leek vinaigrette repurposed

You must imagine the scene. Large wide white bowl, a mix of salad leaves on the bottom, with artfully placed hard boiled quartered eggs and leeks on top, and drizzled over them the vinaigrette. That’s the photo.

In practice, I chopped up the salad leaves and leeks, adding to them the same weird cold soft-boiled eggs that have to be scooped out of their shells that I mentioned in my previous post. Mixed in the left over vinaigrette. Tasted divine. Looked like a vegetarian dog’s dinner.

Tip: the salad is better without bits of egg shell in it.

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salad dressing without oil

I wondered if you can get away with a standard sort of salad dressing, skipping the oil.

The other day I tried mixing red wine vinegar with honey and dijon mustard and we had it on top of mixed leaf salad with bacon and soft-hard boiled eggs added. It was okay, but I don’t feel like I have the balance of it right yet. It was both too watery and too sweet. Maybe oil is not optional.

Salad with falafel and eggs

Ingredients

  • mixed salad leafs, or baby spinach washed and dried
  • eggs boiled until soft-hard, one per person
  • cooked falafels, a few, broken into small pieces
  • yogurt
  • tahini
  • lemon juice
  • finely chopped/crushed garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • roasted ground cumin

Method

Put the salad leaves in a serving bowl, mix in the falafels – I took them from the fridge, left over from yesterday, and broke them up by gently crushing them.

For the dressing: mix the rest of the ingredients, I used several tablespoons of yoghurt and 2 teasps of tahini. It’s all to taste.

Mix the dressing into the salad.

Cut the tops of the eggs and scoop the egg into the salad, gently mix again.

That’s it. The toast addict had it on top of toast. I had it on its own.

The economy of chicken pieces

I prefer chicken pieces to whole chickens as I never feel like breast is indispensable. A packed of what Americans call Maryland pieces, 4 x thigh + drumstick, lasts two of us for several meals.

This last time I’ve made

  • Chicken salad with rocket, walnuts and apple in a yoghurt based dressing (no oil).
  • Japanese soup noodles
  • A variation on each of the above

Because I boil the chicken, I have a good quality stock to do something with as well. It was the basis for the soup noodles on this occasion.

Good quality chicken in Geneva is wildly expensive, so I use bog standard from Manor. (Although in Australia I buy organic, free range.) But that aside, best quality fruit, best quality nuts, and salad greens. I think you get more for your money if you have to make these choices.

And the salad dressing will be happy with types of things in the cupboard and the fridge. This time, some yoghurt, some cumquat chutney I’d brought back from Australia, a little Worcestershire sauce, a little Japanese rice vinegar, some English mustard powder mixed into a paste, and then the main dressing added to it slowly until it was thin enough to add to the dressing without it not mixing in properly. That was about it.

Satay sauce

I have to start with an apology to my past, present and future sex providers. When I think I’ve died and gone to heaven it’s always because I’ve eaten this sauce. Sorry about that.

Ingredients

200-250g crunchy peanut butter
150g palm sugar
tamarind concentrate mixed with water
5 finely chopped red chillies
5 finely chopped cloves garlic
1 large can coconut milk thoroughly shaken
a little grape seed oil

Method

Fry the garlic in the oil gently until becoming golden. Add the chillies and the sugar, followed by the peanut butter and the tamarind. Mix thoroughly and then add the coconut milk. Cook, stirring, until the oil is separating from the mix

Cool and store in fridge in screwtop jars. Stephanie Alexander says this lasts for months, but I wouldn’t know. I’m lucky if I can make it last til dinner time.

My guess is about a tablesp of the tamarind with about 4 tblsps of water.

Stephanie Alexander does this with peanuts, which is my preference if I have them. She says brown sugar or palm. I love palm sugar and always use it. She also says to take tamarind pulp, soak it, extract the juice. I happened to have the concentrate and it seems okay to me, but in the past I’ve used the extraction method. Her recommendation is peanut oil for the frying, but I used grapeseed because it was in the cupboard and it has a neutral flavour.

Stephanie Alexander gives this in conjunction with a recipe for a marinade for the meat to go with it. Of course a famous way to use this sauce is as the star of gadogado. Today for lunch we are having a very simple version of that. A few raw vegetables, a little fried tofu. Some rice on the side.

 

 

 

Poached chicken salad

Personally, I’d rather chew my own arm off than eat chicken breasts that other people have cooked. It is almost never the appropriate cut of chicken to use, tasteless with a bad texture.

But. IF you cook it properly. Maybe…

So, you must poach the chicken extremely lightly, to just undercooked…it will finish cooking as it cools. Something like a little water – maybe an inch, no more – in the pan with a dash of soy and sesame oil and a slice of ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer, add the breasts, cover pan and simmer for maybe a couple of minutes before turning so that the top is now in the liquid. Another couple of minutes and let it sit and cool in this liquid.

Slice.

Destem baby leaf spinach.

Mix the chicken and spinach with this divine dressing:

Plain yoghurt
Some sort of jam – peach, maybe apricot. It can be that crappy French jam which proudly announces it has no sugar in it. I mean honestly. Jam is ALL sugar. You bought this accidentally, or someone ignorant gave it to you…it’s dreadful stuff on its own, but perfectly useful in this dish.
Good quality white wine vinegar
Green tomato chutney – this I make myself and I will post the recipe.

Fresh bread on the side.

A perfect summer lunch.

Duck Salad

Really just a variant on poached chicken salad….

I started with left over boned roast duck. Remove the skin/fat, slice into bite-sized strips.

Walnuts, toasted and chopped, each half into two or three slivers.

Apple, thinly sliced. I would have used white grapes if I’d had some to hand.

Spinach, stemmed, washed and chopped.

Dressing:

plain yoghurt
mango/apricot chutney*
white wine vinegar
tomato paste*
salt and pepper

*I would have preferred to use a jam and a green tomato chutney, but I can’t find anything like the latter here in Geneva and my own home made is a million miles away.

Mix all these various things together. Serve.