Chile Oil-Scallion Noodles

One thing I’ve learned about the weather in Austin is that it never just rains… It “we need to build the ark because the streets are floodingpours.

I mean, I’m used to heavy rains and flash floods (Monsoon season in Vegas is like that), but this, this is something.

And another thing –  I don’t believe the weather forecasters here anymore.  Yesterday there was a 10% chance of rain. So J and I headed out to the ranch at 6:20 a.m. and promptly got to work.

By 8:30 a.m., we stopped because it started to pour.

And pour some more.

J had trouble getting his truck off the ranch because the mud was so thick. And this is a lifted 4 wheel drive truck. With oversize tires. I can hear my father snickering from here, because my car would have sank.

I might have to concede defeat in this department. 

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Chile-Oil Scallion Noodles – adapted from Bon Appetit

Chile-Scallion Oil:

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Noodles and assembly:

  • 6 ounces Japanese wheat noodles (I used linguine, we prefer it)
  • 2 tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

For chile-scallion oil:
Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar.

For noodles and assembly:
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles and scallions; toss to coat. Toss with cucumber, radishes, and cilantro and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.

 

Farro with Sweet Peppers, Goat Cheese and Kale

There’s a funny story about this salad….

I didn’t actually eat it.

Ergo, I am unable to verify its edibility or inedibility.

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How’s that for a recipe recommendation?

Seriously, though, this truly is a fine example of simplicity at its finest, and I can’t wait to make it again so I can actually try it.

Farro with Sweet Peppers, Goat Cheese and Kale – adapted from Serious Eats

1 cup farro
6 tbs. olive oil
2 red peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 tbs. red wine vinegar1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Fresh ground black pepper
1 bag kale salad blend
2 ounces goat cheese

Combine farro and 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until farro is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. When done, drain farro in a colander and set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add sliced peppers and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender, but still have some crunch, about 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and oregano and toss well to combine. Season to taste with black pepper.

Arrange the kale salad blend on a large platter. Sprinkle the cooked farro over the top. Lay the sauteed peppers over the top of the farro, then crumble the goat cheese on top of the peppers. Drizzle with more olive oil and black pepper.

Avocado and Orange Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

When the posse’s away, the mouse will play.

Except I’m not exactly playing. 

Since the kids are gone until Sunday, I set a goal for myself this week – I figure if I can accomplish one home-improvement project per day, I will be caught up with all the “little annoying tasks that must be completed”… like finishing the paint in the hallway and my bathroom, hanging the kids’ diplomas and award certificates, cleaning up the game room and garage, etc. etc. etc.

The list, I know, can be endless. But there are a few that are imperative – simply because I’m getting tired of seeing them in a state of disarray.

On another positive note though, I am also trying a few new recipes that only I would eat. It’s a new concept for me not to have to consider their likes/dislikes when planning dinner. Not that they’re picky by any stretch, it’s just that certain combinations sound better to me than to them.

Tonight, I’m thinking it’s going to be salmon – I found a great recipe for a blackened seasoning – but one thing is for sure – that fish will be cooked and consumed OUTSIDE**!

** Long story about a blown fuse outside, which forced me to cook the fish inside the house and the smell was impossible to get rid of for almost two weeks -never again is all I can say…….

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Avocado and Orange Salad – adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 jalapeño
1 small shallot, finely chopped (I used a red onion)
2 tbs. white wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 avocados, sliced
2 oranges – peeled, sliced into rounds
2 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (I left this out – strictly by accident, of course)

Simmer  juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 5-8 minutes. Let cool.

Heat a small heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook jalapeño, turning occasionally, until blistered and charred all over, about 8 minutes. Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds, then finely chop.
Whisk shallot, vinegar, reduced  juice, and jalapeño in a medium bowl; season with pepper. Whisk in vegetable oil. Set vinaigrette aside.
Arrange greens on a serving plate, then lay orange slices and avocado on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Roasted Farro Tabbouleh

I’m generally not one to boast, but I’m a bit impressed with myself today ….  because as I scroll through my posts from this week, I realize how much I accomplished last weekend with all the great recipes we tried and loved.

….. don’t worry, I won’t break my arm patting myself on the back…..

Having said all that, though, I am struggling with ideas for tomorrow …..  but one thing is for certain – there will be ample pool and barbecue time involved…

But no oven. :)

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Roasted Farro Salad – adapted from Martha Stewart

3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium red onion, cut crosswise into thin slices
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup farro
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans
2 bunches parsley, roughly chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
Lemon juice, plus wedges for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with racks in middle and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes and onion with 5 teaspoons olive oil, season with pepper, and roast on bottom rack of oven until soft and skins have blistered and burst, about 30 minutes. On a separate, small baking sheet, spread farro in an even layer and toast on top rack of oven until fragrant and deep golden, stirring halfway through, 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cook the farro according to package instructions. Transfer to a large bowl, season with pepper, stir in beans; let cool if still warm. Stir in parsley, tomatoes, onions, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and lemon juice to taste and transfer to serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Avocado, Hearts of Palm and Tomato Salad

So tomorrow is Mother’s Day…. a day in which everyone is “supposed” to be nice to their mother with gifts, flowers, and extra special treatment.

Phooey, I say.

My mother (wise woman that she is) taught us that EVERY day is Mother’s Day. “Don’t be nice to me one day a year because Hallmark says you should be. Be nice to me ALL year”.

Truer words were never spoken.

With that sentiment in mind, I made her favorite salad a few weeks ago when she and my dad came over for dinner. The original idea came from T-Bones restaurant here in Las Vegas – they serve this simple yet outstanding salad composed of greens, chopped tomato, hearts of palm and avocado – and dress it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked black pepper.

yummy…..

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Alexander’s Favorite Salad – The Caprese

Just to prove the point that you NEVER know what your child will eat, I present to you Alexander’s favorite salad:

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Never woulda thunk it – but then again, he is changing every single day…..

Caprese Salad 

3 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Mexican Corn Salad

Question of the day:

Why is it, that when you have an opportunity to sleep in, you wake up super early revving to get the day started……and on the days you have to get up early, you want to pull the covers over your face, wave the white flag and say “I surrender!”

The world may never know.

Of course, it doesn’t help one iota that the temperature was 51 degrees this morning, as well as windy and overcast. A perfect day for staying in bed.

Yet here I am at work, surrounded by a bunch of grouches.

Next time, I’m calling in dead. Because calling in sick just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Mexican Corn Salad – adapted from Serious Eats

2 tablespoons butter
3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 glove garlic, grated
2 green onions, sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juice
chili powder to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn, toss and let it sit cooking until charred, mix it up and let it char again, about 6-10 minutes. Add the jalapeno, saute for a minute and remove from heat.
Mix in remaining ingredients and serve warm or at room temperature.