CSA Cooking: Shredded Everything Salad

shredded salad

I have a problem with produce management. A big part of the issue is that when confronted by a lovely array of fresh vegetables at a farmers market, I forget entirely what it is I already have at home and fill my totes with more delicious things. Add an occasional CSA share to the situation and it’s madness.

Happily, I have a relatively simple solution for the overabundance. A giant shredded salad. The genius is two-fold. First, it takes all the difficulty out of eating a giant homemade salad because the bulk of the prep work is already done. Second, it keeps for about a week, so you can make a truly giant batch and eat it for days.

You start by pulling out all the sturdy vegetables you have in your fridge. In the case of this recent batch, that included radishes*, small white turnips*, sugar snap peas, fennel, green onions, cucumber, and cabbage (other good additions include green beans, golden beets, red and green peppers, carrots, celery, and asparagus).

shredded salad for dinner

Once you have a nice selection of veg, start chopping. You can use a food processor fitted with a slicing or shredding blade, but I find that a sharp knife and one of these inexpensive handheld slicers is all the gear I need for something like this. Your only goal is to cut the vegetables thinly and in relatively similarly sized pieces.

I tend to keep the finished salad in a big ziptop bag, so that I can squeeze the air out after portioning out a serving, but a big bowl with a tight-fitting lid also works. We eat it heaped on top of greens if they’re handy, or tossed with feta, cooked farro, and a drizzle of vinaigrette.

If Scott needs something to take to work for lunch, I make a simple batch of tuna salad and pack it on top of a bowl of this shredded salad. When he’s ready to eat, he stirs the tuna into the vegetables and it serves as both protein and a dressing of sorts. When in need of a potluck or picnic contribution, I dress it the same way I would cole slaw and it is good.

*Both from my June Philly Foodworks share.

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Giveaway: Chalk Tops from Masontops

chalk top boxes

One of the reasons that so many of us love canning jars is that they are so versatile. Sure, you can in them (and goodness knows, I certainly do). They’re also great to use as drinking glasses (during the summer, I try to drink at least three quarts of water a day and use a big green jar to help me keep track), as containers for leftovers, and to store grains, beans, and other pantry staples.

chalk tops on jars

As more people turn to canning jars for all sorts of tasks, more companies have sprung up to make the experience even better. One such business is Masontops. They started with a small line of products to make it easier to ferment in jars (their pickle pebbles and the pickle jar packing tool are both so smart, sturdy, and useful).

Recently, they added another product to their line. Called Chalk Tops, these storage (not canning) lids seal tightly with a conventional ring and can be written on again and again. I realize that many of you have made similar products by covering lids with chalk board paint, but I’ve found that those almost always end up with a dry finish that feels terrible to the touch. The lids made by Masontops are smooth, easy to write on, and erase cleanly.

chalk top boxes offset

This week, Masontops is offering up three sets of their Chalk Top combo packs for giveaway. Each set includes 8 regular mouth and 8 wide mouth Chalk Tops. They’ve also created a discount code for Food in Jars readers to use on their Amazon store. Use the code “FDINJARS” on an order of Chalk Tops, Pickle Pebbles, or the Pickle Packer and get 10% off your order.

Here’s how to enter the Chalk Top giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you use your mason jars. If all you do is can in them, that okay. But if you use them to hold your dish soap, pantry goods, leftovers, or morning coffee, I want to hear about it.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 4, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 5, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The Masontops folks send me a collection of their products for photography purposes. They did not provide any additional compensation for this post and all opinions expressed here are my own. 

July 4 Picnic: The Wrap-Up

picnic table side view

Last week, the lovely Madame Fromage and I shared the various components of summery 4th of July cheese and preserve picnic we made. Our hope was to create something that would help inspire all of you to open up your pantries, buy a few wedges, and invite friends over to celebrate.

open spiced blueberries

I started the week with a batch of spiced blueberries. Preserved in a syrup spiked with just a bit of apple cider vinegar to cut the sweetness, these blueberries were lovely with cheese. They would also be nice spooned over vanilla ice cream or angel food cake, should you prefer a dessert-y pairing.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, you can replace the vinegar with a little lemon juice, if you don’t love the assertiveness of the vinegar.

sparklers

While I was writing about blueberries, Tenaya was sharing tips for making light, refreshing, cheese-friendly cocktails. The recipe she included was one that was made with gin and a bit of raspberry shrub, but could be made with any light spirit and tangy fruity syrup.

finished cherry chutney

The next day, my suggestion was to make a batch of sweet cherry chutney. This is a preserve I first shared last summer and is a very good one. When I’m not eating it with a slice of cheese, I like stir it into a bowl of warm couscous, chopped arugula, and a soft boiled egg.

graham crackers

One of the components that Madame Fromage made for our picnic was a batch of whole grain graham crackers. The recipe is one that Heidi Swanson first posted on her site more than a decade ago, but is well worth a revisit. These crackers are sturdy, slightly sweet, and once you eat one with a bit of crumbled blue cheese, you’ll never again be satisfied with a basic Ritz.

whole brittle

My final offering for this celebratory meal was a batch of spicy pecan brittle. Broken into shards, it was delicious with bites of cheese. In slightly larger pieces, it was eaten as a sweet treat at the end of the meal.

three cheeses

For her second to last post, Madame Fromage turned her attention to the cheeses. We made the choice to buy the cheeses for this series from Trader Joe’s, in the hopes of making our selections more widely available while also showing that there are some really great budget options available out there.

friends shooting the board

I hope you enjoyed our picnic as much as we did! Make sure to check out Madame Fromage’s wrap-up here. And once again, many thanks to Peg & Awl for lending us the gorgeous boards (I’m just sad we didn’t find a way to work this jar caddy into the shoot).

And now, a question for all of you. How are you planning on working your homemade preserves into your summer celebrations?

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July 4th Picnic: Spicy Pecan Brittle

side view picnic

Earlier today, Madame Fromage posted a little something about the cheeses she picked for this picnic. All three were from Trader Joe’s and our intention was to show that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create an inviting spread.

whole brittle

The final thing I contributed to the picnic was a tray of spicy pecan brittle. This sweet, salty, and spicy slab was good to nibble on alongside a slice of the mini basque and we all found ourselves crunching on it throughout the afternoon.

broken brittle

The one thing I’ll change next time I make this brittle for eating along side cheese is that I will make it thinner. I used a quarter sized sheet pan because I was thinking about portability and it produced a rather thick brittle. For pairing with cheeses, a thinner brittle with a texture that shatters more easily would have been nice.

picnic spread

To add the spicy element, I stirred in some gochugaru. This is the Korean chili powder that’s typically used for making kimchi, but it works beautifully in this brittle. If you don’t have it in your pantry, Aleppo or ancho chili powder would also work. I’d stay away from cayenne, because you don’t want to overwhelm the brittle with heat.

brittle with cheese

I used pecans in this brittle because I had jar in the fridge that wanted to be used. Other seeds and nuts will work nicely as well. If you were planning on taking it to a potluck where a warning about food allergies had been issued, try making it with a blend of toasted sunflower and sesame seeds. It would be delicious!

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Industree’s Hail to the V Event

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Next week, I’m participating in an event that’s a bit outside my regular sphere. It’s a panel discussion put on by Industree called Hail to the V and it features women in the food and beverage industry in Philadelphia. Topics of conversation will include building brands as females, professional and personal stories, lessons learned, building respect, cultivating loyalty, and kitchen life.

This event is on Wednesday, July 1 from 2 to 5:30 pm at the The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. The moderators will be Madison Alpern and Jen Carroll.

  • Charlotte Calmels – co-owner, Bibou and Le Cheri
  • Phoebe Esmon – head bartender, Emmanuelle
  • Laura Frangiosa – chef-owner, The Avenue Deli
  • Monica Glass – executive pastry chef, Sbraga Dining
  • Chloe Grigri – general manager, The Good King Tavern
  • Joy Manning – editor, Edible Philly; recipe editor, Zahav cookbook
  • Marisa McClellan – writer, Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint, and more
  • Erin O’Shea – chef-owner, Percy Street Barbecue
  • Valerie Safran – co-owner, Lolita, Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Little Nonna’s, and more
  • Marie Stecher – pastry chef-instructor, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
  • Heather Thomason – head butcher, Kensington Quarters
  • Alice Tran – general manager, Laurel

Tickets are $15 for students, $25 for industry, and $40 for non-industry. Use the code “JARSVIP” to get 20% off admission. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Get your ticket here.

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July 4th Picnic: Sweet Cherry Chutney

finished cherry chutney

I have spent the last couple weeks preserving my way through a sea of cherries. First came a 20 pound box of sweets from the nice people at the Washington State Fruit Commission as part of the annual Canbassador program. Then, just when I’d finished turning them into chutney, jam, kompot, clafoutis, and shrub, I picked up a flat of sour cherries from Three Springs Fruit Farm. I have one more pound of those to work through from that flat and then I’m done.

cherries for chutney

Happily, cherries were a perfect fit for this July 4th cheese board project. I made a fresh batch of sweet cherry chutney with some of the Canbassador fruit. Paired with a wedge of sturdy blue cheese and piled on those homemade graham crackers, it was pretty darn delicious.

chopped cherries

If you don’t have the time or desire to pit four pounds of cherries (admittedly, it can be a little tedious), I suggest you make a batch of pickled cherries. These can be preserved with the pits still in them and after a few days, they are ready to eat. These honey-sweetened cherries with fresh rosemary would also pair up nicely with that wedge of blue.

chutney in spread

Tenaya posted her tips for stirring up tasty summer sparklers to drink with cheeses today. Make sure to head over there and take a look!

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