Smorgasborg nights have to be my favorite each week. You spend the week making dinners only to have many little leftovers lurking in the fridge. There is no rhyme nor reason to the choices here but that is half the fun of such a meal. It is the diversity on a plate that satisfies. Tonight's offerings included brown rice, kale & salmon salad with grated beets, carrots, onions and a tahini dressing. There was mashed sweet potato with ginger, tatsoi with asian dressing, indian peanut slaw, and some greek salad from an earlier lunch.
Fridays are also days when I head out to the farm for our weekly food pickup. Today's offerings yielded this beautiful, green tatsoi. Since we are learning to eat more greens I decided to combine the tatsoi with the mustard greens that were in my bag and make a tasty asian style dressing consisting of grated ginger, sesame seeds, tamari, agave, and chili garlic paste.
Wash the greens to take out any sand or soil and then blanch for 1-2 minutes in boiling water. I cut the greens from the core and washed & drained them in my salad spinner. If you are new to adding whole foods to your diet, consider purchasing a salad spinner for your kitchen forays. This tool makes short work of taking moisture away from washed greens. Mine is an Oxo product which has a bowl that can be used for your salad.
Grate about a tablespoon of fresh ginger into a bowl as the first step in making your dressing. Add 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, half a tablespoon of agave syrup or other sweetener, and half a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce. You can use sriracha sauce (a hot sauce) as a susbstitute. Whisk these together, taste and then add the greens. Top with sesame seeds or some gomaisio (toasted sesame seeds, sea salt, and seaweed).
Sweet potatoes mashed with ginger
1 pound of sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1" fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon coconut oil
sea salt and ground black pepper for taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the sweet potatoes in a cookie sheet (on a sheet of foil or parchment for cleanup) and poke a few holes in each potato. Bake for 45 minutes or an hour until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork or knife. Take out of oven and let cool. Peel and place in a bowl and mash with a fork or a potato masher.
Add the other ingredients and mix well. Season for taste. The sweetness of the baked potatoes does not need additional sugar and is a perfect balance for other dishes that may be more sour or salty. Seek to balance your meal by having dishes that have sweet, sour, salty, and pungent tastes. This creates balance to your palate.
Kale salad with sea salt, minced onion, grated carrot & beets, and topped with leftover cooked salmon. This salad has a tahini dressing that can be made from ingredients in your pantry or by a purchased dressing.
The cool thing about working with kale in salad preparations is to play with your kale. Literally wash your hands with your kale. This recipe sprinkles the chopped, cleaned kale with sea salt, then you massage the kale for about 3-4 minutes. This action softens the kale and allows it to begin to soften from the salt added. You can then add the other grated vegetables. I did not have anycucumber, but that would be nice here too. I did have beets, so I grated a peeled, raw beet into my bowl. It is a kalaidescope of color. I also minced red onion very finely and a green onion and diced a red pepper to add to the dish. Mix well with your hands. There is something satisfying about mixing with your hands. Try it once (clean hands, of course) and see what I mean!
You can find tahini dressing recipes all over the internet. This one used tahini paste (ground sesame seeds). I find my tahini in the international aisles of most grocery stores or in international food stores. I have tried many brands of tahini paste and encourage you to do the same. You will get a better idea of the quality of the product and can pick the one you prefer. I started with 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, grated ginger, salt and pepper to taste. I tossed a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad and saved some for passing around later. I did not have much salmon for this salad but that was OK. If you wanted to add some protein, consider adding cooked chickpeas or lentils, or some cubed tofu.
Peanut slaw is a refreshing version to the many slaws that are laden with mayonnaise. There is no oil or mayo in this slaw. It is flavored with a mix of indian spice called Chaat Masala. You can find this at indian shops that sell spices. It is easiest to buy it there. You may be able to find it on well stocked international aisles in grocery stores too.
You can find this recipe for peanut slaw here. I have tried the Masala fried chicken and it was truly fun. I have never been a fan of macaroni & cheese, but this one looks like it could turn my head.
So if its a Friday night or any night with quality leftovers in the fridge. Make it a feast or better yet, always think about these smorgasborg nights when you cook each day. They don't all have to match but you will have a variety of flavors and most of all it will be fun.