tangy vinegar coleslaw

What should you do when you’re having a small 4th of July gathering (3 adults, and a child who wouldn’t touch cabbage with a ten foot pole)?  Why, make 3 pounds of coleslaw, of course.  Actually, I had the foresight to cut this recipe in half, but it still makes a ton.  And, frankly, while I prefer a vinegar-based slaw, I don’t think they keep as well.  So, serve it to a lot of people and eat it all.

With that said, this was a really tasty recipe and I’d definitely make it again.   It had great texture and a nice variety of flavors.  I opted to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, which is a little more subtle in flavor.  Not too vinegar-y.  The onions gave it a nice little kick, too.  I served it as a side dish, but this would be great on pulled pork or shredded beef sandwiches, as well.  Easy-peasy!  Enjoy!!

2013-07-041

DSC_6628

Tangy Vinegar Coleslaw (recipe courtesy Food For My Family)

Ingredients: (I’ve halved all the ingredients from the original recipe)

1/2  head green cabbage, shredded
1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded (or 1/2 head radicchio for a spicy kick)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white vinegar*
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/8 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Directions:

In a large bowl toss the green cabbage, red cabbage, and red onion until mixed. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, honey, and oil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, dry mustard, and the celery seed. Pour the dressing over the cabbage. Toss to combine.  Refrigerate and serve chilled.

DSC_6630

Advertisements

mom’s [shake shake shake] potato salad with dill

So, this is one of those recipe-less recipes; the type of which I’m not so fond because I’m a direction-taker.  I like my recipes mapped out like a well-worn road atlas.  Improv gives me cold sweats.  Not that I haven’t occasionally had to cobble together a meal with the handful of unexpired ingredients in my refrigerator, but…a list of ingredients and their corresponding quantities makes me feel so much more competent in the kitchen.

My mom got this recipe from an old next door neighbor several many years ago.  I’m assuming our neighbor gave her the recipe the same way she gave it to me.  There is no written version, apparently, so I’ll share with you, verbatim, how my mom taught me to make it:

Mom:  I use a 1:1:1 ratio, eggs to potatoes to people, and then I add an extra egg.  I like a little more egg.

Me:  How about the seasonings?

Mom:  Well, I don’t really measure them.  It’s more like, potato, egg, dollop of dressing, salt, shake shake shake, pepper, shake shake shake, dill, shake shake shake.  Mix.  Potato, egg, dollop of dressing, salt, shake shake shake, pepper, shake shake shake, dill, shake shake shake.

Me:  {Sigh}

And that’s it.  Shake.  Shake.  Shake.  This potato salad is left entirely to your own whim as to more or less dressing, more or less salt, more or less….well, you get it.  It’s the potato salad that spawned my love for potato salad (at least this one), and is at the top of the request list when warm(er) weather rolls around.  It’s picnic-friendly, perfect for block party BBQs, or holiday weekend festivities (hint, hint, Memorial Day is right around the corner).  Grill some burgers, hotdogs, steaks…whatever.  This salad is the perfect complement.  Enjoy!

2013-05-04

2013-05-042

Mom’s [shake shake shake] Potato Salad with Dill

Ingredients:

  • 6 potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 7 eggs, hard-boiled
  • Miracle Whip (I use light or low fat variety), to taste and texture
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Dill, dried, to taste

Directions:

Boil potatoes, skins on, until a little less than fork tender.  Remove from water, cool completely.  At the same time, cook eggs until hard-boiled, remove from heat, cool completely.  When potatoes are fully cooled, remove skins.  Peel and wash eggs.

In medium bowl, cut one potato into one inch (bite sized pieces).  Slice one egg into bite sized pieces, as well.  Spoon in about two heaping tablespoons of Miracle Whip.  Add salt, pepper, and dried dill weed to taste.  Mix gently until well combined.  Repeat process with remaining potatoes and eggs.

Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

DSC_6104

DSC_6125

italian basil pasta salad

This post really needs to start with a confession:  I did not make this dish.  I bought the ingredients, but I had absolutely nothing to do with the assembly.  Not that I don’t want to take credit for it.  It was superb.  But I was off-duty enjoying a lovely, chore-free Mother’s Day.  The husband and the world’s greatest kid put this together as part of a truly relaxing, enjoyable day for moi!  No cooking, no dishes, re-fills on wine, plentiful hugs.  It was all good!

Including this pasta salad, which should go on every picnic menu you put together from now until you can’t eat another pickled banana pepper.  It deviated wonderfully from the all-too-predictable pasta salad of  yesteryear: tomatoes, broccoli, green onions, yada yada yada, slathered in Kraft Italian Dressing.  Don’t make that one again.  Make this one.  Great flavors from sweet to savory, great textures from crisp and crunchy to smooth and creamy.  When I tried it, Kat asked what I thought and I blurted out, “It’s like a fiesta in your mouth!”  I’ll probably regret that later, but at the time it caused endless giggles and was a spot on description.

Let the fiesta begin.  Enjoy!

DSC_6210.1-001

Italian Basil Pasta Salad (recipe adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (16 oz) bow tie pasta
  • 2 c grape tomatoes
  • 7 oz mozzarella cheese pearls, halved
  • 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c pickled banana pepper rings, diced
  • 1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained (the husband used capers)
  • 4 thin slices hard salami, chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Dressing:

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 3/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, tomatoes, cheese, yellow pepper, onion, pepper rings, olives (or, capers, if you’re so inclined), salami and basil.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

italian basil pasta salad

Cook’s Notes:  Make this a day ahead if you can, to let the flavors really come together.

chopped steak salad

It’s rare I would actually grill a steak for the sake of making a salad.  But, one of my favorite things to do with leftover grilled steak (or any meat, for that matter) is toss it in a salad the next night for a change of pace.  I’d eat salad every night of the week if I could get away with it, and this is a nice way to incorporate a protein with your veggies.  Age-old, time-tested, tried-and-true way to use up leftovers.  And it probably reassures my husband he’s still eating something manly.

This recipe adds cannelloni beans, which bumps up the protein significantly.  They also add great texture.  Honestly, who really needs a recipe for salad, right?  It’s truly one of those meals open to limitless creative inspiration.  I like the sweet, mellow flavor of the roasted red peppers, but for a little heat maybe add some chopped peperoncini.  Just a thought!  Follow the recipe or throw in some of your own unique preferences.  Enjoy!

Chopped Steak Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3/4  pound flank steak, freshly grilled or leftover from previous meal
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 1/4 small head red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1  15.5-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/2  cup  chopped roasted peppers
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup dressing of your choice  (I’m a big fan of Annie’s Naturals and used their Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette)

Directions

  1. Heat broiler. Season steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Broil the steak, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into ½-inch pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the romaine, cabbage, beans, peppers, and parsley. Add the steak and dressing and toss to combine.

Cook’s Tip: The salad can be prepped (without the dressing) and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing just before serving.

couscous chicken salad

I made a salad the other night that was, well….how can I say this? It was damn near inedible. Actually, that’s probably too strong a word. It was not good! Thankfully, it was a side dish so the bulk of the meal redeemed my cooking cred.  But I ended up throwing away pretty much ALL of it (which is pathetic and shameful considering we packed meals at our local Feed My Starving Children site today and were reminded that 18,000 kids die every day from hunger related complications).  So, when I even remotely considered using leftover chicken for this salad, I had two thoughts:

1.  My husband will refuse to eat another salad (this time posing as the entree), based on our negative experience only a few days before and I’ll end up wasting more food; and,

2.  My husband will refuse to eat yet another “meal” wrapped in lettuce!

It’s not the manliest of dinners.  It’s got grains and veggies and poultry and fruit.  And it’s not even really wrapped in lettuce (decidedly unmanly Bibb lettuce, of all things), it’s served ON the lettuce; the likes of which you might enjoy at a baby shower or at lunch with your best girlfriend.

The one thing this recipe had going for it, though, was the fact my mom had given it to me.  My mom was a great cook.  She could readily recognize a sub-par recipe by simply scanning the ingredient list.  She always showed up at my house with her carry-on bag stuffed with recipe clippings she’d culled from various newspapers and magazines.  I knew my mom wouldn’t let me down!

This recipe is good.  Really good.  It’s light, delicious, and full of great textures and a huge variety of flavors; tart, crunchy, earthy, tangy, just plain good.   Yes, it’s perfect for a summer lunch with friends, but when you live in the desert, light and delicious salads are just part of the rotation.  My husband did not refuse to eat it.  He ate, gave me a two-thumbs-up, and then he ate some more.  At less than 300 calories per serving, that’s ok.  Dig in and enjoy!!

Couscous Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 C tri-color pearl couscous
  • I Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 C cooked, diced chicken
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large, Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 large rib celery, diced
  • Bibb lettuce leaves

Directions:

In saucepan, bring stock to a boil.  Add couscous and butter.  Bring to a boil again, then simmer per package directions (8 to 10 minutes).  Remove from heat, fluff with fork and set aside to cool.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, coriander, mustard, garlic and pepper.  Wisk until well mixed.  In large bowl, combine cooled couscous, chicken, onions, apple and celery.  Add olive oil mixture and toss to coat.  Serve over Bibb lettuce leaves.

tomato onion and cucumber salad

This salad was super light and delicious on a hot summer day.  Tomatoes and cucumbers are at their peak now and a very simple rice vinegar dressing put their flavors at center stage.  Prep is quick and easy, and it’s a perfect end-of-summer dish to celebrate all that’s good to eat and locally sourced this time of year.  Eat this salad right away, though.  It really doesn’t keep well overnight.  Enjoy!

Tomato Onion and Cucumber Salad (recipe courtesy Eating Well)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chives and/or tarragon
Preparation:
  1. Whisk vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a large shallow bowl.
  2. Remove alternating stripes of peel from the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds. Add the cucumber slices, tomatoes and onion to the dressing; gently toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Just before serving, add herbs and toss again.

tangy apple-cabbage coleslaw

Coleslaw is a classic summer side, and one I don’t care much for when served in the typical drippy, heavy,  mayonnaise-y way.  I liked this recipe for a number of reasons: low cal, no fat, lots of flavor!

The original recipe, found in Cook’s Illustrated Healthy Kitchen, suggested salting the cabbage ahead of time to draw out some of the water that naturally dilutes coleslaw once cabbage is cut and allowed to sit.  This took a bit of the crunch out of the cabbage, but it wasn’t watery.  The cabbage was more the consistency of “pickle-crisp.”

The crunch the cabbage lost in the salting was gained back by the addition of crisp, tart Granny Smith apple slices.  The cider vinegar adds a nice sweet, pungent flavor and, of course, some complimentary heat from the crushed red pepper.

There are so many great flavors going on in this recipe it should please even the most ardent mayo fan.  It might even make a convert out of them.  Note, however, like most dressed salads, this doesn’t keep well.  Eat within a day or two, at most.  Enjoy!

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Coleslaw

Ingredients:

1 head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cored and chopped thin
1 tsp salt
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

  • Toss the cabbage with the salt in a colander and let sit until wilted, about 1 hour.  Rinse the cabbage under cold water, drain, and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Toss the dried cabbage, apples, and scallions together in a large bowl to combine.
  • Bring the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, and red pepper flakes to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Pour the warm dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate until the flavors have blended, about 1 hour.

winter wheat berry salad with figs and red onion

There are salads (iceburg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, scallions and croutons), and there are salads!  Memorable, delectable, unique, charismatic salads.  There are summer salads, all light and airy and drenched in refreshing vinaigrettes, and there are winter salads full of depth and texture and a heartiness the summer salad can’t match.  Honestly, I’d take winter over summer eleven times out of ten, which might have something to do with why I’d choose this salad over summer salads (and I make some pretty good ones) at about the same ratio.

I found this recipe over at The Kitchn, and they got it from Johnny Dornback of Basi Italia in Columbus, Ohio.  If I ever find myself in Columbus, I’ll be making some reservations at Basi Italia; especially if this salad is any indication of what might be in store.

Unfortunately, I served it at a church dinner and, sadly, I only scored one average sized serving.  Heaping it generously on to my own plate while members of the Thursday morning Bible Study looked on just didn’t feel right.  What I do know, however, is this salad is like a symphony in your mouth.  There are so many amazing textures and flavors, I’d advise to eat slowly.  Pace yourself.  Savor it.  And, by all means, heap it generously on to your plate.  Enjoy!

Winter Wheat Berry Salad with Figs & Red Onion
Adapted from Johnny Dornback of Basi Italia. Serves 8

1 1/2 cups wheat berries
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey*
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped finely
1/2 medium red onion (about 1/3 pound)
3 large stalks celery
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest, from 2 lemons
1 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the wheat berries in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn the heat down to low and partially cover the pot. Cook for 45 minutes, or until the wheat berries are soft yet still chewy.

While the wheat berries are cooking, whisk the rice vinegar, orange juice, and honey together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the raisins and chopped figs. Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep in the juice and vinegar mixture.

Finely dice the red onion; you will end up with between 1 and 1 1/2 cups. Finely dice the celery as well; you will have between 1 1/2 and 2 cups. Mix them in a large bowl.

When the wheat berries are tender enough to be chewed easily, drain them, then pour them into the large bowl with the red onion and celery. Toss with the olive oil and lemon zest. Add the vinegar and juice mixture, and all the fruit, and mix. Toss with the almonds, chopped parsley or mint, and with the salt. Add pepper to taste.

Let the salad stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving, to allow the flavors mix and soak into the grain. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The salad can also be refrigerated for up to three days.

Looking for more great recipes?  Check out Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.