healthy

Salads, Vegetables

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Spicy Cucumber Salad | www.hungryinlove.com

Has anyone been to Momofuku? Visiting a David Chang restaurant has been on my short list for many moons. And a few weeks ago serendipity intervened. I was in DC for work and as the cab pulled up to my hotel, I spied a telltale electric pink 'milk' sign belonging to Momofuku CCDC just across the way. Cue the heart eyes emoji. But my luck didn't stop there. By some small miracle I had no plans for lunch or dinner that night. I made a quick calculation as to whether this good fortune outweighed the impropriety of going to the same restaurant twice in one day. It totally did and so I went. Don't judge. 

Among the many ridiculously delicious things I ate between my two outings (pork buns, shrimp buns, spicy noodles), it's the cucumber salad that's been occupying my daydreams. It's the kind of salad you want to eat a bucket of - crunchy, refreshing, salty, and spicy. I more or less did eat a bucket since the cucumbers were such a perfect foil to the rest of the rich, heavy fare we ordered. Although I had the good sense at the time to ask our server how it was made I did not have the good sense to write it down. Of what she shared all I recall is 1) it's finished with togarashi and 2) the dressing contains pureed scallions. Curiously though you use only the light and dark green parts. This stayed with me since it's the opposite of what I've been conditioned to do with scallions. 

I did a bit of Googling but the internet failed to turn up a recipe so below is my best attempt. Is it spot on? Of course not. I'm no David Chang. But it was pretty darn good and should hold me over until Momofuku sets up shop in Boston.

Cukes | www.hungryinlove.com
Spicy Cucumber Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Spicy Cucumber Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Cucumbers | www.hungryinlove.com
Spicy Cucumber Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Spicy Cucumber Salad | www.hungryinlove.com

Ingredients

  • 4-6 mini seedless cucumbers (these require no peeling and have less water than the big honkers)
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped (light and dark green parts only, toss the white bulb)
  • Handful cilantro leaves (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled + roughly chopped
  • 5 Tbs. neutral oil (canola, peanut, or safflower)
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Togarashi spice
  • Kosher salt

Prep

  • Chop cucumbers into small chunks (split in half and then slice crosswise into 1 inch pieces).
  • Line a colander with paper towels. Place cukes in colander and sprinkle generously with salt.
  • Let the cucumbers sit at room temperature (or in fridge)  for about 30 minutes. This will infuse flavor and also sweat out some water.
  • While you're waiting make your dressing. Place scallions, ginger, cilantro, oil, rice vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Puree until smooth and taste for seasoning.
  • Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to brown. Let cool and then roughly chop.
  • When ready to dress and serve, pat cucumbers dry with a fresh paper towel.
  • Toss cukes, dressing, almonds, and serrano chile in a bowl. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with togarashi and a few more almonds.

Vegetables

Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas

Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas | www.hungryinlove.com

Do you roast broccoli? What about chickpeas? If you don't, you should start. Both are very roastable. You might have roasted chickpeas straight into snack territory before, but if you stop about halfway they'll be toasty on the outside and creamy on the inside, perfect for adding to salads. Roasted broccoli gets so nutty and crispy any bad broccoli memories you've been harboring will be instantly erased. This week I discovered that the two can do even more when sharing a sheet pan, namely make you dinner in one fell swoop. Roasted together the results are everything January should be - virtuous, warming, and restorative. All that and there's only one pan to clean up. If one of your new year's resolutions is to dirty fewer dishes this is a good place to start.

Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas | www.hungryinlove.com
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas | www.hungryinlove.com
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas | www.hungryinlove.com
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas| www.hungryinlove.com
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas | www.hungryinlove.com
Roasted Broccoli + Chickpeas | www.hungryinlove.com

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli or broccolini
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 radish, thinly shaved
  • 6 oz feta, crumbled (see this post for my suggestions on scouting out good feta)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Lemon wedge
  • Salt + pepper

Prep

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Trim broccoli and cut into small florets
  • In a bowl toss together broccoli, chickpeas, olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated
  • Spread on a baking sheet and pop in the oven to roast
  • At the 15 minute mark, use a spatula to toss
  • Return to oven and roast for another 15 minutes
  • When done chickpeas will be browned and toasted on the outside but still creamy on the inside; broccoli stems will be easily pierced with a fork and florets will be crispy
  • Transfer broccoli and chickpeas to a serving platter and scatter with radish and feta
  • Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and serve

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Salads

Watermelon, Cucumber, + Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber, + Feta Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Watermelon, Cucumber, + Feta Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Chopping Watermelon | www.hungryinlove.com
Chopping Cucumber | www.hungryinlove.com
Watermelon, Cucumber, + Feta Salad Mise En Place | www.hungryinlove.com
Feta | www.hungryinlove.com
Basil | www.hungryinlove.com
Watermelon, Cucumber, + Feta Salad | www.hungryinlove.com

My heart is so happy right now I could squeal! We've just returned from our family's 29th annual reunion in South Carolina. Back when I was a wee lass my grandparents had the good sense to institute a summer tradition of gathering their five children plus families for a week at the beach. God bless them, they stuck with it. I've always cherished this trip but have grown to appreciate it more with each passing year. With a new crop of itty-bitty babies our head count this summer totaled 33. Besides the good company, I adore that this week is a true vacation. There's nowhere to go, nothing to see. Upon arrival it takes but minutes to fall into the familiar routine we've perfected over nearly three decades. Tennis/jogging/straight up lounging in the morning; lunches of build-your-own honey baked ham sandwiches and pimento cheese (while it lasts); afternoons on the beach, stocked coolers in tow; cocktails and hor d'oeuvres on the porch; dinner together at the big long table (actually three pushed together to make one); party and card games in the evenings. Sleep and repeat. It's magic. Scroll on for a few snaps.

Every night a different family takes a turn cooking dinner for the crowd. Some version of this watermelon salad usually makes an appearance, and for good reason. It's simple, brilliantly pretty, and a surefire crowdpleaser.

The beach house...

The beach house...

...and 180 degrees.

...and 180 degrees.

South Carolina surf.

South Carolina surf.

My adorable grandparents with their five children. Props to my mom for holding her own with four brothers!

My adorable grandparents with their five children. Props to my mom for holding her own with four brothers!

Watermelon, Cucumber, + Feta Salad | www.hungryinlove.com

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 small watermelon, cubed (if you have a large melon, use 1/2)
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced into thin rounds (if you don't like heat, omit!)
  • 8 oz. feta*, cubed 
  • 12-16 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 12-16 mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Juice of one half lime
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil

Prep

  • Toss watermelon, cucumber, serrano, feta, basil and lime juice in serving bowl
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil
  • Serve immediately (If allowed to sit the watermelon and cucumber will release water. Toss ingredients as close to serving as possible.)

*A few notes on feta from our resident cheesemonger. High quality feta will make this salad sing. Feta can be made from cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk, or some combination of these. In the States cow's milk is the most ubiquitous, found in those little vacuum sealed squares at the grocery store. Those will do in a pinch but you're better off seeking out a feta packed in brine. 100% sheep's milk is my favorite. French, Greek, or Bulgarian are all excellent bets but never rule out the feta you find at your local farmer's market. 

Vegetables

Swiss Chard with Pomegranate + Orange Yogurt

Swiss Chard with Orange Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com
Swiss Chard | www.hungryinlove.com
Pomegranate | www.hungryinlove.com
Orange Zest | www.hungryinlove.com
Orange Honey Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com

My oh my, 2014, you've outdone yourself! My heart grew three sizes this year. In approximate order of wonderfulness, highlights include:

  • Married the love of my life beneath raindrops in the place where we met and grew up
  • Welcomed a perfect child, my niece Tucker, into the world + fulfilled lifelong dream of becoming an Auntie Em
  • Stood beside three dear friends as they tied the knot
  • Serial binged
  • Started this here blog

2015 is feeling mighty intimidated right about now.

Swiss Chard with Pomegranate and Orange Honey Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com

Despite my best attempts to assign some symbolic value to this swiss chard, there's really nothing about it that's representative of my year. Given the list above though, it would be a fool's errand if I tried. It is scientifically impossible to make a dish as delicious as my year has been. Instead I'll say this recipe is a nod to 2011, the year Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty came out and I learned how to bedazzle vegetables with pomegranate and yogurt.

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Pomegranate + Orange Yogurt

Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 2 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup white wine (water or stock may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/3 cup full fat, thick Greek yogurt (if you live in the Boston area I implore you to track down yogurt from Sophia's)
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • S+P

Prep

  • Remove stems from chard
  • Chop chard stems into 1-2 inch pieces, set aside
  • Chop chard leaves into thin ribbons
  • Combine yogurt, orange zest, and honey; set aside
  • Heat 1 Tbs. butter in large saute pan over medium heat; add chard stems
  • Season with S+P; saute chard stems for ~3 minutes; add white wine
  • Continue to cook for 3-5 more minutes until wine has evaporated and stems are tender
  • Add remaining tablespoon of butter and chard leaves
  • Saute for 3-5 minutes until leaves are wilted and tender
  • Transfer chard to serving dish and top with pomegranate and healthy dollop of yogurt (Leftover pomegranate and yogurt? Breakfast is served.)