When It’s Too Hot to Cook…

20 07 2011

Temperatures are soaring in central Canada

Much of central/eastern Canada and the United States is currently engulfed in a heat wave that looks as though it’s only going to get worse in the days ahead!  Even those of us fortunate enough to have decent air conditioning don’t really feel like turning on the stove.  Standing over a hot grill outdoors isn’t much more appealing. Here are a few of my favourite ‘no-cook’ ideas for keeping the kitchen cool when the temperature soars:

Seafood Salad with Buttermilk-Avocado Dressing – Pick up some cooked seafood at the fish market and pair it with a cooling avocado-based dressing.

Asian Summer Slaw – Bagged coleslaw makes this delicious Asian-style salad a snap to put together.

Asian Summer Slaw

Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes – You can make these as hors d’oeuvres or use larger tomatoes for an elegant main dish.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette – Dress up summer’s best tomatoes with tangy goat cheese and a simple vinaigrette.

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad – Cool crème fraîche and cucumbers are delicious with smoked salmon and fresh dill.

Guacamole with chips – A summer classic. Serve with frosty margaritas!

Guacamole

Caprese Salad – If you have great tomatoes, dinner doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Chopped Antipasto Salad with Italian Vinaigrette – Some Italian favourites – in salad form!

Rotisserie Chicken – Pick up a rotisserie chicken at your favourite deli or supermarket and try these delicious ways to use it.

Duck Confit Salad with Fresh Raspberries – Shredded duck confit and fresh raspberries make an elegant and unusual dinner.

Sandwiches – Use summer’s bounty to make tasty and refreshing sandwiches. Tomato, cucumber, onion and lettuce all pair well with your favourite meats and cheeses.

Peach Tiramisu – An elegant no-bake dessert

Fresh Fruit – One of the best things about summer is that the fruit is so good, it doesn’t require much embellishment. Of course, a little fresh whipped cream on strawberries or peaches never hurt!

Peach Tiramisu

Bon Appétit and Stay Cool!

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Copyright Trish Coleman. Please contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

20 02 2010

 

Beets in cold storage

 

I tend to think of salad as a summer dish, which makes sense considering all the great produce available during the summer months.  Salads are the perfect meal when it’s hot out – crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes and sweet peppers are refreshing when the weather turns humid.  However, salads can work in colder months too. Winter salads can be made with seasonal vegetables such as beets, celery root or potatoes and often incorporate cheese, nuts or meat to make them more substantial. 

Pairing roasted beets with nuts and cheese is not a new idea; in fact, I recently tried a delicious version with gorgonzola and pistachios at Locanda Verde restaurant in New York City.  My version calls for walnuts and feta cheese but goat cheese can be substituted if you’d prefer.  A bright sherry vinegar dressing pulls all of the flavours together.  Don’t skip the pickled shallots – they take a few minutes to make but add a nice sweet-tart element to the salad.  The salad is substantial enough to be a main course but you can always adjust the servings to work as a starter.

Roasting Beets:  To roast beets with minimal mess, trim the roots and greens, if still attached (reserve the greens for another use). Peel the beets and discard peelings. Cut beets into 1-1/2″ cubes and toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of neutral tasting oil such as canola or safflower oil. Spread beet chunks on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes or until beets are tender and beginning to caramelize. Wash hands immediately after handling the beets to avoid staining.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 2 main course salads or 4 starter course salads

  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 4 beets, cubed and roasted (see ‘Roasting Beets’ above)
  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese or to taste
  • Pickled shallots (see recipe below)
  • Sherry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Pickled Shallots

  • 5 shallots, peeled and cut into thin rings (about ½ cup of shallots)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and add shallots.
  2. Let mixture simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until it cools.
  3. Drain vinegar and use pickled shallots as desired

Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tablespoons of neutral oil such as canola or safflower
  • 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon style mustard
  • A pinch of salt
  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients and whisk until combined.

To Assemble Salads:

  1. In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with enough vinaigrette to moisten leaves. Assemble greens on plates.
  2. Top greens with beets, walnuts, feta and shallots. Lightly toss each serving until ingredients are combined. Drizzle with more vinaigrette if desired.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta