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The Summer Beet

31 Aug


Once again I am writing about doing something I’ve never done in the kitchen before, roast beets. I just love beets, that earthy sweet flavor that is packed with goodness. Beets are something that I order when I eat out but have never made them at home. I saw them at the farmer’s market and decided I would give it whirl.IMG_6370

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut off greens and the little pointy tip off the beets, scrub well. Coat lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place beets on baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 1 hour. To test for doneness a fork should pierce it smoothly, if not cook for another 15 minutes or so, it should not take more than 1 1/2 hours.

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Remove top cover of aluminum foil and let cool. When cool enough to handle you can peel the skin right off. It is a bit messy so you may want to use rubber gloves.  The beets are now ready to use!

I decided to make a salad with mine that I served with chicken breast, absolutely delicious, low-fat, low-carb and nutritious.

3 medium beets, chopped

4 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 Tbs minced red onion

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs white wine vinegar

1 Tbs honey

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Place spinach and beets in a large bowl. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and red onions. Pour over spinach and beets, toss to combine. Top with goat cheese. And enjoy!

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Tangy Twangy Slaw

7 Jun

I love coleslaw but am trying to lose a few pounds so I was looking for healthier version and found this tangy slaw recipe.  This is great alternate and it’s vegan, dairy and gluten free. My husband loved it and even asked to me to make it again!

Slaw fixin's

Slaw fixin’s

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

4 tablespoons medium red onion, thinly diced

1 grated carrot

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon celery seed

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Refrigerate and allow slaw to chill for at least at an hour or two before eating. Enjoy!

Serve it up!

Serve it up!

 

 

Winter Salad: Pears, Pomegranates & Spinach

2 Dec

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean we have to stop eating salad, especially when pomegranates are in season. Pomegranates can add a clean, sweet burst of flavor and are super healthy. I love this salad and it’s a great one to serve at a dinner party.

Now, I like to make the dressing first so that it’s ready when the salad is done and ready to be dressed. I also like my salad not to be too cold, I take the ingredients out a bit before so that they “warm” up.

Winter Salad Goodness!

Winter Salad Goodness!

Dressing:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tblsp honey

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and blend well.

Salad:

9 oz. baby spinach

2 bartlett pears (firm but ripe, cored, sliced)

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

3/4 cup pomegranate arils

*2/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans if you like nuts in your food

Place all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat evenly. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Tomatoes-Italian Style

3 Mar

Last night we had friends for dinner and I always have a theme, so last night it was “A Night in Italy”.  I just think it’s more interesting and fun with a theme and you can get really creative with the decor, the menu and your outfit! The menu was simple starting with an antipasto, then we sat for an arugula salad and shrimp marinara with crusty italian bread followed by italian pastries and a dessert cocktail of prosecco with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries. All this while listening to Italian music and drinking Italian wines.  The one hors d’ oeuvre  I made last night, that I have made before that is always a big hit is a Roasted Caprese Salad. They fit nicely not just because they are Italian but they are the colors of the Italian flag! I got the recipe from my BFF Karen, who is also my sister-in-law (she was my friend first)  and she got the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. I do not even like tomatoes but I love these and so easy to make. I highly suggest you try them!

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

12 Plum Tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed (I like to use the Campari tomatoes)

1/4 Cup Good Olive Oil, plus more drizzling

1 1/2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Teaspoons Sugar (I do not use the Sugar)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

16 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh Basil

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees (I do 250 in my oven, because they were cooking too quickly and burning).

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan with the cut sides up in a single layer.  Mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with the garlic and drizzle over the tomatoes then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar if desired.  Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/2″ slices, if too big then cut in half and a arrange on a platter. Put a small basil leaf on each piece of cheese then layer with a tomato and drizzle with more olive oil if desired and serve with baguette slices. 

A great addition to any party…happy eating!

Bacon…Who said Bacon?!

29 Jul

So I am not a big bacon eater even though I love it, for several reasons; it is high in fat, high in cholesterol, high in salt and contains those nasty things called nitrates. But once or twice a year I will treat myself and eat some bacon. I have recently discovered some really great organic bacon that uses humanely raised pigs, uses no nitrates or antibiotics and tastes really great! It is from Apple Gate Farms and though it may still not be so good for my waistline, at least it won’t be so bad for my heart or the pig that gave its life so we could eat yummy bacon. Now I can eat bacon more often and not feel so badly about it.

My husband loves bacon and he loves tomatoes so, of course what comes to mind is the classic BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato). And where better to live to get the best tomatoes?….New Jersey, the garden state. Summer in New Jersey means fresh, ripe tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and lots of other home-grown fruits and vegetables. Last week I went to the local farmers market and got some tomatoes then I went to my local grocery store and got some ciabatta bread, bacon and lettuce-all the fixn’s for a great lunch!

BLT

Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato

First I cook the bacon till it’s nice and crispy and then drain on paper towels. Next, I sliced the bread into good size pieces for sandwiches then sliced each one length wise and slathered each of the inside slices with mayonnaise and while I heated a skillet. Once the skillet was hot I put the ciabatta bread slices with mayo down to lightly toast it. With bread now toasted I layered the bacon, tomato and lettuce-as you can see from the picture it was awesome!

Today I decided to make a new potato salad.(And by new I mean new as never made it before, not new as in potatoes, although I did use new potatoes!) I have heard of bacon being used in potato salad but have never had it and since I’m on a bacon kick decided to give it a try. So delicious!

potato salad with bacon

Baconator Potato Salad

6 good size new potatoes-cooked, cooled and cubed

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon salt & pepper (add more or less to taste)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into bits

2 green onions-light green and some of the green parts, chopped

1/4 cup Vidalia onion, finely chopped

I mix everything together except the potatoes until well blended then add the potatoes and stir until well coated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. I will be serving it on a bed of lettuce with slices of fresh tomato and BBQ chicken! Enjoy!

Lettuce Not Forget….Boston Lettuce!

15 Jul

Hello Everyone-

Happy Summer!  It is friday night at about 5:30ish and I am sipping a delicious cocktail.  It is an absolutely gorgeous night here in suburban New Jersey. Tonight I am writing about a lovely salad that I recreated from a restaurant that we eat at quite regularly, a Boston lettuce salad with a lime vinaigrette.  I think that most people (not serious foodies of course) get stuck in ruts with lettuce-you know what I mean-romaine, leaf lettuce and as much as most of us hate to admit…iceberg.  But let’s face it iceberg adds great crunch factor and who can resist “The Wedge” with blue cheese and bacon!?  Well, I love Boston lettuce with its soft, delicate taste and creamy texture so here is a great recipe for a tasty salad that is great for summer.  Please keep in mind that this is made up by me basically, so use your judgement but I did my best in terms of measurements.

Boston Lettuce Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

1 Head cleaned Boston Lettuce Head-torn into small pieces

1/8 to 1/4 Cup Maytag Blue Cheese (use your judgement, some people love it, others not so much)

1 Ripe Avocado-chopped

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Juice from 1 Lime

Salt to taste

1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard (or so)

Put lettuce, avocado and blue cheese into salad bowl (I am a big believer in wooden bowls for salad). Mix olive oil, lime juice, mustard and salt well with a fork-pour over salad and toss…So Good!!!  And for those who can eat roasted pine nuts-go for it-they add great flavor and texture. I hope you enjoy this refreshing salad as much as my husband and I do!

Another Great Summer Salad!

1 Jun

Here’s great salad recipe that is not just yummy but healthy and gluten free!  It ‘s another one of those that I am asked to make again and again….it goes really well with just about anything- burgers, steak, chicken or even grilled shrimp. My husband actually likes to put it in a tortilla and eat it like a burrito, I prefer it naked- it’s too pretty to cover up.

Colorful Black Bean Salad!

It is an Emeril Lagasse recipe that he calls a Black Bean Relish, I prefer-

BLACK BEAN SALAD

4 Cups Cooked Black Beans, rinsed and drained

2 Cups Cooked Corn Kernels, cut from the cob

1 Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped

2 Large Cloves Garlic, minced

2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and finley minced (I use only 1)

1/2 Bunch Scallions, finely sliced

1/4 Cup Cilantro Leaves, chopped

2 Limes, juiced

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

In a bowl combine all of the ingredients and stir to mix well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to let side for at least 1/2 hour before serving. ENJOY!

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