Tag Archives: carrots

Ham and bean tostada

Ham and bean tostada

Ham and beans are a classic soup combination. And beans suggest to me a possible tostada. Here is a ham and bean tostada with the tortilla topped with a ham, carrot, and bean mixture made much like the soup but without the excess broth.

As with the New Orleans tostada I’m using canned beans rather than going through the effort of using dry beans. The beans I found were simply labeled white beans, but great northern beans or navy beans are very similar. Ham and bean soups typically have carrots, so those are included as well.

For the ham, I found a small bag of cubed ham which was just perfect. Some markets sell individual ham steaks which could be cut into cubes. Or you could get a very thick slice of ham at the deli counter.

For topping the frittata, I chose to add more ham and sliced carrots (raw here, of coures). And for the vinaigrette, vinegar is often served as a condiment with ham and bean soup. So I made the proportion vinegar higher than in a typical vinaigrette and included no additional flavorings, as I wanted the vinegar to be the focus. I think that worked well.

Ham and bean tostada

1 can great northern, navy, or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup carrots, small pieces
1/4 cup ham, small cubes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 bay leaf

2 corn tortillas

romaine lettuce, chopped
ham, cubes or other small pieces
carrots, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Saute the onion in oil, adding garlic for the last minute. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth, ham, carrots, and spices. Cook for 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth as necessary to just keep from drying out.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the ham and bean mixture. Put the romaine, ham, and carrots on the beans. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil and vinegar. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad.

Shrimp frittata Alfredo

Shrimp frittata Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo is a great classic and with chicken or shrimp makes a wonderful main course. Many, many years ago, we had shrimp fettuccine Alfredo in a restaurant which had, in addition to the shrimp, broccoli and julienne carrots. This is a great combination. I have made shrimp fettuccine Alfredo this way ever since.

It struck me that the same combination would work in a frittata, without the pasta, of course. Alfredo sauce requires only butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese. For the frittata I’ve omitted the butter but included lots of Parmesan and some cream along with the shrimp, carrots, and broccoli.

Shrimp frittata Alfredo

3/4 cup cooked shrimp in small pieces
3/4 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 cup julienne carrots
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons cream

3 eggs

Put the broccoli into boiling water, cook for 1 minute, and drain. Put the carrots into boiling water, cook for 3 minutes, and drain.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the shrimp, Parmesan cheese, carrots, and broccoli into the eggs. Do the broccoli last to minimize the stirring that would break up the florets. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. Place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Chicken adobo salad

Chicken adobo salad

Chicken adobo is often called the national dish of the Phillipines. The chicken is cooked with soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. I thought this would be good for a salad.

The first recipe I found when looking for ideas online said that a distinctive aspect of adobo chicken is that the chicken is cooked in the liquid first and then browned at the end. This is just the opposite of many dishes such as chicken fricasee and coq au vin where the chicken is browned first. But other recipes did have you browning the chicken first, and still others didn’t brown at all. I decided to cook in the liquid and then finish with a quick browning under the broiler.

Then came the the question of what to do with the rest of the salad. I know nothing about Filipino cuisine, so back to Google for ideas. I found recipes for just about any kind of salad, many using familiar ingredients. I saw several recipes that combined cucumbers and carrots, both in a straight cucumber salad (with red onions) and in a slaw, with cabbage. I thought these would go well.

Vinegar is a primary ingredient for the dressings for some cucumber salads, so having the cucumber with the adobo chicken with the vinegar was a good choice. To emphasize the vinegar on the salad, I altered the proportions for my dressing, using equal amounts of oil and the soy-vinegar mixture from the chicken.

Chicken adobo salad

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
5–6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper

spring mix lettuce and spinach
cucumber, sliced thin
carrots, sliced thin
red onion, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put the chicken thighs in a pan with the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken over once about half way through.

Remove the chicken thighs. Place them under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes to brown. Then let them rest a few minutes before slicing.

Take 2 tablespoons of the soy-vinegar cooking liquid and combine with the oil for the dressing. Boil the remainder of the liquid down by at least half, until it starts to thicken, to concentrate the sauce for spooning over the chicken.

Arrange the cucumber, carrots, and onions on the lettuce and spinach. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil and soy-vinegar mixture. Spoon the dressing over the salad.

Slice the chicken. Place in the middle of the salad. Spoon the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken.

Scallops and spring vegetables salad

Scallops with spring vegetables salad

My daughter and I have each made, multiple times, a wonderful scallops with spring vegetables dish from the Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. This is a hot entree, with the scallops and vegetables coated with a great saffron sauce. This recipe was the direct inspiration for this salad. The salad includes pretty much the same ingredients, though obviously prepared and assembled differently.

A key to this salad (as to many things) is to make sure none of the ingredients are overcooked. The cooked vegetables should remain crisp. And with the scallops, yes, the 30 seconds for cooking is all that the slices require.

For dressing the salad, I made a saffron vinaigrette. I started with oil and lemon juice, since lemon always goes well with seafood. When cooking with saffron, the cooking causes the flavor and color to be released throughout the preparation. I wondered about how this would work with a saffron vinaigrette. My solution was to make the vinaigrette, with the saffron, an hour before I would finish the salad. I beat the mixture vigorously not just to mix the oil and lemon juice (even then, of course, only temporarily) but to break up the saffron threads and mix them up. It worked. The flavor and color of the saffron was gradually infused in the dressing. I could see it getting more yellow over time.

Of course, if you don’t have saffron, the straight oil and lemon juice vinaigrette would work just fine.

Scallops with spring vegetables salad

3–4 sea scallops, sliced into thirds
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup haricots verts cut into about 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
butter lettuce

3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup water
1 small shallot or 1/2 larger shallot, minced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
several saffron threads

The scallops, peas, and haricots verts need to be cooked ahead of time so they can cool before making the salad. They don’t have to be refrigerator temperature. Somewhat warmer than that is actually better. I would say doing this a hour or so before you plan to have the salad would be fine. Of course it could be much earlier. But then I would take these ingredients out of the refrigerator a little before making the salad so they would not be as cold.

To cook the scallops, put the wine, water, and minced shallot into a pot, bring to the simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes to combine the flavors. If the scallops are frozen, thaw under running cold water. Cut off the little muscle on the side of the scallops if present. Slice the scallops crosswise into thirds, giving 3 nice rounds about 1/4-inch or so thick. Put the scallops into the wine, water, and shallot mixture. When it returns to the simmer, which should happen quite quickly, time the cooking for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, and take out the scallops with a slotted spoon.

For the peas and haricots verts, bring 2 more pots of water to the boil. Add the peas, bring back to the boil, and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. For the haricots verts, add to the pot, bring back to the boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Again drain and rinse with cold water.

An hour or so before the final preparation, mix the oil, lemon juice and saffron threads. You only need a few threads. How much is really a judgment call–something of a guess as far as I’m concerned. Whisk this very vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute. The object here is to break up the saffron threads and get them to started infusing their color and flavor into the dressing.

For the final preparation, cut the butter lettuce into small pieces–you want this mixed up with the other vegetables, not dominating. Add the peas, haricot verts, and carrots, tossing everything together. Now whisk the vinaigrette, pour about 2/3 over the salad, and toss again.

Put the salad on the plate. Lay the scallop slices on top. Spoon a little of the remaining vinaigrette on top of each scallop slice.

Soy wasabi salmon salad

Soy wasabi salmon salad

I found the recipe for soy wasabi salmon a long time ago, and this has become a favorite which I have made many times as an entree. I thought it would be an interesting way to include salmon, hot, on a salad.

I am not sure why, but I have nearly always made quickly stir-fried carrots and broccoli as the vegetable with this salmon. So I thought, why not put the carrots and broccoli (now uncooked, of course) on the salad?

Finally, honey, soy sauce, and ginger in the vinaigrette complement the salmon. With the honey, it’s hard to get the ingredients for the dressing mixed with a whisk. In this case, putting everything in a small jar and shaking works better.

Soy wasabi salmon salad

salmon filet
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon wasabi powder

4 teaspoons (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce

baby spinach
carrots, thin slices
broccoli, small florets
scallions, sliced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1–1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 small clove garlic, pressed

Marinate salmon in 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon wasabi for 1 to 2 hours. Place filet skin side down in oiled baking pan and brush on marinade. Bake in preheated of at 400 thickness until desired doneness. I’ll do about 12 minutes for a fairly thick filet.

Arrange the spinach, carrots, broccoli, and scallions on the plate. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. With the honey, this is harder to mix, so shaking in a jar works best. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad.

Take the salmon from the oven. Remove the skin. Heat the honey and soy sauce and brush on all sides of the salmon. Place the salmon on the salad and brush a little more on the top.