Cucumber Grapefruit Salad

Cucumber Grapefruit Salad

So I got my very first box of produce from Imperfect Produce and decided to make something with the cucumber, grapefruit, green onions, and cilantro I ordered. I had this idea…

I took a half of a cucumber and peeled it, cutting it into quarters so I could easily remove the seeds. Then i chopped into 1/2 inch bites.

I supremed one small grapefruit, cutting off the pith and peels and cutting the segments free.

I chopped two green onions and about 8 pieces of cilantro. I mixed this all in a bowl with some salt and pepper, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes (just a few flakes!) and 1 tsp of maple syrup (good maple syrup!). Shake it up a bit and serve. Makes one serving.

I kind of thought the maple syrup would make magic and it did. There’s just the tiniest bit of heat and a hint of sweetness, perfectly tempered by the freshness of the cucumber and the bright zesty grapefruit. This was so good I wish I had made double.

Now about Imperfect Produce. A friend forwarded the site to me on Facebook, knowing that I have to be careful about spending and how I rely heavily on the Oregon Food Bank’sHarvest Share to have enough vegetables since the regular food banks are heavy on carbs. I decided to give it a try because saving money and saving the environment sound like a good plan to me. Below are the results. As you can see, my imperfect produce is not that imperfect, I see a little dent in the cucumber, but nope, not that imperfect. They are incredibly fresh. I ate the first grapefruit just as a fruit and ended up with grapefruit juice everywhere. It was delightfully messy. And look how much I saved!

Imperfect Produce

I saved a lot



Carrot Salad

I made a sandwich using a delicious carrot salad. The sandwich is definitely not vegan, but the salad is. I ate it both as a salad and as a sandwich slaw. It worked great for both.

4 carrots, peeled and sliced using the peeler into lots of thin strips

8 green onions, chopped into small pieces.

Mix together with 1 TBSP of olive oil and 2 TBSP of rice vinegar,

Add salt, pepper, and a tsp of red pepper flakes. Cover and shake. Store in the fridge overnight for the flavors to soak into the carrots.

It’s a bright and tart salad. Carrots are sweet, so they balance the heat of the red pepper flakes and the tart vinegar and the bite of the onions beautifully. They add a nice bit of crunch and freshness to this sandwich.

Salad with Earl Grey Pork Roast, Pears, Celery, Cabbage and Cherries

Earl Grey Pork Roast Salad with Pears, Cherries

I have some leftover Earl Grey’s Roast Pork in the fridge. Yes, I did roast pork despite the heat wave; I just got up at 5:30 A.M. yesterday and roasted it in the early morning while the world was cool. I was thinking of what to fix for lunch and thought that with all that flavor, it must be delicious in a salad. I started thinking of what might work with it and just pulled stuff from the fridge and started chopping. The result was delicious, so rich in flavor and fragrance and worthy of several remakes. In fact, when I finished, I thought about making it again right away.

  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Bosc pear, sliced thinly and cut in thirds
  • 1/2 cup of finely cut cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of celery, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup of Earl Grey’s pork roast, sliced thinly and cut in thirds
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

So, I started out chopping green onion, adding the pear, cabbage, celery and roast pork. I squeezed the juice from one lemon, stirred, added some salt and pepper and tasted. I thought it needed a bit more sweetness, the pear not strong enough to counter the lemon’s tartness. So I added some cherries. I tasted again and it was tasty, but thought just the little bit of rich fatty flavor from the feta would ground it so I sprinkled in some feta and a bit more salt and pepper. It was perfect.

The flavor and fragrance of Earl Grey is delicious and subtle. I was doubtful when I first tried roasting it and was amazed by how delicious it made the pork roast, tastier than any pork roast I have ever had. It seemed possible that it could work in a salad if there were enough subtly flavored ingredients (cabbage, celery, pears) to absorb and reflect the flavor of the tea.

That is what is so fun about cooking, taking an idea, running with it to see if it might work and then fine-tuning it to get a fabulous dish.

This made one serving. But it is so good, you will want to eat two, so consider doubling the recipe.

Spicy Black Bean and Bulgur Salad

Black Bean Bulgur Spicy Corn Salsa Salad

This was another easy to prepare and flavorful salad I made ahead for some company coming over for brunch.

In the morning, I added 1 cup of boiling water to 2/3 cup of bulgur in a one quart plastic bowl with a lid. I sealed the lid and left for later. In a few minutes the wheat absorbed all the water and it was ready. I stuck it in the fridge for later when I would mix up the salad.

I drained a 15 oz can of black beans, rinsing all the liquid off and let them drain in a strainer while I chopped up the veggies.

I chopped 3 green onions, 1/2 of a red pepper and a bunch of cilantro. I also quartered 8 cherry tomatoes. I mixed them all in with the bulgur, added the beans and 1 cup of corn salsa. I squeeze 2 fresh limes, added a dash of salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp of cumin and it was ready for prime time.

It’s a flavor fiesta – spicy, sweet, crunchy and toothsome. The corn salsa adds just the right amount of heat. This made one quart of salad – all in the original container – so it also meant very little cleanup – a strainer and a knife.

Omelette with Scapes, Green Onions and Sour Cream

Scapes Omelette

Spring means fresh garlic scapes – a delicious and transient treat to look forward to each year. Because their season is so short, you have to take full advantage of it. So, I decided to have scapes for breakfast.

Scapes can be a little tough if they are not well cooked, so I cooked them before putting them in the omelette. I cut the tops off three scapes and 2 green onions. I sliced the scapes down the center and then chopped the scapes and green onions into pieces about 1.5 – 2 inches long. I heated 1/2 tbsp of butter in a small pan and sautéed the scapes and green onions with salt and pepper until they changed color. Then I added just enough water to cover them and let them simmer for about five minutes until tender. I drained the fluid off and let them rest before adding them to the omelette.

For the omelette, I used three eggs which I whisked 2 tbsp of water and 1/4 tsp of paprika because its smokiness will complement the garlic. I heated my griddle to 250° F and melted as little butter as possible to coat the surface. I poured the omelette mixture and let cook.

I did not add salt. Salt is good on fried eggs, eggs sunny side up, eggs over easy , but for scrambled eggs and omelettes – when the yolk is mixed with the whites, salt will make the eggs get tougher and rubbery. No salt makes tender eggs .Add the salt when you are done.

I spread the scapes and green onions over the omelette mixture and dropped two small dollops of sour cream on top. Then using a thin piece of wood (a lefse turner) I rolled the omelette up. You can use a very thin spatula, but I love my lefse turner.

I make omelettes on a lefse griddle. It’s hard to go wrong with such precise temperature control and all the space in the world for the omelette to spread out thin. The edges are shallow, so it’s easy to lift the edges of the omelette for turning – with no sides of a fry pan interfering with your ability to get under the omelette.

The blend of garlic scapes, green onions and sour cream was delicious and the hint of paprika smoke was perfect.

Cucumber & Potato Soup



Well, WordPress ate all the text, so I am reposting. This is a delicious and subtle soup that can be thrown together in 20 minutes, perfect for a lazy lunch.

Peel and dice 2 potatoes. Toss in a soup kettle with 2 cups of water and let boil until tender.

Meanwhile, peel and dice one medium cucumber or half an english cucumber. Scoop out the seeds before chopping. Dice up one or two green onions – totally depends on your love of onion. It adds a bit of bite and I like it so I used two. I also prepped 1 cup of milk from nonfat dry milk powder. You can use regular milk. I just use milk so seldom that I never buy milk and mix up what I need.

When the potatoes are tender, remove from heat and mash. You can use a blender or chinois or simply elbow grease. I mashed. Then I whisked in 1 TBSP of butter to give it some fat – since I am using nonfat milk. You can also use cream if you want richer soup. Add the cucumbers and onions and return to heat on medium and let cook about 5 minutes until tender. Add 1 tsp of dill weed and 2 TBSP of feta. The feta is completely optional. I like the sourness it adds. You can also get sourness by using buttermilk, but believe me, if I don’t keep milk on hand, I also don’t keep buttermilk on hand. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and serve.

This makes 2 bowls, but soup always tastes better reheated, so you want that second bowl. It has delicious earthiness from the potatoes with a freshness from the cucumbers and dill, while the onions add zest and the feta adds a sourness that is so good with the creamy milk potato goodness of the broth.

Pea Shoots Salad

Pea Shoots Salad

Nothing says spring like some fresh pea shoots. They can be harvest after just a couple of weeks, far sooner than peas, so they are always an early harbinger of all the good fresh veggies that are soon to come. They are no more expensive than good lettuce and can be served fresh or cooked. For this simple salad, I chopped a handful of almonds and lightly toasted in a dry pan.

While the almonds toasted, I cleaned and lightly chopped about 12 pea shoots, pulling the big leaves off the stems and only using the stems from the tender tendrils at the top. I then sliced about 4 slices off a chunk of parmesan cheese using a vegetable peeler. I added a few slices off the top of a green onion. I cut a lemon in half and squeezed some juice from half the lemon, added a few teaspoons of olive oil, some fresh ground pepper and salt.

The flavors are fresh and the mix of bright lemon tartness with the sweetness of pea shoots and the heartiness of toasted almonds and the bit of bite from the onions is irresistible.

Chicken Lettuce Rollups and Roasted Green Beans


I washed the green beans and let them dry in a colander. Meanwhile I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in the bottom of my paella pan. I tossed the green beans on top and spread them around with my finger, swirling them in the oil so they were completely covered. I poured about 1 tsp of kosher salt into my hand and sprinkled it directly on the beans. I put the pan in the oven on Broil.

For the chicken salad, I took about 4 oz of chicken (I had pulled this off the bone of a chicken I stewed for soup over the weekend) and cut it up into chunks about the size of a grape. I added 10 grapes, 5 pecans cut in half and about 1/3 of an apple cut into similar sized chunks. I took one green onion and chopped it up small and added that. Then I put 2 tbsp o mayo, a tsp of mustard and the juice from half a lemon together with some dry tarragon and mixed together to dress the salad. I heated two romaine leaves in the microwave for 20 seconds to make them tender enough to roll without cracking, but still crispy enough to taste good.  I put the lettuce on the plate, cutting a notch down the length of the stem so it rolls more easily, dished the salad in the middle and rolled it up like a burrito before eating. It was messy, but delicious and so fresh tasting this time of year.

Cuban Bean Salad

Okay, this is not my recipe and not a single serving. I use the Kraft Cuban Bean Salad recipe and just cut the dressing in half. They make too much dressing and it’s a bit oily with all the olive oil. By cutting the sauce in half, I get a tasty salad that is not overdressed.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp.  white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1   fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups  chopped Dill Pickles
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can  (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 1 stalk  celery, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2   green onions, sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
Mix oil, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, jalapeno pepper and oregano in large bowl until well blended. Add the other ingredients, stir and refrigerate. You can serve in a couple hours, but it gets better and better. Makes about 3 pounds of salad. You can double the beans and still have a tasty salad.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Roast Pork, Curried Root Vegetables & Caramelized Pecans

This was another quick from start to finish meal, taking about 20 minutes total. When I made the pork roast yesterday, I reserved the liqueur enriched roast juices in a container. I put about 1/4 cup of those juices in a skillet with 6 mushrooms washed and quartered and 3 slices of pork roast cut into inch size bites (about 4 oz.) I brought it to a simmer and left my wooden spoon in the skillet to stir occasionally.

Turning my attention to the salad, I chopped 1 stalk of celery, 6 baby carrots, 1/4 cup of green onion bulbs and 4 radishes. I added 2 tablespoons of the curried yogurt from lunch and a teaspoon of soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

I put my small nonstick pan on the small burner on medium high. Melting 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar with a pinch of powdered cardamom, I stirred until the mix began to caramelize when I tossed in 1/2 cup of pecans and stirred until the pecans were covered and then turned it out onto parchment paper. It made 1/2 cup – enough for 4 desserts.

Now the mushrooms are done and all that was left was to plate with some fresh watermelon for something fresh and colorful.