Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for the ‘salads’ Category

Peapods with poppy seed dressing

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 2, 2014

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Poppy Seed Dressing This poppy seed dressing (from Saveur via the cookbook author Helen Corbitt) is one of the best I have ever had and it goes well with everything from peaches and strawberries, to salads to pea pods.   I made the following changes to the original recipe.  I substituted the grated onion for 1 tsp of powdered onion, since I did not see myself grating an onion by hand (do not grate with a food processor, the onion and juice will be bitter).  I figured this would also give the dressing greater shelf-life.  I also skipped the canola oil and went with all olive oil, but I don’t think it makes a big difference here. Do not omit the onion or the mustard,  these are key ingredients.  If you want a well-emulsified dressing,  you are going to have to make it in a bottle and shake it like the devil.  Or you could whisk it.  Even if you don’t do either, the dressing will taste divine.  MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

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2 tbsp. poppy seeds

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp. dry mustard powder

2 tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal.  Adjust to taste for all other salts).

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp powdered onion  (the original recipe calls for 1 small yellow onion, finely grated, juice reserved)

3/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup olive oil

Method: 1. Lightly toast the poppy seeds, swirling pan constantly, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and onion powder, and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Add oil, and blend until smooth.  Keep refrigerated. I have no idea how long it will last in the fridge,  but I have been using it for 3 weeks.

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Pea pods 


2 tbs. oil



Poppy seed dressing


1. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a heavy (cast-iron) pan.

2.  Add the pea pods in one layer to the pan.

3. Wait to stir for a couple of min till one side develops flecks of brown.

4. Now turn over and cook for a few minutes till browned to your liking.

5. Remove from heat and add the desired amount dressing.  Adjust the salt to your taste.

Posted in condiments, salads, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Curried Tofu Salad

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 17, 2012

There are those who eat tofu as a meat substitute.  I think it is a mediocre meat substitute, but is really good on its own, particularly because it can take on any flavor you ask it to.   Take for instance the red curry tofu salad our local co-op sells. It has Indian curry powder and some cajun spices in it and it tastes like a wonderful blend of the two.  Whoda thunk? Its delicious, but expensive.  You shouldn’t  pay 7.99/lb for a bit of tofu.  So I resolved to make it with the ingredients I had on hand.  My take on this salad is very close to the store bought version, its just slightly less greasy and certainly a lot cheaper.  This is definitely going to enter my lunch pantheon.  Try it and you might also get hooked to eating tofu as well.  It would also be wonderful with chicken: I will try that next.


1 pk extra firm tofu cut lengthwise into three slabs

2 tbs. vegetable oil, divided

2 tbs mayonnaise (the store sells a vegan version with vegennaise: no idea how this is made, but it tastes just fine)

1 tbs. apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)

1/2 tsp old bay seasoning (or any cajun seasoning, barbecue dry rub etc.  you have)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp curry pwd

pinch of cayenne (the hot stuff)

five grinds black pepper

salt to taste

1 large carrot, shredded in the food processor or on a grater

1 stalk celery finely diced or shredded in the food processor

2-3 tbs. finely diced onion (preferably a sweet variety, do not grate in food processor)

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro


The day before you will make your salad, drain the tofu brick on paper towels, taking as much moisture off as possible.  Leave uncovered in fridge overnight.

Heat 1/2 -1 tbs oil in a griddle or sauté pan (the amount will depend on the type of pan you use, you don’t want the tofu to stick and you don’t want it greasy).

When hot, turn the stove to medium high and place your tofu slabs in the pan and brown, about 4 min per side (provided the tofu was drained as outlined above).

Remove from the flame and let the tofu cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile,  whisk the mayo, oil, vinegar, sugar and spices together and let the flavors blend.

Process your vegetables.

Cut the tofu into small cubes and mix together the vegetables, the dressing and the tofu.  Be gentle so you don’t break the tofu to bits.  Taste and adjust the salt, sugar and vinegar.

Let the salad sit for at least half an hour in the fridge before serving or consuming.

Posted in Asian, Brunch, Chinese, Main Dishes, salads, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Roasted Tomato-tomatillo salsa

Posted by fourclankitchen on August 28, 2011

I am back after a long vacation and some tribulations en route.  Back to this sweltering heat and a pitiless, cloudless sky.  But the tomatoes are still good and that is nothing to sneeze at.  I have been experimenting with Mexican food and am very taken with the idea of roasting/broiling  vegetables briefly before incorporating them into a sauce or salsa.  Although I prefer a fresh salsa for same-day consumption, this roasted gives you a mellow, deep flavored salsa, that lasts in the fridge for a couple days. It is ideal when you are having people over.


1-2 tbs. oil (optional)

4-5 medium sized vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into halves

4 small tomatillos, skins removed and throughly washed and halved

1/2 sweet onion (e.g., vidalia) crudely cut into large pieces

1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

salt, lime, Hungarian sweet paprika, cumin powder: to taste


1.  Start the broiler in your oven (I set mine to low).  Move a rack close to the heating element.

2. Lightly oil the vegetables and sprinkle them generously with salt.  You can omit the oil and go with just salt as well.

3.  Broil for ~ 10 min, until the vegetables are just beginning to brown.  Remove any vegetable from the oven if it starts to char too much.

4. Put the vegetables into a food processor and pulse till they meld together.  Add, lime, paprika, cumin (start with 1/2 tsp of each).  Then taste and adjust the salt.

5.  Add cilantro and pulse the food processor briefly again.

Note: 1, Substitute cayenne for sweet paprika if you want to kick up the heat.  Or, throw in half a seeded serrano or jalapeno, depending on you heat tolerance.  Enjoy.

Note 2: If you cant find tomatillos, add a couple more tomatoes instead.  This will also give you more intense red color.

Posted in condiments, Mexican, salads, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thai Green Papaya Salad

Posted by fourclankitchen on February 7, 2010

As with a lot of Thai food, this salad balances sugar, heat, sour and salt and binds it all together with some herbs (basil and cilantro) and fish sauce. Add a little crunch from peanuts and you have yourself a salad that will nearly eliminate carb cravings. I am sure that some versions of this recipe have dried shrimp in them, but I am allergic and leave it out. Also, this recipe makes no claims to authenticity: I just wing it and it is pretty close to what I can buy at a restaurant.

Start by picking a raw (green) papaya: the oriental grocery store is ideal for this. If you cant find a raw papaya, a semi-ripe one will do, although it will lack the crunch. Peel and seed the papaya and grate in the food processor. Add sliced onions, chilies (if using) cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro and basil to the papaya, then mix together fish sauce, sugar, sriracha, salt, oil and lime juice. Add to the vegetables. Adjust the spices till the salad tastes perfectly balanced. Then garnish with cilantro and the crushed peanuts. I did not have any peanuts or basil on hand, so I omitted them, but they do add to the dish, so please use them if you have them around.

The vegetables:

½ (about 3 cups) of a small papaya, peeled, seeded and grated in the food processor
½ large onion or 1 medium
4 tomatoes coarsely cubed
½ large cucumber, coarsely cubed
4 cloves garlic
½-1 thai bird pepper or Serrano pepper (optional; I would use more if my guys could handle it)

The flavors:

2 tbs cane sugar or to taste
3 tbs. fish sauce (substitute with soy sauce or salt if you don’t like fish sauce- its not really a substitute, but the your final product will taste good even when omitted)
½ tbs. vegetable oil
½ tsp sriracha or more (this is a delicious chilli-garlic sauce, but you could omit this if you cannot take the heat, hah!)
Juice of 1 ½ limes or to taste
zest of 1 lime
¼ cup cilantro+ plus a smidge more for garnish
4 basil leaves thinly slivered
½ cup crushed peanuts
Salt to taste

Toss all of the vegetables together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together except the peanuts. (I did not have any basil, so I added a little basil pesto I had made a few days before- this was fine). Mix in with the vegetables. Taste the salad and adjust the seasons so that the heat, the sweet, the sour and salt are balanced to your liking. Garnish with cilantro and crushed peanuts. Serve as a side with pan-fried udon noodles.

Update: I made this again with a semi-ripe papaya and some lettuce, chives, mint from my garden. I also added some carrots, just cause I had ’em. I have to say, this was just as lovely as the raw papaya salad in taste and absolutely gorgeous to look at. See below.

Posted in Asian, salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian | 1 Comment »

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