Category Archives: Salads

An Ode to Simplicity: Watermelon & Fresh Lime Juice

The best things in life are often the simplest ones. This is of course, also true for food. At friends’ Eliot and Rebecca’s last night, we had a great dessert composed of a winning combo: watermelon and fresh lime juice. Who Knew?

//epicurious.blogs.com)

Watermelons (from http://epicurious.blogs.com)

Turns out, watermelon has been around a long time. Packed with Vitamin C and A, and some good B  vitamins, evidence of this fruit and plant has turned up in the Nile Valley  as long ago as the Second Millenium BCE.

Mark Twain once said that watermelon was “chief of the world’s luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat.”

Science Daily reports that watermelon may have a viagra effect, which the Jerusalem Report covered last week (reportedly setting off an unprecedented surge in watermelon sales in a country that already appreciates the fruit for its other delights).

Did you know that we are in the midst of “National Watermelon Month”? (Neither did I). Made up of 90% water, it’s no surprise that it’s a summer favorite and a favorite for those of us trying to shed a bit of our winter insulation. But have you tried it with lime???

Delicious Limes

Delicious Limes

According to the very trusted (!) Wikipedia entry on limes, the name for these little citrus fruits is derived from the Perian, “limu”, and was introduced to Europe during the Crusades. There are of course, many kinds of limes, but they are also a great source of Vitamin C, and have an “antibiotic” effect.

In several villages in West Africa where cholera epidemics had occurred, the inclusion of lime juice during the main meal of the day was determined to have been protective against the contraction of cholera. (Cholera is a disease triggered by activity of the bacteria called Vibrio cholera). Researchers quickly began to experiment with the addition of lime juice to the sauce eaten with rice, and in this role, lime juice was also found to have a strong protective effect against cholera.

So now, to the point:

Cut up some juicy watermelon into little chunks and squeeze fresh limes all over them. For a stronger flavor, you can zest the limes as well. It’s a refreshing, delicious and surprisingly nutritious way to end a meal (or begin one).

For specifics, see this recipe in the San Francisco Gate.

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Filed under Breakfast, desserts, Israeli, Middle-Eastern, Salads, sides

Beet Salad with Feta, Orange and Mint

This is a recipe from Alfred Portale’s Simple Pleasures. It’s a perfect autumnal salad that brings in some packed, fresh and almost summery flavor to it. Delicious.

You can also find the recipe online here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Cookbooks, Salads

Arugula Salad with Walnuts, Pears & Goat Cheese

Great fast autumn salad. You could do apples instead of pears (but why? pears are SO good!), or pecans instead of walnuts (but walnuts are SO healthy for you) and feta instead of goat cheese (but – don’t  – goat cheese is just…yum). I’m not so into the whole cranberry thing – but I could see that working for some folks here. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of baby arugula
  • A bunch of walnuts (1/3-1/2 cup maybe?); candied (need a bit of brown sugar)
  • 2 bosc pears
  • crumbled goat cheese (as much as you like)
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 3 tomatoes (get rid of the seeds)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic – pressed
  • sprinkle of sugar – or some OJ; or 1 tbsp. rasberry jam

Directions

  1. The key here is “emulsifying” the dressing – blending really does make a huge difference. So – blend vinegar, garlic, sugar (or substitute) adding olive oil.
  2. The rest is self explanatory. Enjoy.

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Strawberry Mango Mesculun Salad

Great salad – easy and full of great flavour. I would recommend cutting down the sugar content (recipe calls for 1/2 cup – which is WAY too much!) My mom usually subs in orange juice instead of sugar in recipes.  Play around with it. I think I got this from the Netivot HaTorah recipe book, “gatherings.”

Ingredients:

  • sugar (calls for 1/2 cup – but that’s outrageous!)
  • 3/4 canola oil
  • 1/3 balsamic vinegar (I like a lighter vinegar with this salad personally)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 cups mesculun mix
  • 2 cups sweet & dried cranberries
  • 8 ounces strawberries quartered
  • 1 large mango – peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

Serves 6-8 people.

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Filed under Salads, Shabbat

Martha Shem-Tov’s Quinoa

Martha in her Kitchen

At the ripe old age of 66, cute little Polish Martha Shem-Tov decided to climb Machu Pichu in Peru, with her childhood friend Joanna Friedman. The two youngsters first discovered “this amazing quinoa” in Cuzco, on a street Martha calls, “you know, the Israeli street.” Quinoa, Martha explains to me over the phone is actually not a grain- but in fact a seed, deriving from the spinach family. In her history lesson with the Peruvian waiter, she learned that the ancient Incas knew long ago that quinoa is an excellent source of protein, and is a staple of Peru’s cuisine. This is also what Martha and Joanna ate while at a Peruvian homestay in Puno, where the locals are vegetarian and included quinoa in their soups. Martha attributes her success in climbing Machu Pichu to the quinoa. :>)

An accomplished cook in our family, when Martha is turned onto something – it’s not long before we all start trying it. “Quinoa,” Martha tells me, “can be served as a salad dish (she says for tabouli – although I prefer not to mess with the classic recipe) or as a side dish with cranberries, pine nuts and sunflower seeds. It can also be served hot for a side dish for meats, similar to rice – but “not empty calories.” Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of liquid; options: orange juice, water, chicken/veggie stock
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of sunflower seed oil
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries [substitutes: raisins or chopped apricots]
  • 2 tbsp. of pine nuts

Directions

  1. Rinse quinoa; add to pot
  2. Add liquid, salt and pepper and bring to boil; once boils, bring to medium heat
  3. Cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes
  4. Turn heat off; let it stand for 10 minutes; then fluff with fork
  5. In a frying pan, (while the quinoa is cooking) heat up oil on medium-high heat, drop in cranberries and stir until the cranberries “puff up a little bit”
  6. Drop this on top of the quinoa;
  7. In the same frying pan (without the oil) – brown/toast pine nuts; add to quinoa – fluff with fork
  8. Garnish with parsley or, as Martha calls it, “Chi-lantro” (aka: cilantro)

This should serve about 3-4 pple – depending on how piggish you are. :>)

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Tabouli to Die For

I went through a stage of addiction with Tabouli. I’m still in recovery, but it’s one straight way to my heart. Nothing quite like a fresh, perfectly dressed tabouli salad.

There are only two places I will order it out from: at The Olive Vine Cafe on Macdougal Street in NYC, and the Lebanese restaurant in Ein Karem (Just outside of Jerusalem). Mohammed, the Egyptian cook at the NYC spot, brought me into the kitchen once after I lauded him with compliments for his outstanding tabouli. His secrets (hope it’s okay I’m sharing!) were: (1) always make it fresh, and (2) nearly equal parts fresh mint, and fresh flat parsley.
My brother Eli, and mom Martha, taught me the basics once they got sick of my requests for it. What has evolved is my own take on the salad below. My cousin Mira, didn’t even like the salad, but continued to try for years, because of my impassioned obsession for it.
Enjoy! You can even sprinkle it with some crumbled feta (my aunt Marilyn’s spin on it) and enjoy it with some freshly baked pita.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup bulgur (cracked wheat); medium coarseness
  • 1 bunch fresh flat parsley, rinsed & chopped finely
  • 2 handfuls of fresh mint, rinsed & chopped finely
  • 2-3 green onions/scallions, rinsed & chopped finely; (alternatively, purple onion is a nice substitution)
  • 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 persian cucumbers (optional)
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed (Cedar or Goya are fave brands)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh lemons (1 -2) or two tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp. of very good olive oil; (the olive oil from middle eastern grocery stores tends to be the best)

Directions:

  1. Soak the bulgur in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 25 minutes; drain, rinse, squeeze out any extra liquid, and set aside, or in refrigerator
  2. Rinse parsely & mint; chop either by hand or in food processor
  3. Rinse scallions and chop finely, on an angle; add to parsley & mint
  4. Rinse cucumbers, and chop finely; add them & bulgur to the mix
  5. Tomatoes: I always do them last because of the juice it can get messy; dice
  6. Add drained chickpeas
  7. Whisk together the olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice, and dress.
  8. If you want to be fancy about presentation, looks nice on a bed of lettuce garnished with lemon slices – but I rarely have the patience for the Martha Stewart-touch. Stir and eat!

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Filed under Middle-Eastern, Salads