Grape/Cherry Tomato Salad with Soy Sauce Dressing

Tomatoes star in this salad.

Tomatoes star in this salad.

Here’s a scrumptious salad with an unusual (to me), delicious, and easy-to-make dressing.

The credit for this recipe  goes to Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything: his idea, his dressing. My only contribution was to expand the recipe ingredients. I added six sprigs of cooked asparagus because I had them. And I would have added a few green onions if I had them.

The point is that, unlike regular salads in which tomatoes are bit players, this salad makes them the stars. And, as Bittman says, you can get these tomatoes fresh all winter so when you get a craving for something not canned and have a little extra $$ in your pocket…well, you get the idea.

Kimlan's multi-grain soy sauce

Kimlan’s multi-grain soy sauce

Oh, and by the way, if you can tolerate a small amount of gluten soy sauce as I can, you might consider trying other brands beside those in your grocery store.

Our Asian market carries about 20 different varieties, and they don’t all taste the same. One I particularly like is Multi-Grain Soy Sauce, and it has a more mellow flavour than regular soy sauce.

P.S. Sorry for the photo; I took it on a dark day.

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Roasted Radishes

dsc01559Many, many thanks to Christine at The Perky Poppy Seed blog for discovering that radishes roast so beautifully. As she says,

When you roast a radish something happens to that in-your-face-bold radish taste. The radish becomes an elegant vegetable, with a mild delicate taste. Roasted radishes are lovely on their own or in a salad.  I like mine on top of a spinach salad with a bit of of lemon zest and a nice simple vinaigrette.

After reading her post, I bought 3 bunches of radishes (on sale—extra bonus), roasted them, and they were delicious! I had no idea that your could roast radishes and, probably, daikon as well.

This blog has her recipe, adapted from The Silver Palate cookbook, and her lovely photos. (Stars are mine.)

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Dieter’s Potato and Broccoli Slaw Salad

This delicious, crunchy, and easy-to-make potato salad happened because of two things.

One: I was seduced into buying a large bag of small potatoes (no peeling, hurray!) at Costco—the place where you always buy more than you actually need. So…lots of potatoes in the fridge.

Two: I had a lightbulb moment that involved broccoli slaw. To date, potato salad has been out of my caloric reach, and I hadn’t been able to think of a vegetable to add that would be easy to prepare in a large quantity. Broccoli slaw to the rescue!

This salad is wide open to imaginative variation in quantity and type—from vegetables to spices. The basic issue is to have, at the very least, as much vegetable as potato. In this version, I had 4 cups of cooked potatoes and, after adding my vegetables, I ended up with 8 cups total.

Okay? Here’s how it goes…

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Tomato Quinoa Salad with Corn and Feta Cheese

Hi all! We are back from a two-week boat trip to the Thousand Islands. (Actually, there are 1800 islands, but that wouldn’t make a catchy enough phrase, I guess.) We had grandchildren aboard as second “mates,” i.e., minimal help, maximal eating. Couldn’t get a one o’ them ther kids to swab a deck!

Kitchen space on the Outrageous

As you may recall, I’ve described the boat galley as…well, somewhat restrictive. Here is a pix showing the total extent of its counter space with the fridge off to the left and stove to the right. The wooden board on the counter is the top to the garbage pail beneath. Clever, huh?

The galley is always fun for a while, and then, not surprisingly, I’m glad to return to my spacious, appliance-rich, air-conditioned kitchen.

This salad (both sweet and salty; soft and crunchy) happened because we stopped at a farmer’s market on the way home and bought big, delicious, juicy tomatoes. It makes a great side dish for dinner or main dish for lunch

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Focaccia Mini-Loaves

I am truly, honestly, thrilled by these mini-loaves.

In the gluten-free, dairy-free, diet journey that is my life, I have been truly thrilled on three occasions:

  • When I made my first gf baked product—cornbread. I was ecstatic at having a starch to eat that wasn’t rice, potatoes, or rice cakes.
  • When I made my first successful loaf of gf bread. I was ecstatic that I had advanced beyond creating heavy door stops!
  • When I discovered bean bakes. I was ecstatic that beans and eggs could provide me with low-cal, easy-to-make, and healthy alternatives to flour-based products.

Real thrills. Ordinary people would tell me to get a life, but you and I know differently, right? So I hope you’ll be thrilled along with me about these mini-loaves. They provide a yeast bread experience without the yeast! Rich, satisfying, and delicious.

Three more things:

(1) I’m not really sure whether these loaves classify as focaccia. They’re not made with yeast or are flat and dimpled, but they do have spices, including rosemary, on top. But they’re made with yogurt, not water…yada, yada, yada…but, what the hey, they need a name.

(2) This is an adaption of an already gf recipe. Many thanks to April at the Gluten Free Zen blog for a great recipe: “Italian Flatbread.” I knew her bread would be delicious but, alas, not for me. It wouldn’t fit into my diet at 22.5 points per mini-loaf. So I changed the flours, altered the ratio of flours to starches, cut the oils as far back as I could, and managed to just about halve the point value: each mini-loaf is now 12.5 points, and a ¼ portion at 3.25 points makes a fine and low-cal addition to a soup or salad.

(3) These freeze beautifully and taste just as good after defrosting.

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Cucumber Blueberry Mint Salad

This salad is “an end-of-summer delight”—a combination of savoury cucumber (now in season) and sweet blueberries (still on the shelves) whose flavours only work together when they are textured with the fresh tang of mint. 

I know this because I made it without mint earlier in the summer, and the spouse who had never seen the original recipe said, “This would benefit from some mint, don’t you think?”

Anyway, I say “end of summer” because the temperature reached 30° C (86° F) today, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like the second week of September.  We used to get a first frost in early September but those days seem to be long past.

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Variation on Mark Bittman’s Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Those of you who are familiar with Mark Bittman’s recipes in The New York Times know that he likes to take the mystery out of good food.  His recipes are rarely complicated and always delicious.  Hence, given my adoration of watermelon, I had to make his Watermelon and Tomato Salad which, indeed, delivered a wonderful taste-and-texture mixture: watermelon sweetness plus the tart tomatoes and savoury cheese, all tied together by a vinaigrette dressing.  (I’ve added Mark Bittman’s video on making this salad at the end of the post.)

Of course, I had to start adapting the recipe immediately because his cheese suggestions—Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Maytag blue cheese—don’t work for for anyone who is lactose-intolerant.  I used goat feta instead.  My second adaption was to cut back on the oil to reduce calories.  Finally, on my third making of this salad, I decided to cut back on the cheese and add cooked quinoa. I wanted to give the salad more “heft” so that it could be a meal unto itself as opposed to an accompanying salad.  It was still delicious although, if you can afford the extra calories (or the 3 extra WW points), I’d keep the cheese at the 2.6 oz. level.  There’s nothing like cheese to take a dish from delicious to sublime.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups watermelon in 1″ cubes or balls (cut over a bowl so that you can catch the juice and reserve it)
  • 1½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1.3 oz. goat feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup green onions, finely minced
  • ½ cup cooked, cold quinoa
  • 1 tbsp. of watermelon juice
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar (Mark Bittman suggests sherry; I had balsamic)
  • ½ cup cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine watermelon, tomato, cheese, green onions, and quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together watermelon juice, oil, and vinegar.
  3. Pour vinagrette over salad mixture.
  4. Garnish with coriander or parsley.
  5. Salt to taste.

For Weight Watchers: 5.5 points per serving on the Points plan and 4.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.  (This is cheaper on PointsPlus because the watermelon has no point value.)

Quinoa Tabouli for Dieters

Tabouli is a wonderful dish.  It’s delicious and healthy for you, textured with crunch and snap, and has a lovely smell, dominated by fresh parsley, green onions, and lemon.

Still, from a weight watcher’s perspective, tabouli has problems.  It can be heavy in carbohydrates if the ratio between quinoa and vegetables leans towards the quinoa.  And many recipes call for more oil than a dieter would want.

How, I wondered, could I make this more of a diet dish while still retaining the tabouli goodness?  My solution was to cut the oil dramatically and add new crunchy vegetables, snow peas and green beans, to the classic ingredients of tomato, cucumber, parsley, and green onions.  I’m now thinking that I could have also added baby bok choy; I’ll try that next time and let you know.

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