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Aug 1, 2011 06:54 AM

August 2011 COTM, World Vegetarian: Soups, Salads, and Drinks

For topical discussion.

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  1. Zucchini and Feta Cheese Salad, p. 640.

    So easy, and yet so flavorful AND the recipe helps to use up all that zucchini that is flooding into my kitchen at this time of year! Plus it can be made ahead and refrigerated until serving. I love that, especially in summer.

    You take 1 1/2 pounds young zucchini and quarter them lengthwise and then trim them into 1 1/4 inch segments. Blanch the zucchini sticks in salted water briefly (2 minutes or so) until just tender and then shock to stop the cooking. Rinse and pat dry before putting into a bowl. Test for saltiness and add some if desirable but the instructions say to taste carefully so as not to use too much salt, since the Feta cheese may be rather salty. Then add to the bowl 2 scallions cut into fine rounds, 1/4 cup crumbled Feta, 2 TBS chopped fresh dill, 1/4 cup EVOO, and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. That's it. Very easy and fresh tasting. The preliminary blanching and then salting seems to sweeten the zucchini and all in all, this is a very nice salad/side.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Goblin

      Zucchini and Feta Cheese Salad pg 640

      This is a Greek recipe.

      We tried this too. It was certainly simple and fast, but I'm sorry to say we only thought it was ok. I thought the feta was overpowering (maybe I should have better feta? I bought mine pre-crumbled from Target, *hanging head in shame*) and my husband doesn't love dill, so maybe he was never going to like it. I might try this again, but with less feta, and see how I like it. It certainly didn't need much added salt, as Goblin says. It keeps well for a couple of days, too.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        TDQ, we've all been to Target shopping when we needed something like feta. No need to hang your head in shame at all.

      2. re: Goblin

        Zucchini and Feta Cheese Salad, p. 640

        I made this one, and I liked it more than TDQ did. I had just under 4 oz. of French feta, and didn't find it overwhelming, but it was not a very salty one, so perhaps that's why. All in all, I found this made a pleasant lunch.

        Some of my zucchini were fatter than the others, so I cut those in sixths lengthwise. I thought it odd that Jaffrey instructs us to use just 4 cups of water to blanch the zucchini, as I didn't feel this was enough for the volume of zucchini so used more. I used only around 3 T. each oil and lemon juice and it was plenty. I had no fresh dill, so I used some mint instead.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Caitlin, I made this again tonight, tasting carefully before and after the addition of the Feta per TDQ's warnings about the saltiness of pre-crumbled cheese, which Mr. Goblin, bless him, had bought for me by accident. I generally eschew the pre-crumbled stuff, but this worked out, thanks to TDQ's comments.

          What I really wanted to note is that I agree with your comment that 4 cups of water is not enough to blanch this amount of zucchini; it takes too long to come back to the boil and in my opinion tends to water-log the squash pieces. The first time I made this I didn't read the instructions carefully and used a larger amount of boiling water. It was more satisfactory than today, when I actually followed the method Ms. Jaffrey laid out in the recipe.

          1. re: Goblin

            Interesting indeed. I think this is one of those (many) situations where the quality of the ingredients really matters. I think the simpler the dish, the better your ingredients need to be. I think I will try this again with better feta and, following Caitlin's lead, mint instead of the dill so my husband will eat it. I don't recall having any problems with the blanching, but I might as well follow everyone's lead there, too!

            I do want this recipe to work because it was so simple and because I need something to do with a lot of zucchini!

            And, thanks, Lulu's Mom for the pass on Target. I pay a lot more visits to Target than i used to!


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              For some reason, it is the greatest place to go when you're a (still relatively) new mom.

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I suspect that the Caitlin's use of French feta made a difference in the saltiness of the dish. I recall during the Gourmet Today COTM, the roasted asparagus with feta recipe indicated that one should specifically use French feta which prompted me to find out more about the differences between French and Greek feta. I believe French feta is milder and creamerier than the saltier, tangier Greek, although both delicious.

                1. re: BigSal

                  Interesting about the French Feta. Well, I'm going to seek it out for my next go at this recipe.

                  As far as Target, it's so darn convenient. They have almost everything a person needs to run a household. But the sourcing on their groceries isn't the best and, I suspect, won't get any better. (Although Walmart is taking a stab at organic produce, so maybe never say never.) Target does have Fage and wild Alaskan Salmon (frozen.) But, I do try to avoid factory farmed meat and dairy in general, so the crumbled Feta was a choice I struggled with to begin with. But now I realize that even on the basis of deliciousness alone it was a poor choice for this particular recipe, I think.


        2. Onion Salad (Turkey), page 632.

          I decided at the last minute to whip this up to add to dinner. I had half a red onion, so I made half a recipe. Hardly even a recipe, just thinly sliced red onion, a little salt, ground sumac, cayenne pepper (or Korean chile powder), and chopped parsley. Mellows for 30 minutes and voila! Fortunately my onion was very sweet and bright, and this was a wonderful side dish (although Turkish) to my Uzbek/Indian dinner. No minding national borders here!

          1 Reply
          1. re: L.Nightshade

            I've had that salad several times in Turkey so was pleased to see a recipe. It's a lovely dish.

          2. Green Lettuce with a Korean Dressing, Pg. 631

            This report is more about the dressing than the salad because although I did use a green lettuce I also augmented that with other vegetables. The lettuce I used was heart of escarole. The salad vegetables were: sliced radishes, spring onion (not scallion), shredded carrot, celery & cilantro leaves, and chopped ripe tomatoes.

            The dressing was delicious with various Asian flavors: soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil (toasted), distilled white vinegar (rice wine vinegar), a bit of sugar and a pinch of cayenne. The lettuce is "broken" into a large salad bowl and the chopped cilantro are added. (I sliced the escarole leaves into ribbons). In my case, as I prepped each of the other vegetables I tossed them into the bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and just before serving pour in the dressing. Toss to coat. It was a very fast salad to make. The salad was served with corn on the cob, and cold steamed lobster with a great tartar sauce from Bon Appetit Y'All.

            1. Greek Eggplant Salad (Melitzanasalata), p621

              This looked a bit dodgy (think greige with red bits) but tasted delicious and was a hit at book group last night. Pretty easy to make - roast the eggplant using any of the methods she suggests earlier in the book. I used the oven, but you can grill or roast on a gas flame as well. Remove the skin and mash the flesh, then mix with mayo, chopped onion, chopped red pepper (I used a roasted one from a jar), salt, pepper, white wine vinegar and chopped parsley. I tasted at this point while it was still warm and was a bit dubious. However, once it had cooled to room temperature and the flavours had been given a chance to meld, it was really lovely. Next time I would probably grill or roast the aubergine on a gas burner to try to give it more of a smokey flavour. The vinegar and onion added a nice piquancy, and the mayo (light Hellman's) made it deliciously creamy. The only problem was the unappetising colour, but that's often the case with aubergine dishes!

              I served it with warmed pitta and a simple Greek salad and there wasn't a scrap left.

              1. Kohlrabi, Carrot and Daikon Salad (pg. 627)

                This was fantastic and I wish kohlrabi didn't have such a limited buying time. I was lucky enough to buy from a pop up CSA (friend of a friend sent me an email with an order form and pickup date) and had all the main ingredients, fresh from the farm. I love kohlrabi and my own CSA only has it for a few weeks in June. And, the rest of the summer, I'm left pining for more. So, having this in December was an extra treat.

                Basically, peel and julienne the kohlrabi, carrots and daikon. Mix with salt and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, korean pepper, sesame seed and sesame oil. Toss and serve. I omitted the sesame seeds bc I was too lazy to toast them after all the peeling and cutting. But, I didn't miss them at all. Just one less thing to pick out of my teeth.

                So crunchy and refreshing. And, as always, I'm left wanting for more.

                4 Replies
                1. re: beetlebug

                  Happy New Year BB... Interesting that you chose this salad to make. Ottolenghi has a similar recipe in Jerusalem that's on my list to make if I ever get started.
                  (I really this Jaffrey book and refer to it frequently.)


                  1. re: Gio

                    I had made Ottolenghi's kohlrabi and cabbage salad from Plenty in the past. I also love that recipe and make it in the summer with that initial kohlrabi and fresh dill. I chose this one bc I had all three ingredients from the farm. Fresh daikon is just wonderful. And, really sharp tasting.

                    I suspect there isn't a kohlrabi dish that I wouldn't like.

                    Happy new year to you and all hounds!

                    1. re: Gio

                      I just took a quick look at the guardian recipe. It also looks delicious but different enough that it could be a completely different variation. Even the vegetable shape, julienne v. slices would change it up.

                      ETA: I'm an idiot. I'm comparing it to a pretend recipe in my head, forgetting I'm on a Jaffrey thread.

                      Also, do you have access to kohlrabi in our neck of the woods?

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        Hah... an idiot you're not! G brought home 3 small kohlrabi w greens from MB Reading 2 weeks ago. I'm hoping they'll still be on offer Saturday. Have no idea where they come from, but I'm not asking.