Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tomato Salad - Kicked Up!

In addition to writing this blog, I also develop brochures for our local foods team.  I usually do about five brochures per year. I do two in the summer and one for each of the other seasons.

You might think eating locally in the Midwest is difficult, but it's not. Now, come fall and winter, a Midwesterner will be consuming root crops, kale, turnips, broccoli and beans. Dietitians recommend consuming a variety of foods and eating locally is one way to accomplish that. 

This recipe is one that I did for our local foods group. It stars locally grown tomatoes. Sometimes we just slice tomatoes, sprinkle with a little salt AND EAT! But at other times, we like to dress them up. Don't worry the tomatoes still shine through.

Tomato Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette
Serves 6-8.


3 Tablespoons minced shallots
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more
½ teaspoon sugar
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 large ripe beefsteak type tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced


1. Combine shallots, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil to blend. Set vinaigrette aside.

2. Arrange tomatoes on a large platter. Sprinkle capers over; season with salt and pepper. Scatter basil on top. Whisk vinaigrette again; drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Gettin' By and Makin' Do

Some of us grew up in an era where you made do with what you had. You went without until you could afford it. You used it up and you wore it out! And it is that vein, that I am writing this blog.

In my refrigerator, I found an "empty" bottle of Dijon mustard. "Empty", meaning you can't get it all  without the addition of liquid. Enter vinegar, in this case, red wine vinegar.

I actually got the idea for using mustard in a salad dressing from the French. And you know, they got that food thing going on. The French often add mustard to salad dressings. If you to make something else with mustard, check out Serious Eats.

This is simple and it's a no recipe, recipe. Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the mustard. Put the top on and shake it up. A kid will come in handy for this part. Once it's mixed, add a little olive oil, one or two tablespoons should do it. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also dress this up with parsley, chives, shallots, or not. You decide.  It's okay to store this in the refrigerator for a few days. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

I used my dressing on boiled potatoes. But don't be limited to potatoes, use green beans, green salad, asparagus. It would even be good a broiled salmon. Give it a try and you will never toss an "empty" mustard jar again.