Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Edamame-Shiitake Salad

One of the hardest parts of being a Slacker Gourmet is finding easy-yet-satisfying side dishes to go with simple main courses, such as grilled chicken. Sure, I always have frozen veggies on hand, but those can be so bland. Also, as the weather gets warmer, the desire for cool side dishes grows. So, I give unto you, faithful reader, a 3-ingredient (okay, 4 if you count oil for sautéing) side dish that's light, refreshing, and oh-so-healthy!

Edamame-Shiitake Salad

  • 12oz frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 package fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp bottled Asian-style salad dressing (I used Trader Joe's Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette)
Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan, and sauté the sliced shiitakes. Let cool. Put frozen edamame in a microwave-safe bowl and add about 1/4 cup water. Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Drain edamame in a colander, and rinse with cold water to cool down quickly. Make sure the edamame drains well - pat it dry with a paper towel if it's still too wet. Combine the now-cooled mushrooms and edamame in a bowl, and mix in just enough salad dressing to just barely coat the veggies. Cover and chill until cold.
Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sesame Spinach Salad

Frozen spinach. It's a true powerhouse in the Slacker Gourmet's arsenal. Easily thawed for inclusion in casseroles or dips or thrown straight from the bag into a frying pan for sautéing (though that's another post), frozen spinach can be used in countless ways.

Until today, I had never thought to use frozen spinach in a cold salad application. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense - why buy and clean fresh spinach, just to clean it, boil it, and cool it down, when you could simply thaw and drain frozen spinach? I prefer the spinach in a bag, rather than the frozen bricks - it's much more manageable and thaws more evenly. I almost always have a couple of bags each of cut leaf and chopped spinach on hand.

Sesame Spinach Salad
Adapted from Sesame Spinach Salad

  • 16oz frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed but not warm
  • 2 Tbsp sake or dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish.
Squeeze cold spinach in a tea towel or in multiple layers of paper towels, removing as much water as possible. Whisk together the sake, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add the spinach and toss to coat with the dressing. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Preheat a small skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add sesame seeds. Keep them constantly moving (either by swirling the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon). Sesame seeds toast quickly - about 1 minute for black sesame seeds, and between 1-2 minutes for white. They are done when you just start smelling a nutty sesame aroma. Black sesame seeds will turn shiny, and white ones will turn golden.

This turned out to be a good base recipe. I used a sweeter wine (it's what I had on hand) and less sugar - next time, I would definitely use sake and the full amount of sugar. I really like the sesame flavor with the spinach, so next time, I may even increase the amount of sesame oil slightly. For a quick salad requiring no fresh produce, however, this was pretty great!

True Slackerism

This past couple of weeks, I've been quite the Slacker Gourmet - but in the worst way. There has been very little cooking at home - oops! Hopefully this week that will change. It's time to recover from my bad, bad ways, and begin blogging and cooking again.

I've got a few subjects up my sleeve (including my not-so-secret love affair with frozen spinach), so bear with me. I will be back at the stove!