Secret Santa’s Salad

 

The 2010 F&S tree with all Secret Santa packages vying for space

We have a tradition in our company: we celebrate Xmas with a Secret Santa and usually have a office lunch in his honor. This year we opted for a potluck, with every member either contributing a dish or contributing to the common staples (rice, rotis/breads, drinks) pool. I would have turned in the trifle pudding, but given that I was racing against time (year-end deliverable wrapping up) opted for a salad instead.

Ingredients:
Iceberg Lettuce: 350-400 gm
Cucumber: 4 medium sized ones
Tomatoes: 4 firm, medium sized
Onion: one light pink large
Capsicum: 2 medium sized
Carrots (pink): 4
Pickled Olives (16) and Jalapenos (6 whole small) (both drained out)
Paneer (cottage cheese): 300 gm
Black grapes: about 20
1 green chilli, finely sliced

For the dressing:
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 2 tsp
Tomato pulp
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Rock salt, to taste
Olives (4) Jalapenos (2 whole small)
Orange: 1 medium sized for zest and juice

Method:
Wash all vegetables very well, leave to drain and dry.
Wash the lettuce very well, keep aside 4 whole leaves, shred the rest; peel, slice length-wise and cube cucumber; halve tomato, remove pulp, set aside for dressing, cube tomato (same size as cucumber); halve, de-seed capsicum, slice length-wise, very fine; peel carrots, slice into fine rings. Halve onion, slice very finely. Keep all vegetables separately
Cube paneer; halve and then quarter black grapes, set aside; Slice finely olives and jalapenos

Step 1: In a wide bottomed bowl, put in the sliced capsicum, cucumber, carrots, onion, finely sliced green chilli, drizzle abt 1tsp of olive oil, toss, so that oil coats all. Add about 8 olives and 3 Jalapenos sliced. Toss again. Do not ADD lettuce

Step 2: In another pan/bowl, add in cubed paneer, halved-quartered grapes, 8 olives  and 3 jalapenos finely sliced.

Dressing for the greens:
In a chutney jar or the smallest jar of your blender, place the finely diced garlic, tomato pulp, 4 olives, 2 jalapenos, rock salt to taste, 1/2tsp wine vinegar and 1tsp extra virgin olive oil. Blend into a fine paste. Retain about 1/2tsp for brushing over base lettuce leaves. Add the remainder into the greens of step 1,  and toss well.

Dressing for the paneer:
Take a medium sized orange, wash well, wipe dry, grate the zest lightly,  halve orange and squeeze juice onto paneer-grape-olive-jalapeno mix, sprinkle in the zest, toss well.

Cover both paneer and greens with cling film, cool in refrigerator for 30 mins.

Assembling:
Take another bowl (whichever you want to use to serve the salad); wash, dry. Lay on the bottom the whole lettuce leaves, either spray or brush olive oil onto the leaves, brush the 1/2tsp of dressing, set aside.
Remove greens and paneer-grape combo from refrigerator, toss the shredded lettuce in with the greens, now start layering your salad bowl alternately with greens and paneer. You should end with paneer-grapes on the top-most layer.

Cover, place into refrigerator for not more than 30 mins. Serve Cold. If you feel the top layer seems too dry, mix about 1/4tsp each olive oil, wine vinegar and honey and drizzle just before serving.

 

Red, white and green and healthy

Forgot to take a pic before everyone descended on it, so… 🙂

Can be had as is, or with toasted bread.

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Yet another summer salad (this time with Avocado)

Yup, I have an overwhelming fondness for salads! Come summer, when appetites seem to go out of the window for a long, long stroll, greens and salad vegetables are so attractive 🙂

Ingredients:

Avocado: 1 medium sized, halved, pulp extracted and diced fine

Capsicum: 1 medium sized, sliced lengthwise finely

Onion/Cucumber/Tomato: 1 medium sized each; onions finely sliced, cucumber and tomato, cubed.

Leek: 1 sliced into medium sized rings

Lettuce small: 1 finely sliced

Low fat Cottage Cheese (there we go again): 50 gm finely cubed

For the dressing:

Red wine/balsamic vinegar: 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste; Pepper a pinch

1 orange

Method:

Assemble all the salad ingredients in a bowl, toss to mix them well, add dressing ingredients in the following order: vinegar, salt, pepper; toss once more to allow dressing to percolate into salad ingredients.

Halve the orange, and squeeze juice over assembled salad, toss once more, refrigerate for 20-30 mins, to allow dressing to seep through.

Serve with lightly toasted bread.

Avocado is an acquired taste, you may replace it with a fruit, say apple, or add mushrooms.

Light Summer Salad

The summer heat is getting to me, and I don’t feel like eating the dal-sabzi-roti stuff, so am taking recourse to salads and stuff.

This is an easy-to-rustle up, mildly tangy, non-mayo salad (truth is, I don’t like mayo), so here goes

Ingredients:

Paneer (low fat): 150 gm, cubed

Capsicum: 1 medium sliced fine

Onion: 1 medium sliced fine

Spinach leaves: half a bunch, well washed, shredded

Cucumber: 1 medium, cubed

Tomato: 1 medium cubed, set pulp aside for dressing

Green olives: 4 finely sliced

Green grapes: a handful, halved

For the dressing:

Tomato pulp; ginger: 1/4 inch chopped; Garlic: 2 cloves chopped; Jalapenos: 2 sliced rings

Green olives: 4; salt to taste, a dash of oregano, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/4tsp honey

Optional: Chilli flakes

Method:

In a big bowl, put all the salad ingredients except paneer; keep the green olives and grapes aside for garnishing; toss and mix well; add paneer and re-toss; in a mixer jar (chutney jar will do), put the ingredients for the dressing and blend finely. Add the blended dressing into the mixed salad vegetables and paneer, toss well. Turn into a serving bowl, garnish with halved gapes and sliced green olives, put into fridge to chill for at least a couple of hours before serving to allow the dressing to seep into the salad.

Lightly Tossed Paneer Salad

This is a lightly tossed paneer hot salad that goes well with wine, and drinks and is easy and quick to rustle up (you can add/subtract the salad ingredients, being a weekend, my fridge is kinda empty, stocking up left for the Sunday :-)! )

By now it must be evident that I am a paneer (cottage cheese) lover. It’s a versatile ingredient, if it can be called that, easy to add into other dishes or on its own.

Ingredients:

Paneer – low fat (cottage cheese): 200-250 gm, cubed

Onion: 1 medium sized, finely sliced

Cucumber: halved, finely sliced

Garlic: 1 clove, finely diced

Tomato: 1 medium, sliced into eights, length-wise (for garnish)

Green olives: 4, quartered, length-wise

Jalapenos (pickled): 4, crushed

Salt: to taste

Red chilli powder: a pinch

Red wine Vinegar: 1/4 tsp

Olive oil to saute: 1/4 tsp

Optional: 1/4 tsp chat masala

Method:

Put a saucepan (i use the anodized ones, you can use a non-stick, if you so want) on heat, add diced garlic, roast dry, add finely sliced onions, saute for about a minute; add the cucumber slices, let saute further, toss in the paneer, add olive oil, saute for about a couple of minutes till paneer starts acquiring a slightly brownish tinge, turn down flame; add the olives and jalapeno, saute for a further minute, add salt, red chilli powder, red wine vinegar and if using, the chat masala, lightly toss pan contents, allow to cook for a further min on low heat.

Turn out on full plate or bowl, use sliced tomatoes to ring salad, serve hot. Good with wine (that’s what I served it with)

Cheers!

The Felton Road 2008 Riesling