No-sweat Cooking, Day 15

DSC03597

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

We enjoyed these tasty little bites before our gazpacho dinner Monday night, and while I couldn’t really wrap the cheese in the lox thanks to some rather tiny, odd-shaped slices in my package of wild Alaskan smoked salmon (as you can probably tell by the rogue dill fronds on most of them), my improvisation worked just fine. These are a little light to make up a whole meal for us, but they’re perfect as a snack or a first course. I’d love to make them again when we’ve got some of our own home-cured salmon, perhaps even using a mix of herbs to echo the ones in our cure mix.

Lox ’n’ Goat Cheese Crostini

Get the recipe: Lox ’n’ Goat Cheese Crostini

No-sweat Cooking, Day 9

Smoked Trout and Cucumber Salad

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

Mike and I are off to beautiful Newport, RI shortly to attend the Farm Fresh Rhode Island 2010 Local Food Fest, and while we’ve got a wonderful day of delicious local fare ahead of us, we didn’t want to head out without a little something in our stomachs. A light lunch was in order, and this refreshing Smoked Trout and Cucumber Salad fit the bill perfectly. Tinned fish like these Cole’s Applewood Smoked Trout filets are a pantry staple, and were a delicious addition to a salad of Arcadian Fields arugula, thin slices of City Farm lemon cucumbers, and Wishing Stone Farm English cucumbers, all dressed with a silky, tangy dressing of fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, extra virgin olive oil, and Narragansett Creamery yogurt. I suspect this salad would make a terrific light dinner with some chopped hard-cooked egg, slivers of young red onion or shallot, and a hunk of crusty bread.

Get the recipe: Smoked Trout and Cucumber Salad

No-sweat Cooking, Day 7

Spinach-Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate and Walnuts

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

We don’t really snack much during the week, but on the weekends, and Sundays in particular, we love enjoying a big, late brunch at home, followed by a mid-day snack of something substantial. This Spinach-Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate and Walnuts fit the bill perfectly. It was a great light-but-filling snack with some coriander crackers, Kimball’s radishes and slices of lemon cucumber from City Farm, fresh and bright with the addition of chopped fresh dill, and tangy from its base of strained Narragansett Creamery yogurt. It reminded me very much of Shayma‘s winning Borani Esfanaaj from food52, though Melissa Clark’s addition of a pomegranate drizzle made for a lovely pop color and extra flavor.

Get the recipe: Spinach-Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate and Walnuts

Clean Food

green beans and fingerlings with lemon-dill dressing

I received an email a couple of weeks ago offering me a copy of Terry Walters’ new book, Clean Food. Now, I can count on one hand the times I’ve actually accepted the offers of free stuff that land in my inbox, but the premise of this book – cooking with fresh, seasonal, sustainably grown foods – is so obviously in line with the way I like to cook and eat that I gladly agreed to a copy.

green beans

What’s not so obvious about this book is that the recipes are vegan, yet they are so simple and enticing they should appeal to anyone who wants to eat better. I’ve really enjoyed leafing through the pages for inspiration, and I’m sure I’ll turn to Clean Food often as the seasons change and I’m in search of new ways to serve fresh local produce.

fingerlings

My only complaint – and it’s a small one – is that there are no photos, but hopefully my photos of Terry’s delicious green bean and fingerling potato dish with a lemon and dill dressing will give you an idea of what this book is all about.

Dinner:  August 12, 2009

green beans and fingerlings with lemon-dill dressing

As you can see, we didn’t eat this bean and potato dish as part of a vegan meal (instead serving it alongside wedges of heirloom tomato from Kimball’s Fruit Farm and crackly-skinned Poulet Rouge from Pat’s Pastured), but the book aims to reach a broad audience and inspire people, meat-eaters or not, to include whole, fresh foods, simply prepared and with clean flavors, into their diets.

Clean Food

This is an idea I can get behind.

Dill-icious

fresh dill

Sticky summer weather has struck with a vengeance, and my salad spinner is getting a workout this week. I decided to pull out an old favorite last night, and it just so happens that the ingredient that makes this salad so special fits right in with this week’s theme for the 2009 Summer Fest.

2009 Summer Fest Badge

There was a little Greek restaurant I used to frequent when I lived and worked in Detroit, and I probably ordered their “Tommy’s Salad” once or twice a week. At first glance it was a pretty standard Greek salad, with feta and olives and lots of crunchy vegetables, but the addition of copious amounts of fresh dill took it to another level.

jumble

I still had plenty of dill at home from Saturday’s farmers’ market at Lippitt Park, and on my way to the train station I swung through the Boston Public Market and grabbed a head of romaine, a few small, super-ripe field tomatoes, and some Diva cucumbers. I had asked Mike to set aside one of the breasts from the Poulet Rouge he cut up for our Sunday chicken dinner, and when I got home I briefly marinated it in a bit of lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and salt before searing it in an iron skillet and chopping it into bite-sized chunks. I quick pickled some thinly sliced Chioggia beets and sliced up a few Purplette onions to add to the salad as well, and crumbled up plenty of Narragansett Creamery Salty Sea feta.

The chopped vegetables, chicken and feta all went into a big salad bowl along with a hefty handful of picked dill fronds, then I drizzled on my basic lemon vinaigrette and tossed it all together. I scattered a few Kalamata olives and more fresh dill over our individual portions, and we ate our salads with freshly made pita bread. Not a bad way to beat the heat.