Posts tagged ‘salad’

July 11, 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad

(NOTE: since the publishing of this post, it was accepted to Tastespotting, Foodgawker is still pending. I get so frustrated with those sites sometimes, but it sure is satisfaction when they accept my photos – a challenge!)

During the summer the easy no fuss side dishes are a must-have! Nobody wants to turn on the stove or oven and heat up the house in the middle of summer. A foodie included! While a friend and I were roaming the Farmer’s Market this past weekend, she recalled one of the vendors who made a pasta salad with pesto and toasted pine nuts. She said she sometimes that salad was her only reason for going to the Market. However, there was no sign of the pesto and toasted pine nut salad in sight; so we decided to make our own version.

There was a cheese in the salad that after making this version with mozzarella, we realized the salad at the Market probably had Ricotta Salata. So, maybe that would be a good addition to this salad. We’ll try it out next time.

 

1lb pasta (Campenelli used in the photo above, pesto clings best to textured pastas – getting in all the nooks and crannies)

8oz fresh bocconcini mozzarella (fresh mozzarella)

1 cup pesto (homemade or your favorite store bought)

1 cup sliced grape tomatoes

1/2 very finely sliced red onion

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Cook pasta according to directions on the box, making sure to season the water generously with salt. (think sea water. While the pasta is cooking is the only opportunity to infuse the pasta with flavor).

While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts, thinly slice the onions and cut up the tomatoes. I like to quarter the tomatoes and the larger tomatoes I will cut the quarters in half.

For the cheese, I pull pieces off the ball of cheese rather than cutting it, that gives the pieces a “rustic” feel and the chucks of cheese wrap around the pasta.

Once the pasta is done cooking, strain it and rinse it immediately with cold water. Add the pesto and stir until all the pasta is coated. Then add the onion, tomatoes and cheese and toss.

Sprinkle the top with toasted pine nuts and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

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January 19, 2011

Apple Goat Cheese Salad

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This is one of my favorites – I use it all the time for a dinner side salad.

1/2 apple
1/2 head of romaine lettuce
cucumber
tomato
1/4 cup goat cheese

Clean, dry then chop lettuce. Slice cucumbers into half-moons. Slice tomatoes into strips and apples into matchsticks. Sprinkle goat cheese. When ready to serve, toss the salad and dressing.

Vinaigrette

(I don’t measure the ingredients so these are estimates)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing emulsifies.

December 16, 2010

Think Pink Potluck

Each year at the law firm I work at, we get together and have an annual Think Pink fundraiser. The fundraiser is held to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  This cause is near and dear to me. Breast cancer runs in my family genetics. My grandmother, aunt, and my grandmother’s niece have all been diagnosed with breast cancer in their lives. Luckily, and thanks to all the research and attention breast cancer has received, all three survived breast cancer. Now my grandmother is no longer with us, but she was diagnosed in the 70’s with breast cancer and even back then, with less resources than we have now she survived!  Susan G. Komen is a fantastic foundation and I am very proud that my employer supports such a terrific cause.

Now I know I am a few months late, but I still wanted to get this posted on the blog because being healthy and teaching people healthier eating habits is very important. Everyone in the office came up with very creative and yummy dishes incorporating “superfoods.” On our potluck sign up sheet we listed “superfood” items with a breif explanation of what is “super” about the particular ingredient. The ingredients each have a property that helps our bodies fight against cancer – from breast cancer to prostate cancer – and many harmful diseases and environmental pollutants.  These foods are just plain good for you (although some of these recipes below may not be ALL good for you, but they do contain some foods that are very good for you).  Below are some photos and descriptions of the items that were served at our Think Pink Fundraiser. My recipes are included below.

Coconut Cupcakes

COCONUT – high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s oil is has been described as one of the “healthiest oils on the earth.”

 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 package of instant vanilla pudding (only the powder)
1- 13oz can unsweetened coconut milk
¼ c. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs 
½ – 14oz bag of sweetened shredded coconut.Preheat oven to 350°Toast the shredded coconut until browned about 8-10 minutes. Spread out on a sheet of wax paper to cool.Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient. Incorporate the dry ingredients and coconut milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the coconut milk. Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes. Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 

 

 

 

Frosting Recipe   1/2 cup shortening (used the Crisco stick because it’s easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. coconut milk (just the creamy top portion of the canned coconut milk)
1 T. vanilla extract

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the vanilla extract.  Incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the coconut milk 1 T. at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 3T for a medium consistency.Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

 

Deviled Eggs

EGGS – one study showed that women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%

Shrimp with Spicy Chili Sauce

 SHRIMP – contain selenium , an antioxidant which some studies link to the prevention of cancer.

Bacon Wrapped dates and almonds with balsamic reduction (aka “bacon balls”)

ALMONDS –  also contain selenium ,  and they help heart health.

Caprese Salad

TOMATOES – contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant

1lb roma tomatoes

1 pkg fresh mozzerella

1 bunch of basil

Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper

Thinly slice the mozzerella, slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Lay mozzerella on a plate, top with basil leaf and a tomato. Drizzle balsamic dressing over the salad. Serve!

Walnut Torte

WALNUTS – some studies indicate that walnuts positively impact heart health, bone health, diabetes and weight management.

Kale, Apple and Pancetta Salad

KALE – contains sulforaphane, which some studies have shown to have anti-cancer properties. Also Indole-3-carbinol which some studies have show to help repair damaged cells.

This recipe came from Food and Wine magazine, the Thanksgiving issue. I wasn’t unsure about Kale, as I had never tried it and was under the impression it was a green that should be cooked. But after trying some in the store it reminded me a lot of broccoli. The strong flavor of Kale with the sweet apple, salty pancetta and the tangy dressing mix so well with one another! This salad went over very well even with the threat of KALE.

2c. pecans

1/2c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2tsp cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

1/4c extra-virgin olive oil

6 oz thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced

1/4c. white wine

2Tbsp caper brine (from a jar of capers)

3Tbsp maple syrup

Freshly ground black pepper

2 granny Smith Apples, cut into matchsticks

1 large head radicchio, shredded

one 8-oz bunch of kale, finely shredded

3Tbsp snipped chives

1Tbsp chopped tarragon

2 oz. shaved pecorino

1.     Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, cayenne pepper and 1 1/2 tsp salt. In a sieve rinsk the pecans in water and strain completely.  Add the pecans to the sugar mixture and toss. In a sieve shake off the excess coating.  Arrange pecans on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pcans are golden.

2.     In a skillet, heat the oil with th pancetta and cook until the pancetta is browned, about 6 minutes.  Strain the pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in te vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup. Season the dressig with salt and pepper.

3.     Toss the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and dressing. Top with pecorino.

NOTE: I did not use radicchio, I couldn’t find anything in my local grocery stores that looked good.

December 12, 2010

Waldorf Salad

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With the holiday season in full force, many of us start to see an increase of the scales! OH NO! To counteract all the season treats I like to eat, I try to make my daily meals on the lighter side. It’s the holiday season after all and I want to enjoy all the goodies that you only get once a year. Most of my meals include fruits and veggies and low fat meats (chicken and pork) and then I get to have fun at parties and family dinners.  Here is a very simple recipe and it helped me use up the rest of the rotisserie chicken I bought to make chicken noodle soup.  Instead of mayonnaise I used 2% plain greek yogurt and I was surprised that I liked it because I don’t usually like the yogurt substitution. (Maybe I will start trying it more often). Enjoy!

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1/2 apple (I used Fuji for the sweet/tartness with a crispy texture)

1/2 cup red grapes, halved

1 celery, sliced thin

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup slivered almonds (pecans or walnuts work too)

2T blue cheese

1/2 cup 2% plain greek style yogurt (you can use mayonnaise as well)

1T red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

1tsp kosher salt

  1. Dice the chicken and apples. Slice the grapes in half. Slice the celery and green onion. Toss it all in a bowl with slivered almonds and blue cheese.
  2. Mix together the yogurt, vinegar and salt. Pour over the chicken mixture and toss.
  3. Serve with whole lettuce leaves. Spread chicken mixture over a lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!

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June 16, 2010

Fairy Flower Salad

If you have kids, you know the novelty of the food they eat is probably more important to kids than what they are eating! Thanks to a co-worker (thanks Tarah) I came up with this salad for my daughter and neice…I’m sure eating flowers would be fun for boys too, for those of you with boys let me know if you come up with a name to appeal to the boys.

Most of these ingredients I got at the Farmer’s Market. Including the edible flowers. The strawberries and cucumbers were from the Market as well. I could have purchased greens from the Market, but I was too late and it was all sold out. So the lettuce is organic mixed baby greens from TJs and goat cheese was from TJs too.

Fairy Flower Salad

You could grow your own edible flowers and as long as you are careful not to get chemicals on them.

To make enough for 4 people:
1/2 bag of mixed baby greens (or 3 cups or so of your favorite lettuce)
1/2 cup of edible flowers (I got mine at the Farmer’s Market last weekend)
1/2 cup of diced cucumber
5 or 6 strawberries thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Strawberry Vinaigrette

Cut large pieces of lettuce in bite-sized pieces. Wash lettuce and flowers individually and then lay on a paper towel to dry off. Dice cucumbers and slice the strawberries. Place lettuce in a bowl toss with the vinaigrette dressing. Top with flowers and spread the cucumbers and strawberries over the salad. Top with feta cheese (or goat cheese is a good contrast to the sweet dressing).

Isn’t it the prettiest salad ever! What girl wouldn’t eat that!!!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
5 strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1/4c olive oil (Grapeseed oil is nice and clean tasting and would work really well)
1T Honey
1/4c balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Place the strawberries in a blender and coarsely chop. Add honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pulse the blender until mixed. Then with the blender running add the oil until the dressing is emulsified. Toss the dressing with the greens then top with the rest of your ingredients. (This dressing was really good with a salad with apples and goat cheese too!)

 

April 24, 2010

BLT (and then some) Salad

A Friday night dinner after my daughter’s dance. I love BLTs so I thought it would make a great salad, but I had to add avocado and blue cheese because those go so well with tomatoes and bacon!

Iceberg lettuce (I used red leaf in the photo but iceberg is good BLT lettuce)
4 slices chopped cooked bacon
1/2 cup left over roasted chicken
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2c. chopped tomatoes
pine nuts
homemade croutons
sea salt
1c. Ranch dressing (your favorite or homemade)
1 green onion finely chopped
1/4c. blue cheese

Up close

Mix dressing, green onion and blue cheese.

Arrange lettuce on plate. Top with chicken, tomatoes, avocado, pine nuts, and bacon.

Top with dressing and a little coarse sea salt and croutons.

April 21, 2010

Salmon Spinach Salad

Okay I started this post and realized almost all the ingredients I used were left overs from two separate dinners! Well I’ll publish this post this with a bunch of “mini” recipes. Next time I’ll make a lemony garlicky vinaigrette.

Pesto Salmon
      1 piece of salmon
      spread homemade basil pesto and broil for 15 minutes

Roasted Asparagus and Potatoes
    (Dice potatoes into small pieces and trim asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper) lay on a foil covered baking sheet and put in oven with salmon, cook until done – 15 min.

Basil pesto
1 cup basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
Chop basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a processor or blender until finely chopped. Add oil in a slow stream with processor running. Stir in parmesan.

Salad
Salmon
basil pesto
1/2 cup white beans
1/2 cup roasted asparagus
1/2 cup roasted potatoes
1 cup spinach, washed

Arrange spinach on plate. Top with potatoes, asparagus, white beans. Top with 1 T pesto and Salmon. (Add vinaigrette if you choose).