Category Archives: salads

Endive Cups with Lemon Pistachio Chicken Salad

As the outside temperature rises, the rich, heavier foods that comfort us during the cooler months of the year  no longer do the trick.  If you are looking for a light, refreshing appetizer, I have a recipe for you right here that  features Belgian endive. Slightly tangy in flavor, incredible crunch, and spear shaped  leaves, make Belgian endive the  perfect vessel for a variety of fillings and flavors. In this recipe, I  am filling the endive cups with my Lemon Pistachio Chicken Salad, which is low in fat and packed with protein. Just right to serve with cocktails before dinner to spark your appetite, or as an  entree salad over a bed of greens.

endive cups with grapefruit pistachio chicken salad

Endive Cups with Lemon Pistachio Chicken Salad

Dressing:
6 ounces fat free Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to dress salad (may be made one day ahead; cover, refrigerate).

Salad:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, sliced thinly

1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled, segmented, and finely chopped
½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
½ cup chopped arugula
4 heads Belgian endive, ends trimmed, leaves separated

Place chicken breasts (laying flat) inside a freezer bag. Using a mallet, pound chicken to 1/2-inch-thickness.  Transfer chicken to platter; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place lemon slices on top of chicken breasts and marinate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your grill to medium high. Grill chicken breasts 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through.  Transfer chicken to cutting board and cut into a small dice.
In a  large bowl, combine chicken, grapefruit, pistachios, parsley, and arugula. Add  dressing, mixing well. Spoon  2 teaspoons of filling onto each of the endive leaves.

Makes  45

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Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Cream and Sesame Crackers

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Girls weekend …well, actually, in my case it was 27 1/2 hours away (I had to get back  to prep for a week’s worth of cooking classes).    This past weekend I headed to a little place on the Potomac  River called Sandy Point with my  girl friends.  This was the second annual trip for all of us, and one I hope we continue as the years pass. We are all so busy with our day to day lives that even though we may see each other in that day to day life, we don’t always have the time for the meaningful conversations and laughter that brought us together as friends in the first place. A little time away does the spirit good.

Of course this could also be classified as a “foodie road trip”, because after all, we ate really well while away.  We divvied up  the meals for the weekend, and as I anticipated, I have lots of material for future posts. Today I will share what I contributed.

On trips like this, I plan to pack things that may be prepared ahead with minimal assembly later on. The appetizer I made involves just a few ingredients, and is simple to put together.

dsc_2939Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Cream and Sesame Crackers

-delicious with a nice glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons prepared wasabi paste

8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into 1-inch-thick slices

1 package sesame crackers (I like Sesmark brand Sesame Thins)

Fresh snipped chives for garnish

Whisk together sour cream and wasabi paste in a small bowl.

Assembly:Place salmon slices on a crackers; top each with 1/2 teaspoon of wasabi cream and sprinkle with chives

6 servings

I also prepared a Soba Noodle Salad  which is a recipe I adapted from Heidi Swanson’s book, Super Natural Cooking. I’ve added some carrot ribbons for color and crunch, as well as some edamame.  This healthy salad, although light,  is packed with protein, and will leave you feeling energized. I made the dressing a day ahead and stored in a mason jar, ready to pack in my cooler. I picked up some ready prepared soba noodles from Costco…

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Have you seen/ tried these? They are preservative free, fully cooked/ individually packed and are ready to go…I use them in stir- fry, soups, and in this case, my salad.  You will find them in the prepared foods/refrigerated section. I highly recommend them!

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Otsu Salad

Ginger Sesame Dressing:

Grated zest of one lemon

1-inch cube fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 teaspoon cayenne

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine the zest, ginger, honey cayenne, salt, and lemon juice together in a food processor (or use a hand held blender) and process until smooth. Add the rice vinegar and  soy sauce and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

Salad:

12 ounces fresh soba noodles

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

2 tablespoons peanut oil

12 ounces extra firm tofu

2 medium sized carrots, peeled

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 English cucumber,quartered, thinly sliced

3/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Soften soba noodles by adding to a large pot of boiling water. Add edamame and stir to break up/separate noodles; cooking about 2 minutes. Drain in colandar, and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, drain tofu and thoroghly pat dry using paper towels. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch thick cubes. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium high heat. Add tofu and cook 4 minutes, without stirring, allowing a crisp edge to form. Stir tofu and continue to cook and additional 3 minutes, or until  crisp and  golden brown.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into ribbons over a large salad bowl. Add the green onions, cucumber and cilantro , and add 1/4 of the dressing, tossing well to combine. Add soba noodles, edamame, and tofu to the salad bowl along with the remaining dressing and toss thoroughly to combine flavors. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

4-6 servings

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Southwestern Caesar Salad

southwestern caesar salad

I have always been a huge salad fan…even as a child at the family dinner table , I would  ask “Is there any salad left  in the bowl?” Inevitably, the bowl would find it’s way down to my end of the table and I would polish off the remains. In my house growing  up, we had salad every night with our dinner.  I’m thankful for “growing up foodie” in a home where dressings were home made, and ingredients fresh and varied…not the iceberg, cucumber, tomato, processed box croutons, and bottled dressing tossed salad…a.k.a. “airline salad”… hard to get hooked on a medley like that, not to mention the lack of nutrition.

Well, things haven’t changed much today… I eat salad in one form or another just about every single day.    My affinity for salad lies in the ability  to satisfy whatever it is I’m craving, all in one bowl. The flavor/texture combinations  are endless; whether you  go the fruit /nut /cheese route for a savory sweet salad, take a  sharper approach with the briny flavors in a Greek salad, or bring grains and pasta into the bowl for a heartier approach.

In my Southwestern Caesar Salad I have created a zippy chipotle lime dressing and replaced the traditional crouton, with the crunch  of crispy tortilla strips and pumpkin seeds. Feta cheese and caramelized onions add balance to the mix.

The next time you  crave  a big salad for dinner, or are assigned  to bring  salad  to  your next dinner party, give this one a try. Ingredients may be chopped ahead, ready for assembly just before serving. Top with grilled steak, shrimp, or chicken, and you have dinner all on one plate!

You will find this recipe in my supper club cookbook, coming out June 16th.

Southwestern Caesar Salad

Dressing:
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 2 limes
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Salad:
2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kernels from 1 ear of cooked corn
1 large tomato, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
¼ cup canola oil (for frying tortilla strips)
For dressing: Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
For salad: Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add red onions
and cook, stirring often until browned and caramelized (about 20 minutes);
remove and drain on paper towels.
Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortilla strips
and fry until crisp; drain on paper towels.
Place lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese and corn in salad bowl.
Add dressing and toss to combine. Divide salad among plates and top with crispy
tortilla strips.
8 servings

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