Category Archives: Salad

When Life Gives You Giant Yellow Cucumbers, Make Pickles: Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I absolutely love pickles. Even when I was young, I would beg my mother to buy me a jar of sweet pickles at the grocery store.  They were like crisp tangy candies that I couldn’t wait to get home and crunch between my teeth.  Years later, as a twenty-something living in New York City, I discovered the Japanese versions of my favorite treat. And for many years, I couldn’t eat at a sushi restaurant without ordering a giant plate of Tsukemono to start.

My favorite place to eat Japanese food, however, is not any of the myriad of NYC spots I frequented over my eight years in the Big Apple. It’s my sister’s house in Massachusetts. She and her husband Takeshi have the most impressive artillery of Japanese sauces, vinegars, spices, and seasonings that an ingredient-hungry cook like myself has ever seen. They also, amazingly, are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So on a recent visit, when my sister reluctantly pulled out a huge bag of giant yellow cucumbers they had received from their farm-share, I knew just what to make. We served them Miso-Glazed Cod, white rice and an avocado salad and they were delicious!

Enjoy!

Heather

Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Nephew and Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers served here with Miso-Glazed Cod. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers

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Filed under Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Lunch, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Adventures in Himalayan Salt Block Cooking: Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

A few years ago, on Christmas morning, my sister handed me a rather heavy gift. Inside was a beautiful pink slab of what looked like marble. This is embarrassing, but I had no idea what it was. “It’s a Himalayan salt block!” Naturally. My sister announced, proud of her creative yet relevant gift idea.   And as much as I loved the look and idea of this gorgeous pink block, I’m ashamed to say, it has been sitting in my pantry the ever since. Every so often she would ask, “Have you used that salt block we gave you?” Wide eyed and so excited to hear how it had worked out.  I would shamefully promise, “Not yet. But I will!”

The truth is that I have been intimidated. I consider myself well-versed on the subject of kitchen equipment. I thought from my experience in restaurants that I knew  all there is to know about what an ambitious home cook should have or covet for their own kitchen.  But sure enough, my over-achieving, brilliant, multitasking, genius-of-a-sister had to find the one cooking tool I’d never heard of. The other problem was that, at the time, there wasn’t much information on salt blocks out there. I couldn’t even find a recipe on the internet. More recently, they seem to be growing in popularity and cookbooks are being published on how to use the stunning pink blocks. Not to mention that, a few weeks ago, my sister sent me an email with dozens of links to salt block recipes. God she’s good. I no longer had an excuse. It was time to break in this beauty. I should have done it sooner because the results have been marvelous.

I started out with shrimp, which was incredible! And then moved on to the beloved pork chop. The block gave the chops a beautiful dark crust and a moist, perfectly tender middle. If you don’t have a salt block, don’t worry, you can still make the below pork recipe using a grill or cast-iron skillet. I recommend serving it with a simple summer corn salad and gin gimlets to drink!

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

My beautiful friend Elena capturing the moment. Photo Credit:  Heather Platt

My beautiful friend Elena capturing the moment. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad
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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Salad, Side, Summer

The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook: Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

The VT farm table cookbook 3mbb

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

A few months ago, I received an exciting email from a woman named Tracey Medeiros. Tracey lives in Vermont and is a freelance food writer, food stylist,  recipe developer and tester. She is quite frankly, my dream job personified.  She had  found me  on the internet and, noticing that I’m a food-oriented person from Vermont, asked  if I would like a copy of her latest cookbook The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook.  Once my palpable envy of her career/life  subsided, I responded with an obvious and extremely grateful “YES and thank you!” The truth is that I already owned her first  wonderful cookbook Dishing up Vermont. It was one of those cookbooks that I’d flipped through over and over again. The charming pictures of Vermont farm animals, inns, restaurants and the beautiful dishes it’s chefs had created with the local and seasonal produce, cheese, eggs, meat and poultry would make me hungry and homesick all at once.  When I received The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook in the mail from Tracey’s publicist, it had the same effect on me.  With a strong urge to make hearty winter dishes like Vermont Cheddar Soup, Sauteed Sea Scallops in a Smoked Bacon and Maple Cream Sauce and Amber Ale-Braised Highland Chuck Beef Roast, I ignored the 90 degree weather and the palm trees swaying outside the window of my Los Angeles apartment and headed to my local farmers market. The results,  albeit weather-inappropriate were always delicious.

Now, several months later, I am here in this magical moment in Vermont known as late June. The mountains are more verdant than ever, the buttercups are decorating the fields like yellow sprinkles on a bright green cake, the humid heat of summer has not yet arrived but the cold is long gone. The sun seems like it will never set and a cool breeze makes for restful nights. So what better time to continue cooking from my new favorite Vermont cookbook? And seeing as I was married last weekend here amidst the glory of the green mountains and proceeded to  happily indulge in food (I can’t seem seem to get enough cheese!!) and beverage, it seemed appropriate to eat a salad made of local kale.

Almost of the ingredients for this refreshing and nourishing salad were purchased at the East Warren Community Market in Warren, Vermont. This is my all-time favorite place to buy food. Everything on the shelves is made locally with love and the store is so perfectly curated that the manager once told me that she didn’t carry a certain kind of popcorn because she didn’t like the packaging. The feta I used is from Maplebrook Farms in Bennington, Vermont and I substituted pine nuts for the pepitas.

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Massaged Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

by Tracey Medeiros

serves 4

  • 1/3 cup pepitas (or walnuts or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch green kale, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup Asian Peanut Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 2 small peaches, pitted and diced
  • 2 ounces Maplebrook Farm feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

Place the pepitas, oil and salt in a medium skillet and toss to coat. Toast over medium heat until the pepitas turn light brown and start to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the kale and 1/2 of the dressing. Using your hands, massage the kale until it is bright green and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more dressing to taste. Top with the pepitas, peaches and feta. Serve at once.

Asian Peanut Dressing

Makes 1 1/3 cups

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Whisk together all the ingredients until combined.

Post wedding pics 055

 

maplebrook farm, feta

east warren community market

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under cookbooks, Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegetarian

Suzanne Goin’s AOC Cookbook Preview: Little Gems with Reed Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, and Cilantro

 

Little Gems with Reed Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, and Cilantro. Photo Credit:  Heather Platt

Little Gems with Reed Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, and Cilantro. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

I love this salad so much that I’ve made it three times since Suzanne emailed me access to the AOC Cookbook draft. With so many incredible recipes to try, it sounds crazy to be making one of them multiple times. But it’s made up of two of my favorite things, Cara Cara oranges, which are the most special and delicious of oranges, and avocados, which have become a staple in my California kitchen. This salad really is the perfect winter salad to brighten up a table full of hearty and rich winter fare. It is refreshing, light and crisp and since it’s Cara Cara season right now, why not make it while I can? And if possible, get your lettuces from Coleman Farms at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.  They have the most beautiful lettuces in California. And don’t be dissuaded by Farmer Romeo’s serious exterior. He’s so nice that his nickname is “The Jolly Green Giant.”( I prefer to call him “Romeo, Romeo”). In any case, Coleman Farms is where the Lucques chefs go for lettuce. And I suggest you do too!

 

Coleman Farmers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Coleman Farmers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Romeo Coleman of Coleman Farms, the best place to get lettuce! Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Romeo Coleman of Coleman Farms, the best place to get lettuce! Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Cara Cara Oranges. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Cara Cara Oranges. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Limes for the avocado dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Limes for the avocado dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under Appetizer, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Salad, Vegetarian, Winter

Kumquat Fix: Roasted Carrot, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

I’ll admit it. I’m a kumquataholic. This time of year kumquats are bountiful at the restaurant where I work. There’s a giant tub of them in the walk-in refrigerator and the bartender always has a perfect glass cup filled with halves of the adorable little citrus fruits. And whether I’m dressed in a white chef’s jacket helplessly searching for Tat Soy in the walk-in, or up front welcoming guests, the little orange gems are calling to me.  Normally, admitting that you have a habit of taking something that isn’t yours while others aren’t looking is a shameful confession. But with something as irresistible as the kumquat, can you really blame me? And quite frankly, no one does. Especially Farmer Peter Shaner himself, who grows the flawless kumquats we serve at Lucques. So when I saw at my local farmer’s market last week, a bushel of what appeared to be equally delicious looking kumquats, I bought a lot of them. And instead of hurriedly popping them in my mouth for just a moment of undeniable pleasure, I made this salad.

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Appetizer, Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Salad, Side, Spring, Vegetarian

‘Tis the Season for Seasonal Salad: Spinach, Endive and Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Maple Vinaigrette

When it comes to food and the holidays, I have a weakness for tradition. And even though I am the kind of person who will eat anything and everything you put in front of me anytime of day (as long as there is some hope of it being delicious), for the holidays I like to stick with tradition. Because, after all, that’s what the holidays are all about; doing the same rituals year after year after year so that in an ever changing world we at least can rely on turkey on Thanksgiving, prime rib for Christmas and potato latkes for Hannukah. I find comfort in this. For Christmas dinner, which I have made every year for my entire family for the past five years, I always start with a seasonal salad. In my opinion, every elegant holiday meal should start with some hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and conversation, followed by a seasonal salad, a hearty main course and something special for dessert. This spinach and endive salad is the perfect salad for your holiday meal. It’s the ideal combination of this season’s flavors and is so easy it won’t take time away from the the rest of the meal you’ll be perfecting this holiday season.

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Appetizer, Christmas, Dinner, Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Salad, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, Winter

Fall Starters: Pear Salad with Manchego and Cashews

A few weeks ago, I was walking through the kitchen at work and noticed the pastry chef arranging beautiful, plump pears on to a sheet tray. The adorable little fruits were lined up perfectly, side by side with stems up just waiting to be plucked up for another delicious creation. I smiled, thinking to myself  “welcome back little guys.” Not that I usually talk to fruit, but I hadn’t seen them in a year and I felt a great fondness for this first sign that fall is really here. A few days after I saw those pears on the sheet tray, the weather here in LA shifted from what had been a scorching hot who-wants-to-cook-anything-in-this-heat summer to a cool, soothing, brisk fall. As someone who grew up in northern Vermont, I am qualified to say that we don’t really get seasons here. We only get hints of seasons, a subtle sense of what fall might really feel like. Once in awhile, the way an unemployed person might forget which day of the week it is, I forget what season we’re in. I guess that’s what pears are for…they’re pretty great in salads with manchego and toasted cashews too.

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Salad, Vegetarian