Salads

Greek Salad [Primal and Gluten-free] by Alex Boake

Last winter I had the incredible experience of traveling to Greece. We stayed mainly in Athens and made day trips out to different locations, such as Delphi and Olympus. Our guide Betty was fantastic and animated, with a wealth of knowledge about each and every destination. She also made sure we had access to excellent family-owned restaurants, and helped me to navigate menus so that I could eat safely without fear of gluten. One of our staples, other than Tzatziki, was the Greek Salad. Always with fresh and tasty ingredients, we had one with almost every meal--even breakfast! Whereas in North America, Greek Salad typically contains lettuce, in Greece you will never find lettuce in your salad, except maybe if you are in a very touristy area. This recipe is flexible, and can be adjusted based on your preferences. If you don't like raw onions or peppers, just leave them out! If you don't like olives, you're probably crazy, but you can omit them! Don't do dairy? Leave out the feta! You can just use good quality olive oil and lemon for the dressing, but I've also included a more elaborate dressing as well.

Greek Salad Lots of Fresh Tomatoes, cut into chunks Lots of Cucumbers, cut into chunks Some Red Onion, thinly sliced Some Green Pepper, thinly sliced Handful of Kalamata Olives, pitted or un-pitted (just warn people!)  Wedge of Feta Cheese (try to source good quality Greek or Bulgarian sheep's milk Feta) Dried Oregano, to sprinkle on top

Dressing 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tsp Garlic, crushed 1 tsp Fresh Oregano, minced 1 tsp Dried Basil 1/2 tsp Black Pepper 1/2 tsp Sea Salt 1 tsp Dijon Mustard 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Add ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Pour over chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Cut feta into chunks and add to the salad, or cut a slice for each person and add one to each individual serving.

 

Dragon Eye Salad with Dragonfruit, Mango and Longan by Alex Boake

Hey everyone! I'm pleased to announce that I'm now contributing over at Feast On It!On the 21st of each month I'll have an extra recipe posted over there. Here's this month's recipe.

This fresh-tasting salad was inspired by a desire for some juicy fruit, and a jaunt through my local fruit market. I’d never tried Longan Fruit before, and was struck by their uncanny resemblance to eyeballs. Rather than being put off, I was inspired by the imagery. I decided to pair them with Dragon Fruit, and this tasty Dragon Eye Salad was born.

 Dragon Eye Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6oz. or 6 Handfuls of Baby Spinach
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 3 Baby Cucumbers
  • 1 Red or White Fleshed Dragon Fruit
  • 1 Large Ripe Mango
  • 3/4 Cup Whole, Raw Unsalted Cashews
  • 3 Green Onions
  • 1 Dozen Longan Fruit

Dressing

  • 3 Medium Limes
  • Avocado Oil to Taste

Directions When I make this type of salad, I don’t just toss the ingredients all together in a big bowl. I like to compose each plate so that each of my dining companions has a beautifully presented dish, with a even distribution of all the ingredients.

Wash and dry your Baby Spinach. If you don’t have a lettuce spinner yet, I absolutely recommend that you add one to your arsenal! If the leaves are on the large side, chop them before dividing them between 6 bowls.

While you’re working on preparing the toppings, toast your raw Cashews. You can do this in a toaster oven or on the stove top in a pan on low heat. Keep an eye on them and toast them until they are lightly browned and fragrant. If you’re using the stove top, stir frequently.

Cut the Avocados in half and remove the pits. Peel off the skin and then slice in half lengthwise. Make at least a dozen slices width-wise, and then divide these Avocado wedges between the bowls, arranging them on top of the Spinach. Then, wash the Baby Cucumbers. Slice into relatively thin slices, and then also divide between the plates.

Take the Dragon Fruit and cut it in half, and then slice each half into halves. Peel off the thick skin and then discard. Chop the flesh of the fruit, and then divide evenly. Take your Mango and peel the skin. Remove the flesh from the pit, and then slice. Again, divide between plates.

Your Cashews should now be done and ready to go. With a large knife, chop roughly and top the salad. Wash and dry the Green Onions. Chop, then sprinkle on top of each salad.

Now comes the Longan fruit! These fruit are extremely sweet, so I’ve only recommended a ‘pair of eyeballs’ for each person. Peel off the hard skin, and discard. Remove the ‘iris-like’ pit from the middle of the fruit, and give each plate two.

Quarter the Limes and rest two slices on the edge of each plate. Serve with a bottle of Avocado Oil on the table. Let each of your guests squeeze on the Lime juice, and drizzle on the Oil to make their dressing.

Enjoy these bright and delicious flavours!

A Prize-Winning Fresh Mozzarella and Homegrown Tomato Salad by Alex Boake

Ah yes, here's the post you've been waiting for! It's Kate Ground's prize of a recipe and illustration featuring her favourite ingredient, Homegrown Tomatoes. Believe it or not, I used to hate raw Tomatoes. In fact, I used to hate all Tomatoes, even cooked ones! I know, it's blasphemy. I'm now a convert, and I bow down to the deliciousness of a plump, ripe, in-season Tomato. This salad is quite something. It really allows you to savour the freshness of the ingredients, so I really suggest you use in-season, local, perhaps even homegrown Tomatoes, if you can, for the best results!

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2, 250g Balls of Fresh Mozzarella
  • 4 Medium Ripe Homegrown Tomatoes
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 4 Baby English Cucumbers
  • A Large Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves

Dressing

  • 2 Heaping Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions I love to make this type of salad look really beautiful by really arranging the ingredients nicely onto the plates. Try for your best presentation with this salad! It makes it even more delicious, scout's honour!

Depending what you're serving this with, and your personal tolerance for dairy, you can either opt for more or less mozzarella. If you're serving it with something heavy, divide one Ball of Mozzarella into 4 sections, and then slice. Divide between four plates. If you're serving this with something light then take 2 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, divide each into 2 sections, and then slice. Make sure the pieces fairly bite-size so that people don't have to bust out their knives. Divide between the 4 plates.

Wash your delicious, ripe Tomatoes and your Cucumbers. Remove the stems, and then cut each Tomato in half once, and then slice. You can get super artful here and alternate between a piece of Mozzarella and a slice of Tomato as you divide them between the 4 plates. Thinly slice each Cucumber and spread out the slices in a ring around the plate.

Cut the Avocados in half, and remove the pits. Peel them, and then chop them up. Bestow each plate with half an Avocado, making sure you separate out the slices a bit so they are easily picked up with a fork.

Wash and dry the Fresh Basil Leaves. Remove the stems, and then stack the larger leaves, and then roll them. This makes it easy to slice them into ribbons. Take the pile of sliced leaves and divide by four, then sprinkle on top of each plate.

In a glass jar with a lid, toss in the Dijon Mustard, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Seal the jar and then shake to combine. Serve the dressing on a table with a spoon and let each person drizzle their desired amount of dressing onto their salad. If you have leftover dressing just seal up the jar and refrigerate it, reserving it for another salad.

This salad is truly one of my favourites! It's especially good with Buffalo Mozzarella. However, I have recently looked into making fresh Goat's Milk Mozzarella, so you may be seeing a post about that, sometime soon! You can be sure that if I manage to pull that off that it will be appearing on my table as a key player in this very dish.

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province -- Plus CONTEST! *Contest now closed* by Alex Boake

Wow, things have been a little quiet around here...sorry about that! I'd been overseas, away from my kitchen and out of the studio, which made it a little difficult to cook and draw. But now I'm back, and ready for action. The lovely spring weather we've suddenly been gifted with is really inspiring in so many ways! Though we Canadians never stop barbecuing, I'm sure that the change in temperature has inspired many people to dust off their grills. Today I have for you a grilled salad that takes advantage of this outdoorsy cooking contraption! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering! But first I'd like to announce a contest! It's my first contest, in fact, so I'm pretty excited. Here's what you can win!

The Grand Prize: A Recipe and Illustration developed and created by me, featuring your favourite fruit or vegetable. You'll be mailed a poster of the Illustration, signed by myself!

Here's how to enter! Comment on this post with your favourite fruit or vegetable AND either:

  • Follow Alex Boake - Illustration on Facebook or Twitter, AND/OR;
  • Draw me a doodle of your favourite fruit or vegetable, and link to it in the post.

Want additional entries? Share this post on Facebook or Tweet about the contest!

You can get up to 5 entries, one each for the social media follows, one for your drawing, and one for each share or tweet. Just let me know in the comment what you did, and you will be entered accordingly. If you're already a follower on Facebook or Twitter, awesome! You can still enter, just let me know when you comment with your fruit or vegetable.

The contest closes on April 12th at 12:00 AM EDT. I'll get in touch with the winner, and the recipe will be posted about two weeks from the end of the contest. The poster will be mailed to the winner after the post goes live! I look forward to hearing everyones' favourite fruits and vegetables, and seeing peoples' doodles! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering!

Now, how about that salad?

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Round of Soft Cheese with a rind, such as Camembert or Brie (You won't use all of the cheese in this recipe)
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 Small Zucchini
  • 2 Large Sweet Red Peppers
  • 2 Chinese Eggplants
  • Herbes de Province
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil

Directions

Wash all of your vegetables well. Rinse the Mushrooms and pat them dry. Cut the Zucchini in half. Take the halves and then make cuts along the length, from bottom to stem but stopping before you reach the end, essentially creating a Zucchini 'fan'. This allows for quicker cooking on the grill, and creates a nice presentation. Lightly brush the Zucchini fans with Olive Oil, and sprinkle with Herbes de Province. Cut the tops off of the Red Peppers, and cut them into quarters, removing the seeds. Slice the Chinese Eggplants into 1 cm thick slices, on a slight diagonal.

Depending how quickly you prepare your vegetables, you can preheat your grill to medium high while you work. Grill the Mushrooms and Zucchini for 4 minutes per side, and the Eggplants and Peppers for 3 minutes per side--keep an eye on them, if your grill runs hot you don't want to run the risk of incinerating them!

While the vegetables are grilling, you can begin to plate the Camembert. Take the wheel and cut it in half. Cut 4 slices and plate them on oven-safe stoneware plates. You want there to be rind all the way around each slice. If you love Cheese, then cut those slices thick! It's best to place the Cheese in the middle of the plate, and then arrange the grilled vegetables around it.

When your vegetables are just about done, turn on your broiler to high. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 4 plates. Sprinkle generously with Herbes de Province, and drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Put the plates under the broiler, and broil until the Camembert is melted and bubbly. Ensure you have some heat-safe placemats so you don't melt anything, or singe your table--then serve immediately! Make sure you get some of that delicious Cheese in every bite! To make this for more people, just add more vegetables and cut more slices of Cheese.

Make this salad, you won't regret it! ...and also enter my contest, you surely won't regret that either!

 

Magic Anchovy Salad - and Boaketique Now Open! by Alex Boake

Hi everyone! Things have been crazy since the start of the year, and are currently showing no signs of slowing. Rather than being a problem, this is actually quite awesome. I'm currently overseas in London, England, and won't be back until the end of the month, but rather than let this blog go dormant while I'm away, I prepared some tasty and fun content in advance.Just to keep things exciting for you as well as for me, I thought I should let you know that I'm now offering some shirts for sale, via Spreadshirt, over at my new store, which I have dubbed The Boaketique.

Right now I have just one design, but there shall certainly be more to come. Things can get at least 60% more fishy in your wardrobe with this Anchovy Apparel!

You may recognize the design from my earlier post, featuring some illustrations on mugs. If you're looking to get one of these mugs, feel free to contact me directly at info@alexboake.com, or wait a few weeks as I may be getting an Etsy shop up and running soon.

This shirt design was inspired by my boyfriend Mike's Dad's favourite salad. The special ingredient? Anchovies, of course! I elaborated on the initial mug design to bring you this feature recipe illustration, with the recipe to follow!

Magic Anchovy Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Large Ripe Beefsteak Tomato
  • 1 Medium Green Pepper
  • 1 Medium Red Onion
  • 1 Tin Anchovies in Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions Chop the end off your Romaine, and wash the leaves. Spin dry, and then chop the leaves into manageable pieces. No one likes to have to bust out the knife when they're eating their salad, or have to stuff humongous leaves in their mouth! Throw the chopped Romaine into a large salad bowl.

Wash the Tomato and Green Pepper. Again, chop the Tomato into bite-sized pieces. Toss these on top of the Romaine. Cut the top off of the Green Pepper and remove the seeds. Cut into rings, and then cut the rings in half. As with the Tomatoes, toss them into the bowl to join the party!

Peel the Red Onion, and then cut into rings. Cut the rings in half and separate the pieces. I like to marinate my raw onion in vinegar for a few minutes just to take a bit of the wicked bite out of it, but it's not strictly speaking necessary. Marinated, or unmarinated, toss the Onions into the bowl!

Now the real stars of the show appear. Open the tin of Anchovies and chop them up! Toss them into the mix, and then toss all the ingredients together.

Serve as a big bowl on the table with your bottles of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Let people serve their portions, and drizzle on their own dressing. Add Salt and Pepper to taste! The veggies are fresh, and the fish add some salty fun! Yum!

Super Garlic Cabbage Salad by Alex Boake

Now, if you made last week's recipe, Brown Butter Cabbage with Apple and Pecans, you would have been floating away with lovely rich flavours, lots of nutty butter, and sweet apple...and you would also be left with half a head of Cabbage in your fridge. I'm not one to leave people high and dry, so here's a completely different dish for you to make with your leftover Cabbage. My boyfriend Mike's Dad, taught me how to make this fresh and delicious salad! He says I make it very garlic-y, but, hey, I love garlic! I also got a request from a reader mentioning that they would like to see some of my work process in regards to my illustration, so I've included some of my sketches and preliminary work as a bonus. Check it out!

...and for those who have been asking, here's the link to my new Facebook Page!

Super Garlic Cabbage Salad Serves 4 to 5 as a side.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Head of Cabbage
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3 to 6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Generous amounts of Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions

Shred Cabbage finely, using a large knife. Make sure the pieces are not too large—cut them in half if the strands are too long. These will be raw in this salad, so you don't want them to be too large or too thick as that will negatively effect the final texture. Take the shredded Cabbage and place it in a large bowl, then set it aside.

In a small bowl, juice the Lemon, making sure to remove all the seeds. Then peel the cloves of Garlic, and using a press, crush them into the Lemon Juice. Add the Olive oil and Red Wine Vinegar to the bowl, and then add your seasonings. Mix together with the back of a fork, further crushing the Garlic, and letting all the flavours mingle. Take a quick taste, and then adjust the amounts of Olive Oil and Vinegar as you like—the measurements are more guidelines than hard and fast rules!

Take your delicious Garlic and Lemony dressing, and pour it into the large bowl with the shredded Cabbage. Toss together, and then check if all your shreds are nicely coated—you may need to add more Olive Oil or Red Wine Vinegar if your head of Cabbage was unusually large! This salad is best if it can be prepared a few hours in advance, just pop it into the fridge and let the flavours mingle. This dish is a great contrast to something rich and fatty like slow cooked Pulled Pork.

So, you've got your salad in the fridge, and your slow cooker is working away, so now let's look at some sketches!

Yup, this chicken-scratch is my thumbnail! Generally speaking, I draw the ingredients first, and then I decide on the composition. No matter what the final piece looks like, the ingredients are what they are! If it's something I've drawn before, I try to draw it in a new and interesting way.

 After I have the thumbnail scribbled, and all the ingredients fleshed out, I scan everything into the computer, and arrange them as I like. Then I separate everything out again, and turn it all blue. I print everything out from the computer, and then the inking begins! As you can see here, I decided that I was going to be stealing garlic from a previous piece...

Here's a peek at my work space, and my tools of the trade! I use a Pentel Brush Pen to get my line width variation, and some fine felt tips to get the uniform width lines. I print my sketches out in blue, and ink directly onto the printouts. Once I scan everything in, I drop out the blue, and just the nice clean lines are left! I do all my colouring in Photoshop.

That's all for now! I may post a more in-depth look into my colouring process, but I'll save it for a more complicated piece. Enjoy!

Avocado Green Salad with Ginger Dressing by Alex Boake

In the last year I've had a major love affair with avocados, which continues to this very day. I expect that this will continue until the day I perish, or the day that avocados become extinct. Just today I remembered that as a child I attempted to grow an avocado tree from an avocado pit! Clearly this whole avocado thing started way before I realized it. Here's a little salad that I came up with that features the handsome devil!

Avocado Green Salad with Ginger Dressing Serves 4 as a side.

Ingredients

  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 1 Belgian Endive
  • 4 Baby Cucumbers
  • 2 Green Onions

Dressing

  • 3 Medium Limes, Juiced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Tamari Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Ginger
  • Shake of Pepper
  • Shake of Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

Cut the hard end off of the Endive, and discard it. Slice the Endive widthwise into 1/2 cm slices. Divide these evenly between the 4 bowls. Slice Cucumbers, and then cut into thin matchsticks. Take the matchsticked Cucumbers and divide them between the 4 bowls, one Cucumber per person. Then cut the Avocados in half, remove and discard the pits. Peel off the outer shell, and then cut each half lengthwise, and then make 1 cm slices widthwise. Separate the diced Avocado, and once again divide between the 4 bowls. Slice the Green Onions into thin rings, and finally top each of the 4 bowls.

Combine all the ingredients for the Dressing in a medium sized bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend all the ingredients together until the Ginger is incorporated.

Serve salads, and let each person drizzle on their preferred amount of dressing. Enjoy!