Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Everyone loves rice.  It’s the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies.

The seeds of the rice plant are first milled using a rice huller to remove the chaff (the outer husks of the grain). At this point in the process, the product is brown rice. I’m sure you all know this chewier, nuttier form of rice that healthy folks eat instead of the typical white rice.

Personally, I like white rice.

Black rice is one of several black colored heirloom plants. It’s high in nutritional value and has a similar amount of fiber to brown rice…who knew?! I bet people would way rather eat black rice than brown rice. The rice council of America should start promoting that more. Then maybe Americans would get a little more fiber in their over-processed, fatty diets.

Wild rice isn’t rice at all! It’s actually four species of grasses. It’s not even directly related to Asian rice, although they are close cousins. Like close enough that it’s probably still not ok for them to marry and have kids. 😉

Weedy rice, also known as red rice, is a species of rice that produces far fewer grains per plant than cultivated rice and is therefore considered a pest. Take that red rice!

Isn’t that all you ever wanted to know about rice…and more? 😉

Ok, so now that you’ve had your little lesson for today. Let me introduce you to something delicious. This here salad is apparently made from the weedy version of rice, but I promise you it doesn’t taste weedy at all.

Truth be told, I wanted to use black rice because I thought the color would look pretty with the cranberries, oranges, and mint in the recipe. But the stupid little nyc supermarket I went to didn’t have black rice, and I wasn’t about to go to two or three other markets to maybe find it. Apparently, black rice turns purplish when it cooks, so it probably wouldn’t have been all that much prettier than the red rice I ended up using.

Colors aside, this dish would be beautiful with whatever variety of rice is your favorite. Or even with another grain like wheatberries. That could be tasty.

I’m submitting this recipe to #ricelove. Please join in on the #ricelove fun by linking up any rice recipe from the month of September.  Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Powered by Linky Tools

Cranberry-Orange Rice Salad
Slightly Adapted from foodman11 on Epicurious.com

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Serves 4

1-1/3 cups Black, Red or Wild rice
2 large oranges, supremed (peeled and sectioned)
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced toasted pecans
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
sugar to taste

Prepare rice according to package directions; set aside until cool.

Combine cooled rice with remaining ingredients.

Let stand at least 20 minutes for flavors to blend.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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I check out tons of blogs on a daily basis, both for enjoyment, and to get recipe inspiration. You can see the blogs I follow regularly under my Blogs I Follow Tab at the top of the page.

In my blog surfing, I often come across blogs I’ve never seen before that I absolutely love. Anyway, the other day I was doing my reading and stumbled upon a blog called Pass the Sushi and was immediately drawn to the Creamy Chicken and Pasta Salad recipe she had posted that she got from Food Network Magazine.

For some reason when I looked at it, I immediately got a craving for a tuna noodle pasta salad. I guess that’s the last time I’ve had small noodles like she used in a pasta salad. Also, I’m not a huge fan of chicken, or cooking it, so I thought canned tuna was the perfect alternative. 

I slightly altered the recipe to make it a little more tangy, and it totally hit the spot! It’s perfect for these hot summer nights when you just want something cold to eat.

Tuna Pasta Salad
Adapted Food Network magazine

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Serves 5-7


10 ounces tubetti or other small tube-shaped pasta1 1/4 cups 2% Greek yogurt (or mix of 2% and 0%)
1/2 cup light mayo
1/4 cup water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives or scallions
2 tsp salt
2 5-oz cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then each piece halved lengthwise again (i.e. cut into 1/8ths), then seeded and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups mesclun greens
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup water, the vinegar, mustard, dill, chives, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the celery and cucumber to the dressing and gently stir to combine. Dump in the drained tuna, breaking up if there are big chunks, and stir to combine

Shake the excess water from the pasta and add it to the tuna salad. Season with pepper and toss. Serve over greens with cranberries sprinkled on top.

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How’d you like that title for alliteration? 😉 The reason I say that it’s perfect for picnics or outdoor bbqs is because there’s no mayonaisse in this salad. Which means no spoiling and no making partygoers sick. I think that’s a win-win for everyone.

Plus, I’m pretty sure I haven’t met a person who doesn’t eat pesto. This is a sophisticated take on the typical potato salad. It contains toasted pine nuts mixed in with the taters and sauce.

So how did I decide to make this recipe? Well, let me tell you a little story. It starts like this:

Grocery shopping in New York City completely sucks. The markets are small, with limited supplies and the prices are through the roof. This is the main reason that Nate loves to shop at Trader Joe’s.

TJ’s is great for some things, but for produce it’s really not the best. Since we just moved and have to completely restock our fridge, I suggested we take a walk over to the West Side and get some stuff at TJs and then go next door to Fairway.

I had heard that Fairway is pretty much the best supermarket in Manhattan. It’s large with competitive prices. So this weekend we packed up our shopping bags and headed over.

I have to say that their produce selection far surpassed any other market in NYC. While there, I noticed a bounty of basil. They were selling a gigantic bunch for under $2! Compared to the little package at the other markets for like $4, I was thrilled.

Needless to say, pesto was on my mind.

Now, if you’re going to make the effort to haul out the food processor for this recipe, you should definitely double or triple the amount of pesto you make. I’m sure you know that pesto can be enjoyed many ways, so it’s always good to have some around. I tripled the pesto part of the recipe so I could have some on hand for pasta when I’m feeling lazy later in the week.

I ❤ basil.

This dish is best served at room temp but could easily be served cold as well. You should definitely make it for your next summer party.

Potato Salad with Pine Nuts and Pesto
Source unknown

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Serves 4-6

1 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 lb boiling potatoes
salt and pepper

Make pesto- put basil leaves, 2 Tbsp pine nuts, oil, cheese and garlic in blender. Puree.

Steam potatoes, cut in 3/4″ pieces. Place in bowl, toss with pesto while still warm.

Add rest of pine nuts, season with salt and pepper.

Serve room temperature.

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…and it really ain’t easy bein’ cilantro. Cilantro gets such a bad rap sometimes, and I don’t know why. It seems so nice and mild to me. It’s never caused any trouble. And yet for some reason, it has so many haters.

This could in part be due to the fact that some people are genetically predisposed to think cilantro tastes like soap. Weird, but true. I certainly hope you’re not one of those people. You’d be totally missing out. I also hope you’re not one of those people who lacks the gene for winking…because that’s just sad.

We happen to love cilantro in my family. We have an amazing fresh salsa recipe (I might post that near the 4th of July) and we always add way more cilantro than it calls for. Perhaps that’s why warm weather makes me want some cilantro.

So when I came across this recipe for Cilantro Lime Dressing, I thought I’d give it a try.I had hopes of it being really creamy, but it wasn’t so much, so I added in some light sour cream I just happened to need to use up and the result was delicious. Too bad it doesn’t photograph well.

I tossed it with green beans, orange slices, cucumer and fresh mint. It ended up being a fairly tasty combo but not worthy of putting on my blog (because of the combo of veggies/fruits, but not because of the dressing). I think in the future I’d just stick to dressing a plain old lettuce salad, but you can do whatever you want with it. I won’t judge.

Now if you don’t like cilantro, I can’t promise that you’ll like this recipe, but you could at least make it for everyone else to enjoy. Just understand that you’ll be missing out.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Adapted from Everyday Health

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Makes about 1 cup

*This dressing is best after refrigeration because it gets creamier. Make a day ahead.

1.5 cups cilantro, packed
1/3 cup oil, olive, extra virgin
1/3 cups lime juice
1/3 cups orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, black
1 pinch garlic, minced
1/3 cup low fat sour cream

Puree cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper, garlic and sour cream in a blender or food processor until smooth.

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Take two!

…or take three, or four, as the case may be.

As I said in my last post, I had the pleasure of catering lunch for Nate’s short film shooting last weekend. With a lot of hard work, he and his crew managed to finish up shooting all the scenes they needed in two jam-packed days. These guys definitely worked up an appetite during all the takes they had to do of each scene!

Hoisin Chicken

I couldn’t believe all the hard work that goes into making a film. This one is only going to be 10 min, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like to make a feature length film. For each scene they had to completely rearrange all the lighting and camera equipment to get everything just right.

This would be hard to begin with, but in Nate’s miniscule apartment, it made it all the more difficult. Four guys (plus me) were stuffed into a room that’s not much bigger than a walk-in closet. Needless to say with all the moving around and getting stuff done, these guys got hungry and my lunches were a hit! Although, I’d imagine they probably would have eaten anything.

Curried Chicken Salad: Source

The rest of day 1 included a recipe for Grilled Hoisin Chicken Skewers from Bon Appetit that I reworked for indoor use, since I don’t have a grill. It worked out pretty nicely. The second recipe is one of my absolute favorites for making use of leftover chicken. It’s a healthier and refreshing version of chicken salad that I served on big hoagie rolls. I didn’t have time to take a pic of that one, so I borrowed it from Cooking Light’s website.

Hoisin Broiled Chicken

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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serves 4-5

3/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1.5-1.75 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch strips
3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Place 6 Tbsp sauce in small bowl for glaze.

Mix chicken into remaining sauce; let stand 10 min.While chicken is marinating, turn on broiler.

Put broiler pan or cooling racks over a sheet pan. Spread out chicken pieces on rack, about 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Broil chicken until cooked throught and slightly charred, brushing with glaze and turning oftten, about 8 min. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

(Leftovers are delicious cold or room temp)

Curried Chicken Salad

Recipe from Cooking Light

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serves 2

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 8 oz.)
1/2 cup halved grapes
1/2 cup diced apple
2 Tbsp diced pineapple
1 Tbsp dried currants
3 Tbsp light mayo
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juince
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine mayo thru pepper and pour over chicken mixture.

Toss gently, springly with almonds. Cover and chill

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For those who don’t know me, my background is as a civil engineer. While this gives me some very useful real world skills, the ability to stray from black-and-white thinking isn’t one of them. As all who know me will attest, I like to be given explicit directions and I follow them to a T. There’s no gray area for this girl.

As you might imagine, this means that I prefer to have a recipe to follow rather than making things up, and I tend to favor baking over cooking because there isn’t much room for ad-libbing.

However, I’m happy to report that since beginning this blog and reading about recipe contests that require creativity, I’ve been much more open to switching things up. I’m starting to create my own flavor combos and recipes!

I’ve found that the easiest way to begin the process of creating a “new” recipe is to rework an existing one by swapping one or more ingredients for other similar ones, or others that go equally well with the rest of the ingredients called for.

Last week my coworker sent me a recipe for a potato-wrapped fish. It involved slicing super thin slices of potato and actually wrapping the fish with it, then frying it, creating a beautiful little package.

I’m really not too fond of changes in general. I mean, I know my mom always told me that changes are usually for the best, but let me just tell you that in this particular cooking experiment, this was not the case.

My first change was to use sweet potato instead of potato…just make it a little more gourmet and colorful. These thin slices of potato were meant to be sliced with a mandoline because a knife wouldn’t get thin enough slices to have them flexible enough to wrap around the fish fillet.

I don’t own a mandoline so I attempted to do it with a cheese slicer. FAIL. Not only did it take me forever, but as careful as I was, I still managed to slice open my finger. I bandaged myself up and managed to salvage enough slices to cover four fillets. Lesson learned: DO NOT MAKE THIS WITHOUT A MANDOLINE!

I had some leftover rosemary from my tart the other day, so I made a sort of rosemary, parsley, olive pesto/tapenade to spread between the potato and the fish. It was a yummy choice. My mom warned me that sweet potato might not crisp up as well as a regular potato. In this instance, Mom, I know you may not believe your eyes as you read this but you were right. It got kind of brown but when I went to flip it, it just stuck to the pan and shredded. I could have left it to brown more, but it was already sticking a lot so I was afraid to. I mean it wasn’t horrible but certainly wasn’t as presentable as I would have liked. I served it along with a simple beet salad.

Nate enjoyed the fish, but he pretty much likes anything I make.  I, however, think I would benefited from some sort of balsamic reduction to serve over it because the pesto/sweet potato/fish combo was slightly rich and I would have liked something acidic to cut it (or maybe add more olives to to pesto?). I squeezed lemon on top but it wasn’t enough.

When I had it for leftovers the next day, I decided it was better than I had thought. That being said, by all means give it a try and make your own changes to my recipe…they might just be for the best 🙂


Sweet Potato-Wrapped Cod with Rosemary Tapenade
Recipe by Me
Serves 4

1 Tbsp rosemary
1/4 cup parsley
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1-2 cloves garlic

4- 5 oz. cod fillets
1 large sweet potato, the longer the better

Put rosemary, parsley and lemon juice in food processor and blend til finely chopped. Add rest of tapenade ingredients and blend til it becomes a paste.

Peel the sweet potato. Using a mandoline, cut sweet potato into thin slices lengthwise. You will need at least 8 slices per fish fillet.

Pat fish dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a large piece of saran wrap on work surface. Set 4 to 5 slices of sweet potato on saran in row, overlapping long sides. Make another row that overlaps short ends of first row, forming 6×5-inch rectangle (see photos above). Sprinkle rectangle with salt and pepper. Set 1 fillet across overlapped short ends of slices. Spread 1-2 Tbsp of the tapenade evenly over the top of the fillet.

Fold short end of rectangle over fish one side of fish. While holding potatoes to fish with one hand, use saran to help to pull other side of potatoes up and over the fillet and wrap the fish fairly tightly in saran (see photos above). Repeat with other 3 fillets. Put fish “packets” in fridge and chill 1 hr.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in each of 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Remove saran and set the wrapped fish fillets, seam side down, in each skillet. Cook until golden on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn; cook until fish is opaque in center, 2 to 3 minutes longer.



Simple Beet Salad
Adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 3-4 side dish portions

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
3 medium beets, roasted and peeled
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces

Combine oil thru pepper and whisk to blend.
Toss beets with dressing and parsley.
Before serving, sprinkle beets with blue cheese and pecans.


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Last night was pretty windy out, but it was almost 60 degrees , so I decided to hoof it home from work. I work down in the financial district and live on the Upper East side. For those of you not from the nyc area, I walked 6 miles home…and let me tell you, 2 hrs of walking can leave your mind to think about all sorts of things.

But the main thing my mind always drifts back to is food. You better believe I was dinner brainstorming. I was trying to figure out what I could do with the barley in my pantry, that would also involve the butternut squash I had left in my fridge from roasting a couple nights before.

I decided I could go with something on the sweet side…adding some dried fruit (feel free to use whatever types you have on hand rather than the specific ones I chose to use) and fresh fruit. This kind of got me thinking about Waldorf Salad, and because I had a lot of yogurt in my fridge, I thought a nice creamy, sweet yogurt sauce would be the perfect addition. I also added some toasted sliced almonds to give it a crunch (much to Nate’s dismay) and a little cinnamon for some spice.

I have to say, it came out better than I expected. The only thing lacking were the photos because I was really hungry and didn’t feel like setting up my nice backdrop. Also, I was going to sprinkle the almonds on top (which would have been prettier), but I forgot and mixed them in.

Pardon the appearance, but do try it for yourself! It would even make a delicious breakfast.

Also, I submitted my recipe in a nut butter contest and you can check it out featured here!:

They haven’t announced a winner yet, so we’ll see.


Creamy Fruited Barley Salad

Recipe by Me
makes 2-4 servings as a side dish

1/2 cup pearl barley, uncooked
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3-4 dried figs, chopped
1/3 Granny Smith apple, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash, cubed
salt to taste

4 oz. honey flavored Greek yogurt (or plain with honey added)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice

Boil 2 cups of water and and bring to a boil. When boiling, add barley and cook til tender and liquid is absorbed.

While barley is cooking, put orange juice through figs in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid is absorbed and fruit is tender.

Whisk yogurt, cinnamon and 1/2 cup orange juice into a sauce.

Add cooked barley and toss to coat. Add rest of the fruits/veggies. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.

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