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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

Last week, we received a large bunch of leafy mustard greens in our CSA bag. I’ve never had mustard greens before and wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I rinsed the greens and took a bite- whoa! it was spicy! I didn’t expect that. So I did a little research and found this recipe for a bulgur salad with dates that seemed like a good way to compliment the bitter, spicy green. It was delicious! I will definitely make this again this summer. It’s an easy recipe to modify too- I made a number of changes including using buckwheat instead of bulgur (because it’s what I had in the pantry); I added chick peas (for more satiety/protein); and sprinkled freshly grated parm on top (just because!). I imagine this would work with kale or swiss chard too, but I think the mustard greens and the dates are a magic combo!  

   

Mustard Greens and Bulgar

from EatingWell (January/February 2008)  

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur (I used buckwheat, but any grain would probably work)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 can chick peas, optional (I threw these in for extra protein)
  • 6 teaspoons walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I used evoo)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 12 cups thinly sliced mustard greens, (about 1 bunch), tough stems removed
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates (I used ½ cup because I love dates!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese  

Directions

Prepare bulgur or buckwheat according to package directions. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cool water; drain. Toast walnuts in a small pan over medium-low heat, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes (I did this is the toaster oven).

Place 5 teaspoons oil and shallots in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the shallots start to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add mustard greens, dates and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the water evaporates (add another tablespoon of water if the pan is dry before the greens are tender), about 4 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt and the prepared bulgur or buckwheat; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, sprinkle with the walnuts and grated parm before serving.

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Since we’ve been back from St. Lucia, mangos just keep jumping into our grocery cart each week! I guess we’re not ready to let go of that taste of tropical paradise quite yet. While mangos are by themselves delicious, I discovered a way to use them in a salad that is perfect for lunch or dinner. A great way to kick off the start of summer!

Mango, Jicama, Quinoa Salad

 

I paired the mango with red quinoa and jicama root to create this tropical summer salad.

QUINOA

The quinoa adds a nutty flavor and since the grain is packed with protein (6 grams per 1/4 cup serving!) it also adds sustenance. I’ve had both plain and red quinoa, and they taste pretty similar.

JICAMA ROOT   

I also added jicama a root, which is a tasty root vegetable from Mexico that is surprisingly sweet and has a crunchy, apple-like texture. It is often used in salads and goes really well with mango! To cut, simply peel off the exterior skin and then slice to your desired shape.

 

INGREDIENTS

(serves two)

  • ½ cup red quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 mango, cut and sliced
  • ½ jicama root, cut and sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Red leaf lettuce

Dressing

  • 1 Tb. Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar   
  • 1 Tb. honey
  • Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Chop mango, red onion, jicama, and tomato. Serve with quinoa over a bed of lettuce. Drizzle with dressing and serve!

I do have to add this funny note: Tony was perfectly happy to eat this salad for dinner until the smell of grilled meat came wafting in our kitchen window… only at that point did he realize what was missing- MEAT! He then threatened to go across the hall to our neighbor’s (who are boys) and show them his plate and ask them to take pity on a man who married a vegetarian hoping for some leftovers! Must remember to keep that window closed 😉 He was perfectly content otherwise!

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I was looking for a way to spice up my boring salad lunches, so I decided to make this easy salad after seeing something similar on Martha Stewart’s website. This was super easy and I was actually excited for lunch today! I filled Tupperware with some leafy greens and baby carrots. Then I added about 3/4 cup of the Chickpea salad and enjoyed it with a whole wheat pita. Yum!

Ha ha, so much so that I finished it off before I remembered to take a photo! Use your imagination….

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
2 oz. crumbled feta (approximately)
1 lemon (juice + zest)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions
Combine chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion and feta in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Voila! Lunch is served!

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adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

It’s SPRING! I was actually watching Giada’s show and saw this and had to make it! She made it look so easy and sound so good! It’s a great salad, side dish or dinner. We had it with some tomato, basil and burrata cheese (my favorite!) and italian bread. The perfect Spring meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orecchiette pasta (we used small shells because our pathetic Giant didn’t have orecchiette)
  • 2 cups Mediterranean-style mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese, crumbled (we definitely used more than 1 tablespoon!)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the water.

In medium bowl, mix the salad greens with the sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and Parmesan. Top with warm pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine and wilt the greens. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, or to taste. Garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired, and serve. So easy!

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Tony told me Valentine’s Day is his favorite day of the year….. because we get to eat LOBSTERS! Ha ha! As usual, Tony and I made dinner at home this year. It’s just so much more our style than going to an over-priced restaurant. We can go out to eat any night of the year!

 


We popped a bottle of Prosecco and started with a simple salad:

Arugula, Pecan and Roquefort Salad with Truffle Oil Vinaigrette

I loooove Roquefort cheese. Tony thoughtfully got some last time he was at Whole Foods so we can enjoy it while it lasts… For those living under a rock (or just not into stinky cheese) in its final days, the Bush administration imposed a 300 percent tariff on Roquefort (!!!!) in effect closing off the U.S. market. What did the cheese ever do to you George? Apparently we have until March 23 to consume as much as possible before the tax goes into effect and it disappears from stores forever. For those interested, read more here. R.I.P. Roquefort….

I drizzled the salad with White Truffle Oil vinaigrette- just a simple combination of lemon juice, salt, pepper and white truffle oil (brought back from Italy!). I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner… using the subtle truffle oil in a dressing really brings out the truffle flavor.

This year we decided to forgo whole lobsters and just got tails. We steamed them ourselves and enjoyed with simple drawn butter. For an extra treat (and because they were on sale!), Tony threw in a Dungeness crab leg! Wow those are good!

 

For dessert we made chocolate dipped strawberries! Yum!

 

 

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Classic Summertime Dinner

I hosted our book club meeting this month. We read I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. It was a fun book to read for the summer and made for some interesting discussions. The author is our age (29) and the book is a collection of humorous essays about a number of topics we could all relate to including childhood, first job, moving, college experiences and family drama. For dinner I prepared a light and summery meal:

Lemonade
Watermelon and Feta Salad
Pressed Panini Sandwiches
Strawberry Shortcake

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Ingredients

1 small seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Mixed lettuce (I used red leaf and arugula)
4 ounces feta cheese
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper

Directions

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, salt, and pepper to create the dressing. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, onion, watermelon and feta. Toss with dressing to taste.

Pressed Panini Sandwiches

Using my Cuisinart Griddler, I made an assortment of pressed panini sandwiches:

  • Grilled eggplant, mozzarella and tomato
  • Grilled zucchini, yellow squash and mozzarella
  • Prosciutto, arugula and mozzarella

Directions

First, heat up the Griddler and prepare the vegetables for grilling. Cut the eggplant and tomato into thin rounds. Slice the zucchini and squash lengthwise into thin strips. Drizzle with olive oil and grill the vegetables until soft and tender. In the meantime, begin to slice Italian bread to make as many individual sandwiches as you need. I used a baguette for the prosciutto sandwiches (cut lengthwise and then across) and extra large Italian rolls for the grilled vegetable sandwiches (cut lengthwise and then in half).

Next, in a small bowl whisk together a generous amount of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Using a grill brush, sweep the olive oil mixture over each half of the bread, creating a base coat. Once the breads are prepared, begin to layer the assorted grilled vegetables and sliced mozzarella onto your breads (careful not to stuff them too full). Place the completed sandwiches in the Griddler and press in batches until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp.

For the prosciutto sandwiches, I brushed the baguette with olive oil, salt and pepper and layered thin slices of prosciutto, mozzarella and arugula. I then heated the individual sandwiches in the toaster over at 350 degrees until the bread is just lightly toasted and the cheese is soft.

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These tarts went perfectly with the Carrot Fettuccine (see below) as a light and “springy” Family dinner. I used store-bought dough for time purposes and because making my own dough scares me. I am happy to say it tasted delicious and looked exactly like the image below! (Again, too eager to eat to remember to take a picture- this is from http://www.williams-sonoma.com).

Ingredients

2 rolled-out rounds savory tart dough, each 12 inches in diameter (homemade or store-bought)

5 Tbs. olive oil

4 yellow onions, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. minced fresh thyme

2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 oz. mixed salad greens

2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

Place the dough rounds on separate parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the thyme, parsley and 2 tsp. of the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spread half of the onion mixture on each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the dough up and pinch together at 2-inch intervals. Lightly brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Bake the tarts until the crusts are golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the tarts cool for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tsp. vinegar, the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper to form a vinaigrette. Top the tarts with the mixed greens, dividing evenly, and sprinkle with the cheese. Drizzle salads with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

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