Tag Archives: salad

Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

2 Aug 2012-07-31 00.06.40

I am just back from a speaking engagement in Puerto Rico, where I had the chance to visit with great friends and have some delicious meals! But…you’ll have to wait for that, as it deserves a juicier post than I have time for (secrets of Kendra’s delicious grilled lamb coming soon to this blog!).

However, rather than leave you high and dry, here is a bright new salad to entertain you. It takes minutes to prepare, and — if Dr. Oz is to be believed — the combination of watermelon and a bit of balsamic is a powerful enzyme that will aid in digestion and perhaps weight loss.

So here it is:  a fast and refreshing salad that use seasonal fruits and vegetables at their peak. And it’s pretty gorgeous too!

Serving suggestion: Mexican-style margarita glasses!

Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

Dressing

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp balsamic vinegar

Pinch salt

Grating of pepper

Salad

20-30 grape tomatoes, sliced in half (about one Cup)

1 Cup watermelon, cubed to match the size of the tomato halves (seeded if necessary)

1 tsp fresh mint, chopped

½ Cup crumbled feta

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.

In a larger bowl, place watermelon, tomato, feta and mint. Pour dressing over. Stir in mint. Combine all gently and serve.

Egg Salad…Amped

11 Apr 2012 Easter and egg salad 084

Have you ever seen the MTV show “Pimp My Ride” where a beat-up, tin-can of a vehicle gets a total tarted-up makeover- complete with features like aquariums and shoe racks and hydraulic surfboard lifters?

Well, sometimes I like to play culinary “Pimp My____________(fill in the blank with your favorite, but somewhat tired go-to everyday recipe).” You know, take a dull salad and add grilled shrimp and fruit, or top your morning toast with salmon and creme fraiche, or add truffle oil to any old thing to make it special.

The Chinese make cracks in eggs before hard-boiling in tea to make "1,000 year old eggs" -- that's my excuse for the rather oddly-colored post-Easter eggs you see here...

In honor of the ridiculous number of luridly-dyed hard-boiled eggs in my post-Easter fridge, today’s episode is “Pimp My Egg Salad.” Just add a number of tasty pantry items to a normal egg salad and voila! You have a hottie-hottie, hot-hot, lunch where before sat a bland and boring boiled egg.

By the way, to boil eggs perfectly, set them in cold water that covers by an inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, cover and allow to sit for ten minutes. Drain and shock the eggs in ice water (to help the peeling later). Using eggs that are not farm-fresh will make them easier to peel (more air between shell and membrane).

 

Look closely and you'll see that blue color....

Egg Salad…Amped

4 hard-boiled eggs

2 Tbs mayonnaise

1-2 tsps prepared mustard

1 tsp minced red onion (optional)

1 tsp capers, drained

Five large pitted black olives, sliced

1 Tbs roasted red pepper, diced

Salt to taste

Dash of sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Salt to taste and add hot sauce if desired. Serve in a sandwich on toast or atop a salad.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Chipotle-Spiked Vinaigrette

29 Feb Shrimp and Avocado Salad, Spiked with Chipotle (charming served in an avocado shell)

I have been very, very busy these days with several projects (a culinary dictionary is one!), so deserved a grown-up meal made by my own loving hands. But it also had to be something not very involved that I could sling together fast, because  just don’t have enough time for everything I’d like to do!

Whether you are doing the Lenten fish on Friday thing or just happen to have some extra cooked shrimp from a buffet table or recipe, or just defrosted some shrimp that you didn’t get a chance to use and want to do something fun with (and that you have absolutely no intentions of sharing with your spoiled little son for whom you do too much anyway and whose leftovers you are sick of picking at instead of making something proper for yourself)….this is a very simple recipe that looks and tastes like a million bucks.

In an avocado shell or on a tostada...this salad looks as good as it tastes!

Shrimp and Avocado Salad Spiked with Chipotle Vinaigrette

(can be double or tripled or more to accommodate a crowd!)

Dressing:

3 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs fresh lime juice

1 tsp chipotle in adobo – you can use the sauce and skip the peppers themselves, or include peppers, seeded and minced

Pinch salt

Salad

1 Cup cooked shrimp, cut into small chunks

1Tbs red onion, minced

10 grape tomatoes, quartered

1 ripe avocado, sliced in half. Scoop out flesh (discard stone) carefully and cut into small chunks. Reserve shells.

Salt to taste

Extra squeeze of lime to finish

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl until incorporated.

Place shrimp, onion, and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Cover with dressing and stir gently. Then add avocado chunks and stir once again, very gently. Scoop salad into reserved avocado shells (or onto tostadas. Finish with lime and salt and serve.

Flex-Mex Shredded Chicken (one step, one pot) and easy red beans

29 Oct Easy red beans to accompany Mexican-style shredded chicken

I had about two pounds of boneless chicken breast defrosted and one of Leandro’s besties and his mom coming over for a congenial play date and dinner. I have the habit of fussing in the kitchen when they come over, as Amanda is an appreciative eater who likes to try new stuff. For the kids I usually make macaroni and cheese (from a box that — try not to roll your eyes — purports to be organic. Is this the foodie equivalent of ordering a bacon cheeseburger, fries and a diet Coke?)

This time, I wanted to be able to do more sitting and talking than mucking about with pots and pans. I don’t want my guests to be speaking to my back as I stir something on the stove and I just didn’t feel like making a second meal for the kids. I hate doing that, actually, but end up there more than I like to admit.

So this recipe — which I adapted from others I have done or read — was perfect. Just bung everything into a pot and a half hour later you have tasty, crowd-pleasing goodness that you can pile onto other Mexican-infused ingredients. On this occasion I made quick quesadillas with red beans (another one pot dish, see below) and Cheddar and Dominican white cheese which Leandro, Amanda and I ate, accompanied with avocado, cilantro and red onion. The revelation was Lucas, a bit more of a picky eater, who tasted the quesadilla (both the all-cheese just-in-case one and a chicken one) which by itself would’ve been cool, but who ended up loving the chicken on its own and eating several servings!

And yes, I sat – we all sat down to dinner together, in fact — and I didn’t fuss! Hurray!

Mexican-Style Shredded Chicken

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts

½ Cup onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stock cube and four cups of water OR four cups of your favorite chicken stock

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced, seeds removed (1 pepper was not very spicy; play with this proportion according to your taste)

Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked. If you have time, you can cook it longer for more tenderness. Remove from heat and remove chicken from any remaining liquid. Allow to cool, shred, and serve – hot or cold — in your favorite Mexican-style recipes (quesadillas, tacos, with rice, on salads). Flavor affinities include avocado, lime, cilantro, kidney beans.

Easy Red Kidney Beans

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs minced onion

1 half stock cube

1 tsp oregano

1/4-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable juice (less water for drier beans)

1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp chopped cilantro

Saute onion in olive oil until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 15 minutes until flavors are incorporated.

Greta Garbanzo (chick pea and ginger salad – keeps in the fridge!)

14 Mar Saucy! Gingery! Healthy!

Saucy! Gingery! Healthy!

I try to make one of my daily meals a salad and I have to admit, I’ve been in a not unpleasant but not particularly exciting rut: nice lettuce, grape tomatoes (if I have the heart to buy tomatoes out of season) and cucumbers with one of those dressing mixes you make in a cruet that my mom got me addicted to and I am only somewhat ashamed to admit to. I might add some cheese, some walnuts and cranberries, red onion, but don’t really vary it much. Sometimes I make the major move of opening a can of chick peas (we call them garbanzos in Spanish) and add some.

The other day though, I remembered how easy it is to make garbanzo salad and how long it lasts in the fridge getting tastier and tastier. A scoop of this salad (a slight variation on Molly Katzen’s version in The Moosewood Cookbook) adds spice, texture and protein to an otherwise boring salad (and eliminates the need for dressing). I also take it to BBQs and other potluck affairs where I know there will be plates and forks. It is also really nice mixed with rice and eaten cold.

I named my version for Greta Garbo because the name lends itself rather obviously, but also because it is distinctive, has a subtle and intriguing spiciness, has ginger (for her ginger hair) and because no one can ever leave it alone.

Greta Garbanzo (chick pea and ginger salad)

2 15 oz cans chick peas (aka  garbanzos or ceci) rinsed and drained

2 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger root (more if you like!)

½ cup red onion, minced fine

3-4 cloves garlic, minced fine (I tend to use more)

Salt to taste (you might not need it if the garbanzos are salty)

Pinch of cumin (optional)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs red wine vinegar (cider vinegar subs in just fine. Reduce amount if using regular white vinegar)

¼ cup lemon juice (about half a juicy lemon’s worth)

Place chick peas, ginger, and red onion in a medium bowl or plastic storage bowl with a cover. In a small bowl mix the oil, vinegar and lemon juice with a whisk or a fork until emulsified (blended together). Pour dressing over chickpea mix and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate.  It’s best made at least a day ahead, but you can also make it on the fly and it will be delicious. Gets better and better over the next week.

Egg Salad: Classic Comfort in No-Time-Flat

28 Feb Simple is beautiful. You are four ingredients away from happy.
I’ve been on a bit of an egg kick lately. While eggs can do marvellous food-science type things if separated and whipped just so and folded in just right at just the right temperature, right now I am celebrating their simplicity.

 

When was the last time you had a light and easy egg salad? This version is creamy and light and a bit tangy, thanks to the yogurt and the mustard. I took it to a friend’s for a playdate, where it met with success! It makes a good addition to any party buffet table too.
Egg Salad (makes four generous sandwiches or four big scoops to top green salad)

Eight fresh eggs*

3 Tbs mayonnaise

1 Tbs non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt

1 Tbs your favorite mustard

Pinch of salt/pinch of cayenne pepper/sprinkle of parsley/grating of pepper, if desired

Place eggs in a pot with cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil. Lower heat to simmer for five minutes, then cover and remove from heat. Leave covered for ten minutes, then drain and soak in ice water.  The yolk turns green from overcooking, so if you find that your yolks are turning green, next time skip the simmer, remove from heat and let sit covered for 15 minutes.

When the eggs are cooled, crack them and peel. Chop roughly and place in bowl. Add mayo, yogurt and mustard and mix well. Play around with the amount of wet ingredients until you get it the way you like. Season to taste and serve on crackers, toast or salad.

*(if you are not sure whether your eggs are fresh, put them in water to cover. A fresh egg will sink. A fresh-enough egg will float up on one end while the other end stays on the bottom. A rotten egg will float.

Also, I purchase organic eggs regularly and farmer’s market/friend’s eggs when I can get them. Large-scale egg production in this country is way out of scale with what is safe. I don’t want to be the heavy on this one, so if you are interested, you can visit food expert Marion Nestle’s blog and read it for yourself. http://www.foodpolitics.com/tag/eggs/  In any case, if you are buying conventional/supermarket eggs, please cook them thoroughly )

 

 

 

You are just four ingredients away from happiness.

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