Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Salads

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

Overheard from my engineer – “What’s this? Is it any good? Oh, it is!” Egg salad – that classic comfort food that’s ridiculously easy to make. Take tender eggs, give them a gentle chop then toss with a blend of creamy mayonnaise and tangy Dijon mustard. And instead of pickle relish toss in sweet currants, toasted pecans and just a touch of fresh dill! Delightful!

The season of Easter is behind us and it’s now perfectly acceptable to wear white. And if you find yourself with half a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs left from the egg roll or hunt, then egg salad is a delicious way to use them. First things first. Hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to a week. But if the eggs were outside for more than two hours it might be best to make a fresh batch.

Most recipes for egg salad include pickle relish but that subtle sweet note in our egg salad comes compliments of the tiny currant. The crunch from celery is replaced with a more flavorful addition – toasted pecans – adding a wonderful nuttiness.

Then brighten it with a bit of fresh dill and blend everything together with mayo and Dijon mustard.

Smear a little more mayo on pumpernickel bread – crusts trimmed of course – then top with lusciousness that is egg salad.

This is how something so simple can be so good!

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

6 extra-large eggs

½ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s

1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille

¼ cup currants

¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

For the hard-boiled eggs:

Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.

After 12 minutes pour the hot water off the eggs. Cover the eggs with ice water to quickly cool and stop them from cooking any further.

For the egg salad:

Tap the eggshells all around and peel. Chop the eggs and place them in a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper.

Toss in the currants and the toasted pecans.

Stir in the fresh chopped dill.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups of egg salad.

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 22, 2019
: Makes about 2-1/2 cups of egg salad.

Take tender eggs, give them a gentle chop then toss with a blend of creamy mayonnaise and tangy Dijon mustard. And instead of pickle relish toss in sweet currants, toasted pecans and just a touch of fresh dill! Delightful!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s
  • 1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Directions
  • Step 1 For the hard-boiled eggs:
  • Step 2 Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.
  • Step 3 After 12 minutes pour the hot water off the eggs. Cover the eggs with ice water to quickly cool and stop them from cooking any further.
  • Step 4 For the egg salad:
  • Step 5 Tap the eggshells all around and peel. Chop the eggs and place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Step 6 Add the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Step 7 Toss in the currants and the toasted pecans then stir in the fresh chopped dill.
  • Step 8 Keep chilled.
Roasted Asparagus with Herb Vinaigrette

Roasted Asparagus with Herb Vinaigrette

Asparagus roasted just until it’s tender crisp then dressed with notes of parsley and tarragon in a luscious vinaigrette. Added tang from lemon and capers then topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs – this chilled side is as beautiful to the eye as it is to the palate!

This is an updated version of a dish my Mom made. One big improvement is the roasted asparagus. Many older recipes used canned asparagus – not nearly as appealing as fresh asparagus.

It’s a great side for entertaining. The vinaigrette is full of bright spring flavors from parsley, tarragon, scallions, lemons and capers. Blended together in a wonderful olive oil and champagne vinegar, the flavors continue to meld together so making it ahead is a plus.

Roast the asparagus with a simple toss of olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and a dash or two of freshly cracked pepper.

It’s a side, it’s a salad and it can be served well chilled or at room temperature. And it’s always dazzling and delicious!

Roasted Asparagus with Herb Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided

Zest of 1 lemon, about 1 teaspoon

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion, about 1 scallion

1 tablespoon capers, plus extra for garnish

10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar

2 bunches fresh asparagus, about 2 pounds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice, about ½ lemon

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

For the herb vinaigrette:

Combine the dry mustard with the garlic salt and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper.

Add the lemon zest, parsley, tarragon, scallions and capers.

Whisk in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and the champagne vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the roasted asparagus:

Snap the tough ends off the bottom of the asparagus. Rinse and pat dry.

Spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. (Lining the baking sheet with heavy-duty foil makes for easy cleanup.) Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the asparagus, toss to coat well.

Sprinkle with the kosher salt and remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or if the stalks are thin, roast for about 10 minutes – just until the tip of a sharp knife easily pierces the stem.

Cool or chill.

For serving:

Arrange the roasted asparagus on a platter. Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon over the asparagus. Top with the chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Drizzle the herb vinaigrette over the asparagus and sprinkle about the remaining capers over the top.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 8.

Roasted Asparagus with Herb Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 5, 2019
: Serves 8.

Asparagus, roasted just until it’s tender crisp then dressed with notes of parsley and tarragon in a luscious vinaigrette. Added tang from lemon and capers, this chilled side - topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs – is as beautiful to the eye as it is to the palate!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon, about 1 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion, about 1 scallion
  • 1 tablespoon capers, plus extra for garnish
  • 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 bunches fresh asparagus, about 2 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, about ½ lemon
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Directions
  • Step 1 For the herb vinaigrette:
  • Step 2 Combine the dry mustard with the garlic salt and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper.
  • Step 3 Add the lemon zest, parsley, tarragon, scallions and capers.
  • Step 4 Whisk in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and the champagne vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Step 5 For the roasted asparagus:
  • Step 6 Snap the tough ends off the bottom of the asparagus. Rinse and pat dry.
  • Step 7 Spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. (Lining the baking sheet with heavy-duty foil makes for easy cleanup.)
  • Step 8 Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the asparagus, toss to coat well.
  • Step 9 Sprinkle with the kosher salt and remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Step 10 Roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or if the stalks are thin, roast for about 10 minutes – just until the tip of a sharp knife easily pierces the stem.
  • Step 11 Cool or chill.
  • Step 12 For serving:
  • Step 13 Arrange the roasted asparagus on a platter. Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon over the asparagus.
  • Step 14 Top with the chopped hard-boiled eggs.
  • Step 15 Drizzle the herb vinaigrette over the asparagus and sprinkle about the remaining capers over the top.
  • Step 16 Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

Take the brightness of fennel mingle it with peppery arugula and toss with sweet orange, creamy avocados, toasted pecans and fresh Parmesan and Fontina. Then dress it with orange pecan vinaigrette – absolutely wonderful for a midweek meal!

It’s a simple salad with a gorgeous array of ingredients. Fennel and arugula get things started with a balance of flavors from the subtle sweetness of oranges and richness of ripe avocados. Toss in a nutty crunch from toasted pecans and luscious Parmesan and Fontina cheese.

Fennel is an often-overlooked bulb vegetable and it’s loaded with vitamin C along with iron and potassium. If you’ve avoided fennel because its flavor profile is most commonly compared to licorice, set that notion aside and give it a try. I’ve never been a fan of licorice but there’s something vibrant and fresh about fennel.

Arugula is often a minor player in recipes though it shouldn’t be. Known to boost the immune system, this sturdy green brings a nice spice to any plate. And unlike traditional salad greens arugula holds up even after it’s coated with vinaigrette.

Now drizzle everything in a rich orange and pecan vinaigrette.

This orange pecan vinaigrette has subtle notes of orange – compliments of fresh juice and zest – with a splash of champagne vinegar to add a bit of acid. Use a high quality olive oil – Olio Santo is one of my favorites. It’s known for it’s fruity flavor – it’s a key component so don’t skimp! The toasted pecans lend a depth that ties into the vinaigrette in an unsuspecting way.

First course, second course, lunch or dinner!

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

Zest from 1 navel orange, about 2 teaspoons

Juice from 1 large navel orange, about ½ cup

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons toasted pecans

For the salad:

4 cups arugula

1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel, about 1 small bulb – white portion only

1 large navel orange, chopped

1 avocado, cubed

½ cup shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese blend

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

To make the vinaigrette:

Combine the orange zest and orange juice with the champagne vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds to blend together.

Add the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds. Toss in the toasted pecans and process until the vinaigrette is blended and the pecans are finely chopped, about 1 to 2 minutes.

To assemble the salad:

Mix the arugula with the sliced fennel and orange pieces in a large bowl.

Add the shaved cheese, the avocado along with the toasted pecans.

Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 27, 2019
: Makes 4 servings for entrees, 6 for first course servings.

Take the brightness of fennel mingle it with peppery arugula and toss with orange, avocado, toasted pecans and some fresh Parmesan and Fontina. Then dress it with orange pecan vinaigrette – absolutely wonderful for a midweek or weekend meal!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • Zest from 1 navel orange, about 2 teaspoons
  • Juice from 1 large navel orange, about ½ cup
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons toasted pecans
  • For the salad:
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel, about 1 small bulb – white portion only
  • 1 large navel orange, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese blend
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the vinaigrette:
  • Step 2 Combine the orange zest and orange juice with the champagne vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds to blend together.
  • Step 3 Add the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds.
  • Step 4 Toss in the toasted pecans and process until the vinaigrette is blended and the pecans are finely chopped, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 5 To assemble the salad:
  • Step 6 Mix the arugula with the sliced fennel and orange pieces in a large bowl. Add the shaved cheese, the avocado along with the toasted pecans.
  • Step 7 Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.
Hot Chicken Salad

Hot Chicken Salad

An old twist on the traditional chicken salad served hot! This dish brings plenty of crunch along with loads of tender chunks of chicken – a delicious savory chicken salad.

Quite possibly your Mother or Grandmother made this classic chicken casserole – mine certainly did. In the days of bridge clubs and canasta groups my Grandmother, Grace Pearl served this to her guests alongside one of her delightful cold salads.

It’s a simple dish to make and actually it’s just as good, if not better, the next day. To minimize the prep work pick up a roasted chicken at the market and you can pull this dish together in no time. Toss in celery, cremini mushrooms, sweet onion and toasted almonds for a little more crunch.

Then stir in luscious, creamy mayonnaise and add a gentle brightness with fresh lemon juice.

A little chopping then a quick stir and this dish will be off to the oven in no time.

And for good measure and one more touch of crunchiness, top it with crushed potato chips and a bit of cheese!

Then heat until the topping is toasted and golden and the chicken salad is hot and bubbly!

A recipe from the archives of the 50s and 60s – still comforting and classic!

Hot Chicken Salad

2 cups cubed roasted chicken

2 cups chopped celery, about 2 to 3 stalks

1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1-1/4 cup chopped cremini mushrooms, about 5 mushrooms

½ cup toasted sliced or silvered almonds

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. 1 small lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1-1/4 cup crushed potato chips

½ cup shredded or shaved cheese, fontina, Parmesan, cheddar or a blend

Mix the chicken along with the celery, onion, mushrooms, almonds, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with the kosher salt and pepper.

Spoon the chicken salad into a small baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. (I use an oval dish that is 12” x 9” x 2” deep.)

Mix the crushed chips with the cheese. Sprinkle the chips and cheese over the top of the chicken salad.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes until the chips are toasted and the chicken salad is hot and bubbly.

Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

To reheat any leftovers, place the chicken salad in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Serves 6.

Hot Chicken Salad, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 27, 2019
: Makes 6 servings.

An old twist on the traditional chicken salad served hot! This dish brings plenty of crunch along with loads of tender chunks of chicken – a delicious savory chicken salad.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cubed roasted chicken
  • 2 cups chopped celery, about 2 to 3 stalks
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1-1/4 cup chopped cremini mushrooms, about 5 mushrooms
  • ½ cup toasted sliced or silvered almonds
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/4 cup crushed potato chips
  • ½ cup shredded or shaved cheese, fontina, Parmesan, cheddar or a blend
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the chicken along with the celery, onion, mushrooms, almonds, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with the kosher salt and pepper.
  • Step 2 Spoon the chicken salad into a small baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. (I use an oval dish that is 12” x 9” x 2” deep.)
  • Step 3 Mix the crushed chips with the cheese. Sprinkle the chips and cheese over the top of the chicken salad.
  • Step 4 Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes until the chips are toasted and the chicken salad is hot and bubbly.
  • Step 5 Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
  • Step 6 To reheat any leftovers, place the chicken salad in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

A beautiful contrast between the clean, brightness of lemon and the gentle sweetness of fresh orange brings a simple kale salad to life. Toss with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans and simple becomes quite delicious!

Kale is a sturdy green that has been grown in gardens for thousands of years, first appearing in this country in the 1600s. Kale is more common now than in recent years but there are still a lot of naysayers when it comes to this gorgeous green. I love using this green in juices – it’s loaded with vitamin C, calcium and fiber and according to the American Kale Association kale was considered a super food during World War II. The balance of flavors in this salad  are quite basic – kale, lemon, orange, Parmesan, pecans, garlic and rich olive oil – but the results are really wonderful!

Kale’s tough leaves and stems can be a challenge. As with any hearty green you need to wash the leaves thoroughly. Start by placing the leaves in cold water, swish them around to loosen any grit in the leaves or on the stems. Then rinse and repeat until the water is clear and there is no sign of grit on the kale – about 2 to 3 times.

Roll up the leaves out in an absorbent towel and let the greens dry. You don’t want any moisture trapped in the leaves to water down your vinaigrette. You can wash the kale 2 to 3 days in advance and refrigerate.

Next tackle the stem, which is really quite easy. Lay the leaf out flat with the stem side up or fold the leaf in half and cut the stem away. Or simply grab hold of the stem in one hand and the leaf in the other and pull the stem from the leaf.

Next you need to tenderize the leaves. There are two ways. One is to “massage” the leaves. Emily found a great way to tackle this task. She drops the leaves into the bowl of her KitchenAid mixer and lets the beaters do the work. Beat until the leaves looked as though they’ve been sautéed. The second is to chop the leaves into very, very fine pieces – almost mincing them.

Kale has an slightly peppery note that plays well with both tangy and subtly sweet notes. Light and refreshing – this kale salad is perfect for a midwinter break!

Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

For the salad:

1 bunch curly kale, about 10 to 12 ounces

¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 large Cara Cara or navel orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving

For the lemon vinaigrette:

Zest from one small lemon, about ½ teaspoon

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon

¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon minced garlic

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Remove the stem from the back of the kale leaves. Finely chop the kale leaves – almost mincing them. You want 4 cups of chopped greens.

Toss the kale leaves into a large serving bowl along with the orange, the toasted pecans and the Parmesan cheese.

Place the lemon zest and the lemon juice along with the ¾ teaspoon of the kosher salt, pepper and the garlic into a small food processer or blender.

Add the olive oil and process until the vinaigrette is smooth and blended together. Check for seasoning and add the additional ¼ teaspoon kosher salt if desired.

Pour the vinaigrette over the kale salad and toss to fully coat.

Top with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

This salad keeps for a day or two in your fridge even with the dressing. Serves 4.

Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 4, 2019
: Serves 4.

A beautiful contrast between the clean, brightness of lemon and the gentle sweetness of fresh orange brings a simple kale salad to life. Toss with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans simple becomes quite delicious!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 bunch curly kale, about 10 to 12 ounces
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 large Cara Cara or navel orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
  • For the lemon vinaigrette:
  • Zest from one small lemon, about ½ teaspoon
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Directions
  • Step 1 Remove the stem from the back of the kale leaves. Finely chop the kale leaves – almost mincing them. You want 4 cups of chopped greens.
  • Step 2 Toss the kale leaves into a large serving bowl along with the orange, the toasted pecans and the Parmesan cheese.
  • Step 3 Place the lemon zest and the lemon juice along with the ¾ teaspoon of the kosher salt, pepper and the garlic into a small food processer or blender. Add the olive oil and process until the vinaigrette is smooth and blended together. Check for seasoning and add the additional ¼ teaspoon kosher salt if desired.
  • Step 4 Pour the vinaigrette over the kale salad and toss to fully coat.
  • Step 5 Top with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
  • Step 6 This salad keeps for a day or two in your fridge even with the dressing.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

This is a breath of brightness and beauty in the middle of winter – roasted beets served with juicy oranges and piquant red onions perched atop peppery arugula and fresh greens.

One of my many favorite things in popping in for a visit with Emily and Matthew is the discovery of new recipes on their menu. Our last trip was no exception! Emily served this gorgeous salad along with a succulent beef tenderloin for the holidays. I knew immediately this would be added to my files.

Anything with roasted beets is a yes for me. We grew up eating beets, pulling them out of the ground from my Grandmother’s enormous garden. She would can jars of those deep red beauties storing them in her root cellar for the harsh Panhandle winter months. For years fresh beets were difficult to find in the markets but now, luckily they are frequently available.

The roasted beets for this salad are paired with slices of sweet oranges and thinly sliced red onions. Luscious goat cheese is whisked into an orange juice reduction creating a creamy citrus vinaigrette. You can use your favorite mixed greens for this salad – the arugula adds a peppery bite.

But don’t be quick to toss those beet greens!. Chop them along with some of those deep crimson stems for the salad and save any extra for your favorite juice blend. (We use them in our Beet and Apple Juice.) Make sure you wash the beet greens and stems really well to remove any dirt or sand that tends to cling to them.

You can roast the beets and make the vinaigrette a day or two in advance making the prep easier.

A wonderful salad full of flavor and color – perfect for any season!

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

2 bunches of beets, about 7- 8 medium size with greens if available

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 large navel oranges

4 cups arugula

2 cups mixed greens or beet greens and stems, rinsed well and chopped

½ small red onion, sliced very thin

½ cup toasted walnuts

For the orange vinaigrette:

¾ cup orange juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 package honey goat cheese, 4-ounces at room temperature plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon heavy cream

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for finishing the salad

1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for finishing the salad

2 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

To roast the beets:

Trim the tops and roots off the beets, peel and cut into quarters.

Reserve the beet greens and stems if you’re using them for the salad. (Quick tip: wear food service gloves to prevent your hands from getting stained from the beet juice.) Toss the beets with the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. For easy cleanup line the baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Roast the beets at 400-degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cook until the beets are cooked through and very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

The beets can be roasted in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to make the salad.

To make the dressing:

Combine ¾ cup of the orange juice and the sugar in a small saucepan.

Place the pan over medium heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the juice is reduced down to about 3 tablespoons, stirring occasionally.

Let the juice cool then add the olive oil, the 4-ounce package of softened goat cheese and the cream, whisking until the goat cheese is smooth and blended well.

Whisk in the kosher salt and pepper with both the champagne and balsamic vinegar.

The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until you make the salad. Let it warm to room temperature for full flavor.

To assemble the salad:

On individual salad plates, add a handful of arugula and the mixed greens, dividing between plates then layer in the sliced red onion.

Add slices of the oranges then top with the roasted beets.

Top with toasted walnuts and additional crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the orange vinaigrette then sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

January 9, 2019
: Makes 4 servings.

This is a breath of brightness and beauty – roasted beets served with juicy oranges and piquant red onions perched atop peppery arugula and fresh greens.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 2 bunches of beets, about 7- 8 medium size with greens if available
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 cups mixed greens or beet greens and stems, rinsed well and chopped
  • ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • For the orange vinaigrette:
  • ¾ cup orange juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package honey goat cheese, 4-ounces at room temperature plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for finishing the salad
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for finishing the salad
  • 2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
Directions
  • Step 1 To roast the beets:
  • Step 2 Trim the tops and roots off the beets, peel and cut into quarters. Reserve the beet greens and stems if you’re using them for the salad. (Quick tip: wear food service gloves to prevent your hands from getting stained from the beet juice.)
  • Step 3 Toss the beets with the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. For easy cleanup line the baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Step 4 Roast the beets at 400-degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cook until the beets are cooked through and very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • Step 5 The beets can be roasted in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to make the salad.
  • Step 6 Make the dressing:
  • Step 7 Combine ¾ cup of the orange juice and the sugar in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the juice is reduced down to about 3 tablespoons, stirring occasionally.
  • Step 8 Let the juice cool then add the olive oil, the 4-ounce package of softened goat cheese and the cream, whisking until the goat cheese is smooth and blended well.
  • Step 9 Whisk in the kosher salt and pepper with both the champagne and balsamic vinegar.
  • Step 10 The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until you make the salad. Let it warm to room temperature for full flavor.
  • Step 11 To assemble the salad:
  • Step 12 On individual salad plates, add a handful of arugula and the mixed greens, dividing between plates.
  • Step 13 Layer in the sliced red onion and pieces of the oranges then top with the roasted beets.
  • Step 14 Add the toasted walnuts and additional crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the orange vinaigrette then sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad

Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad

To say it’s hot in Texas would be an understatement. But it is summer and it is July and this is Texas, so something cool and refreshing seems to be perfect for the menu. Look no further than watermelon – the quintessential summer fruit!

We typically think of watermelon as a picnic fruit, one that we simply slice and eat without the use of utensils. But add a savory, slightly salty component along with fresh herbs and you can turn this common fruit into a gorgeous side salad. Elegant but still casual and perfect for any occasion.

A true Caprese salad has layers of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil then finished with olive oil or balsamic vinegar. In this twist, watermelon is traded for the tomatoes and feta for the mozzarella. Keep the fresh basil – with its slightly peppery essence – and top everything with a rich, aged balsamic.

For the best flavor make certain you select a ripe watermelon and chill it well before serving. Use a high quality, aged balsamic vinegar. One of my favorites is Giusti Dense Balsamic Vinegar, available in fine food or culinary shops or online. It has a slightly thick consistency with a luscious sweet undertone, perfect for topping fruits and cheese. It’s a bit of an investment but one bottle will last you a while and it is well worth the price!

You can pick up a wedge of feta for slices or use crumbled feta. French feta has a milder flavor than the Greek variety – so pick your favorite. Feta’s slightly salty taste plays off the sweetness of the watermelon along with the balsamic, so no need to salt the salad– just add freshly cracked black pepper if you like.

This recipe uses a quarter-wedge of a large watermelon and easily serves 8 with leftover melon. The beauty of this simple, light salad – it can be served on a platter or assembled in individual servings. In a matter of minutes you can create a beautiful centerpiece delicious enough to eat!

Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad

1 small watermelon, or a quarter-wedge of a large watermelon

1 to 2 bunches fresh basil, about 18 – 20 large leaves

1 cup package feta – about 7-ounces

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, or to taste

¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste, optional

Slice the watermelon into slices about ¾” to 1” thick pieces. If you’re serving on a platter, layer the watermelon, with 3 leaves of basil on each piece.

Crumble ½ cup of the feta over the top of the melon.

Drizzle the balsamic over the salad and finish with freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with extra feta.

If plating individual servings of the salad, place one slice of melon on each plate. Slice the feta into thin pieces and place on the top of the watermelon. Arrange three basil leaves over the cheese then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Season with freshly cracked black pepper if desired.

Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad courtesy of Preserving Good Stock,

July 20, 2018
: 8

In this twist on the classic Caprese salad, watermelon is traded for the tomatoes and feta for the mozzarella. Keep the fresh basil - with its slightly peppery essence - and top everything with a rich, aged balsamic. In a matter of minutes you can create a beautiful centerpiece delicious enough to eat!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 small watermelon, or a quarter-wedge of a large watermelon
  • 1 to 2 bunches fresh basil, about 18 – 20 large leaves
  • 1 cup package feta – about 7-ounces
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, or to taste
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste, optional
Directions
  • Step 1 Slice the watermelon into slices about ¾” to 1” thick pieces.
  • Step 2 If you’re serving on a platter, layer the watermelon, with 3 leaves of basil on each piece.
  • Step 3 Crumble ½ cup of the feta over the top of the melon.
  • Step 4 Drizzle the balsamic over the salad and finish with freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with extra feta.
  • Step 5 If plating individual servings of the salad, place one slice of melon on each plate.
  • Step 6 Slice the feta into thin pieces and place on the top of the watermelon.
  • Step 7 Arrange three basil leaves over the cheese then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Step 8 Season with freshly cracked black pepper if desired.

 

Salad Niçoise – A Classic Salad for Summer!

Salad Niçoise – A Classic Salad for Summer!

Hot summer days can make meal prep a struggle. Salads that bring together the freshness of the season combined with pantry staples are a welcome option.

Salad Niçoise [nee-swahz; French nee-swaz]  is a beautiful summer salad said to have been created in Nice, France in the early 1900s. As with most classic dishes, there is an evolving that takes place through the generations. I looked through dozens of recipes from different decades and they all vary slightly. There are several common denominators in a Salad Niçoise – potatoes, haricots verts and tuna.

This version seems to have something for everyone including those unique ingredients, starting with the roasted potatoes and fresh haricots verts – elegant, slender green beans. They are teamed with crisp bell peppers, plump tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, sweet red onion and fruity Kalamata olives. To finish, tender tuna fillets are added and topped with tangy capers. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette or a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Adding the roasted potatoes to the salad while they’re still warm brings an unexpected surprise to the salad. Roast them with olive oil, a bit of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper – easy and perfect.

The haricots verts are now more commonly found in markets than in years past. If you can’t find them opt for fresh green beans – selecting the smaller, slender beans. But please, nothing canned! Gently cook the beans in chicken stock with a touch of chervil,  just until tender.

For the tuna, look for whole fillets packed in olive oil – Tonnino jarred products are an excellent option. You can find them at most quality food markets or online. In a pinch, you can use canned white tuna.

All the makings of a simple and glorious feast!

Salad Niçoise

12 to 14 small Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1-½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 teaspoon dried chervil*

1 pound haricots verts, very thin French green beans

4 to 5 cups fresh mixed greens

4 to 5 small tomatoes, halved or quartered

½ cucumber, sliced

½ green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, about 6.5 ounces

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 jars tuna fillets in olive oil, about 6.7 ounces each

2 tablespoons capers

*If you can’t find chervil, you can use parsley or tarragon.

For dressing, a drizzle of olive oil or your favorite Champagne or Balsamic vinaigrette.

Shaved Parmesan for garnish  if desired.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss the potatoes with 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Roast at 400-degree for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.

Place the green beans in a medium saucepan and cover with the chicken stock and water. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and the chervil. Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water.

Place the mixed greens on a large platter. Arrange the potatoes, the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, artichoke hearts and olives around the platter on top of the mixed greens. Lay the tuna fillets in the center and sprinkle the capers over the top.

Drizzle with olive oil or your favorite vinaigrette, garnish with shaved Parmesan if desired.

Salad Niçoise, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

June 27, 2018
: 4

Niçoise is a beautiful summer salad said to have been created in Nice, France in the early 1900s. Layers of taste, textures and color - perfect for a any day!

By:

Ingredients
  • 12 to 14 small Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried chervil (If you can’t find chervil, you can use parsley or tarragon.)
  • 1 pound haricots verts, very thin French green beans
  • 4 to 5 cups fresh mixed greens
  • 4 to 5 small tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, about 6.5 ounces
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 jars tuna fillets in olive oil, about 6.7 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • For dressing, a drizzle of olive oil or your favorite Champagne or Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Garnish with Parmesan if desired
Directions
  • Step 1 Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss the potatoes with 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Roast at 400-degree for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
  • Step 2 Place the green beans in a medium saucepan and cover with the chicken stock and water. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and the chervil. Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water.
  • Step 3 Place the mixed greens on a large platter. Arrange the potatoes, the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, artichoke hearts and olive around the platter on top of the mixed greens. Lay the tuna fillets in the center and sprinkle the capers over the top.
  • Step 4 Drizzle with olive oil or your favorite vinaigrette. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

If it’s true we first eat with our eyes, then this salad is worth a look!

When I was catering with my dear friend Jane we were always looking for great salads. This is a spinoff of a salad that was frequently requested and one we made often. It has evolved a bit through the years but still remains simple and delicious. Fresh strawberries are layered into crisp spinach and arugula with slices of sweet apples.

The fresh berries and greens are tossed with MontAmoré cheddar and toasted maple-glazed pecans. Then everything is coated with a slightly sweet and tangy vinaigrette loaded with more strawberries, a rich olive oil and a splash of fruity balsamic vinegar.

And a quick note on the cheese – if you’ve not yet discovered MontAmoré cheddar, run out and look for it! It’s a beautiful creamy cheese from Sartori, a mild cheddar with a slightly nutty note and a subtle resemblance to Parmesan. Perfection on a cheese tray, it adds just the right balance to the flavors in this salad.

Strawberries with their sweet bite and intoxicating fragrance highlight this glorious salad with a taste rivaled only by its appearance!

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

1 package spinach and arugula mix, 5-ounces, about 6 cups

2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 8 to 10 berries

1 Honeycrisp apple or your favorite, cored and sliced

¼ cup MontAmoré cheddar, gently crumbled

½ cup maple glazed pecans, recipe follows

Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Toss the spinach and arugula mix together with the strawberries and apple slices.

Add the crumbled cheese along with the pecans. Season with a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve!

Strawberry Vinaigrette

1-1/2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 6-8 berries

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon sesame oil

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place all the ingredients in your Vitamix or blender.

Process on medium speed for about 20 seconds or until well blended.

Maple Glazed Pecans

½ cup lightly toasted pecans

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Toss the pecans with the maple syrup in a small saucepan.

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until the maple syrup has thickened and the pecans are coated – about 3-5 minutes.

If you’re making the glazed pecans in advance, spread them out on a piece of parchment to cool.

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 30, 2018
: Serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a side

Strawberries, with their sweet bite and intoxicating fragrance, highlight this glorious salad with a taste that is only rivaled by its appearance!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 package spinach and arugula mix, 5-ounces, about 6 cups
  • 2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 8 to 10 berries
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple or your favorite, cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup MontAmoré® Cheddar, gently crumbled
  • ½ cup maple glazed pecans, recipe follows
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • For the strawberry vinaigrette:
  • 1-1/2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 6-8 berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the maple glazed pecans:
  • ½ cup lightly toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Directions
  • Step 1 For the salad:
  • Step 2 Toss the spinach and arugula mix together with the strawberries and apple slices.
  • Step 3 Add the crumbled cheese along with the pecans.
  • Step 4 Season with a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt and black pepper.
  • Step 5 Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve!
  • Step 6
  • Step 7 For the strawberry vinaigrette:
  • Step 8 Place all the ingredients in your Vitamix or blender. Process on medium speed for about 20 seconds or until well blended.
  • Step 9 For the maple glazed pecans:
  • Step 10 Toss the pecans with the maple syrup in a small saucepan.
  • Step 11 Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until the maple syrup has thickened and the pecans are coated – about 3-5 minutes.
  • Step 12 If you’re making the glazed pecans in advance, spread them out on a piece of parchment to cool.
Spinach and Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets and Apple Cider Dressing

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets and Apple Cider Dressing

Mother’s Day is around the corner and what better way to celebrate than to acknowledge the wonderful women in our lives? This is a nod to my Grandmother – Tassie Mae – one of the women in my life who taught me about food, family and faith.

This salad showcases beets in a beautiful way with layers of spinach and peppery arugula, sweet blackberries, crisp slices of apple, toasted almonds and creamy honey goat cheese.

Beets were always in Tassie’s garden. She would frequently gather beets when they were young and pickle them, turning them into a modest delicacy. If you’ve never worked with beets, roasting is an easy way to prepare them that yields delicious results. It brings out a surprising depth of earthiness in this beautiful root vegetable. Wonderful as a side, they’re also an incredible addition to salads.

Don’t toss those beet greens! They are wonderful in salads or added to your favorite juice blend. Just trim the stem out of the leaf and rinse well with cold water.

Then grab a handful of pantry staples and gently cook them together to create Tassie’s velvety Apple Cider Dressing. It’s tangy, sweet and creamy – perfect with this fresh salad and equally delicious tossed with fruit.

Bursting with color and flavor this salad is both simple and elegant!

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets and Apple Cider Dressing

Roasted Beets

2 bunches of beets, about 7- 8 medium size beets

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Trim the tops and roots off the beets, peel and cut into pieces, about 2″ each. (Quick tip: wear food service gloves to prevent your hands from getting stained from the beet juice.) Toss the beets with the olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and pepper.

Roast at 400-degrees for 35-40 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cook until the beets are cooked through and very tender.

Apple Cider Dressing

1 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 extra-large eggs, slightly beaten

In a small saucepan combine the milk, sugar, kosher salt and the cider vinegar.

The vinegar will start to turn the milk into buttermilk and look curdled. Whisk in the beaten eggs and cook over low heat, stirring frequently. Cook the dressing until it is smooth and has thickened – about 15 to 20 minutes.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets

4 cups spinach and arugula mix

1 cup blackberries

1/2 to 1 whole Honeycrisp or your favorite apple, cored and sliced thin

1 to 1-1/2 cups roasted beets

¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted

¼ cup honey goat cheese*, crumbled

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Place the spinach and arugula in a large bowl. Layer in the blackberries, the apple slices, roasted beets, almonds and goat cheese.

Season the salad with kosher salt and black pepper. Dress with Apple Cider Dressing and serve.

Serves 4.

*Montchevre makes a fabulous honey goat cheese. If it’s not available  you can use a plain goat cheese.