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Posts Tagged ‘salad’

You know how it is:  you move to a new way of eating and you do your best to get the rest of your family on board.  Now, once Choo started to see the changes in my health and figure, he quickly followed suit.  Kiddo, on the other hand, has been a tough sell.  I’m starting out slowly… changing peanut butter for almond butter; having him eat eggs for breakfast instead of cereal a few times a week; making his lunchbox treats with less flour and more nut and seed meals.  One thing that’s been a challenge is replacing store-bought condiments with homemade; Kiddo isn’t fooled–he knows that’s not REAL ketchup.  I feel like I’ve been lucky to have a kid that actually does like some vegetables, but he’s been asking for “sauce” (Ranch Dressing).  Now, have you ever seen the label on a bottle of Ranch?  Yeah.  I’m not going there ever again.

I had some lebni leftover from a trip to my local Persian market, along with some fresh herbs and buttermilk, a whirl through the food processor, and I had a dressing worth putting on salads and dipping our carrots.   This was quick to put together, and once put in a clean jar, will hold for about two weeks.

 

Creamy Herb Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Lebni,  full-fat Greek yogurt, or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (less if wanting a thicker dressing/dip)
  1. In a food processor, add mayo, Lebni/yogurt/sour cream, lemon juice and garlic clove and pulse about 3 times to mix.
  2. Add fresh herbs, salt, and pepper and pulse until herbs are chopped.
  3. Pour in buttermilk and pulse again until combined.
  4. Store in glass jar or container.

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It’s about time I pop in and say hello!  I just had to share the salad I’ve been eating about every other day since strawberries have hit the farmer’s market in full force.  It’s really a combination of some of my favorite things in the world, all mixed together in one bowl.   There’s just such a melange of flavors and textures that it’s really satisfying–the leafy greens, the crunch from the pecans, the bite of red onion, the sweetness of the strawberries, and the acid from the balsamic vinaigrette just make this a delicious lunch.

Spring Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Grilled Chicken

Serves 2 as a small lunch dish

  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 6-8 ounces grilled or broiled chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/4 of a small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 8 large strawberries, sliced
  • 2 ounces broken pecan halves (about a large handful)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (or you can use your favorite) to taste

Just add all of those ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss until the vinaigrette is evenly distributed.

Happy Spring, everybody!

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We’re back on the CSA Bandwagon after a break from the holidays.  Just before getting our box, my weekly newsletter from Food52 showed up advertising a Kale Salad with Apples and Hazelnuts which just sounded delightful.  I’m always looking for something new and interesting to do with kale–I usually throw it into a soup, but having it in a salad sounded really interesting.  Of course, when today rolled around and it was time to make dinner, I didn’t necessarily have everything that the original recipe called for, so I… improvised. And it was good.  So, I thank the fine people at Food52 for the excellent inspiration!  This salad worked very nicely with the broiled salmon and parmesan broccoli that were on the menu, and we knew we had something because Kiddo ate it (always a sign of success).

Kale Salad with Apples, Pistachios & Dried Cherries

  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale, washed and cut into 1″ ribbons
  • 1 large Granny Smith Apple
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Pistachios
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cherries
  1. In a large bowl, pour in vinegar and honey and whisk until incorporated; add in olive oil in a slow stream while whisking constantly until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add kale and toss until leaves are completely coated with vinaigrette.  Set aside for about 1 hour to let leaves break down slightly.
  3. Peel, core, and slice apple;  toss into greens, adding nuts and cherries.  Serve immediately.

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It’s time to admit that Summer is on its last legs;  Kiddo starts Kindergarten in a matter of days, the Valley is giving its last oven blasts of heat, and the farmer’s market is packed full of the last of the summer produce.  The peaches, my dear readers, THE PEACHES on display are amazing, and I couldn’t help but pick up a few.  They are so juicy and bright with that perfect balance of acid and sweet.  I had bought some peaches about 2 weeks ago from the supermarket (I know, I KNOW) and they were so… sad.  Mealy and flavorless, and I hated to waste them, so they ended up in our morning smoothies where I could barely taste them.

I’ve seen versions of this salad hitting the rounds in magazines and food blogs, and I knew I had to make this for today’s lunch.  A bed of mesculun, a few heirloom tomatoes, red onion sliced paper-thin, juicy wedges of ripe peach, and a nice drizzle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette make this a fantastic, easy summertime lunch.  If you were feeling sassy, this would be nice with a sprinkling of feta or chevre, or if serving this for dinner, a piece of grilled fish would be a great match.  We had this with a glass of Casa Nuestra 2009 Riesling which was just right–any crisp and fruity white would be an excellent accompaniment.

Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side

  • 6 cups Mesculun or any mixed salad greens or arugula
  • 3-4 heirloom tomatoes (depending on size), sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large peach, sliced into 12 wedges
  • Balsamic Dressing as needed

On a platter, layer salad greens, tomato slices, onion and peach.  Drizzle with balsamic dressing and serve.

(How hard was that?  Now go make it!)

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I wanted to bring a salad to the party last night, but I just didn’t want to bring some greens tossed in viniagrette–I mean, that’s good, too, but I was looking for something a little more substantial, perhaps served warm and using seasonal vegetables.  A search through Epicurious.com (one of my favorite recipe sites), I came across what sounded like a perfect recipe:  Yukon Gold potatoes roasted in olive oil, parmesan and garlic, then thinly sliced kale gets tossed in with the hot potatoes and dressed in a lemon-tahini sauce. 

This was delicious;  the kale wilted nicely (although I was making a double batch, and after tossing it around with the potatoes, I needed to pop it in the oven for 2 minutes to help break the kale down a little more), and it’s really the dressing that makes this dish work.  It’s tart and nutty and it lightens up what could be very heavy on the palate.  This will definitely go into into a regular rotation here at home, and it would complement fish or chicken, but it’s also hearty enough to be a vegetarian main dish. 

Wilted Kale and Roasted-Potato Winter Salad

by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez for Gourmet, December 2008

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (3 thinly sliced and 1 minced)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 pounds kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves very thinly sliced crosswise
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third.

Toss potatoes with oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large 4-sided sheet pan, then spread evenly. Roast, stirring once, 10 minutes. Stir in sliced garlic and roast 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with cheese and roast until cheese is melted and golden in spots, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, purée tahini, water, lemon juice, minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. (Add a bit of water if sauce is too thick.)

Toss kale with hot potatoes and any garlic and oil remaining in pan, then toss with tahini sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

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bday2c

Some foodie might come across and wag his finger at me for being so pedestrian.

It’s the salad that has shown up on menus all over the place with a few variations;  it’s become the other salad you can order on the menu if you’re not in the mood for a Caesar Salad or a wedge of Iceburg.

But, you know what?  I don’t care.  I love this salad.  The fresh bitterness in the greens; the creamy acidity of the chevre, the crunch of the nuts, and the sweetness provided by the dried fruit and vinaigrette–it’s a perfect salad to me.  There’s also something really satisfying about eating greens that aren’t even 24 hours out of the farm;  I had spent part of my morning at the farmer’s market, choosing the salad greens and deciding on his Mesculun mix (which did contain a few leaves of frisee–not my favorite of all the greens).

Market Greens Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

serves 4 as a first/salad course

6 ounces of Mesculun (a mix of baby salad leaves)

2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

1 1/2 ounces fresh chevre, crumbled

1/2 cup candied pecans, roughly chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit

In a large mixing bowl, pour the balsamic vinaigrette into the bottom, and add salad greens.  Toss with tongs until leaves are fully coated with the dressing.  Pile greens onto plate and sprinkle with the chevre, pecans, and cranberries.

This balsamic vinaigrette comes from my catering days–I made a batch of this every 2 weeks for over 2 years.  I haven’t a clue where it originally came from.  It’s a dressing that seems to always get complements when I serve it–it has the right balance of sweetness and acidity.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 large garlic clove

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or a food processor, add vinegar, honey, and garlic.  Start blender, and begin to add olive oil, drop by drop at first, then a slow stream until the vinaigrette has thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and pulse blender again for a moment to mix in.  Store in a jar or air tight container.

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Today was the hopefully the last of the year’s triple-digit weather, and we spent a good part of our day running errands in the heat.  There are grand plans in the works for next weekend, as it will be My Birthday Observed, where Choo and I will have two of our favorite people over, and there will be cooking, eating, and drinking;  I decided to shop for some new table linens and to replace some chipped plates.  Hauling bags around in the heat made us weary and hungry, and by the time we got home, we needed a fast lunch, and we had everything we needed from our Saturday morning trip from the Calabasas Farmer’s Market for this:

caprese

Sure, an Insalata Caprese can be an elegant thing, but it doesn’t have to be–in fact, I like it simple and stripped down to the basic elements:  good fresh tomatoes (homegrown or farmer’s market), mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

It’s one of the things that I love about summer, and when June rolls around, I’m waiting for the first great tomatoes to show up at the farmer’s market.  This will more than likely be our last Caprese of the season–any tomatoes in our possession are being turned into sauce and canned/frozen.  I’m not sad, since all the wonderful fall produce is starting to show up (hello, Acorn Squash, I’m looking forward to roasting and stuffing you), and I know come next year, I’ll be ready for a summer full of tomatoes and basil.

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