Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker) is working on his memoir, or so he claims. I'm not so sure. But since we are smack in the middle of summer (finally in the Northwest we get a week or two of actual summer), we are deep into salads and summer fruit. Last Saturday I came home from the market with about a pound of pie cherries and bag of apricots. The season for apricots is short, shorter than cherries but not as long as peaches, here in the Northwest.
I wanted to come up with a recipe from the ingredients that appealed to me at the market. This cute little cauliflower from Willie Green's Organic Farm was an impulse purchase at the last minute. Come on who can resist cauliflower. If you notice the outer leaves are gone. My assistant always gets those first.
At first glance these 3 items--apricots, cauliflower and tomatoes--don't go together, but I was leaning towards making a vinaigrette with the apricots, maybe using a little chopped mint and making a composed salad. I wondered has anybody made apricot vinaigrette?
Well, what else are you going to do when you have a question but google it. So here's Rachel Ray's apricot vinaigrette, made with apricot preserves and plenty of olive oil (EVOO--almost too corny for me to even say). And here's another salad--lentils and kale with an apricot vinaigrette--at Food 52, also made with apricot preserves. And here's a green bean salad with a dried apricot vinaigrette. Not much help here with my fresh apricots, but what's to figure out? It's a salad dressing, not rocket science and I love to experiment.
I don't have my own fruit flavored vinegar yet, but I will soon with DIY Fruit Flavored Vinegar Recipe!
Finn has a few ideas of his own he'd like to try. Unfortunately I put the apricots next to his biscuit jar, so he's very confused when I get an apricot to eat and don't share. He gently nudges me, reminding me that we all share at this house.
I had an idea of what apricot dressing would taste like, but I hadn't imagined it would look something like the bottled 1,000 Island Dressing that mom put on the table when I was young. The flavor is distinctly tangy, it would pair well with green beans, kale, cauliflower and the flavor over juicy tomatoes was amazing. I kept wondering how it would taste over pan fried tofu. Maybe dip tofu and carrot kebobs into it.
I think I'll try this idea using peaches and nectarines too.
(Makes about 1/2 cup)
4 or 5 apricots, washed and pitted
1/4 cup berry vinaigrette
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Agave nectar or honey to taste
1 clove garlic, pressed or garlic powder to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Serve over baby greens, grated carrots or cauliflower and tomatoes.
|The last or my Rent's Due Ranch garlic powder. Must learn to make my own this year!|
I blended everything together then realized garlic was missing and I'd just used the last of my fresh garlic. I've saved this garlic powder from Rent's Due Ranch, but I don't think they sell it anymore, so I say, best to go with fresh if you don't have a good garlic powder.
I wasn't sure what to put in this salad besides cauliflower and tomatoes. Then I saw these little flowers, and sure they look pretty but they don't really add flavor.
I tasted them and thought they had a distinct taste like bubblegum. When I asked Tom to taste them, he said, "They taste like gum." Not even bubble gum; not every appealing, so I took them off and my Cooking Assistant was glad to dispose of them. He chewed them like they were candy.
But the tomatoes . . . they were perfect and a bit of chopped mint was a nice touch, too.
I'm not sure I've found the best use for it, but I can't wait to try making this with peaches and nectarines
What's your best kitchen experiment?