Saturday, November 28, 2009

More of my Favourite Salads...

Salads, still the most wonderful thing to accompany almost any dish, there's some kind of salad to go with it.
Salad Number 2: Simple Pak Choy and Cashew Salad.
I love this salad for it's fresh taste and for being so simple to make. 3 ingredients and some dressing, so fast to throw together and so tasty with BBQ, Roast, or even as a small entree course.
  • 3-4 medium Pak Choy, (they're sold here usually in bunches of 2 massive ones or 3 medium ones, this salad goes pretty quick in my place so I've been know to make it with 6 Pak Choy. If you don't want that much salad, chop and blanch the spare Pak Choy then add some soy and oyster sauce and serve as a tasty side or save for lunches.)
  • 100gm roasted cashews (either plain/salted depending on your taste, the dressing can be quite salty with the soy so plain is easier to control the salt content)
  • 1 bunch of Spring onions, finely chopped. (Depending on your liking of onion, using the greens only will give this a mild flavour, adding more of the whites will increase the strength of the onion flavour. I will generally use 3/4 of the bunch but use the entire length of the Spring Onion.)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp White vinegar
  • 1 tbsp White sugar
  • 1tsp Sesame oil (you can use plain olive oil if the sesame is too strong or an allergy is present.
Chop the Pak Choy fairly fine, leaving some chunks, I use the whole plant, the leaves are nice and the stem gives the salad an excellent crunch. In a bowl toss the chopped Pak Choy, The Spring Onion and the cashews.
To make the dressing, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and soy sauce, adjust to taste, some like this a little sweeter of more acidic. Once happy with the blend add the Sesame oil and mix well.

As a not this salad wilts remarkably quickly, the Pak CHoy doesn't last too long once chopped and an even short time when dressed. Prepare this salad as close to service as possible and leave the dressing on the side if you prefer allowing people to add as they serve to allow the salad to last longer in a buffet BBQ lunch for example.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Starting someplace - my favorite salads

Salads; i appear to have become the queen of salads. Every time I entertain there wioll be without doubt some kind of salad, usually more than one.
My favorite salad are things which are simple, can serve a lot of people and can be served with all different kinds of food. BBQ, roasts, steaks, anything that gets served to alot of people.

The most recent event which had a number of salads provided was a BBQ (cooked inside due to weather, but BBQ none the less. Sausages, Hamburgers, Kangaroo steaks and bread, all complimented my selection of four salads.

Number 1: Bean salad.
This salad is really filling, great as a side and very simple to make, no mess no fuss style thing. Also immensly variable, so you can suse what ever you have in the pantry or fridge with easy to bulk this one out.
My base recipe:
1 440gm can of 4 or 5 bean mix (rinsed)
1 440gm can of brown lentils (rinsed)
1 250gm can of corn kernels (rinsed)
150 gms of green beans
1 medium red capsicum (pepper)
6-10 kalamata olives (seeds removed and chopped)

2tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Wash and chop the green beans, aim for pieces not too much larger than 1.5 cms, they should blend with the beans well. Chop the flesh of the capsicum, chop into slivers and then dice into small pieces, once again the aim is to have the beans and capsicum blend in with the beans whilst giving some extra colour.

Once chopped, blanch the green beans in boiling water just to take the worst of the bite off them (you can also do thin in the microwave, usually about 3 minutes on high with a little water).
Rinse all the canned items well in cold water and add to the bowl, add the capsicum as well. Once cooked rinse the beans in cold water to stop them cooking and cool them down, add them to the bowl along with the chopped olives.

Pour over the oil and balsamic vinegar, mix the salad well and you're done.

Other things that go really well, rocket, fetta (I love goats milk fetta in this), spring onion diced, halved cherry tomatoes. Things that I add to this salad are usually based on colour, the beans make a nice base for interesting and colourful vegetables to be added.

This goes really well with a "heap of meat" meal, healthy for you and save you having to make something with carbs to go with it all. Also really nice for lunch at work, I add a can of flavoured tuna with it for lunch to cover the food group bases a little better.