Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Thirty-Seven: The Home Chef - Fine Cooking Made Simple

                Vegetable and Garlic Salad

The Home Chef was a kitchen retail store similar to Williams-Sonoma with a cooking school upstairs. I enjoyed the cooking classes and learned a few tips here and there; though it was not as hands-on as I would have liked. You sat in chairs watching the instructors cook along with one person they chose that day from the many students. The one drawback for me taking these classes above the store, you end up buying a lot of useless and expensive items on your way out ~ which I'm sure was the point of holding said classes!

This "salad" is healthy and really quite good. Then again garlic makes everything taste good! I realized when I got to the store, my list was at home on the counter and so I had to go by memory as to what I needed for this dish. To my surprise I remembered everything plus a few extra items! Hence the addition of bell pepper and sugar snap peas. I'm glad I added the snap peas, they really added a lot to this dish.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not a big fan of parsley. Aside from it being aesthetically pleasing I really do not care for the flavor; and I always prefer the finished dish before adding the chopped parsley as a garnish.

Success meter (1-3): 3

I thought this was too pretty not to include...

Vegetable and Garlic Salad
Serves:  12-14
Adapted from The Home Chef: Fine Cooking Made Simple

1 bunch broccoli
1 small head cauliflower
½ lb. mushrooms
4 medium carrots
1 lb. green beans
8 cloves garlic
½ bunch parsley
½ cup hazelnut oil (walnut, almond, or olive oil may be substituted)
salt and pepper

1.   Separate broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into quarters. Peel the carrots and cut into ¼-inch rounds; cut the green beans into 3 pieces each. Peel the cloves of garlic, and leave them whole. Remove and discard the parsley stems and chop the leaves.
2.   Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet; crush the garlic cloves slightly by hitting them sharply with the flat side of a knife blade. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Remove the garlic from the oil and reserve. Add the mushrooms to the oil and sauté until softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
3.   Boil the cauliflower and carrots, checking for doneness with a wooden skewer – a crunchy texture is best for this salad. Drain the vegetables when done (I scooped them out of the water with a wire basket – the kind you get in a wok set – then used the same water to proceed), and transfer to a large serving bowl. Boil the green beans and broccoli separately, draining and adding them to the bowl as well. Next, add the mushrooms and any remaining oil in the skillet to the bowl of vegetables.
4.   In the same skillet, heat ¼ cup more oil, remove from the heat and add the reserved garlic through a press (I minced it very fine, using a knife.) Pour the warm oil and garlic over the vegetables. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper and toss well. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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