Chinese Broccoli Salad with Sesame Citrus Dressing

Chinese Broccoli Salad with Sesame Citrus Dressing

Chinese broccoli is a tasty variation of the standard green, and we show you one delicious way to cook it with a sesame citrus dressing.

After what has felt like a gabillion months of (bone-chilling, face-freezing, fun-zapping) winter, this past weekend the sun peeked out from the behind the clouds and warmed our little corner of New York to a downright balmy 42 degrees.

So we did the only sane thing and grabbed our sunglasses, slathered ourselves with SPF8000 and went swimming in a crystal clear lake and let the fish nibble our vitamin-D deficient toes.

Just kidding! It was 42 friggin’ degrees so we braved the mud that is quickly replacing the permafrost in our driveway and drove to the little asian market we’d been itching to check out for ages.

Sure, by NYC chinatown standards the place is tiny but it packs plenty of great products into its two crowded aisles. Among many other fun things, we bought a bottle of ponzu, some chili-garlic sauce, a big jar of sesame seeds and, best of all, a huge bag of incredibly fresh chinese broccoli.  Aw yeah! Party at the Cliftons.

Chinese Broccoli Salad with Sesame Citrus Dressing Chinese Broccoli Salad with Sesame Citrus Dressing

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Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

I’m calling this a salad even though it’s technically more of a “slaw”. Unfortunately, Matt despises that word and I don’t want him to make that “Um…ew” face that I find hilarious except when it’s directed at my beautiful Asian slaw. Excuse me… salad.

What words do you inexplicably hate? My sister-in-law, Kathy, hates the word “moist” (so I try to use it as often and as awkwardly as I can). “Boy, those (meat)balls sure look moist!”

I can’t stand the word “meal”.  As in (bored diner waitress plops down plate) “Enjoy your meal.”  (I convulse and try to picture my happy place).

Well, this slaw is very moist and would make a great addition to any meal.  (I think I just died).

Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

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Cranberry Sauce with Cointreau

A cranberry sauce holds the Thanksgiving dishes together but you don’t want to spend too much time on it. Our recipe is quick and delicious.

Cranberry Sauce with CointreauHappy Thanksgivukkah everyone!

This is going to be a quick post because we’re in the midst of Thanksgiving cooking madness and if I’m gone too long, Matt will glaze the dog and confit the chickens.

If you haven’t made your cranberry sauce yet (don’t panic, there’s still time!), this is a very simple, tasty recipe that is ready in minutes. You’ll want to cool it before serving and next year, you can make it up to 4 days ahead.

This is a great place to use Cointreau (orange liquor) if you have it, but Triple Sec is a fine, much more affordable alternative.

You’re aiming for a balance of tartness (more berries) and sweetness (more sugar) – it’s not a bad idea to have extra of both on hand in case you decide you want to shift the taste either way.

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Spiced Pickled Grapes

Spiced Pickled Grapes
Spiced Pickled Grapes

Spiced Pickled GrapesAt the risk of sounding like a Portlandia sketch, I am a little obsessed with pickling. You take something yummy, plop it in some vinegar, sugar and spices and it tastes even better. And lasts longer! Win-win, right?

When Matt and I lived in Brooklyn, we used to go to this great place called Buttermilk Channel (I say that like we could just waltz right in, la di da, but there was almost always a line down the block. Damn you, Brooklyn!). Anyway, they have a chicken liver mousse that they top with two perfectly sweet/tart pickled grapes. Divine. Since we don’t live stumbling distance from them anymore, I decided to try to make it myself. I know it sounds weird but pickled grapes are really good.

If you swing that way, do yourself a solid and make this easy and delicious Chicken Liver Pâté with Thyme and Brandy and put a couple of these bad boys on top. You can thank me later (or invite me over and we can giggle maniacally about how good this combo is). You could also just put out a bowl of them and eat them by the handful. They would be great alongside a sharp cheese or even in a cocktail.

Spiced Pickled Grapes

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Sesame Roasted Pears

Sesame Roasted Pears

Roasted pears become even more delicious with a drizzle of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Perfect as a side for pork belly and rice!

It’s pear season! I love pears but I find it impossible to catch them at their perfect ripeness. They go from being hard as a rock to mush in what seems like minutes, don’t they? I also get an itchy mouth from most raw fruit (such a bummer during peach season) but pop these in the oven for 20 minutes and problem solved!

I first made these with duck breasts (using a Tyler Florence recipe) but thought it would be delicious with my newabsolutemostfavorite thing ever, Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze.

This recipe would also be a really great addition to a Thanksgiving table. The sesame flavor is very mellow, almost a little nutty and would complement traditional Thanksgiving flavors well. You could scatter some toasted walnuts and Bleu cheese over them … oh my god, that would be so good. (I must resist the thought of leaving work to go and make this right now.)

It’s better to use slightly under than over-ripe pears but it’s a pretty forgiving recipe.

 

Pears

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Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado SaladI’ve already admitted that I’ve become obsessed with cucumbers since discovering my dog loves them so much. I love them in cocktails, dipped in Feta-Yogurt Sauce, even just plain. But lightly pickled with rice vinegar and sesame oil is my all time favorite.

This is an incredibly quick and easy side dish with Thai Shrimp Cakes. It’s also great with seared salmon or any other fish. It takes seconds to make. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, to boot!

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

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