Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Salads and Sammies

Summery Salad with Apricot, Dill and Mustard Vinaigrette
I was just about as lazy as one could be on a Sunday.  It was pushing 100 degrees outside, and although beeeyoootiful out there, I was totally content on the couch, blinds closed, air conditioner blasting, watching ridiculous reality television.  The really ridiculous stuff, like Pregnant in Heels and Miss Advised.  10 am passed.  11 am passed.  12 noon it was, then 1 pm.  Oops, 2 pm had passed and it was already 3!

Enough already.  I barely get 2 days off in a week, and I am gonna waste it away watching Bravo?  Nope.  So, up I got and dragged myself into a sundress and off to the market I went.  The heat had my heart set on something light.  As I drove to the store I was menu planning in my mind.  Fantasizing about a big salad with frisse and a home made vinaigrette.

I called my sister and told her my menu plans:

Mixed green salad with candied walnuts and grapes and an Apricot Dill and Mustard Vinaigrette
Baby Potato Salad (using the same dressing)
and Grilled Vegetable Paninis with Fennel and Shallot Marmalade

As luck would have it, she was also looking for dinner plans so I invited her over.

Baby Potato Salad (left) and Grilled Vegetable Panini with Fennel and Shallot Marmalade (right)

And as I began to chop and slice, it donned on me I should be writing it all down.  My sister bemoaned,  "Can't you just prepare a meal for the pure enjoyment of cooking?"  Nope!  Because then I wouldn't be able to do it again!  And that would have been ashamed, because the dressing and marmalade came out fantastic.  Bursting with fresh summer flavors.

Apricot, Dill and Mustard Vinaigrette
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Whisk all of the ingredients together and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Yield:  Just over 1 cup

To make the green salad, I tossed together frisse, radicchio, hearts of romaine, candied pecans, candied walnuts, and a big helping of mixed grapes.  Yep, I was so lazy I bought grapes that were already plucked!  I drizzled on the above vinaigrette and served.  I wish I would have added slices of fresh apricot.  Dang.  Why didn't I think of that yesterday?

To make the potato salad, I boiled about 3 pounds of a cubed baby potato mix (blue, red, fingerling, and buttery yukon golds) until they were fork tender.  I rinsed and cooled them, then tossed in a generous portion of fresh basil chiffonade.  I tossed it all with the above vinaigrette and put the whole shebang into the refrigerator to get nice and chilled before serving.

Fennel and Shallot Marmalade
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bulb of fennel, thinly julienned
4 shallots, thinly julienned
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a pot or pan with a lid.
Add fennel, shallot, and garlic.  Saute until fragrant and translucent.
Add in remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
Reduce heat to low.  Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, uncover and continue to cook, stirring constantly until reduced and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Yield: 1 cup

To make the Paninis, I used crusty ciabatta rolls, sliced open.  On each half of the bread, I schmeared about 1 tablespoon of Galaxy Foods Chive and Garlic Cream Cheese Alternative.  I topped that with a big ol' dollop of the above marmalade, then layered on grilled eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, and anaheim chiles, and then used my grill pan to give them a nice crust.  Since I don't have my own panini grill, I use an antique iron to weigh down my sandwiches on the grill pan.  I've also used a brick wrapped in foil.

And because my sister is such a peach, she brought us a lovely bottle of red and a coupla pints of So Delicious Coconut Almond Chip Ice Cream.  I'm not lying when I tell you that that stuff tastes almost identical to a Mahalo Bar.


Unknown said...

Nice healthy salads recipe .Very natural thanks for sharing. Best Recipe Cookbook are only for you to enjoy different recipes in all seasons.

Anonymous said...

these look seriously yummmy!

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All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni