July 29, 2010

mache & chicken salad w/ honey tahini dressing

I'm interested in these heartier salads lately, because I get bored of just greens. This one has such a bright flavor, and really fills you up. Plus, it has Mache!

What the heck is mache, you ask? It is a green leafy vegetable similar to spinach, only it has a slightly thicker stalk and a bit of a tart flavor. It also goes by "lamb's lettuce". In this recipe I think it stands up nicely to the bold flavor of the dressing. Delic'!

mache & chicken salad with honey tahini dressing
eating well magazine, april/may

1/2 c lemon juice
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c tahini (a thick paste of ground sesame seeds, found in supermarkets near the Middle East section or the nut butters)
2 Tbs honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb new or baby red potatoes (I used baby butter potatoes)
1 lb chicken tenders
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small clove of garlic
4 c mache, or baby spinache
1 c shelled English peas (about 1 1/2 lbs unshelled or thawed frozen peas
1 Tbs finely chopped shallot

prepare dressing
Combine lemon juice, oil, tahini, honey, and garlic in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Season with S&P.

prepare salad

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Put potatoes in the steamer basket and steam until barely tender when pierced with a fork (15-20 min). When cool enough to handle, slice or quarter.

Meanwhile, toss chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. we grilled our chicken, but the recipe calls for cooking over a skillet : Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board to cool, then chop into bite size pieces if desired.

Season a wooden salad bowl by rubbing with 1/2 clove garlic and a pinch of salt. Chop the garlic and add to the bowl along with the potatoes and mache (or spinach). Pour 1/2 c of dressing over potatoes and greens, gently toss to coat. Add peas, shallot, and shredded chicken; gently toss and serve.

July 4, 2010

foods to buy organic

Many of us can't afford to buy all organic produce, yet the pesticides lurking in our food can be scary. To keep us informed, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) samples the 49 most common fruits and vegetables for pesticides, ranking them from worst to best based on pesticide contamination. Nearly all of the samples are taken after the produce has been rinsed or peeled (as you would eat it).

The most recent study, released this spring (foodnews.org), provided some startling results. When you eat "the dirty dozen" you will be exposed to about 10 pesticides per day. Choose fresh produce from the "clean 15" and you will be exposed to less than 2 pesticides per day.

"dirty dozen" (buy organic to avoid pesticides)
blueberries (domestic)
sweet bell peppers
kale/collard greens
grapes (imported)

"clean 15" (not necessary to buy organic)
sweet corn (frozen)
mango (subtropical and tropical)
sweet peas (frozen)
kiwi fruit (subtropical and tropical)
cantaloupe (domestic)
sweet potatoes
honeydew melon

on the "dirty dozen" last year, but were "bumped"
blueberries (imported)