community garden this year.  They are a bit of work to shuck and peel, but they are so tender and delicious.  I think I’ll be growing them again next year to try out a few of the other recipes.  This salad capitalizes on the availability of fresh vegetables in the summertime, at the peak of their flavour.

What you need:

  • about a pound of fava beans in their shells
  • one cob of fresh corn, cooked and the kernels cut off
  • a few small cucumbers or half a large one
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • your favourite vinaigrette or this one:
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • a little salt and pepper
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

  1. Toast the walnuts a little and let them cool.  I do this is a frying pan, tossing often and watching them carefully so they don’t burn.
  2. Cook the corn and let it cool. You can boil it for just a few minutes or grill it.
  3. While the corn and nuts are cooling down you can prepare the fava beans.  Begin by boiling a large pot of water.  Remove the beans from their pods, then boil for 2 & 1/2 to 3 minutes; less time for smaller beans.  Drain then cool down right away in a bowl or sink full of cold water; ice water is even better.
  4. Now comes the labourious part – remove the skin from each bean. Make sure you’re listening to some good music and the time will pass quickly.
  5. Mix the vinaigrette ingredients and pour some of it over the sliced red pepper to mellow the flavour a little. Let this sit for about 20 minutes.
  6. Slice the cucumbers as thinly as you can, with a mandoline.
  7. Combine the cooled fava beans, corn, cucumbers, and the onion with its dressing.  Toss lightly, then add more dressing if you think it is needed; I liked it best lightly dressed.
  8. Top with the toasted nuts just before serving.

 

Tomato, Corn and Cucumber Salad

tomato cucumber and corn salad - trust in kim

Here’s a really simple salad I’ve made a few times this summer, using tomatoes from my garden and cucumbers from a friend’s garden (and corn from the produce store).  I just used my favourite homemade vinaigrette, super easy and delicious.

If I use tomatoes and cucumbers out of season I always choose the little ones – cherry tomatoes and those small cucumbers.  They have way more flavour.  And for winter corn I prefer canned over frozen, and I usually us Peaches and Cream.  Still, the summer ones are the best, so I make this a lot while these things are growing nearby and in season.

What you need:

tomatoes

cucumber

sweet onion

corn on the cob

a few green olives

dressing ingredients:

about 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

about  1/4 teaspoon sugar

salt

pepper

white wine vinegar

olive oil

What you do:

1. Boil a pot of water for the corn and let it cook for a couple of minutes.  Remove the corn and run it under cold water.

2. To make the dressing, put the mustard in a bowl and add the sugar and some salt and pepper.  Add a little vinegar and mix it into the mustard so there are no lumps.  Mix in a bit more vinegar, then drizzle in some olive oil while mixing with a fork.  After you’ve added a bit, have a taste and see what you need to add more of.

3. Cut the cucumber and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the onion and olives.  Cut the corn off the cob, and put all the vegetables together in a bowl.  Toss it with some dressing and serve it up.

Enjoy!