Category Archives: Salads

Roasted Slaw

Once I started roasting vegetables, whether on the grill or in the oven, it became my preference. Roasting brings out natural sweetness while keeping crispness and sometimes adding a little char. In the winter, I’m not really in the mood for cold veggies, so I didn’t see why slaw had to be cold. I like cooked cabbage, but the trick for a cooked slaw is to keep it slightly crisp, and roasting can do that for you.

This slaw can be eaten warm or cold, as long as you stick to a dressing with no fats that will congeal on chilling. That means that bacon/bacon fat—which would be great in a warm slaw—might not work with cold leftovers. My dressing here only uses fruit juices for the acid, so it’s not as tart as a vinegar based dressing. As far as uses go, it would be good as a side dish or on any sandwich where you would use a traditional cold slaw. You can see it below on a fried fish sandwich with my Everything Sauce.

Mine is a simple slaw of cabbage and carrots, but you could add bits of any vegetable or fruit that would not become watery or mushy.

Roasted Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400º; line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups cabbage, sliced or coarsely grated—1 small head
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for roasting—enough to drizzle over all on the sheet pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mashed roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, with zest if you have the actual lime in hand
  • I tablespoon honey—you really have to taste to see how sweet you want it
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. Spread the shredded cabbage and carrots on the baking sheet. It will be about 1/2″ thick, but you will toss it halfway through the roasting. Drizzle with olive oil—I think I used at least 1/4 cup. Sprinkle with kosher salt and coarse black pepper.
  2. Roast for about 20 minutes, then lightly toss with tongs to expose more of the vegetables to charring. Roast for another 15 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness. Lift the parchment paper and pour the vegetables into a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients—garlic, orange juice, lime juice, honey, and olive oil—until emulsified. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Add more salt to taste.
  4. Serve warm or cold or both.

Dishing Out the Holiday Food

First, I have a hard time calling Memorial Day a holiday, having had a parent die in a war, but while it’s not all fireworks and getting drunk around here, I do make food like I would make for any seasonal celebration.

Since there are just the two of us here, I can’t justify making a feast like what a big gathering might have, so I’m making three good meals and spreading them out over the three days of the long weekend. Yesterday, we had potato salad—a big favorite around here—with a grilled venison backstrap. No dessert, because, well, we think of potato salad as dessert, itself!

Tomorrow, it will just be your typical grilled burgers with skewers of grilled summer squash, your choice of yesterday’s potato salad or today’s slaw, and a little leftover dessert from today.

Today, I’m grilling some baby back ribs, brined in an orange-Asian marinade and basted with a spicy orange-Asian glaze. Cole slaw for a side and for dessert, a blueberry clafoutis. The ribs are not going to be like the last ones, cooked low and slow with a charcoal snake, but cooked over an indirect higher heat, around 350°-400° for two hours, periodically basted with the glaze. They are more of a wet rib, but one that doesn’t require a thick drippy sauce. The glaze cooks down to a thick, sticky coating that complements the marinated pork.

Baby Back Ribs with Orange-Asian Glaze

  • Servings: 1 rack of ribs, about 3 lbs
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Overnight brine/marinade:
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 -2 tablespoons grated garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine all ingredients and pour over ribs in large glass dish or in sealable plastic bags. I cut my rack in half and put each half in a plastic bag, dividing the marinade between them. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, removing from refrigerator about 1/2 hour before cooking.

Orange-Asian Grilling Glaze:
  • 2 cups orange juice, reduced over medium-high heat to 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Huy Fong Vietnamese Chili Garlic sauce

After orange juice is reduced by half, remove to a measuring cup, then stir in other ingredients. Use to baste the ribs every 15 minutes on the grill.

Cooking the ribs:

1 three lb rack of pork back ribs, marinated overnight

Orange-Asian glaze

  1. Set up your grill for indirect cooking, so that you have enough coals for at least two hours. I started with 50 coals in the chimney starter, then dropped about ten more coals on the ash pile to make sure it would keep going.
  2. Place the marinated ribs opposite the heated side of the grill and close the cover. It should come up to about 400° and drop to around 350° by the end of the second hour. Keep in mind that the temperature drops every time you open the lid to baste the ribs.
  3. Set one timer for 1 1/2 hours and another timer for 15 minutes. Baste the ribs with the glaze every 15 minutes, resetting that timer. If after 1 1/2 hours, you think the ribs could go longer, try another half hour. I felt that the full two hours was good and that more time would not add anything significant to the recipe.

The ribs were moist and tender inside, sticky and spicy outside, without any added sugar, just the natural sugars in the orange juice.

Blueberry Clafoutis: See the recipe for Pear Clafoutis and substitute one pint of fresh blueberries for the pears.

Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing

I’ve been eating this dressing in an apple salad with walnuts and dried figs for lunch recently, but it would be good with any fruit or vegetable salad or with chicken strips or wings. The blue cheese is the star, but I wouldn’t use a premium eating blue, like my favorite Stilton in it. I would eat the Stilton in a deconstructed salad of apples, figs (dried or fresh), and nuts. Just buy two cheeses, one for the dressing and one for munching. Today, I used a Danish Blue in the dressing, and picked up a little wedge of Stilton while I was at it for an indulgent snack.

My ranch recipe is as easy as possible. Equal amounts of buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise, plus chives and dill and salt. I haven’t been adding garlic for my apple salad purposes, but I would add it if dressing pasta or vegetables.

I’ve made more complicated ranch dressings before, but it soon became obvious that it doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. It’s not a low fat dressing, but it has no added refined sugar or sharp vinegar, both of which characteristics are good for me. You could easily make a lower-fat version with common substitutions.

Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing

  • Servings: 1.5 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (mine was whole milk buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons dried chives
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2-3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Danish or buttermilk blue
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or less if your cheese is very salty

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients until smooth. Stir in the crumbled cheese with a spoon. Taste and add salt, as needed.

 

Carne Asada Wraps with Pico de Gallo

I used flank steak, as I usually do, because I have never seen skirt steak in the two grocery stores I shop at. I think I saw it once when we lived in Texas in the mid-90s, but not since. I look for it all the time, but am running out of hope. I can’t complain about flank steak, though, as long as it is scored on each side and marinated. I’ve written about the scoring before in this post: A Tale of Two Flank Steaks. As you can see in the image, it did not have to be cooked just to bloody rareness to remain juicy—it was grilled for 7 minutes per side, and then rested for 10, which was plenty of time for the small 1 lb steak. We ate every bit.

I made a very nice pico de gallo—really a chopped tomato salad—to eat with mine (or to eat with a spoon), while my tomato-averse husband had a roasted salsa verde with his.

Carne Asada Wraps with Pico de Gallo

  • Servings: makes about 4 wraps
  • Difficulty: time consuming
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1 flank steak, 1-2 pounds, scored on both sides

Wet Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Mix all ingredients and pour over scored flank steak in sealable bag.
  2. Marinate in refrigerator for 4-6 hours. remove at least 1/2 hour before grilling to bring to room temperature.
Prepare grill for direct heat
  1. Grill steak for about 7-10 minutes on each side with the lid closed, depending on the size of your steak, for medium rare.
  2. Remove and rest steak on cutting board under a loose cover of foil for about 10 minutes.
  3. Slice thinly, against the grain.
  4. Serve in wraps wit lettuce and toppings, like pico de gallo or your favorite salsa, avocado, or a fresh cheese, like queso fresco.
Pico de Gallo

4 small tomatoes (about 3-4″), chopped—you could seed them or not

1/2 large onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced

about 2 tablespoons minced garlic or garlic paste

a big handful of finely chopped cilantro or 2 tablespoons cilantro paste (I used the paste)

1 generous teaspoon kosher salt

3-4 tablespoons lime juice

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. I let mine sit in the refrigerator for an hour, but you could eat it right away. I like to let the onion and pepper absorb the liquid a little.