Friday, April 23, 2010

Dijon Fruited Salad

The original recipe comes from my sister Ruth's mother-in-law, Adrienne.  She served it at Ruth's bridal shower and I ate three plates of this salad (I think everyone else at my table did as well!)  It was SO good.  Adrienne says that the salad was originally made without chicken; the recipe that I have includes 2 lbs of cooked diced chicken, which I generally leave out, but if you're a meat-eater and you want this to be more substantial, I would recommend baking a couple of chicken breasts (350 for 35 minutes), then dicing and adding to the salad after the chicken has been chilled. 

Dijon Fruited Salad

Dressing (prepare and refrigerate overnight; I toss everything in a pint jar and shake vigorously):
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. poppy seeds
3/4 c. oil
1/2 t. salt
2 T. finely chopped red onion

2 heads chopped romaine lettuce
2 unpeeled diced red apples
2 unpeeled diced pears (rinse diced fruit in lemon juice to prevent browning)
1 1/2 c. cashews
1 c. dried cranberries
1 c. shredded mozzarella (I generally leave this out these days...but it's really tasty.  :-)
**2-3 diced avocadoes
**1 lb sliced strawberries

**not in original recipe but extremely tasty additions!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Waffles

Every Saturday morning, my dad makes whole-wheat waffles for breakfast--accompanied by Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (also known in our family as "the waffle song").  They are the best waffles I have ever had in my life.  This was such a fixture of my childhood and adolescence that it's probably one of the things my friends remember most about Friday night sleepovers at our house--you could always count on a breakfast table heaped with delicious hot waffles.  (In fact, much of the enthusiasm our friends had for going to our house was based on my parents' cooking.)

My dad's recipe (like many of his recipes!) is without cut-and-dried measurements.  I've never tried to measure quantities; every time I make the waffles I find myself silently reciting his measurements because that's just the way you make it. The great thing about this is that the recipe is based on per-person amounts, so it's super-easy to adjust for one person or for a crowd. 

Whole-Wheat Waffles
1 egg per person, yolks and whites separated
3/4 c. to 1 c. whole-wheat flour per person
A nickel-sized pile of salt, measured in your hand
A dollop or two of oil
Enough milk

After separating eggs, add yolks to the main batter bowl, but whip whites to meringue quality in a KitchenAid or other stand mixer (or with a whisk, or with a fork, depending on where you are--I've seen Dad beating them with a fork, but I'm not that tough).  Mix yolks, flour, salt, and oil, then add enough milk until the batter runs smoothly off a spoon (see picture).  It should be neither runny nor chunky--just smoothly running.  If I had to guess how much milk to use, I would say in fairly even proportion to the amount of flour used--maybe about a 1:1 ratio?

When the batter is fully mixed, gently fold in the beaten egg whites.  This creates a super-light, fluffy, beautiful batter with all the goodness of whole wheat and none of the dense heaviness.  Bake according to your waffle iron's specifications.

We like to top this with homemade maple or orange syrup (for a regular morning), or if we're feeling fancy (or eating this as dinner rather than breakfast), fresh fruit--blueberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.  And whipped cream.  YUM!  This is, in fact, my standard have-the-missionaries over dinner--their eyes always light up when they see the table.  (Ditto for the kids, who can easily pack away three or four waffles each.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oven-roasted vegetables

This is a dish that usually makes a weekly appearance at our house. It varies depending on what I have on hand and what's in season (it's an excellent use-it-up recipe as well!) I usually make more than I think we'll eat and use the leftovers in other dishes later; for instance, you could layer the roasted vegetables in a lasagna, toss with pasta, etc.

**Ingredients may vary--use what you like! The following recipe is what's pictured and what I had that day. All ingredients, except when otherwise noted, should be cut into bite-sized pieces

1 lb asparagus
3 medium-sized red potatoes
1 eggplant
1 large onion, cut in wedges
3 carrots, peeled
3/4 lb mushrooms

**other favorite ingredients: summer squashes/parsnips/garlic/peppers/winter squashes would probably be good, but I haven't tried them--sweet potatoes would probably work well too!

Toss chopped vegetables together in a large bowl with extra-virgin olive oil to taste (the more you put in, the better it will be; I never measure so I'm guessing I usually put in 1/4 cup? Or maybe just a couple of tablespoons?) Season with salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add rosemary.

Preheat oven to 425; divide vegetables evenly between rimmed baking sheets in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Waldorf-style tuna sandwich on cranberry seeded bread

Take ten minutes to assemble this sandwich for a simple dinner when you've made Dakota bread earlier in the day. The dried cranberries, nuts, and seeds in the bread are echoed in the salad itself, elevating this from a plain tuna sandwich to an elegant little bistro number. I like to serve this with baby spinach and/or alfalfa sprouts; it goes well into a tortilla as well. Even if tuna isn't usually your thing, give this a try!

Waldorf-style tuna salad
The salad is adapted from a recipe from Stephanie Nielson of NieNie Dialogues; she has since taken down her cooking blog (although when I emailed her wondering if it was permanent she said that she was planning to put it back up when her surgeries finished) so I'm listing the recipe here as I make it, rather than linking back and noting my modifications.


1/3 c. plain yogurt or mayonnaise
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 T. chili sauce
1/4 t. salt, freshly ground pepper

3 cans tuna in water, drained
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. chopped red onion
1/3 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. chopped red apple
1/3 c. chopped toasted nuts