Grilled Egg Salad and Cream Cheese

Grilled Egg Salad with Cream Cheese

I love a grilled sandwich, especially on rye bread. Rye bread has such a rich, nutty taste and grilling only enhances that unique rye flavor. I buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread the butter as thinly as possible. I laid the two pieces of bread on a medium high griddle and toasted them on one side. While it the first side was toasting, I buttered the other side of the slices. I flipped them over when the first side was crisped and then grilled the other so they were both nice and crispy. I could have toasted the bread, but it would not have the same nutty flavor that gets brought out by grilling buttered bread.

Grilled egg salad

To make this sandwich filling, I chopped and mixed up 1 TBSP each of yellow onions, celery, red pepper, cucumber, 1/2 tsp of mustard, salt, pepper and just enough cream cheese to hold them together in a spread (about 1.5 TBSPs. This made a thick, creamy spread. I also sliced up two hard-boiled eggs. When the bread was grilled, I laid it on a plate, spread the cream cheese and veggies on one slice and laid some romaine and sliced hard boiled eggs on the other with a dash of salt and pepper.

To make good hard boiled eggs, put them in a cooking pot with about 1 inch of water over them. Bring them to a boil and remove from the heat, putting a lid on top to hold in the steam. Let them rest 6 to 11 minutes depending on how much you want them done. I like mine well done.

The crunchy bread and crispy celery with the creamy sauce, tender cucumber and eggs all mixed together in a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. Makes one serving.

 

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Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad with Cilantro and Feta

Cucumber Pomegranate Salad

I experiment a lot with cooking. Not everything works and when it doesn’t, it does not make it to this blog. The other day I mixed some cut up grapes with pomegranate and chèvre. It did not work. It was too sweet and needed more contrast. I thought I was on the right track though and decided to try feta because it is more sour, but still nice and creamy. Just went I started to make the salad, though, I veered off in a new direction and ended up with a great salad that explodes with flavors.

I started with about 1/2 cup of pomegranate. It is 1/2 the seeds from one pomegranate. I pulled out some green grapes from the fridge and noticed I had 1/3 of a cucumber in a plastic storage container, left over from a cucumber on rye sandwich and the side salad with my fish the other day.  I thought I had better use that cucumber soon so, I put the grapes back in the fridge for another time and peeled and cut the cucumber into small pieces. I cut it lengthwise into quarters and then cut the juicy seeds out and just snacked on them. I did not want them in the salad because they would make it watery. Then I cut the long strips in half again and lined them up and sliced horizontally, giving me pieces similar in size to the pomegranate seeds.

I took a small handful of cilantro and chopped it and tossed it in. Use anywhere from 2 TBSP to 1/4 cup depending on how much you love cilantro. I sprinkled a couple TBSP of feta on top and then added a dash of salt and pepper. I tossed with 2 tsp of red wine vinegar and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Cucumber Pomegranate Salad

 

Here’s why this worked, the cucumber has a mellow, spring flavor that offsets the intense sweet-sour tang of the pomegranate. The cilantro adds a bit of earthiness and the feta adds a creamy flavor with some fat, which really helps the flavors blend and the acid in the vinegar brings out all the flavors to their fullest.

Cucumber Strawberry Lemon Drop Salad

Strawberry Cucumber Salad

I dreamed about this salad before I made it. It was hot out and I was reading a book, cooled by a fan. I dozed through dinner, though I dreamt I made myself a salad of cucumbers and strawberries with a tart lemony vinaigrette. I sliced these strawberries twice, one in a dream and then later when I decided to make my dream-inspired salad.

This is a fast and easy salad. I sliced up 2 cups of fresh strawberries and 2 cups of English cucumber (but no reason you can’t use regular cucumber) and tossed them in a storage container.

I juiced two lemons and added the zest from one of the lemons. This gave me about 1/2 cup of lemon juice. To that I added about 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 TBSP of sugar. I mixed it all together and then added 1 TBSP of white wine vinegar. I added this to the strawberries and cucumbers and shook them together.

I let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the dressing could permeate everything. It was as sweet and tart as a lemon drop with rich fruity strawberry flavor and fresh, springlike cucumber. This made two servings.

Next time, I might use just half the dressing and reserve the rest for another salad.

Cucumber, Pea Shoots, Grapefruit Salad

Pea Shoots, Cucumbers & Grapefruit

Is there anything better than a big bunch of pea shoots in the spring? This one bunch has been enough for seven meals. Four salads, two meals of soup and I have some left for salad tomorrow. Yum!

For today, I chopped up the tops of the pea shoots (I used all the bottoms in the soup yesterday) and scattered them on a plate. I put some almonds in a dry pan on high heat and let them toast while I prepared the rest of the salad. Then I peeled half a cucumber and after it was peeled, continued with the peeler to slice off thin slice after slice and scattered them on the pea shoots. Then I supremed one grapefruit and spread it around the outside. I chopped the toasted almonds and tossed them on top. Adding some salt and pepper, I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on top as well as a bit of walnut oil and served.

I love the mix of hearty toasted almonds, the light cucumber, the tangy sweet grapefruit and the hearty pea shoots all harmonized by the balsamic vinegar and oil. It was a delicious and light supper for a hot day.

 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Turkey Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms & Cucumber Salad

Portobello mushrooms were on sale at New Seasons this week – priced the same as Criminis. Why they aren’t always the same price is a mystery since they are the same mushroom just a few days older. Nonetheless, I took advantage of the sale price and bought two Portobellos.

But let’s take care of the salad first since I made it in the morning so it could soak up the vinegar and dill flavor all day. Using the mandoline, I sliced 1/2 of a red onion, 1 Roma tomato and 1/2 of a large cucumber into thin slices and layered in a plastic storage container. I tossed in 1 tsp of dried dill weed, some salt and pepper and 1 TBSP of olive oil and 1.5 TBSP of vinegar. I put the lid on and shook it all up and set in the fridge to marinate all day. This makes 4 servings of the salad.

I heated the oven to 400° F.

To prep, I minced two cloves of garlic and sliced 1/2 of a sweet onion in thin slices on the mandoline.

With the mushrooms, first I washed them and scrubbed with a mushroom brush. I then cut off the stems. I diced the stems up and put them in a container to use for an omelet tomorrow morning. Using a spoon I scraped out the gills (they are edible but use the space I need for the stuffing). I rubbed a couple drops of olive oil on the top of the caps and put them top down in a baking pan.

In a bowl I put 6 oz of ground turkey, 1 tsp of ground sage, 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg, 1 TBSP dried parsleyand1/4 tsp of dry mustard and mixed them together thoroughly. I then spread half on the bottom of each mushroom cap.

I put them in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.

I then put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a saute pan and sauteed the onions and garlic until the onions turned golden brown. I added 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce and the juice of 1 lemon and let cook for an additional 2 minutes.

I removed the mushrooms from the oven and layered the onions on top. I then shredded about 1 oz of Parmesan on each mushroom and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Right at the end, I switched the oven to broil just until the cheese browned nicely.

The stuffed mushrooms had that hearty umame flavor that is so satisfying and the bit of tang from the Worcestershire and lemon was a perfect balance to the earthiness of the mushrooms. The light salad was a good complement to a hearty entree. If served with rice or pasta, I would serve one per person, but with just salad, two makes a meal.

 

 

 

Chicken & Pear Salad

Chicken & Pear Salad

I chopped up 5 almonds and put them on a dry skillet to toast.

Into a large salad bowl, I added the following ingredients:

  • 4 leaves from a head of butter lettuce, washed and tore into medium size pieces.
  • Thinly sliced pieces of cucumber off one end of a cuke, about 1.5 inches of slices.
  • 2 TBSP of diced red pepper.
  • 1/4 of Anjou pear, cut one into pieces.
  • 2 oz of cold chicken, sliced.
  • 3 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 oz of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 TBSP or so of dried cranberries

I mixed  together and squeezed a bit of fresh lemon on top, added 1 tsp of olived oil, a bit of fresh ground pepper, salt and then tossed the toasted almonds on top.

It’s a fabulous blend of fresh lettuce and cucumber, tart lemon,  cranberries and basil with sweet pear and red pepper, sharp feta, hearty chicken and of course, the high notes of toasted almonds to bring it all home.

Chicken Queso, Braised Red Cabbage & Cucumber Salad

I made the cucumber salad first because I wanted the dill weed to have plenty of time to permeate all of the yogurt and impart its springlike flavor to the entire salad. This is a super simple salad. Slice the cucumbers a thinly as possible. Spread the slices out in a pie plate and salt it. This will get some of the water out of the cucumber so the salad does not get soggy and watery. Transfer to a bowl, add the sliced onion, yogurt and dill. Cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

  • 1 cucumber sliced thin
  • salt
  • 3 TBSP thinly sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 TBSP dill weed
The Braised Cabbage Slaw is another make-ahead salad that just tastes better and better. Shred the cabbage thinly. Slice up about 1/3 of an onion. Dice one apple and you’re ready to start cooking.  Put olive oil in a skillet and add onions and soften them. Add the cabbage and apples. Let them start to cook and in a bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard and caraway seed. Mix together. Toss on the cabbage and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes until just tender, but still with some crisp. Enough liquid will come out of the cabbage to give you all the braising liquid you need. I know it will seem that you cannot possibly dress all the cabbage with so little dressing, but cabbage is so rich with liquid that you want to be light with the dressing and let the cabbage juices carry your dressing. The apricot I quartered on the side really loved the caraway vinegar dressing that was left on the plate after I ate the slaw.
  • 1/3 head of red cabbage, shredded thinly
  • 1/3 of an onion.
  • 1 apple
  • 1 TBSP of olive oil
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar (brown sugar if you have it)
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp caraway seed
At supper time, I made a chicken queso using chicken reserved from the chicken I stewed for soup. I put some green salsa in a saute pan and used it instead of oil or water to braise the chicken. When the chicken was nearly hot through, I added the cheese. On a griddle I was toasting the tortilla. I put the tortilla on the plate, added the chicken queso and tossed in a few sprigs of cilantro.
  • 4 oz stewed chicken
  • 1.5 ounces of cheddar and pepper jack cheese. (3/4 ounce of each)
  • 2 TBSP green salsa.
  • Cilantro