Side Dish

Roasted Broccoli and Citrus Salad with Labneh

Roasted Broccoli and Citrus Salad with Labneh - A Thought For Food

The magic of roasted vegetables never ceases to amaze me. A single ingredient, tossed with a bit of oil and sprinkled with salt, can be transformed into a robust, complex dish. I've only recently started cooking this way, though. I'd gone for many years only occasionally using the oven. I've always been drawn to preparing meals on a stovetop, finding the quick results of sautéing more satisfying than the longer process of roasting vegetables (as I type this, I realize it's evidence of how impatient I can be). However, when my schedule allows it, I prefer this slower method, letting flavors develop. 

This broccoli salad pairs the deep caramelized notes that form from roasting with bright citrus. Creamy labneh is both rich and tangy that turns this into a more substantial side. If you only have a thick Greek yogurt available, that'll also work.

Roasted Broccoli and Citrus Salad with Labneh - A Thought For Food

ROASTED BROCCOLI AND CITRUS SALAD WITH LABNEH

Servings: 4-6 as a side

Ingredients:
1 large head broccoli, cut into 1  1/2-inch florets, stems peeled and sliced
Olive oil
1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 cara cara orange, peeled and segmented
1/2 cup labneh
1/4 cup pine nuts
Salt
Black pepper
1 lime

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil.

Place broccoli in a mixing bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over broccoli and toss to coat. Transfer broccoli to baking pan, making sure to spread it out, so the florets are flat on the pan and season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until edges have browned.

To toast the pine nuts, heat a small saute pan over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until golden-brown (keep a careful eye on them as they can easily burn), approximately 3 minutes.  

To plate, spread labneh on the bottom of a platter or wide serving bowl. Place broccoli and citrus on top. Sprinkle pine nuts over, and zest lime on top. Season with salt and black pepper.

Roasted Broccoli and Citrus Salad with Labneh - A Thought For Food

Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing

Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net

I know what my strengths and weaknesses are as a cook and I'd say that one thing I'm consistent with are salads and slaws. Like soups, I love the countless possibilities, the endless flavor combinations. You can go sweet, spicy, creamy, zesty. Whichever way you want it. You can make them during any season, using any produce that's available. I guess I'm kind of geeking over this, but I think they're a wonderful addition to meals. Especially epic dinners like a Thanksgiving feast, where the table tends to be overloaded with cream and butter and cheese (you know, all the good stuff). A bright, crunchy salad can lighten it all up.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, this next week we have a lot going on. On Saturday, we're hosting our annual Friendsgiving and have 18 guests joining us. Usually, I'm pretty stressed over the whole thing, but this year I'm really not worried. I guess I know it'll all come together. There'll be food and drinks and people will have a great time. That's really all that matters.  We're staying local for the actual Thanksgiving festivities, doing brunch with Eric's father and then heading over to do dinner with his mom. 

I may or may not pop in next week to post something else. If I don't, I hope everyone has a happy and delicious holiday.

Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net
Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net
Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net

SHAVED CAULIFLOWER AND RADICCHIO SALAD WITH GINGER-LEMONGRASS DRESSING
Yield: 6-8 servings, as a side

Ingredients:
1 small cauliflower
4-5 radish
1 head radicchio
3 scallion, light and dark green parts only, sliced on the bias
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon chopped lemongrass
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt

Directions:
Using a large chef's knife, remove the green leaves, as well as the stem, from the cauliflower. Quarter the cauliflower and then cut the pieces into thin (approximately 1/4-inch thick) slices. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Thinly slice radish and radicchio and add that, along with the scallion, to the bowl with the cauliflower.

In a separate bowl, add the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until blended. Taste for seasoning and add salt. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.  Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add more salt.

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net

After Spain, I figured I was finished with traveling for the year. And then an e-mail came asking if I wanted to check out St. Petersburg, Florida, and then head out to Orlando for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. How could I refuse such an offer? St. Pete has a fun, budding food scene; and what was nice to see was how supportive everyone is of other businesses, with each brewery, bartender, and chef suggesting I go to this place or that. Too many places, in fact... so another trip will have to be planned. Additionally, the city has a nice art community, with 70+ urban murals scattered around the Downtown area, as well as the Dali Museum and Chihuly Collection, both of which I was able to tour (though they were brief visits). On Monday, I made my way over to Epcot for their annual culinary festival. It's the over-the-top experience one expects from Disney, with all the sounds, smells, and whirling gizmos. What I wasn't prepared for was how delicious the dishes would all be. Each plate felt authentic and not some bastardized version of the country's food. I ate a lot, but I also walked a ton (even as an adult, Epcot felt enormous). I hadn't really seen myself making a trip to Disney World, but I would definitely return for a repeat of this event. 

And my travels aren't over. I'm now in Oregon visiting Harry and David (known for their pears, as well as their extensive catalog of products). I'm here for a few days and then I head back to Boston. And I really need to start thinking about our Friendsgiving menu. There are a few dishes on my brain, like this warm wild rice and kale salad. It's one of those creations that came to me after returning from picking up produce at our coop. The pairing of earthy mushrooms, sweet sautéed kale, and the spices and lemon zest make for a vibrant side. 

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net
Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms from www.athoughtforfood.net

Wild Rice with Sautéed Kale and Oyster Mushrooms

Yield
4-6 servings, as a side

Ingredients

1 cup wild rice, rinsed
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves ripped into bite-size pieces
1 pound oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped
Olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Zest of a lemon
Salt

Directions
Add rice, 3 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt to a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for about 45 minutes. If there is any remaining liquid, transfer the rice to a colander. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until they are tender and lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, followed by the red pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the kale to the pan (if necessary, do this in stages to keep it from overflowing the pan) and cook until wilted. Season with salt.

Transfer rice to a serving bowl. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl, and sprinkle the cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon zest on top. Using a large spoon, mix until thoroughly combined.  Season with salt, to taste.