Archive for February, 2011

Kipfler and green vegetable salad with yoghurt and mustard dressing

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

I normally eat potatoes about five or six times a year – they don’t fit in with the kind of food I cook, and I’m never really sure what to do with them. But three times this year I’ve found myself craving, and making, a version of this salad. I like it because it uses kipflers, amongst the tastier of the potatoes, and because its green vegetable-to-potato ratio is about 3:1. And then there’s the whole yoghurt and mustard thing which cleaves fairly closely to my notion of bliss.

It’s based, with minor modification, on this recipe from Martha Rose Shulman, which I first came across linked in Kathryn Elliot‘s twitter feed. I add peas, use plain yoghurt rather than low-fat (Jalna biodynamic organic is good), go overboard on mustard, wilt the spinach slightly – they’re the main differences, I think.

about 10 kipflers of medium size
several large handfuls of baby spinach
2 solid fistfuls of green beans, topped and snapped in half
a cup or two of frozen peas, defrosted in hot water
a generous cup of finely chopped herbs (chives, parsley, mint, dill are good)
half a red onion, sliced paper-thin and soaked in sherry vinegar for 10 minutes

Optional: feta cheese or hot-smoked salmon

1/4 cup of plain yoghurt
3 teaspoons garlic-infused olive oil
2 ludicrously heaped teaspoons of seed mustard
juice of half a lemon
a good glug of sherry vinegar
sea salt and black pepper

Scrub the kipflers, halve lengthwise, then cut into 2 cm chunks. Steam them for 10 mins (Shulman) to 25 mins (my experience, using bamboo steamers), or until they are tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, place the spinach in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Make the dressing by whisking together the yoghurt, olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are done, remove them from the heat and dump them on top of the spinach. Add enough of the dressing to coat, and toss. The spinach should wilt slightly with the heat of the potatoes.

Cook the green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Add the peas for the last minute. Drain and refresh under cold water, then add to the salad bowl and toss again.

Add the finely chopped herbs, red onion, and more dressing if you think it is needed, and season well with salt and pepper. Eat warm or at room temperature. If you would like some more protein in it (very sensible), toss through some crumbled feta cheese or flaked hot-smoked salmon.

Makes about 4 largish servings.

Freezer full of ziplocks

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Just quickly, dudes, because I am writing this in the last 5 minutes of my lunchbreak.

You know what really rocks? Freezing single serves of things like cooked wheat grains, barley, brown rice, beans, etc etc, in little ziplock bags. You can flatten them out before freezing, so they stack together beautifully in the freezer and take up almost no space. Then, when you are desperate for lunch or dinner, they will be sitting there, waiting only to be told how best they can serve you.

Example: this morning, I realised that I had no leftovers to take in for lunch, and knew that I could not face the uni refec with any kind of equanimity. So I opened up a tupperware, and threw in the contents of a ziplock of frozen wheat grains, a couple of handfuls of frozen peas, another couple of handfuls of baby spinach, and a piece of hot-smoked salmon. The grains and peas thawed during the morning, and at lunchtime I just chucked it all in the microwave for 90 seconds to wilt the spinach, squeezed some lemon over the top, and it was delicious. Thank you, past self who cooked up too much wheat grain one night a couple of months ago and put the leftovers in the freezer. The self of today salutes you.