My house is known by friends and family alike as The Inn at Spring Cove. I'm lucky enough to live on the water in Maine and so, for at least three months of the year, I'm rarely without a house guest or two, or eight, wandering around wondering what's for dinner. That suits me just fine. I live alone and I love to cook, a situation that would result in unfortunate weight gain or unabated frustration if it weren't for my ever-changing roster of visitors.
Though I always cook more than most normal humans can eat, leftovers rarely last long here, especially in the summertime. Either they become quick and easy lunch fare, or they are incorporated into the next night's dinner.
In the spirit of keeping oven and grill use to a minimum -- see my Aug. 23 post -- I've come up with two salads that lift leftovers to new heights of deliciousness. Both are of the "toss it together and see what emerges" variety, so neither requires exact measurements, just good ingredients and an adventurous spirit.
Both can also stand alone as a side dish or can become a main dish with the addition of just about any kind of protein -- meat, chicken, seafood, or even tofu -- preferably grilled or chilled.
Just remember: when setting the stage for leftovers, let your imagination take flight!
THE WORLD'S BEST COLESLAW*
(I swear I am not making this up. This really is the best coleslaw in the world.)
(But if you are not a fan of blue cheese, ignore the title and skip to the next recipe.)
Blogging can sometimes involve sharing secrets and baring your soul. With this post, my foodie friends, I offer up a recipe so guarded, even my sainted mother is unaware of it's ingredients. I give it to you with an open heart, sending good food karma throughout the blogosphere, knowing that I will, someday, reap the psychic rewards of my culinary gift.
Years ago, I went to a now-defunct restaurant and had coleslaw so divine, one taste made my eyes roll back in my head. It was a heady mixture of crunchy and creamy, sweet and savory, old fashioned and marvelously modern. I spent months trying to figure out the secret of that mouth-watering mystery.
My interpretation isn't exact, but it is, by most accounts, the stuff of dreams and second and even third helpings. It is also one of the easiest things I know how to make. It's preparation is so simple, so aggressively foolproof, it's practically cheating. It's so easy it defies an ingredient list. Instead, I deliver it in a brief narrative, an edible offering from me to you.
Here's the Secret:
Go to the produce section of your grocery store. Buy a bag of broccoli slaw (sometimes called rainbow slaw). Also buy a bag of coleslaw. (My store has fancy "angel hair slaw" cut in tiny ribbons. That works, too.) While you're there, buy a bottle of refrigerated traditional coleslaw dressing. Don't forget a head of garlic. Amble down to the cheese section and pick up a small (6 ounce) container of crumbled blue (or even bleu) cheese.
That's it. That's all you need. Go home and mix the blue cheese into the coleslaw dressing, then put one large or two smallish cloves of garlic through a garlic press and blend the mixture thoroughly. Stick it back in the refrigerator until you're ready to dazzle your guests.
When it's time to eat, put the whole bag of broccoli slaw and a few good fistfuls of the coleslaw into a big bowl and put as much of the dressing on as you like, a little or a lot, depending on your whim. Serve it just like that as a side dish -- it's miraculous with a cheeseburger just off the grill. Or you can do what I did. Place it lovingly on a plush purple bed of radicchio and top it with leftover grilled flank steak, sliced thin.
You're welcome. Really.
*This preparation is also known as RACHELSLAW because it is so easy, even my bestie Rachel Toor, who uses her oven to store newspapers and her cooktop as a staging area for curriculum planning, can make it.
Fresh corn and ripe, juicy tomatoes are a staple of summer meals in Maine. I often grill extra ears to use for this colorful, tasty salad. After I grill it, I let the corn cool and remove it from the cob, storing it in an airtight container for use the next day in....
GRILLED CORN, ARUGULA & TOMATO SALAD
4 ears grilled or boiled corn, cut off the cob
1/2 red onion, diced fine
2 large heirloom tomatoes or a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
5 - 6 basil leaves, torn to small pieces
6 oz. baby arugula
2 tbls fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine corn, tomatoes, diced onion, and basil in a non-metal bowl. In separate bowl whisk lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil together. Coat corn mixture with the lemon vinaigrette. To serve, place dressed corn salad on a bed of arugula, either on individual plates or on a large serving platter to serve family style. As you can see, I surrounded my salad with an arabesque of dancing jumbo shrimp.
Is it me, or do those big honkin' shrimp remind you of the dancing hippos in the Disney movie "Fantasia?"