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Artichoke Heart and Chickpea Salad

Committee meeting working lunch, 2/14/13

Marinated artichokes are a great addition to a salad. They also make for easy salads – the artichoke hearts come in little jars, and the liquid in the jar is all you need for salad dressing!

  • 2 jars marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb salad greens (lettuce, spinach, or spring mix)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz feta cheese, optional

In a large bowl, toss together the artichoke hearts with their liquid and the drained chickpeas. Add the lettuce and toss to coat evenly with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. If desired, top with feta cheese.

Serves 8-10.

Roasted Squash Puree 

Roasted squash puree can be substituted for canned pumpkin in any recipe. You can make a large batch and freeze it to use whenever you need.

  • 1 winter squash, any variety (butternut, acorn, delicata, buttercup, hubbard, red kuri, cushaw, etc)

Preheat oven to 400. Slice the squash in half in whatever way is easiest. Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp. Save the seeds for toasting.

Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast until completely tender, about 90 minutes (timing will depend on the size of your squash). Allow to cool.

When cool, scoop the squash flesh away from the skin and place it in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the squash until it is fairly smooth. If desired, you could use a food processor, but a fork usually does the job well.

Use as you would canned pumpkin. Freeze for later use if desired.

Potato Salad with Eggs and Dill

Garden or farmers market potatoes and farmers market eggs are far more flavorful than what you find in the grocery. Show them off in this dish. For a slightly lighter version of this dish, see here.

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • salt, divided between cooking water and dressing
  • black pepper, to taste

Thoroughly wash potatoes and cut into bit-sized pieces. Place in a large pot and add enough water to cover by two inches. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 8-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender (timing will depend on the size of your pieces). When done, drain and allow to cool.

Roughly chop hard boiled eggs and combine with cooled potatoes in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk or stir together mustard, chopped dill, lemon juice or vinegar, mayonnaise, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour over potatoes and eggs. Toss to combine. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Serves 8-10 as a side dish.

Vinaigrette Guide

A vinaigrette is a type of dressing or sauce that combines an acid, usually vinegar or citrus juice, with oil. Vinaigrettes are easy to make, and once you get the basic idea, you can change them around to make all sorts of different dressings.

BASICS:

  • 1 part vinegar – Any variety except white vinegar, or you can use citrus juice, or combine different vinegars and juices
  • 3 parts oil – Canola, vegetable, olive, or other. Depending on the type of vinegar you use and the other ingredients you add, you may need less oil than 3 parts. In fact, most of the recipes on Sioux Chef use just 2 parts oil.
  • Salt – Add a pinch, then taste to see if you like the flavor. If the flavor seems flat, add another pinch. The salt should make the other flavors pop without tasting salty. If it starts to taste salty, you’ve gone too far

PROCEDURE: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and salt (if you don’t have a whisk, use a fork to mix). Then, hold the whisk in one hand and the oil in the other. Drizzle in the oil while whisking. This helps the oil and vinegar, which naturally separate into two layers, stay together better. Whisk or shake again immediately before using the dressing.

ADD-INS:

  • Mustard – Mustard helps bind together oil and vinegar, so dressing with a small amount of mustard in it will stay together much better. Add a small amount of mustard with the vinegar before whisking in the oil.
  • Sugar, honey, or other sweetener – For a sweeter salad dressing, add a small amount of sugar, honey, or another sweetener to the vinegar before adding the oil. Whisk well to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Onion, garlic, or shallots – These vegetables are added raw to flavor the dressing. Finely chop a small amount of onion, garlic, or shallot and add to the vinegar before whisking in oil.
  • Black Pepper – If you’re a fan of black pepper, add it to the vinegar along with the salt.
  • Herbs – Add fresh chopped herbs or dried herbs to the vinegar before adding oil.
  • Spices – Add your favorite spices to the vinegar before adding oil.
HOW MUCH DO I ADD? When you’re making a vinaigrette, keep tasting! Taste what you’re making as you go along and think about whether it might need a little more mustard in there, a little extra black pepper. Make it something you like.

Your homemade vinaigrettes can be kept in the fridge for up to a month, so you can make a big batch and use it for a long time. You may never need to buy salad dressing again!
Vinaigrette recipes from elsewhere on Sioux Chef:

Apple Cider Vinegar and Mustard Vinaigrette: whisk together 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons dijon or regular mustard, 1 teaspoon sugar, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) and whisk to make a vinaigrette.

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette: whisk together 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) and whisk to make a vinaigrette.

  • Variation – Citrus Balsamic: Instead of 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, use 1 tablespoon balsamic, 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice.
  • Variation – Dijon Balsamic: Add 2 teaspoons dijon mustard with the vinegar and whisk to combine before adding oil.
  • Variation – Honey Balsamic: Add 1 teaspoon honey  with the vinegar and whisk to combine before adding oil.

Citrus Vinaigrette: Whisk together 2 tablespoons lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice, 1 teaspoon sugar (optional for lemon, lime, or grapefruit, omit for orange), large pinch salt, and black pepper to taste. Add ¼ cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) and whisk to make a vinaigrette.

Garlicky Lemon-White Wine Vinaigrette: Finely chop 1 clove garlic. Whisk together 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, chopped garlic, large pinch salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in 1/4 cup oil (olive if you have it, or vegetable or canola) to make a vinaigrette.

Onion-Mustard Vinaigrette: Thinly slice or finely chop a quarter of a red onion. Add 1/4  white wine or red wine vinegar and a large pinch salt (the onion should be covered).. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours (refrigerated). Remove onions from vinegar and add them to your salad (or put them on a sandwich). Add 1/2  tablespoon Dijon or regular mustard and black pepper (to taste)  to the vinegar and whisk to combine. Whisk in 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola, or olive). Note: this makes a larger batch of salad dressing than the others listed here.

Mustard Dill Vinaigrette: Whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon chopped dill, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in 3 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable) to make a vinaigrette.

Potato and Turnip Salad with Dijon-Dill Dressing

Community garden training dinner, 6/4/12

Backlit salad in the sunset at the picnic after garden training

The turnips in this salad add a new texture and flavor to the dish – each one you find is like a little fun surprise. If you prefer an all-potato salad, feel free to omit the turnips and use more potatoes. Even with no mayonnaise here, the hard boiled egg yolks and vinaigrette dressing combine to make a creamy salad. For a mayo-ed version of this salad, click here.

  • 1 ½ lbs potatoes (red or yukon gold [waxy, firmer] work best, but regular baking potatoes [starchy, more crumbly] work too)*
  • ½ lb turnips*
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (see instructions here)
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • salt, divided between cooking water and dressing
  • black pepper, to taste

Wash potatoes. You do not need to peel them. Look at your turnips – if they are covered in wax from the grocery store, peel them. If they have no wax, wash them and do not peel.

Cut potatoes and turnips into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large pot and add enough water to cover by two inches. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the water. Bring the potatoes and turnips to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 5-8 minutes, or until both potatoes and turnips are tender (timing will depend on the size of your pieces). When done, drain potatoes and turnips and allow to cool.

Roughly chop hard boiled eggs and combine with cooled potatoes and turnips in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk or stir together mustard, chopped dill, lemon juice or vinegar, oil, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour over potatoes, turnips, and eggs. Toss to combine. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Serves 8-10 as a side dish.

*Potatoes and turnips can be grown in your own garden.

Sausage and Potato Soup

Most soups follow the same general cooking technique:

  1. Brown any meat and aromatic vegetables (usually onions, celery, carrots, and/or garlic) in oil
  2. Add liquid (chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water)
  3. Add slow-cooking vegetables (such as potatoes and other root vegetables) or beans
  4. Cook until the vegetables are tender
  5. In the last few minutes of cooking, add pasta, grains, or greens, and cook until just tender.

This sausage and potato soup is a basic one that is easy and tasty. Once you’re comfortable making it as written here, you can vary it to your liking by changing the components added at each of the steps listed above.                                                                                                                 

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable, canola, or olive oil
  • 8 oz summer sausage or fresh sausage, whatever kind you like
  • 1 onion, chopped small*
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped*
  • 6 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
  • 8 oz potatoes, cut into small bite-sized pieces*
  • 4 oz frozen or fresh greens, such as spinach, kale, or chard (optional)*
  • ½ cup dry alphabet pasta, orzo, macaroni, or other small pasta shape (or quinoa**, if available)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook for one minute more.

Add the stock and potatoes. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are nearly tender, 8-15 minutes depending on the size and type of the potatoes.

If using frozen greens, add to soup (you don’t need to thaw them first) and wait until the soup returns to a simmer before adding the pasta or quinoa. If using fresh greens, add them at the same time as the pasta or quinoa. Cook until the pasta is tender (see package for cooking time). Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 4.

*All of these can be grown here in Nebraska and stored (frozen, in the case of greens) for long periods.

** Quinoa is a small seed that’s cooked like a grain. It’s a very healthy complete protein, and it has a slightly nutty flavor. It may be available in large grocery stores.

Dry Bean Cooking Guide

Dry beans are cheap, nutritious, and tasty. Cooking them does take some planning ahead. Consult this guide to know how to cook all kinds of dry beans.

Overnight soak: Beans need to soak in lots of water for at least 8 hours BEFORE you can cook them. You can soak them up to 24 hours, and it is usually easiest to put them in water the day before you want to use them. Make sure there is plenty of water covering the beans by 5 or 6 inches – they will absorb a lot of water.

Drain and rinse: Drain the soaked beans from the soaking water and quickly rinse them. Do not reuse the soaking water.

Cooking the beans:

STOVETOP METHOD – Place the soaked beans in a large pot and add water to cover by 4-5 inches. If you want, you can add half an onion and pieces of carrot or celery for extra flavor, but you don’t need to. Bring the beans and water to a boil. There will be a lot of foam on the top of the water – skim it off with a spoon and throw it away. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, usually 1.5 to 2.5 hours. The amount of time will depend on the type of beans you used and how long you soaked them.

SLOW COOKER METHOD – Place the soaked beans in a slow cooked and add water to cover by 4-5 inches. If you want, you can add half an onion and pieces of carrot or celery for extra flavor, but you don’t need to. Cook on low until beans are tender, about 5-7 hours. The amount of time will depend on the type of beans you used and how long you soaked them. You can also cook beans from dry (without soaking first) in a slow cooker, but they will take longer to cook and may cause more bean-related gas problems than soaked beans.

When are they done? The longer you cook beans, the softer they get. How soft you want them will depend on how you plan to use them. If you’re putting them into a soup where they will slow-cook again, you might want them less tender. If you’re going into a salad, they should be very tender. If you plan to puree or mash them, you may want to cook them a very long time, until they are beginning to burst.

Salt and storage: Once the beans are cooked to the texture you want, turn off the heat. Add a bit of salt to the cooking water. Taste it (be careful, it’s hot) – it should be flavorful, but not taste too salty. Less salt is better than too much, since you can always add more, but you can’t take any out.

At this point, your cooked beans in liquid can be treated just like canned beans from the store and used in recipes that call for canned beans. You can use them right away, or store them in the refrigerator, submerged in cooking liquid, for up to 1 week.

Cooking liquid: The liquid that the beans cooked in isn’t trash. You can use it in soups, or anywhere else where you might otherwise you chicken broth or when you want to add some extra flavor. For example, you can cook rice in bean liquid for a flavorful side dish.