Posts Tagged 'canola oil'

Strawberry Fields Salad

strawberry fields salad5558

Strawberry Fields Salad

Whereas most people think of strawberries as desserts, these juicy berries can add a delicious sweetness to a savory dish. This fresh and bright salad has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. Each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the baby lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.

The blush wine vinaigrette is a homemade version of a popular store-bought dressing. Making homemade dressings is very simple since most dressings, like this one, use ingredients most people already have in their pantry. Don’t be surprised if you prefer homemade versions of dressings better than their grocery store counterparts. This one for example has a brighter flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Add sliced chicken or a salmon filet and you have a complete meal.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Fields Salad

For the blush wine vinaigrette:
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
5 tbsp. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
6 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup green or red grapes, halved
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the blush wine vinaigrette:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, chives, almond slices, and crumbled goat cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip: Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients. Try substituting spinach or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

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Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce

This quick and easy appetizer is sure to be favorite at your next party!

If you have my cookbook Simply Salads, you may recognize the Peanut Sauce.  In Simply Salads, it is a dressing served with dishes such as my Chinese Chicken Salad and my Asian Noodle Salad.  I always joke that it is so good that you will want to drink it!

I have found that this yummy sauce made from Peanut Butter makes an equally delicious dipping sauce for satays (chicken or beef) or spring rolls.

For parties, satays are a great idea because they are simple to prepare yet make a dramatic presentation.  (Plus I don’t think I have ever found a food on a stick I didn’t love!)

Enjoy!

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce

Recipe adapted from Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Chicken Satays:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish

To prepare the Chicken Satays: In a shallow mixing bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken strips in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at up to 1 hour.

To prepare the Peanut Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, canola oil, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce into a nice serving bowl and garnish with the chopped peanuts.

To finish the Chicken Satays: Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Thread each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer.

Place a grill pan over medium heat and brush it with oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Grill the chicken satays for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely seared and cooked through. Serve the satays with a small bowl of peanut sauce on the side.

Serves 8

Cooking Tips:

Be sure you soak your wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking to prevent burning.

This dish can also be prepared on an outside grill.

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds

This is of my favorite salads.  It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. I could wax poetic about how each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.  But I will spare you the rhetoric and just tell you in plain terms … it’s darn good!

The Blush Wine Vinaigrette is my homemade version of Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette.  When I was writing my cookbook Simply Salads, I took some of my favorite store-bought dressings and did my best to imitate them. At times my kitchen resembled a strange sort of vinegar and oil laboratory! Some attempts worked; others didn’t.  But I am proud to say that I may even like my homemade version of this dressing better than the original. It’s brighter in flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Hope this becomes one of your favorite salad combos too!

Enjoy!

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds
From my cookbook Simply Salads

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (8 ounces) Mediterranean salad blend
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup red grapes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (preferably Maytag)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, scallions, almond slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip:  Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients.  Try substituting spinach or using green grapes or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

I love peanut butter!

Whether in a dessert, paired with chocolate (Mr. Reese’s was  genius in my book), in a PB & J sandwich, I just can’t resist it. (I have to admit most often I just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar!)

When most people think of peanut butter, they think of dessert or the classic children’s sandwich, but did you know that peanut butter is absolutely wonderful in savory dishes?

When I was writing my book Simply Salads, one of the first dressings that came to mind was a peanut dressing I had once enjoyed at a restaurant.  

The cloyingly sweet peanut butter makes a delicious sauce when paired with Asian-cuisine staples such soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger. 

Peanut sauce is also very versatile. In addition to a salad dressing, I often use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp, or as a dipping sauce for veggies, spring rolls or chicken satays.

Which peanut butter to use?  I developed this recipe using good old Jiff creamy peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter works fine as well; the sauce will just not be as smooth. If you want to use natural or freshly-ground peanut butter, you may want to add a little extra honey.

So … Peanut butter lovers beware.  The dressing in this colorful and tasty salad is addictive.

Enjoy!

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
From Simpy Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Peanut Dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1/2 cup Peanut Dressing
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
1 bag (5 ounces) Spring Mix salad blend
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a traditional grater
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 limes, quartered, for garnish

For the Peanut Dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, canola oil, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Add snow peas and cook until vibrant green and crisp tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the peas and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again and place in a large salad bowl.

Add the salad blend, chicken, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts and toss. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss to coat. Garnish with lime wedges.  Serve immediately.

Tip: To save time, pick up a roasted rotisserie chicken at your local grocery for this recipe. The meat will be fresh, juicy, and flavorful. 

Makes 4 dinner salads


Jennifer Chandler

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