Red Cabbage Salad with Shrimp and Corn

Red Cabbage Salad with Corn and Crustacean

This recipe is one of my favorite salads with red cabbage. My Mom used to make it with white cabbage, imitation crabmeat, and canned corn kernels, dressed with mayo. After moving to the U.S., I eventually substituted white cabbage with red and an imitation crabmeat with the crustacean. Who cares about imitation when the real stuff is readily available? Love it dearly and still name it Mom’s Cabbage Salad.

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Italian Antipasti: Artichokes with Seafood and Mozzarella

Baby Artichokes with Seafood and Mozzarella

Antipasti, or little cold and hot appetizers used to be served before the main course with the intention to whet an appetite. Modern eating habits have changed. A variety of small plates often replaces a complete meal. This warm artichoke and seafood salad with melted cheese is an example of how versatile this traditional combination of ingredients is. Slight preparation modifications and you can serve it as a warm salad or appetizer, or with pasta, or on pizza. No herbs, spices, or other strongly aromatic ingredients overpower the delicate flavors of artichokes and seafood. Moderate seasoning and good extra virgin olive oil are all we need to make this dish shine.

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Salsa de Pina y Mango | Fresh Pineapple and Mango Salsa

Pineapple and Mango Salsa

This salsa is one of my favorite. I like seafood, and it’s perfect with many seafood dishes as a side. It’s beautiful! Bright, sunny colors of fresh tropical fruit. It tastes like vacation in Hawaii, if, of course, you come across excellent ripe golden pineapples and Ataulfo mango. This salsa is easy to make — all its ingredients are raw, but you have to know smart ways to cut, slice, and dice pineapple and mango to enjoy the process of making it. When you do, you can make this salsa quickly and impress your guests with a presentation.

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Huazontle Salad

Huazontle Salad

Think broccoli with thinner and more fibrous stalks and stems. That’s huazontle, just with more tiny green buds and fewer stems and leaves. Huazontle bud clusters are simmered in salty water for 5-15 minutes (different sources give different timing) first. Then they are cooked as tortas (patties), which are formed by pressing huazontle clusters around a portion of queso fresco, dipped in flour then into an egg foam, and deep-fried. This recipe is sort of the same, but deconstructed.

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Soviet Korean-Style Carrot Salad

Korean-Style Spiced Carrot Salad

Korean-Style carrot salad is another phenomenon of Soviet cuisine nad my favorite way of eating carrots. Julienned carrots are seasoned with salt (and sugar if needed) and quickly marinated with spices, chili peppers, vinegar, and vegetable oil. Due to its popularity all over former Soviet republics and now internationally, there are variations for spices, the level of heat from chili peppers, for kinds of vinegar and oils to use, and where oil should be cold or hot. This recipe is my family version adapted to local, not very sweet carrots.

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Winter Salads: Sunshine and Frost

Black Radish and Apple Salad

…It’s so cold outside and so warm and cozy in our tiny kitchen. We can’t wait for lunch! I peel the radishes and one big apple. My Mom grates them. We season and toss them with a touch of salt, honey, apple cider vinegar, and homemade sunflower oil, and sit down for a little snack. This salad is white like snow and fresh and sharp like cold air. Every time black radish becomes available, I make this salad for the pleasure to experience white Winter sensations again…

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Gourmet Duck Salad | aka Landaise Salad

Duck Salad

This salad is about duck. In France, if it is made of duck from Landes region (south of Bordeaux), its name is Landaise. My version features duck gizzards confit, cured and lightly smoked duck breast, and foie gras torchon or duck liver pate (depends on budget) slices on French baguette toasts. For greens I prefer a mix of sweet leafy vegetables and arugula, lightly dressed with classic French vinaigrette (EVOO, honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar). I tried different additional elements like tomatoes, asparagus, and hard-boils eggs, but the only one I really liked was cucumber. This salad is part of my Mosel & Alsace Menu.

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Cranberry Gems

Cranberry Gems

It’s cranberry harvest season! Have you been missing fresh cranberries? Like many other passionate cooks, I have my favorite recipes that call for fresh cranberries — sauces, pickles, jams, etc. This one is neither. Why do I call the gems? Imagine a whole bright berry, still tart inside, but with thin sweet glossy coating outside. I usually make a batch of 3-4 jars, keep them refrigerated, and use for everything — to decorate cakes and pastries, to add to salads, to serve it with soft creamy cheese or greek yogurt, to top oatmeal with honey, to drop a few berries into the hot demi-glace based sauce for meat and poultry, to make quick cold and hot sparkling drinks — the list is endless.

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Poultry Hearts and Gizzards Confit

Duck Gizzards Confit

Oh, this dish sounds so romantic in French — Gésiers de Canard Confit — duck gizzards, slowly cooked in duck fat. When cooked confit, strong muscle of gizzard becomes a soft and plump morsel, full of flavor, with a hint of gaminess. Gésiers de canard confit is a specialty in South West France that pleasantly surprises many tourists who try it for the first time. Gésiers are respected ingredient in a variety of warm salads, including famous Landaise salad. They are gently fried in a little duck fat before serving. They are also very good with buckwheat, roasted potatoes, or sautéed winter squashes.

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