Categories
Salads Sides Uncategorized Vegetarian

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Sometimes in the winter I get a little wistful thinking about summer and all of the beautiful fresh ingredients that go along with it. I long for something bright, fresh and clean to eat. This may be due to the fact that in the winter, I tend to overeat heavier foods . . . which dare I say is a lot of fun. Or maybe it’s because the grayer skies have me wishing for warmer times. But I digress . . .

When I’m feeling this way, caprese salad always comes to mind quickly. Not only is it eye-catching and appetizing in appearance with its vivid colors, it also offers an instant imaginary trip back to warm summer days with its fresh taste combination of basil and tomatoes. It’s fresh, satisfying and healthy, and it makes me forget about winter just long enough to appreciate it again.

Ingredients:

Salad:

4 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced

12 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic reduction (see below)

Salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic reduction:

1 c. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. Honey

Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vinegar is reduced by about half. Set aside and allow to cool while you prepare the salad.

Assemble the salad by beginning with a tomato slice, then cheese and finally, basil. Continue layering the ingredients in this manner, making sure that all of the beautiful colors are visible. 

After the salad is assembled, drizzle generously with olive oil and about 2 Tbsp. of balsamic reduction. Season with salt and pepper.

Categories
Sides Uncategorized

Easy Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi is not only beautiful and delicious, it also contains a tiny, bustling world of health-boosting microbes in each bite. A fermented food staple in Korea, kimchi is packed with probiotics. The lactic acid bacteria created during the fermentation process is not only good for your gut, it’s also an immune booster, lessens inflammation, and provides a whole host of other health benefits. 

Kimchi is a great food to have around the house. It’s delicious as a whole meal with rice and fried eggs, a side dish, or even a mid-day snack. The spicy, sour tang of kimchi usually has the people in my house sneaking to the refrigerator throughout the day for “just one more bite.” 

Refrigerated kimchi lasts for months in the fridge, but around here it rarely lasts more than a few days. 

Ingredients:

1 napa cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 carrots, sliced

1 daikon radish, sliced

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 inch piece of ginger, minced 

5 cloves garlic, minced 

3 Tbsp. of sea salt

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. (or more if you like) fish sauce

2 Tbsp. gochujang or other chili sauce of your choice

Chop up cabbage and be sure to leave one giant cabbage leaf aside for later. Place the cabbage in a large glass bowl and toss in sea salt. Massage with your hands until the cabbage has reduced in size by about half and there is plenty of water collected at the bottom of the bowl. 

Add the chopped vegetables and minced garlic and ginger and mix well with your hands. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and chili sauce. Mix thoroughly.

Now put the mixture into glass jars, really pushing it down until the mixture is covered in a layer of brine. Place the cabbage leaf you set aside earlier over the top of the kimchi. All of the kimchi should remain under the brine during fermentation. You can use fermentation weights, but this is unnecessary. The cabbage leaf works just fine. 

Cover with a cloth and rubber band and place on the counter for a few days. Taste every day and when it is fermented to your liking, put a lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator. 

Categories
Salads Sides Uncategorized

Asparagus Salad with Egg, Bacon and Dijon Shallot Dressing

This salad reminds me of a cool, drizzly Parisian day suddenly turned cheery and warm by a filling, comforting cafe lunch. The lunch that’s perfect for a day of shopping or walking all over the city exploring markets, galleries or strange little bookstores in alleyways, this asparagus salad leaves you feeling satisfied, but not weighed down. 

Often, the best meals are simple meals. This wholesome salad takes minutes to make and requires very few ingredients, but that certainly does not mean it’s short on taste. It’s one of my favorite lunchtime meals, and it is made even better by being served alongside a beautiful chunk of baguette to soak up extra dressing.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

1 bunch of asparagus

4 soft-boiled eggs

4 strips of crispy bacon, chopped

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium high heat, simmer a bit of water (½ c. or so). Add the asparagus when water is simmering, put a lid on the skillet and steam for 3 minutes. Rinse the asparagus with cold water to stop the cooking process and cut into bite-size lengths. Set aside. 

Mix together the Dijon, shallots, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper together to make the dressing.

Place the asparagus and bacon on plates. Drizzle with dressing and mix well. Place the eggs on top. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Categories
Sides Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Homemade Sauerkraut

I fell in love with fermenting cabbage by accident a few years back when I belonged to a CSA. I was overwhelmed by the amount of cabbage I had amassed and had run out of ways to cook it. A lightbulb went off in my brain and I realized that I could make sauerkraut and it was last forever, or at least nearly forever. The first time I tasted my own sauerkraut, I realized that I could never buy store-bought again. It’s so much fresher, crispier and brinier. Best of all, it’s insanely easy to make! You only need two ingredients, a wide mouth jar and a little time.

Ingredients:

One medium head of green cabbage
2-3 tsp sea salt

Rinse cabbage in cold water and remove outer leaves. Reserve one to use later.

Using a sharp knife, cut the cabbage in quarters and remove the core. Then slice into even, thin ribbons (this will ensure that the pieces ferment evenly).

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and pour in 2 teaspoons of salt. Massage the cabbage with your hands until the The cabbage appears a bit translucent and shiny. Taste to test the level of saltiness. If you would like your sauerkraut a little saltier, add a bit more. Continue to massage until there is brine pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Once you are able to squeeze the cabbage and brine runs out freely, you are ready for the next step.

Transfer handfuls of the cabbage into the widemouth jar and press it down. Continue to repeat until there is about 2 inches of space left at the top. Press down again until the brine rises above the cabbage. Place one of the reserved cabbage leaves over the top of your sauerkraut, but below the brine line. Cover the jar with a cheese cloth or paper towel and wrap a rubber band around it. Set it on a plate or cookie sheet, as liquid may leak out of the top.Move to a dark place and ferment for 5-14 days.

Taste the sauerkraut beginning at five days so that it is fermented to your desired taste. Once your sauerkraut is ready, put a lid on it and refrigerate. Sauerkraut will last for about six months in the refrigerator.