Arsip Tag: mixed

prague, vienna and a mixed salad – smitten kitchen

Not to make the understatement of the century or anything, but Prague is stunning with its pastel contrasts, village-under-a-snow globe cityscape and cobblestone sidewalks, not to mention beer so delicious I’m still craving it with breakfast today, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there. We walked from one end to the other twice, ate leaden dumplings and paperweights of smoked pork while accordion players stumbled around us. We failed to hunt down the Golem, or even a chunk of mud from the river for my father, as he requested, but had fun trying. I’m really glad I finally made it there.

trolley linesa hundred wishescemeteryprague vista

So were the other ten million people in the city last week, where the tourism, I’m sorry to say, is near-paralyzing. (We, of course, were not tourists but world citizens. Right.) Sure, we were warned, but we live in New York and understand that any place worth wandering around will be filled with others who had the same bright idea. But this was like Times Square, minus the cozy neighborhoods twenty blocks in any direction, and the small city seems to be struggling under the weight of all of the world’s citizens wanting to take a peek. You know, people like us.

coffeeoutside the bookstorerye breadsp

But Vienna, Vienna my love. Vienna waited for me, just like Billy Joel promised me it would when I had my monstrous crush on him throughout middle (coughhigh) school. I fell instantly in love with its cafe society, late nights, lush park space, walkability and impeccably dressed masses. We’d been warned that there wasn’t a whole lot to “do” in Vienna, that we wouldn’t need more than 48 hours there, but I don’t think these people used their time as I did: imagining our expatriate lives there, and taking late night swings into to sidewalk restaurants for a glass of wine and a slice of cake, with our Westie in tow.

orange flower, state operacastlecastle groundsgaslight

I don’t even know where to get started on the food, but rest assured you’ll be hearing a lot about it in the coming weeks. For today, however, I’m going to start in the simplest place, this delight known as the gemischter Salat, or mixed salad, available everywhere from basement beer pubs to sleek, minimal restaurants.

apfelstrudeleiskaffee

If there is one running joke we had about Central Europe, it’s that aside from cabbage and potatoes, these children do not eat their vegetables. We tried to offset the leaden-belly effect with a salad the first night, ordering a mixed salad that I secretly hoped would be like the scattered Bibb lettuce salad I like at Wallse, finished with drops of nearly pitch-black pumpkin seed oil. Instead we received a bowl of rather ordinary-looking lettuce, but after lifting a couple pieces unearthed a trilogy of awesome underneath: a spoonful of potato salad, cucumber salad and cabbage salad.

shredded cabbagecaraway seedspotato saladcabbage salad

After a week of eating out and more pastries, beer and wine than I’d ever own up to, I was craving only this when we returned. Luckily, we’ve already got the Viennese cucumber salad down pat, but I struggled to get the potato and especially cabbage salad the way we’d eaten it Austria, which is a shame as they were so simple.

gemischter Salat

Thus, I’ve got no recipe to swear by today, just approximations in my head I hope to get ironed out in the coming weeks, weeks that by the end of, I’m sure we’ll all be crying out for more mac-and-cheese, less streudel. But for me, at least, that’s a long way off.

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mixed citrus salad with feta and mint – smitten kitchen

Like many New Yorkers, I have a healthy fear of the Upper West Side’s Fairway Market (the Harlem one isn’t so bad, but the Pulaski Skyway is technically closer to my apartment). Sure, they sell everything in the world, but from my rough estimation, the store contains everyone in the world at any given moment and it turns out, the quickest way to turn me into the kind of person with plumes of smoke pouring from my ears as I white-knuckle a shopping cart is to ram into the back of my ankles with yours. Ahem. So yes, I don’t shop there very often.

the citrus lineup

But last weekend! Last weekend I went to their new store in New Jersey… ah, New Jersey with its wide-open spaces and aisles wide enough for two shopping carts in opposing directions and acres upon acres of refrigerated produce space. I about lost it when I saw more than a dozen varieties of citrus and suddenly this citrus salad idea that I had been kicking around in the back of my head became The Next Thing I Absolutely Had To Make.

cara carapale pink grapefruitcara cara, peeledpeeled, sliced into wheels

I’m a sucker for a colorful, lettuce-free salad, and in warmer times my defaults are this Mediterranean Pepper Salad or anything that allows me to go nuts with purple carrots. But in dreary January, these pink, orange and red-celled wheels of citrus were a sight for sore eyes, this fresh platter a brief and delicious respite from considering things to braise, roast and cook for hours. My mind turned to cruise ships, damp island breezes and marshmallow wrists and legs in tiny swim trunks and for a few minutes I completely forgot we’ve got months of winter to go. I call that a salad miracle.

all of my citrus lovelies
mixed citrus wheels
mixed citrus, feta and mint

One year ago: Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake
Two years ago: Anything-But-Clementine Clafoutis
Three years ago: Hibernation Fare

Mixed Citrus Salad with Feta, Onion and Mint

3 to 4 tablespoons red onion, cut into tiny bits
4 pieces of citrus, preferably a mix of grapefruits and oranges but use what you can get, and what you like to eat (spoiled by the spread at the store, I used 1 pink grapefruit, 1 cara cara and 1 blood orange, and 1 mineola)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) feta cheese, chopped or crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped or cut into tiny slivers

Place your red onion in the bottom of a medium bowl. Nest a strainer over the bowl.

Prepare your citrus fruits by beveling the stem end of one, cutting enough off that you reveal the pith-free flesh of the fruit. Repeat on the other end. Rest your fruit on one of its now-flat surface and begin cutting the peel and pith off in large, vertical pieces. You want the fruit’s exterior to be “white”-free.

Turn the fruit back on its side and cut it into 1/4-inch thick wheels, removing any seeds and thick white stem as you do. Place the wheels and any collected juices from the cutting board in the strainer over the bowl with onion. Repeat with remaining citrus fruits. (As the extra juices drip over the bowl, it will soften the raw onion bite.)

Spread the fruit slices out on a platter. Scoop out the onion bits (a slotted spoon or fork does the trick) and sprinkle them over, leaving the juice in the bowl. Whisk one tablespoon of juice (this is all I had accumulated) with red wine vinegar or lemon juice, Dijon and olive oil. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the citrus, sprinkle with feta and mint, adjust salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately and daydream of warmer places.

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