things up a bit to make sure you bring a unique dish
to a pot luck dinner with a colorful salad such as
this couscous salad with roasted cauliflower and dijon.
goodness for potluck gatherings. We attend or host these
easy repasts all summer long. Sharing meal preparations
removes much of the stress. That is, unless everyone brings
the same dish.
the party hosting falls to me, I offer a theme and then keep
track of who said they’d bring what. Sometimes, we’ll
select a cookbook and everyone brings a dish from its pages.
I always have ideas for those who don’t cook or haven’t
the time — great hummus and pita chips from the store or a
tray of sushi rolls from a local restaurant.
relish the friend who always brings chocolate candies. We
welcome any and all contributions to the table.
making (and eating) salads, so I keep an arsenal of recipes
ready when it’s my turn to contribute.
few simple tricks, these main-course salads can taste great
anywhere from the picnic blanket to a neighborhood block
party. The first recipe is for a seasoned rice and pork
salad laced with herbs, mango and a touch of red curry.
Quick-cooking whole wheat couscous forms the backbone of the
second salad peppered with ripe tomato and zesty greens.
sound counterintuitive, but using high heat for some of the
salad add-ins means better flavor and varied texture.
first salad, I stir-fry tender pork over high for great
flavor, then sweet shallots get a light fry for a crunchy
topping. In the second salad, cauliflower gets roasted in a
hot oven for golden goodness before it goes in the salad.
salad tip: Employ a variety of textures among the
components. Some soft items such as tomatoes and crumbled
cheese make a nice contrast to crunchy radish slices or
shreds of cabbage. Color and contrasting size of ingredients
likewise contribute to a well-made salad.
easy, homemade salad dressings always steal the show. It
never fails to surprise guests how much fresher the salad
tastes with a dressing free of thickeners and sweeteners.
People always ask for the recipes for the pale green, herby
cilantro lime dressing and the five-ingredient Dijon
dressing that follow.
matter where you enjoy your salad, plan on a last-minute
assembly. Most salads, when dressed too far in advance,
to sprinkle on a salad surprise just before serving.
Croutons will do, but try those large coconut flakes from
Trader Joe’s, crispy chow mein noodles, roasted nuts,
toasted sunflower seeds, broken tortilla or kale chips, even
more potluck tip: Bring copies of your recipes and ask for
others so you always have ideas for the next outing.
CURRY MANGO AND PORK RICE SALAD
6 main-course servings
can cook the pork or chicken on a medium-hot grill if
preferred. Tinned French fried onions offer a time-saving
alternative to the shallots.
cups uncooked long grain brown rice
cup uncooked quinoa, red quinoa preferred
2 to 3
tablespoons Thai red curry paste, to taste
pound pork tenderloin or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
tablespoons vegetable oil
large shallots or 1/3 red onion, peeled, very thinly sliced
small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
mango, peeled, seeded, diced
chopped fresh cilantro
3 to 4
tablespoons chopped fresh mint
lime dressing, see recipe 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
cup roasted flaked coconut, optional
cup chopped roasted salted peanuts, optional
rice, quinoa, curry paste and 2 3/4 cups water into a medium
saucepan. Heat to a boil; cover tightly. Reduce heat to very
low; simmer until rice is tender but not mushy, 15-20
minutes. (Alternatively, cook the rice, quinoa, curry paste
and 2 2/3 cups water in a rice cooker according to
manufacturer’s instructions.) Remove from heat; let stand,
10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; transfer to a large bowl to
pork or chicken into scant 1/2-inch pieces. Heat 2
tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat. Add shallots. Cook and stir until golden, about 4
minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer shallots to a
the oil left in the pan. Add half of the pork or chicken.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3-4 minutes.
Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Repeat with
another tablespoon of the oil and remaining meat. Transfer
cooked meat to the plate.
remaining tablespoon oil and the red pepper to the skillet;
cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add to the meat.
Stir cooked meat and red peppers into rice. Add mango,
chopped cilantro and mint. Cool and refrigerate up to 2
serve, stir in enough of the dressing to lightly coat
everything; taste and mix well. Top with bean sprouts, toss
lightly. Top with coconut, peanuts and the reserved fried
shallots. Serve at room temperature.
lime dressing: In a blender, put 1/3 cup vegetable oil and
1/4 cup each: fresh lime juice and fish sauce. Add 2 or 3
thin slices peeled ginger, 1 clove garlic and 1/2 cup
loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves. Process until smooth.
Makes about 3/4 cup. Refrigerate and use within 1 day.
information per serving (using all of the dressing): 641
calories, 34 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 53 milligrams
cholesterol, 58 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 1,305
milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber
SALAD WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND DIJON
4 to 6 main-course salads
to use bright orange, green or light purple cauliflower here
when it is available at the local market. For the couscous,
you can substitute 1 2/3 cups (10 ounces) cracked wheat
(medium-grain bulgur) soaked in 3 cups very hot water to
cover in a large bowl until nearly tender, usually about 1
hour. Drain well before using.
head cauliflower, cored, separated into small florets (total
about 8 cups)
tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil or olive oil
teaspoon salt, about
(8.8 ounces) whole wheat Israeli couscous
cup golden raisins
large ripe plum tomatoes, cored, diced
large seedless cucumber, peeled, cut in small dice
small red onion, finely diced, well rinsed
dressing, see recipe
ounces crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
watercress, arugula or baby kale (or a combination)
cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
oven to 400 degrees. Mix cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of
the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet (or use two baking
sheets). Sprinkle lightly with salt, about 1/4 teaspoon.
Roast cauliflower, stirring occasionally, until golden and
fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Cool.
put remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a medium saucepan. Add 3
cups water; heat to a boil. Add couscous and 1/2 teaspoon
salt. Reduce heat to low; cover the pot. Cook until nearly
tender, about 8 minutes. Let stand a couple of minutes;
drain in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in
raisins and let cool.
roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber and onion into
couscous. Refrigerate covered up to 1 day.
before serving, add dressing to couscous mixture to taste.
Gently mix salad. Add cheese crumbles and watercress. Toss
to mix. Serve sprinkled with sunflower seeds and drizzled
with a little balsamic glaze.
dressing: Mix 1/2 cup oil (I like to use a combination of
olive oil and safflower oil), 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or
white balsamic vinegar), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/2
teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before using.
Makes about 3/4 cup. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator
for a few days.
information per serving (for 6 servings, using all of the
dressing): 554 calories, 35 grams fat, 5 grams saturated
fat, 24 milligrams cholesterol, 51 grams carbohydrates, 12
grams protein, 672 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber