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Sugar Snap Pea Salad

29 Apr

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This salad is so delightful. Crunchy sugar snap peas and radishes with silky and salt feta cheese with a tangy lemon dressing and fresh mint. Hello Springtime! It’s perfect for a Spring dinner or picnic lunch. Dig in!

Sugar Snap Salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, trimmed, stringed
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry. Whisk oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl.  Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint.

Grilled Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Salad with White Truffle Vinaigrette

25 Apr

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A couple weekend’s ago I was preparing a fancy meal for friends and wanted a different vegetable side dish idea with lots of luxury. This is it! Grilled seasonal asparagus with sweet grilled tomatoes with salty cheese and an truffle oil vinaigrette. So delicious and perfect for this time of year. Everything becomes sweet and salty and drizzled perfectly with the stand out truffle oil.

Grilled Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Salad with White Truffle Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • 2 pints (4 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbs. apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. white truffle oil
  • 1/2 oz. finely grated pecorino (1/2 cup using a rasp grater)

In a small heavy saucepan, boil the balsamic vinegar until reduced to about 3 Tbs., about 15 minutes.

Heat grill. Drizzle asparagus and tomatoes with  2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. reduced balsamic vinegar, and season with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Skewer tomatoes for easy grilling – or use a grill basket.

Grill until asparagus is tender and tomatoes begin to char and pop.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallot, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil and the truffle oil until blended.

Arrange the asparagus and tomatoes on salad plates. Drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbs. reduced balsamic vinegar, and then the truffle vinaigrette. Sprinkle the pecorino on top.

 

 

Masha’s Lemony Hearts of Palm Salad

24 Feb

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When planning last weeks dinner party, I decided a hearts of palm salad would be a fun spin on the same old salad. And then…I assigned the task to my Russian friend, Masha, who had never heard of a heart of palm. What a friend I am! A challenging one, yes.

Masha did an excellent job coming up with a recipe. This salad is full of bite – crispy onions and celery mixed with bitter greens and a citrus dressing. Plus the unique star, the heart of palm.

This salad would be perfect for a summer picnic. It holds up extremely well over time. I had the leftovers the next day for a lunch.

From the photo, it looks like even Winston thought the salad looked delicious!

Lemony Hearts of Palm Salad

  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 cups sliced heart of palm
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • chopped parsley
  • arugula
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Mixed together all the vegetables. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Dress the salad. Toss and enjoy!

 

 

Reinventing Ensalada de Kale

2 Feb

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A couple days before I ventured back into my office for the start of 2015, my friend Andrew and I treated ourselves to dinner in Durham at Mateo. I had been dying to go and the extra long New Years weekend allowed enough time to make a trip. If you haven’t been to Mateo, make a date of it. From the small cozy atmosphere to the classic tapas menu – it’s practically perfect for any occasion. I also just love tapas and I’ve been lucky enough to visit Curate in Asheville and Mateo in Durham in the last six months.

At Mateo, we sampled almost everything on their menu from their signature deviled eggs with chorizo to a perfectly decadent farm egg with crispy manchego and romesco. My heart was literally heavy on the way home. An unexpected surprise was a simple salad of marinated kale, crispy artichokes, migas, chorizo, manchego, grapes, lemon vinaigretta. I’ll admit, we just ordered the salad to make ourselves feel better. Nothing offsets two egg and pork dishes like a kale salad. But, the salad stole the show. Crispy artichokes, spicy chorizo with a tart salad dressing and sweet bite of grape. It was a surprise to my taste buds and I put the recipe on my list to recreate.

I made a less fancy version on Friday night to pair with Bon Appetit’s new recipe for Spicy Lamb Handpockets. I whisked a lemon vinaigrette to coat over kale, grapes, jarred artichokes, slices of manchego cheese and slivers of good quality cured chorizo. It was almost the same as Mateo with the comfort of my home fireplace. Make this at home soon and book a reservation to Mateo as soon as possible.

 

Brussel Sprout Thanksgiving

26 Nov

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It’s almost Thanksgiving! My folks are already in town doing shopping and advance preparations for tomorrow’s cooking and feasting. This year, we are excited to welcome my friend Margaret’s family over for our celebration on Mendenhall. Merging of traditions is always a fun time – especially, when mixed with North Carolina oysters, Florida stone crabs and a bourbon cocktail. I can’t wait to report with recipes, photos and stories.

Now to brussel sprouts. There is no doubt that both kale and brussel sprouts have been at center stage on Mendenhall this year. I love their hearty nature and I’ve recently discovered their perfection in almost all forms – cooked and raw. I’m looking forward to preparing my favorite Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon tomorrow. They are now famous too – featured in this week’s Triad City Beat! Check out the article today on local foodie’s favorite Thanksgiving sides. And, if you’re interested in the recipe – check it out here.

Now, back to my love of kale. Lately, I’ve been making an extremely delicious and healthy salad with raw kale and raw brussel sprouts. I found the recipe on Just a Taste.  It’s crunchy, has a wonderful dressing of lemon and shallots and will shock anyone with it’s deliciousness. If you’re looking for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe – this might be it. Or, you could commit to only eating this salad the day-after-turkey-day for an appropriate cleanse.

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Dressing, Just a Taste

1 Tablespoon minced shallots
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup olive oil

4 cups finely shredded Lacinato kale (loosely packed)
4 cups finely shredded Brussels sprouts (loosely packed)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest and honey. Stream in the olive oil while whisking continuously until well combined. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. (You can add more lemon juice or agave nectar to adjust the acidity or sweetness to your personal taste.)

In a large bowl, toss together the shredded kale, shredded Brussels sprouts and toasted almonds. Add as much dressing as desired, tossing to combine, then add the cheese and toss. Serve immediately

My New Favorite Kale Salad

14 Oct

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Hey Friends! I’ve had a crazy couple of days between a research trip to Richmond, VA for the Richmond Folk Festival, to back home to enjoy Elsewhere’s annual fundraiser, to a catch up sprint at work. Life is moving quickly, sprinting through Fall with travel and friends  and lots of hustle in the workplace. I’m having to schedule time for cooking in addition to improvisation on week nights post work and gym.

I recently came up with a tasty new salad of Tuscan Kale, dried cranberries, walnuts and chopped hard boiled egg. The dressing is simple too – a teaspoon each of honey and tahini, the juice of one lemon, salt, pepper and a good drizzle of garlic infused olive oil. It’s quite tart and savory but stands up well to the bitter kale. The cranberries and honey are an absolute must to balance the flavor.

This salad is great one it own but also good with shredded chicken, a nice piece of grilled steak or a roasted and sliced turkey sausage. Oh, and a glass of red wine, obviously.

Here’s to civilized meals in the midst of chaos!

Coriander Carrot Salad

10 Oct

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If you’re looking for a different spin on a side or salad, this coriander carrot salad might just be the trick. A healthy crunch of carrot and pistachio, a nice bite of acid and spice from lemon juice and coriander, you’ll need to season to taste – I thought it needed more salt and lemon juice. This would be delicious on a leftover sandwich the next day – BBQ, Bahn Mi, you know.

Coriander Carrot Salad 

¼ cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios
¾ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ garlic clove, finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
⅓ cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1 pound carrots, peeled, julienned or coarsely grated
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.
Toast coriander in a small dry skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool; coarsely chop.
Whisk garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and coriander in a large bowl, then whisk in oil; season with salt. Add carrots, toss, and let sit at least 30 minutes. Toss with cilantro and pistachios just before serving.

Warm Fresh Summer Corn Salad

21 Aug

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I hope you’re eating enough fresh corn right now. If not, you’re going to regret it. It’s so delicious raw, cut off the cob and sautéed or grilled and slathered with compote butters. I highly suggest getting creative. Or just using this simple recipe for a warm salad of corn, onion, feta and lime juice.

Hop on it. Pronto.

Sweet Summer Corn Salad

  • 5 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 3 tablespoons (or more), olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley, chopped
  • feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 lime

Sauté onion in olive oil. Once tender, add corn and cook until bright yellow and sweet. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, feta and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Layered Cobb Salad

1 Jul

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It’s really feeling like summer lately – flags on porches, sunshine until nine at night, lots of rose wine pouring and an interest in never turning on the stove. Last night, I made a layered cobb salad for an easy weeknight meal with a friend – and lots of lunch leftovers. This salad can be made with all store bought ingredients – rotisserie chicken, precooked eggs and precooked bacon. Or you can take the time to cook each ingredient – it takes little to no time but requires a little heat in the kitchen.

This salad is perfect for a casual party (serve with a good crusty bread) or a picnic in the park. Get chopping!

Layered Cobb Salad:

  • 2 split chicken breasts (roasted in the oven at 400 for about 30ish minutes – or buy a rotisserie bird!)
  • 1  avocado, cubed
  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 5 bacon slices, cooked until crisp and finely chopped
  • a handful of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • a handful or two of greens (baby kale, watercress, arugula)
  • 4 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • 3 or 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber sliced

Layer the salad in a large bowl (I love the glass to show the layers). Romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, avocado, greens, egg and cheese! Dress with your favorite dressing.

Rare Tuna and Roasted Cauliflower Salad

9 Jun

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Just another manic Monday. My summer has been packed with projects and I can’t seem to make more than 15 minute meals on a week night. And I’m not talking about the kinds on TV that involve weekend prep, freezing and crockpots. My 15 meals  mostly look like the above – a salad combination of greens, items from the olive bar, roasted cauliflower or broccoli and a piece of grilled fish. All in all, pretty healthy and sophisticated for a Monday night after a long day and a trip to the gym. I highly recommend getting creative. It makes busy living seem much more like ‘easy living.’

What is your goto weeknight meal?

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