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Posts Tagged ‘summer salads’

Greek Salad with Orzo and Black-Eyed Peas Better together? Sometimes marriages work and sometimes they don’t. But magic occurs when two entities come together and bring out the best in each other. That is exactly what happens in the case of this Greek Salad. In actuality it is composed of two distinct salads, each possessing the substance and flavors to stand alone. The orzo component is light and refreshing with hints of lemon and oregano. By comparison, the black-eyed peas component brings in a certain earthiness with its flavors of tomatoes and parsley. Combining all components together creates a more interesting flavor-complex. This marriage definitely works.

Greek salad with Orzo and Black-Eyed Peas
Paul Grimes and Shelley Wiseman, Gourmet (August 2008)

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup orzo
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored, and diced (1 cup)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, slivered
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped romaine
1/2 pound feta, crumbled (1 cup)
4-8 peperoncini
Salt and freshly ground pepper

EQUIPMENT: 4 (16-ounce) wide jars or container with lids
ACCOMPANIMENT: pita chips

DIRECTIONS
1. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.

2. Toss black-eyed peas, tomato, and parsley with vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Marinate, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toss together orzo, remaining tablespoon oil, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon zest and juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

4. Divide black-eyed pea mixture (with juices) among jars and layer orzo salad, romaine, and feta on top. Add 1 or 2 peperoncini to each jar.

Cooks’ note: Assembled jars can be chilled up to 6 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I only had Meyer lemons on hand and the results were wonderful.
2. I chopped a few small springs of basil from my garden and added it to the orzo mixture. I loved the added flavor it brought to the salad.
3. If you don’t want to serve the salad in jars, try layering the components in a clear glass salad bowl.
4. For a vegan version, leave off the feta cheese.

Enjoy!

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Kachumbari Salad: A Kenyan Tomato Salad Sweet vine-ripened tomatoes, the gems of summer, make the perfect base for salads. From Kenya comes this recipe that pairs tomatoes with red onions, cilantro, chile, and lime juice. Visually attractive and packed with flavor, this salad is the perfect side dish for summer entertaining. Tonight, those incredible flavors will marry beautifully with the fish tacos I’m serving!

Kachumbari Salad
Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates Our Common Humanity

INGREDIENTS
1 lb firm and ripe tomatoes, sliced or diced
1-1½ red onions, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 chile, sliced (optional)
1-2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the tomatoes into a medium salad bowl with the onions. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

2. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir in the chile, if using. Season and gradually add the lemon or lime juice to taste.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. One pound of tomatoes is approximately 2.5 large tomatoes. For this recipe I used about two pounds of assorted tomatoes (cherry, heirloom, and beefsteak).

2. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half from top to bottom, but the larger tomatoes, I sliced crosswise into rounds.

3. Because I sliced them into rounds, I gently mixed the salad in a large pan instead of a bowl. This salad is attractive when arranged on a platter.

4. I used half of a red onion instead of a whole one and I’m glad I did. Even with this reduced amount, there were a lot of onions in this salad.

5. Here are some tips from Craig Kielburger, the contributor of this recipe to the cookbook: If you prefer a milder onion flavor, rinse the onion slices in hot salty water before putting them in the salad. This will ensure the onion is less harsh on the palate. Squeeze the lemon or lime juice into the salad just before serving to avoid sogginess. If the tomato and onion are chopped more finely, this recipe also works well as a homemade salsa.

6. The chile is optional, but its heat adds a nice flavor dimension to the salad.

ENJOY!

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Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing Hot summer days evolve into lovely summer evenings. The sun mellows in the sky and temperatures drop to a comfortable warm. It’s the perfect time of day to dine al fresco and to entertain company. Keep the evening enjoyable and effortless, by preparing a simple menu that can be made ahead. Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing is just such a recipe. It’s easy to prepare and it can be made earlier in the day. Plus, it’s delicious, visually appealing, and a great accompaniment to grilled meats.

Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing
The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook by Anna Pump and Sybille Pump

INGREDIENTS
4 pounds sugar snap or snow peas
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coarse salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Blanch the peas in a large quantity of boiling water just until they turn bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and plunge the peas into very cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again. Transfer the peas to a mixing bowl.

2. Place the sesame seeds in a large skillet over medium heat. Tossing lightly, toast until golden brown, and add to the sugar snap peas.

3. In the same skillet, heat the sesame oil until smoking hot. Remove from heat and add the red pepper flakes. Let stand for 5 minutes.

4. Pour the oil over the peas, add the salt, and toss to blend.

5. Transfer the peas to a deep bowl or platter and serve hot.

Serves 16

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I purchase jars of pre-toasted sesame seeds at Asian markets and store them in my freezer. No need to defrost them. Just add them directly from the jar to whatever you are making. If you are toasting your own, keep an eye on them while they are in the skillet. Because they contain oil and because they are small, they can burn quickly.

2. Sesame seed oil is a thick and heavy oil. A little bit goes a long way. That being said, I felt the recipe called for too much of it. The next time I make this recipe, I will start with half the amount.

3. Stir the red pepper flakes into the hot oil and keep stirring. Some of my pepper flakes burned as they sat in the hot oil. Stirring them might have helped prevent burning.

4. Although the recipe says to serve this hot, it also says that it can be served cold. In my opinion, room temperature is best.

5. The recipe can be prepared without the red pepper flakes if you prefer, but I think the little added “kick” really makes the dish.

Enjoy!

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Wedding bells will chime this week for my son and his fiancé. As I happily wade through lists and list of wedding details, I offer you a repost of one of my favorite summer salads. Enjoy!

How fortunate it is that tomatoes and basil both thrive in summer heat. When it’s too hot to cook, salads make frequent appearances on the dinner menu in my house and with the bounty of tomatoes and basil outside in the garden, who could resist not finding as many ways as possible to use these two summer favorites? It only gets better – here’s a recipe that combines tomatoes and basil with the healthy goodness of quinoa. In an earlier post Quinoa and Shrimp Salad, I explained why quinoa is a nutritional gem; these tiny seeds contain a balanced set of essential amino acids, making them complete proteins, and are a great gluten-free source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and iron.

Quinoa Salad With Tomatoes and Basil
Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Venokur-Clark

Salad Ingredients:
1 C quinoa
1/2 red onion, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/3 C sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), diced
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted

Dressing Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 T white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Measure quinoa into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside and let cool.

2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil. Pour oil in a small stream into the the bowl of dressing ingredients, whisking the whole time to form an emulsion. Set aside.

3. Toast the pine nuts in a pan until lightly browned and fragrant. While toasting, keep an eye on them and stir them occasionally so that they don’t burn. Let cool.

4. To the cooked and cooled quinoa, add diced onion, diced tomatoes, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and diced basil. Toss gently.

5. Whisk salad dressing again and pour over salad ingredients. Toss again.

6. Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Serves 4-6.

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Quinoa is a super food all year round, but it shines especially in summer salads. Take an average spinach and mushroom salad and make it more nutritious and more substantial by adding quinoa to it. And by adding omega-3-rich walnuts, this salad goes from healthy to heart healthy!

Quinoa, Spinach and Mushroom Salad
Recipe by Martha Rose Schulman, author of “The Very Best Recipes for Health”

Salad Ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa
1¼ cups water
Salt to taste
1 bag baby spinach, rinsed and dried, or 1/2 bunch spinach, stemmed, washed and dried
6 white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup, optional)

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, puréed
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1¼ cups water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a dishtowel over the pan, then return the lid to the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or longer undisturbed. Transfer to a salad bowl and fluff with forks. Allow to cool.

2. Add the spinach, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley and optional cheese to the bowl.

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad just before serving.

Yields: 6 servings

Advance Preparation: You can assemble the salad up to a day ahead, but don’t toss with the dressing until shortly before serving.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I could not find sherry vinegar in the grocery store, so I used champagne vinegar that I already had at home.

2. I used 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon olive oil in the salad dressing.

3. For added flavor, I simmered the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water. Because the broth contains salt, I added no additional salt to the cooking water.

4. Strict vegetarians can choose to omit the feta cheese.

ENJOY!

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Cooking for one is tough, but cooking for one while you are on a student budget is even more challenging. To make sure my daughter is eating a healthy diet while she is away at college, I’ll occasionally ask her what she’s cooking for dinner. Last week she told me she made a pasta dish with Portobello mushrooms. Thick and “meaty” Portobello mushrooms are good nutritious alternatives to eating meat and they cost less, too. She’s a smart cook who likes good food, but can still eat healthily on a budget.

Portobello or Portabella mushrooms are one and the same and are merely large (4-6 inches) brown crimini mushrooms. According to the Self Nutrition Data site, a Portobello mushroom ” . . . is low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Zinc and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Selenium.”

When purchasing Portobello mushrooms, look for ones that are firm and without spots or discoloration. Avoid mushrooms that are broken, shriveled, or have a wet and slippery feeling. Whole mushrooms will remain fresh for 5-7 days if stored properly. Sliced mushrooms have a shorter shelf life. To prevent loss of flavor, avoid washing Portobello mushrooms in water before cooking them. Wiping them gently with a damp cloth or brushing them lightly with a cooking brush will remove any sand or debris.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad
Adapted from a Gourmet Magazine recipe

Salad Ingredients:
4 large portobello mushrooms
6 oz. mixed salad greens

Sherry Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/3 C medium-dry sherry
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced shallot
1 T sugar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C vegetable oil
3 T finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, basil, thyme, sage and chives

Directions:
1. In a very small pot, boil sherry until reduced by about half. Let cool.
2. In a bowl whisk together sherry reduction, balsamic vinegar, garlic, shalllot, sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Add oils in a stream, whisking until emulsified.
4. Whisk in herbs.
5. Reserve 1/4 cup vinaigrette for dressing salad greens.
6. Transfer remaining vinaigrette to a large sealable plastic bag.
7. Remove and discard stems from mushrooms. Add mushrooms to bag; remove air and seal bag.
8. Marinate mushrooms in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to 2 hours while occasionally turning the bag to redistribute marinade.
9. Remove mushrooms from bag, letting the excess vinaigrette drip off.
10. Grill on hot grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until done. Let set for a few minutes and then slice.
11. In a bowl toss salad greens with reserved vinaigrette and add salt and pepper to taste. Divide among 4 plates or or place in shallow serving bowl.
12. Transfer sliced mushrooms to plates or place slices on top of greens in the shallow serving bowl.

Serves 4.

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How fortunate it is that tomatoes and basil both thrive in summer heat. When it’s too hot to cook, salads make frequent appearances on the dinner menu in my house and with the bounty of tomatoes and basil outside in the garden, who could resist not finding as many ways as possible to use these two summer favorites? It only gets better – here’s a recipe that combines tomatoes and basil with the healthy goodness of quinoa. In an earlier post Quinoa and Shrimp Salad, I explained why quinoa is a nutritional gem; these tiny seeds contain a balanced set of essential amino acids, making them complete proteins, and are a great gluten-free source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and iron.

Quinoa Salad With Tomatoes and Basil
Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Venokur-Clark

Salad Ingredients:
1 C quinoa
1/2 red onion, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/3 C sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), diced
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted

Dressing Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 T white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Measure quinoa into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside and let cool.

2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil. Pour oil in a small stream into the the bowl of dressing ingredients, whisking the whole time to form an emulsion. Set aside.

3. Toast the pine nuts in a pan until lightly browned and fragrant. While toasting, keep an eye on them and stir them occasionally so that they don’t burn. Let cool.

4. To the cooked and cooled quinoa, add diced onion, diced tomatoes, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and diced basil. Toss gently.

5. Whisk salad dressing again and pour over salad ingredients. Toss again.

6. Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Serves 4-6.

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Creamy potato salad is standard food fare for outdoor summer gatherings, but after consuming it, possibly the only thing gathering in your body is cholesterol. Here’s a potato salad recipe that is low in cholesterol and is easy to make. Plus, it uses sweet potatoes, which are packed with vitamins A and C, and contain almost twice as much dietary fiber than their more common counterparts – white potatoes. Utilizing the clean flavor of grapeseed oil and the fresh flavor of oranges, this sweet potato salad is bright in flavor and light in cholesterol. You won’t miss the mayonnaise, sour cream, and eggs!

Sweet Potato Salad
A Martha Stewart Recipe

Ingredients:
* 4 medium sweet potatoes (3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces (8 cups)
* 3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
* 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
* 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
* 1 scallion, trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/4 cup safflower or grapeseed oil
* 1/2 scallion (dark-green part only), thinly sliced diagonally for garnish

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes, and return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
2. Whisk vinegar, orange zest and juice, 1 scallion, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with pepper. Toss dressing with sweet potatoes in a large bowl, and garnish with remaining 1/2 scallion. Refrigerate until chilled, up to 1 day.

Serves 4.

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Crisp and colorful are words that easily describe this salad. Two bright colors of cabbage are combined with vibrant greens of pea pods and green onions and then topped off with the textures of Shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, and toasted almonds. Drizzle and toss with an Asian vinaigrette and you have the perfect Asian summer salad! This is my adaptation of a recipe I received from a sister-in-law more than a decade ago. Enjoy!

Asian Coleslaw

Ingredients for Salad:
4 cups green cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
1 cup red cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
1 cup fresh Shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup snow pea pods, sliced thinly on diagonal
1- 8 ounce can of sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Ingredients for Asian Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2-3 teaspoons sesame oil
2-3 teaspoons minced ginger root
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients into a glass jar and set aside to allow flavors to meld.

2. Cut cabbages into quarters and slice off core. Thinly slice each quarter into very thin ribbons. Measure and put into large bowl. Note: You will have more cabbage than you will need. Reserve it for another dish or make a double batch.

3. Slice the stems off the Shitake mushrooms and discard them. Slice the mushrooms into thin slices and add to bowl. Note: if you cannot find fresh Shitake mushrooms, you can rehydrate dried Shitake mushrooms instead.

4. Slice the snow pea pods into diagonal strips and add to bowl.

5. Drain can of water chestnuts and add to bowl. Note: Even though I buy sliced water chestnuts, I sometimes slice these into strips to keep all ingredients uniform in appearance. Whether I do this or not is usually dependent on how much time I have!

6. Slice green onions and add to bowl.

7. To bring out their flavor, toast sliced almonds by spreading them out in a baking pan and toasting them at 350 degrees for about five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Cool completely before adding to salad. Note: If you don’t like almonds, you can always sprinkle the salad with toasted sesame seeds.

8. Toss salad components together. Shake jar of vinaigrette and pour a small amount on top of salad ingredients. Toss. Add more vinaigrette if necessary. Note: You will likely have leftover vinaigrette.

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