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vegetables

The Kitchen Witch

January, 2018

Bountiful Beef Salad

I eat salad every day. Usually for lunch, but sometimes for dinner, my salads are small meals in and of themselves. My base salad is a bowl of mixed greens, sliced red onion or Vidalia, slices of seedless cucumber, garbanzo beans and chunks of cheese – usually sharp New York State Cheddar, but sometimes Colby-Jack or Swiss. Depending on what I have on hand, I may add chunked or sliced tomatoes, salad shrimp, pieces of cooked chicken, ham or turkey, albacore tuna, avocado, sliced green pepper, celery, carrot or whatever other strikes my fancy.

One thing I always thought was strange – you see salads with almost every kind of meat on them but very rarely a salad with beef. I suppose souvlaki is a kind of salad with beef on it – or lamb – but generally, salads just don’t come with red meat on them.

Until I heard of “Bountiful Beef Salad”. It was back in the days of AOL – perhaps you remember when AOL was the big thing on the internet – the chat rooms and the screen names – I had several screen names, including “Saladqueen999” and “luvapl40” – and I eagerly joined recipe clubs, along with so many other groups that are now defunct. But I still have the recipes that I printed out. “Bountiful Beef Salad” is one of these.

As usual, get out your ingredients before you start.

I have to confess, I didn’t have the exact ingredients as listed in the recipe but I have never let that stop me from making a dish if I wanted it – and salads are easily changed to conform to what you have on hand. I have to say that I did miss the avocado but it was a delicious salad so don’t let the lack of an item get in the way of making this!

Just put it together. Make a nice base of salad greens first.

Then add the rest of your vegetables. I’m not particularly anal about this, but generally I add the onions, then the cukes, then the tomatoes, but sometimes I mix up the order. I don’t want to get too OCD about it!

The beef I used was from a leftover round roast I had a few days ago with my son. This is actually the fifth meal I made from the leftover meat! I rarely eat red meat anymore but when I do, I make it last! This salad works with leftover roast meat or with steak – it’s really good with grilled steak. The charred meat is an excellent counterpoint to the crisp greens and sweet tomatoes. Whatever kind of red meat you use, make sure it is sliced very thin

I had a hard-boiled egg, so I added that and some chunked swiss cheese.

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And then the topping – Thousand Island dressing. You can use whatever dressing you like, of course but Thousand Island dressing really makes this salad! And it was what called for in the original recipe.

Here’s the original recipe:

Bountiful Beef Salad

½ pound cooked roast beef

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 avocado, peeled & sliced

3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

¼ cup red onion rings

1 10-ounce package mixed salad greens, washed & dried

Thousand Island Dressing

Arrange meat, tomatoes, avocado, eggs & onion over the greens on a platter. Serve with the Thousand Island dressing. Serves 4.

As you can tell, I did tweak the recipe just a bit, since I was only serving myself and I didn’t have any avocado on this particular day and I used a Vidalia onion instead of the red onion called for in the recipe. And I added chunks of Swiss cheese. But these are small changes.

This is a wonderful main-dish salad that is great for lunch and wonderful for dinner, especially if you accompany it with a creamy mushroom soup and some crusty bread. All you need is the beverage of your choice and viola! Meal magic!

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

The Kitchen Witch

September, 2017

Harvest Stir-Fry with Shrimp

 

     If you are like me, you either make too much pasta or not enough. Generally, I err on the side of too much. So I often use leftover pasta in stir-fries. Pasta reheats fabulously in the stir-fry pan, and absorbs the flavors of the cooking oil, vegetables and other seasonings.

     The other day, I went to the farmer’s market in Downtown Buffalo. I bought these wonderful purple and pale green peppers, as well as cherry tomatoes and zucchini. I decided to use them in the stir-fry with the leftover pasta. I also had onion and shrimp.

Here is the recipe and how you prepare this yummy stir-fry:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium zucchini, cubed (about 1 cup)

1 purple pepper, diced (about ½ cup)

1 pale green pepper, diced (about ½ cup)

¼ cup diced red onion

13-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

2 cups leftover pasta, broken into pieces

¼ cup white wine or chicken broth

10-12 medium cooked frozen shrimp, thawed, with tailed removed

Fresh parsley and basil to taste.

     Heat the olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan or wok until just about smoking. Add the vegetables and toss in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper and keep moving in the oil. Add the leftover pasta and stir it in well. Add the white wine or the chicken broth, stirring well. Add the shrimp, then the parsley and basil. Toss a final time and serve. With a salad, this is a perfect light dinner for two people.

Enjoy! BB!

Seed, Root, & Stem

October, 2013

Gleaning and gathering are the keywords for October.  Tromping through the forests in our rubber boots for the Chanterelles, subjecting ourselves to the thorny vines on which the rosehips hang large and ready for the jelly or tea pot, trying to get as many tomatoes as we can before the slugs reach their ripened meats – all the work of Autumn’s first few weeks.  Rewarding work, too!

Recent days have brought us the remnants of a typhoon and so the rains have come early and heavy.  We removed the peppers and tomatoes from their vines, and a new set of fruits is already trying to come on.  The peppers[1] have been dried, pickled, smoked and ground. We’ve made preserves, sauces, ketchup and salsa with the tomatoes and eaten many of them raw[2].

 

The Chanterelles were all cleaned with care and dried as well.  It’s a tedious job with a pastry brush, but it provides the perfect opportunity to allow for trance work in the kitchen.  We love this harvest and look forward to it every year.  Not only does it connect us deeply to the land in our search for it, it provides a myriad of health benefits.

 

“Like other mushrooms they contain vitamins A and D as well as some of the B-complex ones. They contain all the essential amino acids and glutamic acid is believed to boost the immune system and may help fight cancer, infections and rheumatoid arthritis. There is evidence that it inhibits blood clotting, which is valuable in the fight against heart disease. As for minerals, they contain potassium which regulates blood pressure and the contractions of the heart muscle; copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium which is good for the mood and the brain.”[3]

 

Sunchokes are another native of our region.  I’ve actually wild-harvested the roots and planted them at home.  They’re towering over me now by a few feet with their soft, yellow flowers popping open.  Underneath, in the soil are the crispy, tender, sweet-tasting roots that we love and that love us back.[4]  We’ll dig them all through the Fall and into Winter as well.

Mustard seeds have been harvested and dried, then soaked and made into hearty, rich mustard sauces for later use.[5]  All of these wonderful, earthy gifts that come flowing in and enriching our lives this time of year prepare us to live well until Spring comes back around again.



[1] http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-peppers

[2] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301091338.htm

[3] http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2011/07/chanterelle-mushrooms-foragers-treasure.html

[4] http://www.eattheseasons.com/Archive/sunchoke.htm

[5] http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/the-amazing-mustard-seed.aspx#axzz2gPwGZ0g8

Seed, Root & Stem

September, 2013

August has come to an end and it’s time to begin the process of fall planting preparation.  Beets, kohlrabi, kale, carrots and fennel will be overwintering in the raised beds.

 

The groundcover this year will consist of mustard, Daikon radishes, turnips and rutabagas.  Next year’s garden will be considerably larger by a few acres in the hopes it will provide more food for the community.  The field has seen many years of grain and grass, so the compost crop will provide a grass suppressant, add the richness of green manure to the soil, help control pests and disease, boost the soil’s nitrogen content and best of all, those Daikon radishes are highly effective at breaking the ground without tilling.

 

Alone, the radishes grow about 12-18 inches, but their taproots can sometimes go several feet! These vegetables loosen the earth by opening paths for air and water to work their magic with the organic material breaking down.  They decompose quickly leaving an abundance of nutrient in their wake.  Of course, the smell of decomposing vegetables will greet us as Winter’s thaw arrives – that might be a bit unpleasant; but as with all things, it will pass and the its legacy will be fertile.

 

An added bonus will be in Spring, when the mustard’s highly visible yellow and white blooms call the pollinators in.

 

The process of making the seed balls to broadcast by hand into the field will take a weekend of creative genius, hours of coating the seeds with peat-free compost and clay, sifting and grading and drying them into hard, little nuts that won’t begin to allow germination until the rains are right and ready.

 

Along with the harvest and the fall planting comes the community building.  The knowledge sharing and predictions of the weather will abound, as will the sound of drums and guitars and voices humming unwritten tunes.  Long-time friends and new ones alike are gathering together over chores and rewards; communing around the fire pit and the stove, over plates of food and baskets of berries freshly picked; over the scent of the herbs and tomatoes and the heady smell of soft rains caressing the ground and our skin as we drink it in.

 

The Hubbard squash are almost ready to store and we’ll take turns picking them up and cleaning their hard skins before setting them in the cool darkness to store.  Then we’ll tramp through the late Summer woods harvesting mushrooms to take home and dry. We’ll feed each other on every level and for a few moments in time, we won’t give a damn for anything else but the world we are creating together in the here and now.

 

“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches

is that our relationship to the planet need not

be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still

shines and people still can plan and plant,

think and do, we can, if we bother to try,

find ways to provide for ourselves

without diminishing the world. ”
? Michael Pollan