Category Archives: Salads

Skip the lettuce

Every now and then I like a salad without lettuce. Here’s tonight’s version:

Diced base of green pepper / Small chunks of half a tomato / two celery stalks, chopped / 3 Tbs diced red onion / small handful of chopped endive / half a chopped avocado / one small cuke, peeled and chopped / chopped herb (cilantro or parsley).

Tasty with all kinds of dressings but my favorite is a tangy vinaigrette.

This is a single serving.

* * *

Great opportunity opened up last night: got a space at a writing retreat. I had moved on it late. It was full. Forgot about it. And then: ta da! I was first on the waiting list and a spot is mine!

Not only is it being held in my old stomping grounds just outside of Northampton in central Mass., it’ll be DAYS dedicated to writing and feedback. The timing couldn’t be better!

Brutally hot here again. Finn and I started our day in the lake!

I’ll be taking about a week-long break here.

Beets and radishes

Anyone who camps knows how even the most pedestrian meal is enhanced to a near-miraculous degree after a day in the wilderness. It happens all the time. “How can a bowl of pasta with canned sauce and chopped zucchini taste so good,” you wonder. And yet it does.

The visit to Salem was tense and then tenser. We didn’t manage to capture the cat. The aide had to leave a full hour earlier than expected. Plans had to be abandoned, limitations accepted. But before we got there, a fair amount of hostility was expressed. I spent a lot of time walking around the building, sort of wishing I smoked.

My sister blamed her temper on a transiting Mars / natal Sun conjunction and pretty much everything else on me.

She kept telling me to sit down and to stop moving. I kept suggesting that it might be time to put some pants on. The aide cleaned the kitchen. Then the bathroom.

My wish to get something done collided with my sister’s refusal to move. It’s often this way.

It’s a kind of wilderness, really — and I think it made the salad I made after getting home taste ridiculously good.

The gorgeous food blog, Harvest and Honey, inspired the choice of ingredients.

With the sweet, candy-like beets, the smooth and creamy avocado, plus a little goat cheese, chopped scallion, sliced radish and a handful of micro greens, it was beyond delicious.

Recipe (you hardly need one!)

1 large beet, roasted, peeled and diced*

1/2 scallion chopped, including white end

1 radish, sliced thin

1 1/2 Tbs goat cheese

Handful of micro greens

Dress with a tangy mustard vinaigrette (loaded with garlic).

* if you stow beets, post-roasting, in their foil wrappers in a large, unsealed zip lock bag, be very careful carrying the bag to the cutting board unless you want your kitchen to resemble a crime scene!

Soup and salad


This shrimp, bean, and chicken sausage soup was delicious! Not only does it come together in a hurry, but most of the ingredients are stock pantry and fridge items, meaning it could become a regular in my weeknight lineup. If you’re like me, you keep onions, black beans, and boxed chicken stock in the pantry, as well as frozen shrimp and corn in the freezer. I very often have a four pack of chicken sausage in the cold cut drawer as well because they keep forever and are a good alternative to beef and pork. Cilantro was the only thing I might not have on hand, but thankfully, I did.



There are both black beans and white beans in this soup, but the starring role goes to the white beans — baby white limas. I went in search of these beans while still in SC after an outstanding lunch at Bertha’s Kitchen* in North Charleston. I gushed about the meal on Facebook and a former Charleston resident commented, “Go to Doscher’s Market.” (That would be Donna Hardy of Sea Island Indigo. She ran the workshop I attended in 2014).


Doscher’s Market is an IGA in West Ashley that’s been run by a German family for generations. Part of the secret to their success has been to cater to their customers, who are largely African American. One article I read noted, “there are smoked pig parts representing everything but the squeal”.**

While I looked for the dried beans, K wandered along the seemingly endless meat counter in curious amazement.

Here’s the recipe.

Shrimp, Sausage and Bean Soup
Serves 4

Night before: pour boiling water over one cup of baby white lima beans and leave to soak. While assembling the soup the next day, drain the beans and bring to a slow boil in about three cups of water. I did not add salt.

1/2 onion, chopped
2 chicken sausage, cut in quarter moons
1/2 T red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
14 ounce can black beans, without liquid
one box organic chicken stock (if no homemade in the house)
1/4 c chopped cilantro for cooking, more for serving

Handful frozen shrimp
1 c frozen corn
And, if on hand, two cups cooked rice

S&P

Saute onions in olive oil, add salt, and once wilted, throw in sausage and red pepper flakes. Stir to coat. Add six or seven cloves of diced or smashed garlic, allow their aroma to rise (about 90 seconds), then pour in chicken stock, diced tomatoes (with juice) and black beans (without liquid). If white beans are done, add them as well. Because the delicious, soupy side dish that I had at Bertha’s Kitchen looked to contain bean cooking liquid, I included some here. I happened to have cooked white rice from the night before, so I added two big clumps. Smash to separate and then throw in cilantro, frozen corn, and frozen shrimp. Cook to heat through, roughly five minutes.

Serve. Add more fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add a few jazzes of hot sauce. I poured my husband’s soup over toasted and buttered, homemade cornbread. With two kinds of beans plus rice and corn in the soup, that’s a little bit of carbo overkill, but not enough to render the dish unhealthy. Mine, I ate as is and it was very good and just as good the next day!

Now on to a spectacular lobster salad. If the soup belongs in the realm of week night cuisine, this one is for special occasions. A friend who parked her car in our driveway for two consecutive weekends brought us a container of cooked lobster as a thank you (she’s from Maine). That container was crammed full with SIX lobster tails. Oh man!

Lobster Salad 

1/3 c chopped red onion
1/2 T fennel
Put these two ingredients in a bowl and cover with boiled water. Soak while assembling the rest of salad.

1/2 green pepper, diced (would have used celery, but was out)
1 T capers, rinsed
2 generous T sweet relish
Couple big blobs of mayo
6 lobster tails, cut in chunks

The mayonnaise, which was probably about 1/2 cup, was slightly excessive. Also, we use full fat mayo in this house but I’m certain substituting a reduced fat version would have worked (but never no fat — gross!)

I didn’t think it would need salt because of the capers, but just a little dash helped. Since part of the glory of this gift was how easy it made dinner prep, I forewent spritzing the salad with lemon just before serving… it would have brightened the flavors nicely, I’m sure.

The fennel seeds were my sister’s idea. She’s a more adventurous cook than I and also had, coincidentally, just seen a cooking program on which the chef asserted that ‘no French cook would dream of serving seafood without fennel’. I was skeptical but went ahead anyway and I have to say that small cluster of seeds added a subtle and nice perfume. Definitely recommend.

Oh yum. YUM!  And there’s enough for Saturday lunch!

PS  When the news gets too unbearable to discuss, too awful in too many directions to wrap your mind around, count on food posts. They are reliably engaging to write and wonderful, constructive distractions.

* Bertha’s Kitchen has just been named an America’s Classic by the James Beard Foundation. The prestigious award is reserved for “beloved regional restaurants, distinguished by their timeless appeal”. Read more in this Post and Courier article.  

**Tim Allen of Rebellion Farm wrote that IGA article. Funnily enough, I’ve eaten pig that he’s roasted. “How can that be?” you ask. Well, he was the farmer who hosted Donna Hardy’s indigo workshop. Well-known Charleston Chef BJ Dennis catered the rest of the meal, by the way. (I didn’t know how illustrious he was until later, when I started to follow him on Instagram). Here’s my description of that meal from 2014. If you do a little research on southern food, you will find interesting and on-going discussion about cultural appropriation, foods of the African diaspora, and lasting contributions of the enslaved to Southern culture. 

Festive salad and Salem visit

Lost my mojo. In fact, the campaign and election were disturbing enough to convert me from a “woman who yells” to one who cries. I still feel off, but miss my blog peeps, so here I am with a modest offering of food. This delicious winter salad has four ingredients: romaine, slivered radicchio, thin-sliced red onion, and pomegranate seeds. Topped with a mustard/garlic vinaigrette on the tangy side. The red bits look festive, don’t you think?

Good thing it was tasty because for some reason the frittata bombed. Came out like a rubber mat with inclusions of goat cheese. Seriously.

C acted the good sport and came to Salem with me today. Removed a cruddy rug. Got the AC unit down to the basement. Moved the bed and the exercise machine. We shopped for food and wine. Pictures were hung, curtains put up, and a few decorations fetched from storage.

This was AFTER C. bagged up another five bags of leaves for the neighbor who hired him, making a total of 28. Whew! It was the last leaf pick up in our town. On our side of the fence, it went pretty painlessly. The guy I thought I hired never showed and I’m glad because being outside and raking was one of the sanest and most grounding activities of the last few weeks.

Friday in June

Morning face.
Done with wind and overall tacking down, plus I added white stitches to lighten house. It disappears a little too much. Maybe for this week, the house ought to take on the shape of England? I mean, WTF?

Later on, it was nice to start the weekend with another bday celebration. Out on the deck. Beautiful light. Perfect temps. QUIET. School is out for the year.

 This barley salad was soooo good. Made several modifications. Very tasty with salmon done on the grill.
I modified the salad both because of available ingredients and taste preferences. I didn’t have any black beans, so none went in. I only used red peppers, not both green and red. I skipped the called-for carrots because I thought they’d be overly crunchy. And, instead of canned corn, I cooked up a fresh ear.

Probably the most important modification flavor-wise was substituting about a quarter teaspoon of Truvia in lieu of corn syrup and adding quite a bit more oil. Recipe calls for scant amount of canola. I added at least 3 more tablespoons of olive oil. This, from someone who likes a very acidic dressing.

Surprisingly, my pantry did contain a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. That, along with the cilantro, cumin, and citrus juices were essential to the slightly smoky, but bright taste of the salad. Also surprising (to me): no garlic.

The next day I used the same dressing on a mix of chopped cherry tomatoes, red onion, and avocado and it was equally delicious.

Have a nice weekend all!

P.S. One of the nice benefits of a grain salad is how they keep overnight. And since the barley salad didn’t feature the olive oil very centrally, I could eat it straight out of the fridge. So good!

P.P.S. Brexit fucking floored me and made the realization that the xenophobia highlighted by Trump is not limited to our side of the Atlantic. I spent a fair amount of time on Twitter first thing that morning. Last night, K. and I re-watched “Children of Men” and all the ways that movie is scarily prescient were doubly so… the vans full of refugees being carted off to detention centers, shocking lack of resources, the vast poor and scant people of means, plots and counterplots, police working counter to the public’s interests, the human species on the brink of extinction. So much rubble, despair, and violence! I hope the Brits re-do the vote. What a stupid risk Cameron took with England’s future.

If you’re interested (I took twitter feed off side bar of the blog), my moniker is deeamallon: stream is here.

Saturday

IMG_6372.JPG
A very cold day that included a brisk walk, raking (and more raking), and cleaning out some duct work. Polishing glass. Writing and sewing. Decapitation.
IMG_6377.JPGThat’s right: decapitation. I took the head off one of my figures. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Boy Mouse has his skates. His grey scarf is another one of my size zero knitting needle adventures. He’s more ready for winter than I am!

IMG_6375.JPGWhen I lamented to my husband that Boy Mouse’s skates were a little too big, he quipped, “That’s okay. He doesn’t have feet.”

IMG_6374.JPGThe pipe cleaner on his back is for hanging. He can go on a wall or a Christmas tree. His jacket comes from old pjs and old (clean!) socks.

IMG_6373.JPGI made a substantial salad with blue cheese, bacon, apple, romaine hearts and bitter greens for lunch. It was satisfying.

IMG_6370.JPGI’ll sign off here. Stay warm if you are in cold temps! IMG_6371.JPGDanny comes home tomorrow and there’s chili on the stove in his honor. Later in the week, I’m cooking for Thanksgiving, but only for seven, so I hope to check back in here before then!IMG_6376.JPG

Barley yummmmmm

How could I have forgotten about barley?! Having chef-extraordinaire, Elizabeth Germain, visiting for two weeks upped my game in the kitchen some. I learned that my burners don’t get quite hot enough (who knew?). That I wasn’t cooking my chicken thighs quite long enough (sorry, guys!). And that barley is terrific for cold weather eating.
wintersalad-barley-deemallonThis salad is an adaptation from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Their’s featured oat berries and feta cheese. I used barley and pomegranate seeds instead.  I think pine nuts would be good here, too. Here’s the recipe.

Two handfuls arugula
1 c. cooked barley
2 roasted peppers, skinned & chopped
14 oz. can of chic peas
seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
2 scallions, chopped

Dressing:
1 lemon, squeezed
splash of rice vinegar
about 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
S&P
dash cayenne
1/8 t paprika
1/8 – 1/4 t cumin
salad-barley-pomegranate seeds-deemallon
This salad is terrific the next day, which leads me to think the arugula should be added in by plate. Barley is not gluten free but may be less aggravating to some with sensitivities.
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