Three Sisters Salad

A few weeks ago I added a cocktail to my blog called the Four Sisters.  It was a cocktail that we “four sisters by choice” concocted and decided Four Sisters was a perfect name.  We enjoyed a couple pitchers that day and have enjoyed several since.  This is a salad called “Three Sisters Salad” that has nothing to do with our cocktail, although it would pair nicely.  The three sisters in this recipe refers to the combination of corn, beans, and winter squash, key crops of indigenous Americans.  The recipe is from the June/July 2020 issue of fine Cooking.  I improvised a bit, mostly out of necessity.  Since this pandemic started there are certain grocery items that are nearly impossible to find.  For instance, dried beans.  Who knew that a pandemic would cause people to hoard dried beans, but it must be a thing.  This recipe called for dried black eyed peas and gave instructions for cooking them with onion and garlic and some herbs.  Actually, even canned black eyed peas are hard to find.  I had always looked for them in the section of the grocery with the other dried and canned beans.  Even though they are called a pea they are actually a bean.  On a recent grocery run I found them in the canned vegetable section.  Right next to canned green peas, which are truly a disgusting thing.  These particular canned beans had a very pleasant smoky taste, if you like that sort of thing, and they were a really good, I thought, addition to the salad.

Also, although one of the three sisters is winter squash, this recipe called for zucchini.  And there is plenty of that available this time of year.

Dressing Ingredients:

3 T white wine vinegar

1 T Dijon mustard

I T maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

1 T finely minced jalapeño (I took the seeds out of mine)

Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, kernels removed

3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and separated

2 slender zucchini cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices and halved

1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Make the dressing and set aside.  In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, syrup, and mustard.  Continue whisking while adding the oil in a slow, steady stream.  Stir in the jalapeño and a little salt and pepper.

Slice the zucchini and green onions and tear the basil leaves.

Remove the corn from the cob.  Heat a heavy skillet over high heat and add the corn.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the scallion whites, stir, and cook for another minute.  Transfer the corn and onions to a large bowl.

 

Drain and rinse the black eyed peas.

Add the black eyed peas to the bowl with the corn.

Add the zucchini and dressing and stir to combine.  Stir in the basil and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with the scallion greens.

We enjoyed our Three Sisters Salad with cod poached in white wine, tomatoes and capers and fresh green beans.

NOTE:  Obviously, if you prefer, and if you can find them, you could cook the dried black eyed peas and add them to the salad.  The recipe calls for 8 oz. of dried beans (about 1cup).  Or, if you can find traditional vs the southern style black eyed peas, that would work as well.  Although, I must say, the smoky taste worked for me.  If you prefer you could use different beans altogether…lima, canary, navy, pinto.

The recipe called for a little less white wine vinegar (2 T) and less maple syrup (1 1/2 tsp).  I increased both a bit based on my taste.

This salad was great at room temperature or chilled.  I ate the leftovers the next day.

Zucchini “Pasta” Salad

One of my favorite cooking magazines is Cuisine at Home; this recipe was in the June 2018 issue.  There are a lot of good recipes and usually the ingredients are things you’d have in your pantry or things that are readily available at the grocery.  Not always.  But usually.  Recently I was on a mission looking for furikake for a salmon poke bowl and  gochujang for a barbeque sauce.  I found gochujang but no luck with furikake.  It’s always a challenge when you have to google the ingredients because you have no clue what they are.  But neither furikake or gochujang  are relevant to this recipe so it’s all good.  It’s fortunate that I’m married to someone who is always willing to try new things.  It makes experimenting with new recipes and mystery ingredients a lot more enjoyable.

Some time ago I purchased a spiralizer which is essential for preparing this dish.  Plus it’s just fun to use!

If you’re not inclined to purchase this kitchen toy I have noticed that spiralized vegetable are now available in the produce sections of large supermarkets so you may be able to pick up zucchini that has already been spiralized.    It just won’t be as much fun.

Friday night we had a vegetarian meal and this zucchini (zoodle) pasta salad was on the menu.  It’s easy and fast to prepare.

Ingredients:

3-4 zucchini spiralized

1 T kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp minced lemon zest

3 T fresh lemon juice

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T minced fresh garlic

1 1/2 tsp honey

1 cup torn basil leaves

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

grated pecorino cheese

Toss the spiralized zucchini with 1 T kosher salt in a strainer set over a bowl or plate.  Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes.

Rinse the zucchini zoodles and dry in a salad spinner.

Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and honey for the dressing.  Toast the pine nuts.

Toss the zoodles, pine nuts, and fresh basil together along with the dressing.  Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy.

This was the first time I’ve made this salad.  I think substituting toasted walnuts or pecans for the pine nuts would be good.  As well as the addition of sliced strawberries or cherry tomatoes which would add color and another layer of flavor.  As always I believe recipes are meant to be personalized.

NOTE:  Salting and straining vegetables like eggplant and zucchini help to remove some of the excess water.  You just need to be sure to rinse them.  Spiralized veggies like zucchini can also substitute for pasta in recipes if you’re counting calories.

 

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

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Some of my favorite recipes are from my Knit Wit girl friends. We have the most incredible pot lucks!  All of us love to cook and bake and feed people. This recipe showed up at one of our feasts and I make it often.  It’s a great side dish but last night it was my entree with a piece of crusty bread I made a couple nights ago.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked orzo (prepared per package instructions)

2 cups baby spinach chopped

5 oz jar sun dried tomatoes in oil

3 T red onion chopped

1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts undrained

14 oz can small artichoke hearts chopped

3 oz feta cheese

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NOTE:  I used sweet white onion because I didn’t have red. And I was out of feta cheese…which is really a good addition.   But the salad still tasted really good even without the cheese. 😊

Bring two cups of salted water to a boil, add the orzo and cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

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Rough chop both artichokes and put them in a salad bowl.  Set the marinade aside.

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Rough chop the tomatoes (reserve the oil) and dice the onion.

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Add the tomatoes, onion, and sliced olives to the salad bowl.

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Add the orzo to the salad bowl. I like to do it when the orzo is still warm. I think the orzo observes the flavors of the marinade and oil better.

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Rough chop the spinach and add it to the salad bowl.

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Toss the salad along with the marinade from the jar of artichokes and some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes. Add 3 oz of cubed feta cheese (remember, I was out of feta) and salt and pepper to taste. I prefer this salad at room temperature but it’s also good chilled. Either way, I’m sure you will enjoy it.

This salad is great served with lamb chops, fish or even a good burger. This afternoon we had left over salad with tuna melts.

Coleslaw

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This weekend we had an at-home fish fry with friends. They brought the walleye and fried it up and I made the sides. For me an essential side with fish is coleslaw. I also like coleslaw on my fish tacos. I have had some really awesome slaws and some very mediocre…or worse…slaws. I like my coleslaw to have crunch and to be a little tangy, a little bit sweet. It’s something that should be made a bit ahead so the flavors can marry. It even makes a great midnight snack, speaking from experience!

Ingredients:

10 cups, approximately, of shredded or finely chopped cabbage

1 cup of matchsticked carrots

1/2 cup of matchsticked radishes

1/2 cup of red onion chopped (more or less based on personal taste)

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup half n half

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 T white wine vinegar

2 T fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

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You can shred your own cabbage or purchase a bag of shredded cabbage (2# bag). Shred or use a mandolin to matchstick your radishes and carrots. Chop your onion.

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Mix your vegetables together in a large bowl.

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Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the vegetables. Toss well and refrigerate. Mix a couple more times before serving.

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Enjoy!

NOTE:  Like any salad you can add or delete items. Just don’t delete the cabbage or it wouldn’t be coleslaw. According to NPR the term coleslaw came from the Dutch term koolsla… “kool” means cabbage and “sla” means salad. We anglicized kool into cole.  While it’s best served cold, it’s coleslaw, not cold slaw.