Iris Clark Neumann: Fall produce can make for colorful salad


Fall confetti salad is a colorful addition to a meal or can be a complete meal with a few additional ingredients.

A Naked Bear pumpkin produces hull-less pepitas which can be dried and used in a variety of ways.
By : 
Iris Clark Neumann
For the Neighborhood

Gardening has its own seasons. Spring is for salad greens, radishes and peas. Summer is filled with beans, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes.

But now it is fall, time for potatoes, carrots and purple cabbage. Plus, there's the bonus of squash and pumpkins.

I like recipes that use ingredients maturing in the same season, which is why I modified this column's recipe for vegetables currently available at farmers markets.

Today I opened a first small pumpkin, called Naked Bear, whose seeds are without hulls. After discovering this type of pumpkin a year ago, my farmer son grew lots of them this year. In stores, one can purchase pepitas, basically the same thing.

Although I have not dried these yet, I was inspired to use store-bought ones from my fridge as a final touch for a colorful fall salad.

It all started with a basis of fingerling potatoes, but I added purple and orange with cabbage and carrots, with underlying hues of yellow corn. Green cilantro and pepitas add other bits of color.

Then, a can of black-eyed peas gives it more protein, so the salad could become a meal, served over a bed of greens.

But what really sets this salad apart is barbecue sauce in the oil dressing.

Not all bottled barbecue sauces are created the same. Most are heavy on high fructose corn syrup, so try to find one that lists tomatoes as the primary ingredient and preferably, does not have any high fructose corn syrup. Check catsup for this too.

If you'd like to make this part of a really special meal, try adding a crock pot of beef roast rubbed with a savory blend of spices. After a long day of gentle heat, the meat pretty much falls apart and can be served with barbecue sauce and on a bun, if desired.

This column might also be called, things I should have told you but forgot.

Washing ones hands in soap and water is always the first step when starting to cook in your kitchen. This probably sounds trite, but it is really important.

When working with raw meat it's very important to use a separate cutting board and knife than using for cutting up veggies. If one has only one cutting board and knife, wash them in soap and water before reusing them. Wash your hands too.

If thawing frozen meat in the fridge, be sure to put the frozen package in a zipper-lock bag or into a bowl or other container to prevent drips onto other containers.

Always wash vegetables before cutting them up. It is particularly important to be sure melons are free of dirt before cutting through them. Think that whatever is on the skin will travel with the knife through the fruit.

Fall is also a time for locally grown muskmelon, which should be scrubbed under running water before being cut. Scrub potatoes and carrots with a brush, even if they look perfectly clean.

Sometimes I make mistakes, which happened in a recipe I shared for zucchini cookies. I listed baking soda as an ingredient, then noted it as baking powder in the recipe narrative. Go with the baking soda!

My fridge is always overcrowded with summer and now, fall veggies. This has been a strong cabbage year for us. Tomorrow I'll can sauerkraut and shred more cabbage to ferment.

I need to clean out my fridge, but with more harvesting and canning, that's on my list of need-to-dos, but not yet done. I do my best to use up the odd zucchini and bags of beans.

Almost too late, I find myself poring over cookbooks and thinking, oh yeah, that's what I should have made, creamy zucchini soup. Or wow, that's a great idea for preparing beans!

“Dishing Up Minnesota” by Teresa Marrone was the starting point for my confetti fall salad. “Good and Cheap” was where I found the rub used for my beef roast; it could also be used on pork.

One of our favorite “up north” places to eat is Old Southern Barbeque, which was created by Dave Anderson of Famous Dave's. The smell when walking in the door is a lot like one's kitchen after slow roasting a beef or pork roast all day long. Their barbecue taste prevails in a variety of meats that one can have separately or as a topping on a bowl mixture. Yum!

That experience inspired this week's column.

Confetti Fall Salad

2 cups fingerling potatoes, cut into cubes

Salt

1 1/2 cups finely shredded (with a knife) red cabbage

1 cup whole kernel corn, raw or frozen and thawed

1 1/2 cup carrots cut into small matchsticks

1/4 cup sweet onion, finely sliced

1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup pepitas

Dressing

1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil

3 tablespoons barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional: salad greens

Scrub potatoes with a brush under running water. Leave skin on and cut into 1/2-inch long pieces. Cover with water in a saucepan and sprinkle with salt. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water.

Put potatoes, cabbage, corn, carrots, onion, black-eyed peas, and cilantro in a bowl. Mix together dressing ingredients and then pour over vegetable mixture and toss together. Season with salt - to taste - and stir in pepitas. Refrigerate before serving to allow flavors to mingle.

Optional: serve on a bed of greens.

Slow Cooker Savory Beef Roast

3 to 4 pound beef roast

Dry rub for meat:

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground coffee

2 tablespoons kosher salt

4 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix rub ingredients together. Sprinkle it generously over raw meat and work it in with fingers. Reserve excess rub and store for later use. Place roast in a slow cooker. Wash your hands. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Set heat on low and cook for at least 8 hours, leaving cover on.

Remove meat to slice and/or shred meat. Serve with the juices and barbecue sauce, if desired.