Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad (page 74)
I’m always looking for new uses for that jar of tahini I buy to make hummus and this salad provided one.
This was a really tasty dish: the robust flavour of the dressing complemented the salad ingredients well but I would have liked a little more texture.....some toasted pistachios or almonds would have been a nice addition.
Honey-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (page 343)
The Zucchini and Green Bean Salad called for (optional) oven-dried tomatoes but in looking at the recipe for them and reading that it's a great method for dealing with less than perfect fruit, I decided to save it for when I had a batch of mediocre tomatoes that needed some help. Instead, I made this recipe from the June selection. With such a short roasting time, this was a perfect summertime treatment for the little tomatoes. The olive oil, garlic and sweetener (I used agave nectar so vegan daughter could enjoy) enhanced without masking their flavour and they emerged from the oven sweet and tangy, like little tomato candies. They added incredible flavour to the salad and were delicious as a side to grilled fish as well.
Asian-Inspired Coleslaw (page 115)
I've always preferred my cabbage salad with a vinaigrette rather than a creamy dressing so this recipe, which uses ingredients that I usually use in stir-fries, looked like it might be a good alternative. I used rice vinegar, reduced the sesame oil to 1 tbsp since I find that it can often overpower other ingredients, and followed the rest of the recipe as written. This was a nice variation of coleslaw, with the sesame, ginger and garlic good complements to the cabbage-carrot mix. I'm glad I reduced the sesame oil since it was still quite noticeable, but I thought that the dressing wasn't acidic enough...the lime juice at the end made all the difference to the brightness of the flavour and definitely shouldn't be missed. If I were to make it again - still on the fence about that - I would add it directly to the dressing.
A pattern is beginning to emerge with the salad recipes in this book: I use only half the dressing for the full amount of salad. I always use up the extra, usually on another salad, but the tahini dressing was delicious on grilled eggplant slices the next day, and with this recipe, I used the extra in stir-fried vegetables - delicious!
Quick Couscous Salad with Peppers and Feta (page 231)
This recipe is all about using products from your dry and refrigerator pantries and leftovers so I used the Israeli couscous I had on hand and 2 bell peppers I had roasted on the grill earlier in the week. With chopped cucumbers, green onions, parsley and basil added, and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, the flavours were simple but the salad was quite tasty, especially with the feta for added oomph. It's a very easy and unfussy dish that's open to all sorts of combinations of ingredients, and can just as easily be made in the depths of winter as it can at the height of summer. Hugh's suggested variations sound particularly tasty - I think I may try the Middle Eastern one next.
Caramelized Carrots with Gremolata (page 355)
Gremolata, that simple but beautifully flavoured little mixture of fresh parsley, lemon zest and garlic, brightens just about any dish it's added to and these roasted carrots were no exception. They were nicely cooked after 50 minutes, (30 minutes covered with foil, 20 minutes without), tender but not too soft, but not as brown as I would have liked. I didn't roast them further at the risk of overcooking them. My oven's not known for its browning ability - great for some foods but not for others ;) - and I used only olive oil which in my experience doesn't help to brown foods as easily as butter, so I think I might have been better off if I'd omitted the foil altogether. Next time.......These were a big hit and are destined to become a regular item at the dinner table.
This was another great month with the Cottage Cooking Club, with several winning recipes. Visit here to see what everyone else made, or better yet, join us as we continue to cook our way through this book.