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Time to update that salad for the picnic

Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:49 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Raleigh News & Observer)
Coconut Black-Eyed Peas, from "A Mouthful of Wonderful" by Kim Sunee, can be served warm with rice but is equally wonderful at room temperature.

Summertime is high season for eating outdoors; weekend plans will soon be filled with cookouts, backyard parties and picnics.

That often means bringing a dish, usually a dessert or salad, to go with the host’s main course. With salads, the lineup is often the same: potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, baked beans, bean salad.

We wanted modern takes on these classics, and this spring’s crop of cookbooks offered plenty of inspiration.

COCONUT

BLACK-EYED PEAS

Yield: 8-10 servings.

This dish can be served warm with rice but is equally wonderful at room temperature. From “A Mouthful of Stars,” by Kim Sunee (Andrews McNeel, 2014).

1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

3⁄4 cup diced carrots (about 2 small carrots)

3⁄4 cup diced yellow onion

1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced

1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through (soaked overnight, if needed)

5 cups water

1 1⁄2 tablespoons hot curry powder or garam masala

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large juicy orange

1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, shaken

1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro

Garnish: chopped red onion, chopped fresh jalapeno, lime wedges

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat; add carrots, onion, ginger, garlic and apple. Stir and let cook about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add black-eyed peas, water, curry powder, salt, cumin and black pepper; stir and bring to a boil. Skim the froth, decrease heat to medium-low, and simmer about 40 minutes, until peas are almost tender. Stir occasionally, mashing some of the peas against the side of the pot for creaminess. Add more water, as needed, if peas are dry.

Add zest from one-quarter of the orange, then cut orange in half and squeeze juice into the peas. Add coconut milk and stir. Simmer, covered, for another 7 to 10 minutes, until peas are tender. Taste peas and adjust the seasonings as needed. Pour peas into a large serving dish. Garnish with cilantro, red onion, jalapenos and lime wedges.

MACARONI SALAD

Yield: 8 servings.

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces elbow macaroni

4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced

1⁄2 cup grated carrot

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄4 cup finely diced red onion

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1⁄2 cup diced sweet cucumber pickles

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard

1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, diced

1⁄4 teaspoon cumin

Put cabbage in a strainer and then place strainer in a bowl. Toss cabbage with salt and refrigerator for 1 hour. This step will drain cabbage of its excess water and keep it crisp in the salad.

Cook macaroni according to the package instructions, drain, rinse and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

One hour later, take cabbage from strainer and place in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, carrot, garlic, red onion, cilantro, pickles and macaroni.

Whist together mayonnaise, lime juice, mustard, chipotle chile and cumin. Spoon dressing over salad and stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. (While it should be chilled enough to eat immediately, it will be even better if refrigerated for at least an hour before serving.)

CURRIED CARROT

RAISIN SALAD

Yield: 4-6 servings.

1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably homemade, recipe follows)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne

Juice of 1 lemon

1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded (about 4 cups)

2 cups good-quality raisins

1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced

Mix mayonnaise with curry powder, salt, cayenne and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Fold in carrots, raisins and parsley. Refrigerate for an hour or up to four hours to allow flavors to develop.

HOMEMADE CURRY

POWDER

Yield: 1⁄4 cup.

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons cardamom seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Heaping 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne

Toast cumin, cardamom and coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat until seeds are lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

Add turmeric, dry mustard and cayenne and mix to combine. Grind spices in a coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

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