10.03.2010

Salads: Greek, Caesar, & Mixed Greens

Lettuce

I love lettuce. I will eat it on a plane, in a car, on a boat. I will eat it with dressing or without. Romaine, red or green leaf, arugula, mixed greens. All good.

Dressing

I also love salad dressings. Mainly those made from scratch daily at three star restaurants.

I finally stopped buying (and throwing away) bottled salad dressings a after a friend came for dinner with a kick ass salad under her arm and said, "I need olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and sugar." I was flummoxed. Until I watched her concoct a dressing creation in a little bowl, in 90 seconds. I took notes; goodbye Good Seasons!

Greek

As you go
  • From my Greek friend's mouth to this page: "Olive oil, lemon, and just a splash of red wine vinegar. And some oregano or mint. I prefer mint."
  • Here's what I actually do. Sprinkle romaine lettuce with one or two teaspoons of olive oil and toss well, until moistened a bit. Squeeze about 1/2 the lemon (or to taste) over the greens, toss well. Taste a piece. If it needs more lemon or oil, add 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Keep tasting. Then add a splash (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) of red wine vinegar. Toss. Taste. Toss. Taste. Fresh ground pepper? Sure. I skip the salt. The feta's might salty and does the trick.
  • Add peppers, cucumbers, olives and toss. Sprinkle on tomatoes, crumble on feta, sprinkle some oregano or mint on the cheese, toss lightly.


Make ahead Adapted from Rachael Ray's Greek Diner Salad from 30 Minute Meals Cookbook

In an ovensafe bowl, place:
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Put bowl in 300 degree oven. Remove as soon as it sizzles, or it will burn.

Remove and pour into a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Let cool a bit.

Whisk in:
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • a pinch of allspice
  • Kosher salt & fresh pepper, to taste

Add peppers, cucumbers, olives and toss. Sprinkle on tomatoes, crumble on the feta, sprinkle some oregano or mint on the cheese, toss lightly.

    Caesar

    Bethany Frankel's recipe, sans the salt.

    Whisk together:
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
    • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 tsp anchovy paste
    • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan cheese
    • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3-4 turns fresh ground pepper

    This next one is originally from Cooking Light.
    Whisk together:
    • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 garlic clove, minced

    Arugula or other mixed greens

    Toss with greens olive oil and lemon. Taste. Toss. Taste. Then add salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese to taste.

    Meatloaf

    This recipe is from Foodworks II, the Sisterhood Cookbook from my childhood synagogue. My changes include nonfat milk instead of whole, less salt, and double the glaze because husband Todd LOVES glaze. I actually glaze half the loaf because the children turn up their noses at saucy goodness but love it plain.

    Since first posting this, a friend asked for a different meatloaf recipe (she's made mine several times). So in her honor I'm adding Real Simple's Grilled Meatloaf which we love. These directions are simple, but of course, so I'm not posting them but a few tips: you can bake this in the oven in a loaf pan, use 1/2 onion for the loaf, and skip the onions and potatoes on the side (to keep it really simple).  Bake at 350 for about an hour, maybe a tad less. To check doneness, press the top of the loaf and look for clear juice. Let it rest, as the recipe says, before slicing.

    Now, back to the first meatloaf I ever made.

    Recipe

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large bowl lightly beat with a fork or whisk:
    • 2 eggs

    Then add:
    • 1.5 pounds (give or take) ground beef (any fat content, I use grass fed 87ish %)
    • 3/4 cup milk, any fat % (or 1/2 cup water plus 1/4 cup ketchup or 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth)
    • 2/3 cup regular (not panko) plain bread crumbs
    • 2-4 tablespoons finely minced yellow or white onion (or a shallot)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

    Mix with a fork or your hands* until just combined.  Press mixture into a loaf pan* spreading it flat and filling the pan.

    Place pan on middle oven rack. Set timer for 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, combine in small bowl:
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 2-4 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder (try the bulk section)

    Take out loaf when hour's up, or after 50 minutes if it looks done. Spoon off fat from top, if any.  Pour out liquid that's collected around the sides (careful, don't let the loaf come flying out!). Spread glaze mixture on the loaf. Bake 5-10 more minutes.

    Let sit 5 minutes or more before slicing.

    **Extra! Extra!**
    • Yes, with your hands! If you're going to make meatloaf, own it, and hand mixing is key. Why do you think your grandmother's food always tasted so good? And she didn't even have gallons of hand sanitizer at her disposal. My grandmother used to cook my father his favorite, tongue, (yes, from a cow) at her house. Now how do you feel about digging your hands into ground round?
    • Spend the money on an Emile Henry pan. Your loaves will thank you.

      In case you don't believe I glaze half the loaf, here ya go. 
      Also, take note, the uglier the meatloaf the better it probably tastes.