Archive for August, 2009

Monochromatic Summer Salad

August 26, 2009

I’ve always had a thing for monochromatic design. There’s something that is just so meditative and soothing about the seeming simplicity of it.  This summer salad is the perfect embodiment of  monochromatic art. The monotone color palate formed by the avocado, apple, cucumber and herbs serves to highlight the multidimensional flavor and texture. The tomato and red pepper mix add just the right burst of contrast in terms of color and flavor. And the entire thing takes less than 10 minutes to make. Since this salad is as much about the presentation as it is the flavor, I’m especially pleased to be able to post a beautiful photo of it, courtesy of Binita Patel Photography.



2 plum tomatoes

1 avocado

1 cucumber

1 green apple

juice of half a lime

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

8 leaves of mint chiffonade

1 tbsp chopped dill

salt, pepper and shichimi togarashi red pepper mix (or cayenne pepper) to taste.

Dice the tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and apple and add to your salad bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, dill and mint. While you continue whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pour dressing over the salad and add salt, pepper and red pepper mix to taste. Enjoy!


Hidden Hazard #1!

August 3, 2009

Often in our daily lives, we use the color red to symbolize “warning” or “stop.” Well, if you weren’t already aware, there’s also a reason to pause when you see the color red in your food. It may be that the color is derived from insects. The cochineal or Polish cochineal to be precise. While not all red dyes are derived from the cochineal, as of now, it is extremely difficult to tell which products contain this dye. Products can vary significantly  and they include additives in food, yogurt, cosmetic products and coloring for synthetic products. The good news is that, in response to consumers with allergies to the cochineal food coloring and a petition by the CSPI,  the FDA passed a regulation on January 5, 2009 requiring food and cosmetics containing this dye to list the ingredient on the labeling (the dye goes under several names: carmine, carminic acid, C.I., C.I. 75470, crimson, cochineal extract, and Natural Red 4). The bad news is that this regulation won’t go into effect until 2011. Until then, beware the obvious red.