If you are fortunate to live near a farmers’ market, indulge in local farm fresh produce when possible. Always check with the farm stand operator to ask if these are actually locally grown produce; some stands collect from the food terminal and when you get home you see “product of Mexico” labels on the produce. Ask if this farmer actually grew the produce or bought it from a nearby farm.
You might be surprised at the answers and of course there’s really no way to check (unless there are those labels). How wonderful if you yourself have a garden. There’s nothing quite like growing and picking your own. But most of us are not so fortunate.
In hot humid weather, carry a generous cooler in the car or even a large storage covered container. Wrap jelly ice-packages in a separate container, large enough to keep your collection cool until you get home. If you carry a car blanket in your vehicle, drape it over the cooler
box to shield it from direct sun. Or cover the container with your windscreen sun visor protector shield.
It’s all in the grapes
Shred a mix of three lettuces (romaine, iceberg, Boston Bibb), or toss in a shredded white Belgian endive, cross-cut. You could even shred a handful of tiny beet greens, collard greens, baby spinach, baby kale or sweet kohlrabi greens. Or even all of the above.
Just when ready to serve, toss in marinated sweet tiny seedless green and/or red grapes, having marinated the grapes, barely covered in Noilly Prat vermouth for at least an hour. (You can drink the cold vermouth…)
Have lemon dressing waiting in a Pyrex measuring cup. This lemon salad dressing is a little different: prepare by using 1:3 freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Add a small dab of Dijon. Instead of the sugar, you could add a generous drizzle of second season maple syrup, and if you do, you might want to add coins of Celebrity brand cream cheese called Maple Toffee, which is new to the market.
Add a quarter cup of heavy homemade sugar syrup made by heating equal parts granulated sugar and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Sprinkle with salt, fresh ground pepper and your favourite herbs and spices. Add a tiny dab of your golden homemade oven-roasted garlic puree from your sterilized refrigerator jar and stir well.
Make the dressing a day ahead, perhaps, so when ready to serve, just sprinkle over the greens and toss. Store refrigerated in a screw-top Mason jar, so when needed, all you have to do is shake the bottle.
Just at eating time, drizzle the sauce over refrigerated (frozen) cubed leftover Christmas cake croutons. By the time you eat, the croutons will have thawed.
If you prefer crunchy croutons, you could carefully crisp the thawed leftover Christmas cake croutons under the broiler in a single layer under the broiler, before adding to the salad.
Sprinkle the croutons with grated Parmesan cheese, using the coarse side of a box grater. Or slice paper thin shards of Sartori BellaVitano Balsamic Cheese over the croutons.
Note: You could add, just when ready to serve: cold, ready-to-eat shrimp, lobster, crab, bay scallops or other seafood (nice opportunity for those who love grilled calamari) and change up this dish completely.
Kohlrabi Belgian endive apple caesar salad
Rinse each endive to get rid of any sandy bits. Don’t buy endive that has brown bits at the top closed ends.
Split each endive in half vertically. Sear on the ribs of a hot grill pan. Don’t cook, just sear. Then cut off the root end to allow leaves to separate.
Peel the kohlrabi. Smaller ones are almost sweet, and larger kohlrabi is nasty, often with sharp threads running throughout. Avoid at all times.
Slice each kohlrabi quite thin using a thin blade sharp knife. Or use a mandolin. Stack the slices and cut into fine sticks. Marinate the thin sticks in cold saltwater to which you have added just a spritz of lemon to acidulate, for at least a half hour. Pat dry. Roll in a clean tea towel to absorb any excess water.
Just when ready to serve, cut an apple in thin slices about an 1/8 inch, peeled or not, stack and cut in wider sticks. Toss in cold lemon juice acidulated water just briefly. Pat dry and sprinkle the apples immediately with salt. It brings out the natural juices.
Place the individual crispy endive leaves and the kohlrabi sticks along with the apple pieces in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with salt, fresh ground pepper and just a little homemade crushed dried, fried sage leaves from your storage pantry jar.
Toss with my amazing caesar salad dressing just when ready to eat. This dressing has no anchovies in, but those who have eaten it believe they are there. Not! Try my recipe to know what the substitute is.
This salad is a perfect pairing for roasted game, rabbit, duck, venison or even just with roast beef. Deglaze your roasting pan with world famous Asbach Uralt cognac or with Noilly Prat vermouth and drizzle the jus over your entree.
Maybe offer my “Hup, two, three, four – to the table Yorkshire pudding” with the meal. For vegetable sides, perhaps offer my buttered sugared carrots and a family style bowl of creamed whole onions.
Alternate: Serve the salad with my warm blue cheese dressing, made using Castello brand blue cheese and sprinkle with crushed coarsely, homemade candied walnuts from your pantry jar.
You’ll be totally over the moon if you decide to add large fresh fat juicy blueberries to either choice.
If you operate a bed and breakfast and have a farmers’ market nearby, an introduction to this salad recipe might offer to your guests a new delightful taste bud experience. Traveling often presents an opportunity to try new foods. Some kitchens are delighted when you ask for the recipe.
Apple goat cheese white cheddar sandwich
Core a generous apple; your favourite or a B.C. delicious.
Cut two 3/8-inch apple slices, skins on or off. Sprinkle each slice with a few grains of salt. If you enjoy sweet black Spanish olives, park a sweet slice in the core-hole.
Between each apple slice, position a matching apple-size piece of Celebrity-brand white cheddar goat cheese.
You can eat this sandwich just the way it is, or you could add a bit of pea-greens, or a little arugula, or even a little shredded iceberg lettuce, drizzled with my citrus mayo.
Me being me, I would serve this sandwich on a pie plate with a knife and a pie fork and a pepper grinder. But you might like to eat this sandwich just holding it in your fingers and indulge. If you have older children to consider in your food choices, they will likely enjoy this fruit cheese sandwich.
Alternate: You might enjoy smearing a little Croatia Dalmatia Sour Cherry Spread on the white cheddar goat cheese. You could even add a layer of your homemade candied citrus rinds from your pantry citrus sugar jar.
Add a store-bought package of butter-made puff pastry cut in a round, the same size as the apple slices that you baked earlier, to the top and bottom and you have a Napoleon presentation sandwich. Crispy, crunchy. No cooking. Delicious!
Another alternate: Build the same concept Napoleon using thick juicy slices of firm fresh beefsteak tomatoes on either side of the white cheddar goat cheese. Sprinkle loads of fresh ground pepper and a little salt. If you enjoy cucumber, add a couple of slices and a crispy bacon rasher, and greens drizzled with my citrus mayo. Position your stored pantry puff pastry rounds top and bottom.
There is a new Celebrity brand goat cream cheese called Horseradish and Dill. You might like to try it on this tomato Napoleon.
This all looks so much more than it is. Another no-cook, instant gourmet from Carolyne’s kitchen. Easy to make (no cooking), easy on the eye and so easy to enjoy!
© “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience