Jul 062011
 

One of my favorite meals this weekend was Mediterranean Chopped Salad, which I made by loosely following a recipe from Oprah. I love that we served it salad bar style, and everyone could pick and choose their own salad ingredients. The choices included chopped Romaine, grilled zucchini, eggplant, and red onion, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. Everything looked so pretty on an antique tablecloth from my grandmother.

The salad bar was great, but the basil dressing stole the show. I used a smoothie maker to blend everything together, and the result was incredible. I was a bad blogger and didn’t document the exact measurements, but the dressing roughly contained:
    • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 spoonful of minced garlic

 

  • 1 spoonful of mustard

 

  • 1 spoonful of sugar

 

  • 1 cup basil leaves

 

  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar

 

  • 1 c. olive oil

 

  • 1/4 c. water

 

Here is a shot of my Dad’s (first) bowl, ready to be enjoyed with a glass of wine on the deck. We may have to make the Mediterranean salad bar a Fourth of July tradition!

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Jun 242011
 

Tofu can be so….controversial. Some people love it, some hate it, and some don’t understand it. Some people just aren’t sure what to do with it, and those are the ones I am here to help today.

I tried this Perfect Baked Tofu recipe from Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point. First, you make a marinade with oil, honey, and spices. Then you cube the tofu and toss the cubes in the marinade, and bake for 30 minutes. The recipe is so easy! But I over baked the tofu…..by a lot. I kind of liked these crispy spicy-sweet cubes so I used them as croutons in this salad of Romaine, cucumbers, and feta. The tofu is more of an accent here than the focus of the dish, and that’s often an easy way to introduce new foods into your diet. The croutons made this salad a lot more interesting, and they turned out to be a delicious mistake.

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 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Jun 232011
 

I came home from Allandale Farm with dinosaur kale, which is a bit different from the curly variety I usually buy. The leaves are darker and softer as well.

People rave about Kale Chips, but I prefer using kale for massaged salad. I found this recipe for Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon, and decided to use both the dino kale and the Swiss chard to create a larger salad. The first step is to cut the stems out of the leaves, and then cut the leaves in a chiffonade. You basically need to roll the leaves up and slice, and this video provides a good demonstration. Then you combine the cut greens with olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and let it sit for at least an hour. You can garnish it with the sharp cheese of your choice, and serve.

After just an hour, the leaves were as tender as spinach, and full of flavor. I think the combination of kale and chard worked well to provide some variety. A bowl full of greens is the perfect base for any meal.
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 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Apr 122011
 

With the sun brightly shining this week, I couldn’t resist trying this recipe for Spring Tabbouleh from 101 Cookbooks. Instead of traditional tabbouleh which relies heavily on parsley, this version uses fresh chives. I modified things further and used quinoa instead of bulgur. So you might argue that this isn’t tabbouleh at all, and you’re right, but I can’t think of a better name at the moment.

I even shelled my own peas for this recipe, which actually turned out to be kind of fun. The peas and asparagus are lightly steamed, and then added to the cooked grain along with chopped walnuts, chives, and a bright dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. I skipped the hard boiled eggs here, only because I had used all the eggs last week baked in sweet potatoes. The walnuts give the salad a nice crunch, and the dish is easily portable, which makes it a winner. Does this look just a little familiar? Yes, I thought so too while I was eating it, and dug through the blog archives. I found this Spring Green Quinoa recipe from two years ago, which is indeed similar. But they’re both good recipes which use quinoa, a very fun whole grain!

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 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Feb 282011
 

Did you ever think that you could enjoy a salad with locally grown lettuce while there was still snow on the ground in New England? I bought a large bag of greens from NorthStar farm, located in Westport, MA at the Somerville Winter Market this weekend. The farmer told me the organic lettuce is grown in an unheated greenhouse during the winter. Each leaf is crisp, clean, and just about perfect. I gave it a quick rinse, and tossed it with some shredded carrot for a simple side salad. I have no idea how these greenhouses really work, but they certainly produce some great tasting lettuce! I was initially worried that the lettuce might go bad before I had time to finish the bag, but the remaining unwashed leaves are keeping very well in the refrigerator. Here’s to local salads for the week….

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 Posted by at 1:00 pm