Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Simple Greek Salad

On one flawless Southern California morning, I dolled up and walked my self over to photographers heaven, Samy’s Camera.

Armed with the make and model of the camera I had meticulously researched scrawled on a slip of notebook paper, I was finally ready to commit.

Arriving on the 4th floor, my info was conveyed to the adorable sales clerk. The camera was procured. Price was confirmed and a credit card about to change hands.

It all seemed so easy. (Sigh)

But then, alas, a few questions were posed. A revelation was made. (That I take pictures of food.) A different camera was offered up. (Waterproof! Smaller! Not available in fashion-colors!) The transaction completed and I traipsed off with what turns out to be the most annoyingly lame and un-useable camera known to human kind.

Seriously kids, do you see those pictures? That is a sampling of a month’s worth of trying every silly setting on the thing. Here there and everywhere the camera has come out and failed me spectacularly.

Dishes have not been recorded, moments not captured, and sadness has settled in my heart due to a stringent no-return/no-exchange policy (and a vague hope it was just really me and not the camera.)

But then I realized something…a little something. I can still share recipes without photographic evidence and you will still love me.

Well, I hope so anyway!

So while I do my darndest to figure out this shamefully overpriced digital contraption, I shall leave you with a recipe for Greek salad.

And I leave the imagery of this perfect summer salad to you.

1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
½ teaspoon salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
½ medium red onion, sliced thin
2 English cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, thick slices
6 large tomatoes, each tomato cored and cut into wedges
¼ cup loosely packed torn fresh parsley leaves
20 large kalamata olives, each olive pitted and quartered lengthwise
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped

Whisk together the first seven ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the sliced red onion and cucumber and toss; let stand 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and parsley to bowl with onions and cucumbers and toss to coat.

Divide lettuce on wide, shallow serving bowl or platter; top with vegetables, sprinkle olives and feta over salad. Serve immediately.

Makes enough for six to eight people.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at is guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. And generally cheesing me off.

Are you coming to the Chicks with Knives
Sustainable Supper Club dinner?

More than 90 % of American wine production occurs on the West Coast. A large part of carbon-dioxide emissions associated with wine comes from simply trucking it from the vineyard to tables on the East Coast. A wine bottle holds 750 ml and generates about 5.2 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions when it travels from a vineyard in California to a store in New York. A 3-liter box generates about half the emissions per 750 ml. Switching to wine in a box for the 97 % of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars. - NY Times

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Thursday, August 07, 2008


Vietnamese Green Mango Salad

The Ombudsman is not just a mediating master...he is a regular Svengali when it comes to food (and pretty much everything now that I think of it). Just one off hand suggestion and next thing you know, I am growing corn. Because home grown corn is so fab. Or so we hear. (Report on that next week.)

One side-ways glance at a taco truck and everyone in the group is lining up with cash in hand. A whim involving Santa Rosa plums, a jar of pickled herring and a surf board and next thing you know…trip to Mexico. (There is a food correlation there. It’s just hard to extract.)

I tell you the boy is like an air borne pathogen. In a friendly way. (Is there such a thing? Maybe he is more like perfume? No. That’s too girly. I’ll stick with pathogen.)

He is forever getting people to try running a marathon (really) or eat at random Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall mini-mall lunch spots. Sampling fare such as this.

Then, of course, you/one/I become addicted to it/that/whatever-it-was he has introduced in to your life and you/one/I become that much more worldly and happy for it. And you/one/I start to wish I were better at navigating since I could never find that spot again without a chauffer.

So I am forced to make my own version at home and that is just fine by me.

And for you my peaches (and Santa Rosa plums) I share this version of the classic dish that is the best side-salad you can imagine.

Try it and taste the joy.

2 firm, green mangoes
2 vine-ripe tomatoes
1 cup blanched green beans, sliced on the bias
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 red Thai bird chile, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 kaffir lime leaf, minced very fine
Fish sauce, to taste (optional)
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup Asian basil (Thai Holy, Opal or Siam Queen)

(My ingredients were all local and organic. Even the mango. A good way to go, ya? But if that's not feasible where you are, try it anyway. It's a tasty dish)

Peel the mangoes with a vegetable peeler. Grate or julienne the mango and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, chile, lime juice, brown sugar, vinegar, kaffir and fish sauce.

Taste and adjust as needed. It should be a balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty.

Toss the dressing with the mango. Set aside.

Slice the tomatoes into long strips, removing the seeds. Add to the mango along with the green beans. Let rest for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, add fresh herbs.

Serves four.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at is guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. And generally cheesing me off.

Bennigan’s, an Irish-themed bar and grill with about 200 sites across the country, filed for bankruptcy, a move that will put hundreds of employees out of work and leave many landlords with empty retail space during a painful time in the real estate market. Sister brand, Steak & Ale, will also close. - NY TIMES

If fresh kaffir lime leaves are not available, use the tender new leaves of lime, lemon or grapefruit.

Are you coming to the next Chicks with Knives Sustainable Supper Club dinner? If you are in LA, I hope you will!

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