Family Favorites · Garden · Vegan · Vegetarian

Panzanella

Panzanella, or panmolle, is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes.  It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy (per Wikipedia).  The first time I had this salad, about 10 years ago, I fell in love.

It’s a scrumptious salad, any time of the year, but especially when I have fresh tomatoes from my garden.  Fresh, flavorful and healthy!

PANZANELLA

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large, fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, drained

VINAIGRETTE:

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
  • In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil and capers.  Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette.  Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Recipe from Food Network, Barefoot Contessa

Book Club · Gluten Free · Health · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Watermelon Heirloom Salad

Book Club almost always inspires me to try making something new and the Watermelon Heirloom Salad has been on my list of ‘must try’ since my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it.

I served this in July with tomatoes and watermelon in season. It is a refreshing salad especially during the hot days of summer. The salad was served with the feta on the side since some of our members are Vegan.  Easy peasy and satisfies all.  What a wonderful fusion of great flavors.  It’s now one of my favorite summer treats.

WATERMELON HEIRLOOM SALAD

3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds), cored and cute into chunks or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used multi-color cherry tomatoes)
4 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)
juice of 1 lime
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh feta (don’t skimp on the quality of the feta)
1 lime, cut into wedges

  • Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint and basil in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour olive oil mixture over the fruit and toss to mix.
  • Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad (or on the side). Serve with lime wedges and sea salt.

Recipe from FreyFarms

Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Fresh fruit salad in winter is a real treat. This recipe is delicious, combining several fruits including apples, kiwi, blackberries, pomegranate, bananas and Mandarin oranges. The dressing is fresh and tasty, delivering a nice side to compliment any meal.
IMG_7698

WINTER FRUIT SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING

Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. poppy seeds

  • Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Salad

8 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (I used Cuties)
4 apples, diced
4 ripe kiwis peeled and diced
4 bananas, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (from about 1 large)
1-2 cups blackberries (I added to the recipe)

  • Combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from CookingClassy.com

Book Club · New Traditions

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pine Nuts, Feta

Quinoa with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, pine nuts and feta…what’s not to like! I often try new recipes to share with others so my Book Club buddies were once again Guinea Pigs.  This recipe takes a while to prepare but well worth the effort!

QUINOA WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PINE NUTS & FETA

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large onions, sliced
2 pounds cubed butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
salt
French Vinaigrette salad dressing (add generous amounts of dressing to individual portions)
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Peel the squash and slice it into 3/4 inch cubes, about 2 pounds. Toss the squash cubes in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt.
  • Put butternut squash on the greased baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. Flip the squash cubes over midway through baking. Cool slightly before adding to the salad.
Caramelize the Onions:  
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in a large skillet.  When oil is heated, add onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly string with wooden spoon. The onions will start to brown, but not brown.
  • Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes, continuing to stir as onions brown even more. Add a pinch of salt over the onions.
  • Continue cooking the onions for 10 more minutes on medium to low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions don’t stick to the pan.  Add a bit of water if the onions begin o stick.  Total cooking time is 30 minutes.
  • Remove the onions from the heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using the wooden spoon, mix the onions scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
Assembling the salad:
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, and mix with the dressing. Add the dressing only before the serving, and add as much as you want to individual portions, as both quinoa and butternut squash tend to be on a dry side, and this dressing (when generously applied) fixes this beautifully!
  • Top each individual serving with Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Note: This salad keeps very well refrigerated for up to a week, but only without dressing. Add the dressing before serving.

New Favorite · Vegetarian

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Our CSA was loaded with beets this year and I’ve struggled with recipes to use one of my least favorite vegetables.  Memories of canned, chopped beets in the school lunch flood my memory when I think of beets, but thank goodness there are so many wonderful ways to eat fresh, colorful beets.

I do enjoy a beet goat cheese salad so I whipped one up starting with a wonderful recipe but adapting it to use mixed greens and vinaigrette I had on hand.  It was delicious and I was able to put the lunchroom flashback to rest.

BEET AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD

2 bunches medium beets, (about 1 1/2 pounds) tops trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vinaigrette dressing of your choice (I used Brianna Champagne Vinaigrette)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 bunch of mixed greens
4 ounces goat cheese, (preferably aged goat cheese) crumbled

  • Put the beets in a saucepan with water to cover and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
  • When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them–the skins should slide right off with a bit of pressure from your fingers. If they don’t, use a paring knife to scrape off any bits that stick. Cut each beet into bite-sized wedges.
  • Whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream to make a dressing.
  • Toss the cut beets in the dressing; set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and oven-toast, stirring once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool.
  • Toss the greens with the beets and divide among 4 plates. Scatter the walnuts and goat cheese on top. Serve.

Adapted from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/beet-salad-with-walnuts-and-goat-cheese-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cruciferous Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Trader’s Joe’s finally came to Denver last year and what fun we’ve had exploring their many wonderful products.  During one of my trips, they were tasting their Cruciferous Crunch Salad with mixed nuts and Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.  Yummy in the tummy!

trader-joes-cruciferous-crunch-collection

The recipe is so simple, it doesn’t need one.  Chop the contents of the salad mix. Chop about 1 cup of mixed nuts (or nuts of your choice), and top with Trader Joe’s Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette dressing. Toss and serve immediately.

It’s simple, delicious, and good for you.  What’s not to like?

Gluten Free · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad

Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad is a favorite salad shared by friend, Chris, at many of our Book Club and pot luck dinners. Finally, I decided to prepare it and savored every serving.  I’ve also tried adding other ingredients to add variety, including bits of turkey or slices or fresh avocado.
This salad is great for summer meals and gatherings.

CRANBERRY AND MANGO QUINOA SALAD

2 cups of water
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup fresh kale or spinach in bite size pieces
1.5 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks (one to two fresh mangos should yield just about 1.5 cups)
1.5 c cubed melon (I used Honeydew)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted/optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
pinch of salt

  • Bring water to boil and cook quinoa per the instructions.  Cool.
  • Add kale (or spinach), mango, melon, almonds, and cranberries to quinoa.
  • Mix together Lemon poppy seed ingredients and pour over quinoa salad.
  • Serving Option:  Slice fresh avocado slices over top of salad.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Minz and Healthy Pursuit

Family Favorites · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette for Quinoa Salad, Green Salad or Marinade

Cilantro is an herb that people either LOVE or HATE.  I’m on the love side of Cilantro. It brings such a fresh, aromatic addition to select dishes, including this Vinaigrette and Salad. This Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette was a discovery a few years ago and I love it, especially on a summer Quinoa Salad, enjoying the salad throughout the week.

CILANTRO LIME VINAIGRETTE

3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small jalapeno pepper (or less) chopped
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1.5-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

  • Put all ingredients in food processor or blender. Pulse until ingredients are blended. Shake before serving.

QUINOA SALAD

  • To prepare the quinoa, cook 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid (water or chicken broth) for 15-20 minutes. Drain. Cool.
  • Then I throw in whatever I have on hand: onion, peppers, beans (garbanzo or black beans), carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc.  I’ve never had a combination I didn’t like.  You can use it as a side dish or add a protein to make it an entrée.
Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Old Fashioned Ham Salad

Sunday Night meals, on the farm, were typically sandwiches enjoyed on TV trays in front of the TV watching Lassie, Ed Sullivan, and Bonanza. It was the only night of the week we ate outside of the kitchen but it was a treat. Often the sandwiches were a result of leftovers from the tremendous Sunday Dinner (noon meal) my Mother would make of Roast Beef, Roast Chicken, Pork Roast, Ham, etc.  She would often grind the leftover meat on her Universal Meat Grinder and add onion, pickle, mayonnaise.

old fashioned meat grinder
Ham Salad is still a favorite and I make it rarely but since it was a Sunday and I was reliving the Sunday Night Farm experience…I ate a Ham Salad Sandwich in front of the TV (sans TV tray) watching 60 minutes instead of Lassie. Oh, sweet memories!

OLD FASHIONED HAM SALAD

2 cups ground ham (I chopped mine in the food processor)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup dill pickle relish (or sweet relish)
1 teaspoon mustard
2 chopped, hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine all well.  Serve on good bread or roll and enjoy!

Garden · Vegan · Vegetarian

Fresh Garden Tomatoes with Homemade Pesto

Continuing on my lazy days of summer postings, let’s talk about tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes cannot be compared in any way to the mushy, tasteless tomatoes at the grocery store. Comparing the two is like comparing a beautiful rose to a dandelion. Wonder why that’s the case? Read this great article from the University of Illinois Extension office.

Unfortunately, I have regular visitors to my garden helping themselves to my tomatoes.  The silly bunny (that isn’t afraid of my Golden or Chihuahua) along with the neighborhood Raccoon are creating havoc with the tomatoes.  I find green tomatoes plucked from the vine laying on the ground.  I find large red tomatoes half eaten on the vine.  Have any of you had the same experience? This is the first time in over 20 years that I’ve had to fight for my own tomatoes!

Racoon

Garden Bunny 020-6x9

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My garden tomatoes violated by the critters!

My tomatoes have been slow to produce this year but I have enjoyed a few fresh tomato salads. This time a juicy sliced tomatoes paired with homemade pesto (basil also from my garden) was the salad du jour.

If you don’t grow your own tomatoes, visit a local Farmer’s Market soon and enjoy the harvest.

English: Photograph of tomatoes on a vegetable...
English: Photograph of tomatoes on a vegetable stall at Borough Market in London, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the pesto recipe, reference my posting, Pesto Schmesto.