Saturday, March 9, 2013

Warm Veggie Salad

Warm veggie salad

Tonight we set the clocks ahead (don’t forget!) and I know that this is the first step toward welcoming the spring.  As if more daylight weren’t already enough, the island weather has chosen to gift us with some serious sun today!!  The weather outside is chilly but blissfully sunny!  Yesterday was sunny as well and there was no way it was going to be wasted.  Matt and I took the hounds to the sunniest park on the island to soak up the rays and play for a few hours.  Our black lab mix, George, always runs like crazy and he was lucky enough to encounter the flock of geese who are residents at the park.  They ran from him but one was curious enough to come and say hello to me.  In the middle is our other rescue, Pirate whose got a nasty case of muddy paws!
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The park is beginning to bloom and with the past few months of classic grey Seattle skies, I was super excited to see pops of color all over the place.  Plus, I just bought a new Samsung Galaxy S II with an 8 mp camera and just had to try it out!  I’m pretty happy with these pictures and I hope they brighten your day as much as they did mine Smile
Sunny skies always remind me the bikini season is fast approaching and now is the time to transition from heavy warm winter foods to lighter dishes and fresher foods.  The farmers market opens next month and soon we will have so many fresh fruits and vegetables that easting fresh will be easy and irresistible.  For now, the cold days still beg for something warm to eat and the best of both worlds are combined in this incredibly delicious Warm Veggie Salad.  Obviously inspired by a grilled vegetable salad, the grill is on standby for warmer weather and we take this dish indoors and use a sate method to make a midseason twist on the classic grilled veggie.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and you can always use an Asian inspired dressing like the one in my Roasted Butternut Squah and Kale Salad recipe for an Asian twist using vegetables like boy choy and Chinese cabbage.

Makes 2 Mains or 4 sides
1 bunch of Romaine
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup broccoli, chopped
1/3 cup carrot, diced
1/3 cup green beans, chopped
1/3 cup corn
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leaves basil, chopped (optional for garnish)

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar 
2 tablespoons horseradish mustard (or Dijon)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash romaine and vegetables.  In a medium bowl, tear the romaine into bite-sized pieces.  You can use a knife to chop you lettuce but this can cause bruising so I tear using my hands.
2. Chop or dice your vegetables into similar sized pieces.  I used frozen corn so I just measured about 1/3 cup.
Chopped veggies
3.  In a medium skillet, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and bring to medium-high heat.  Add the carrot and cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the bell pepper, broccoli, green beans, corn, and zucchini.  Stir.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.  Always add your seasoning while in the cooking process and not after to ensure that the flavors are well incorporated.  Cook for about 3 minutes.
4.  Add the minced garlic and stir.  Cook for an additional 2-5 minutes.  We want our vegetables to be lightly softened but still crispy and fresh tasting.  Remove from heat and set aside.
5.  In a small bowl, add the balsamic vinegar and mustard.  Whisk to blend well.  Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and whisk to incorporate.
6.  To serve: Plate each dish with a bed of romaine, add the vegetables on top, then drizzle dressing over the top.  Sprinkle with a dash of pepper and garnish with basil or whatever fresh herbs you have on hands.

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