Salad with Chicken, Grapes and Pear with Tarragon Pear Vinaigrette

Pear & Chicken Salad

I made the vinaigrette while chopping the ingredients for the salad.

In a small sauce pan, I added 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced. I let the onions sauté until they were tender. Meanwhile, I cleaned and chopped 4 leaves of romaine lettuce, 1 small stalk of celery, a handful of green grapes (1/2 or so) and about 1/2 cup of cooked chicken (removed from a roast I made earlier in the week).

I also chopped up a Bosc pear. It had ripened unevenly, so only a portion was ripe and the rest was not. This happened to inspire the dish. I had planned to just chop the pear up on the salad and add some oil and balsamic vinegar. But now I needed to do something with the stubbornly unripened part of the pear. I put the ripe chunks of pear on the salad. The rest I reserved for the salad dressing. I added a bit of pepper and finished up the vinaigrette.

So now my onions are nice and soft. I added the stripped off leaves from two tarragon stems. Then I added the chopped up pieces of pear. I let them sauté for a bit before adding the fresh-squeezed juice from 1 lemon and a bit of salt. I continued to let them simmer until tender and then mashed the pears up with my fork. I thought about pureeing the mix, but was too hungry to get my Magic Bullet out and puree. So, i just mashed a bit with a fork and added 2 TBSP of white wine vinegar – I went by taste more than volume, adding until it was light and fresh. Then, just for a bit of color and earthiness, i added about 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh parsley.

This is a subtly flavored vinaigrette. The pear adds a mellow sweetness, the onion a bit of heat, the lemon brightens it up and the tarragon is just heaven brought down to earth and infuse in a plant. The white wine vinegar just marries all those flavors into a wonderfully light vinaigrette. This made enough for 4 large salads, so i dressed the salad I made and stored the remaining vinaigrette for some more lovely salads.




Lettuce Salad with Corn Salsa Vinaigrette

Lettuce Salad with Corn Salsa Dressing

I always check the specials when ordering my groceries for home delivery. This last week, Safeway gave away a free large package of precut lettuce salad with carrots and cabbage just for typing in a code during checkout.  Normally, I prefer romaine to iceberg, but I don’t hate iceberg lettuce and free is free. For this salad, I put a handful of salad mix in a bowl after rinsing and squeezing it dry. I don’t know if it’s the plastic bag or the water the salad is prepped in, but there’s an unpleasant flavor to bagged lettuce that improves with a quick rinse.

The salad mix is the bed for this salad and I layered on a few additions. I put about 1 TBSP of black beans I had drained and rinsed. I also added 2 tsp of sliced black olives. I grated 1 oz of pepper jack cheese using a larger grater.

Now it is time for the dressing. Trader Joe’s makes this phenomenal corn & chili salsa without tomatoes. It’s amazing! I thought I could make a decent salad dressing by mixing 1 TBSP of corn salsa with 2 tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of white vinegar. I added a bit of salt because the salsa is a tad sweet. I dressed the salad and peppered to taste.

This is an easy salad and has a great flavor. The cheese adds a mellow creaminess that contrasts nicely with the sweet heat of the salsa vinaigrette. The beans and corn make it a bit toothsome and the olives add an earthy base.

Thanksgiving Waldorf

Thanksgiving Waldorf Salad

This is not a traditional Waldorf salad, but using it as my inspiration, I made a delightful post-Thanksgiving turkey salad.

Chop up 1 apple (Gala) and 1 celery stalk. Chop 4 oz of turkey white meat. Add an ounce or so of dried cranberries and about 6 almonds, sliced in half and toasted. Mix together and dress with 1 TBSP of mayonnaise and the juice from half a fresh lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I think walnuts or pecans would have been meatier and better in the salad than the almonds, but it was still delicious. The dried cranberries add a tart sweetness that is even tastier than grapes.

Grapefruit and Pecan Salad

Grapefruit & Pecans Salad

This is a delicious dinner salad. Rinse and chop about half a head of romaine lettuce, making a bed for the rest of your salad. In a dry skillet, lightly toast pecans. Supreme one grapefruit, using a knife, cut the skin off a red grapefruit and segment it. Cut thin slices of red onion and break into circles that you quarter into small strips. Take 8 olives or so and chop them. Toss all on the lettuce. Splash with some walnut oil and balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

It’s kind of amazing how delicious grapefruit and olives are together. Adding toasted pecans just makes it heavenly.

Salad with Egg Dressing

Salad with Egg Dressing

Rinse and chop up 4 leaves of romaine lettuce. Slice two thin slices from a Spanish onion and break into fine circles and scatter over the lettuce. Slice 3 oz of ham and spread on top of the onions. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil and splash a bit of balsamic over everything. Meanwhile, poach an egg and place it on top. Add some salt and pepper and serve. When eating, break the yolk and mix it well with the oil and vinegar. Yummy!

This is great comfort food and irresistibly delicious.

How to Poach an Egg.

Put an inch of water in a small skillet and bring to a near boil. Add a dash of vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl and transfer the egg to the simmering water. Use a slotted spoon to push the white together and put a lid on it and remove from the heat. Check it in 4 minutes to see if it’s done. It should be, but if you like it a little more done, just keep the lid on a bit longer. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the egg from the skillet.

Wilted Lettuce

Wilted Lettuce

I chopped up two slices of bacon and put them on medium heat to fry. I sliced 1/2 of a medium yellow onion and added to the bacon. I then added 2 minced garlic cloves and continued cooking until the onions were transparent. Meanwhile I chopped up 2 cups of romaine lettuce and tossed them into the pan and stirred. I let cook just until slightly wilted, but not limp – about a minute. I squeezed the juice of one lemon on top added salt and fresh ground pepper and served.

Salad with Pears, Red Onions, Mint and Toasted Almonds


In preparation, I sliced a red onion on the mandoline at the thinnest possible setting and put them in a container to use in multiple dishes. I took a small handful to use in this salad – perhaps 2 TBSP total. I also sliced a pear at the medium setting, saving about 2/3rds for later and using 1/3rd in the salad. I grabbed a small handful of almonds, cut them in half lengthwise and toasted them on medium-high heat. I cleaned three stems of mint, stripping off the leaves and chopping them finely.

I cleaned and chopped 4 leaves of romaine lettuce and layered it on a platter. I then layered the red onion and the pears. I sprinkled the mint leaves and the toasted almonds on top. I drizzled about 1 TBSP of olive oil and about 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar on top. Some fresh ground pepper and salt and it was done.

The onion was important to balance the sweetness of the pear and the almonds gave it some necessary heartiness. I had originally planned to include chevre but the pear was so very ripe and sweet that I decided against it. It’s a new variety of pear for me called Taylors Gold and it is deliciously sweet and an idea fresh eating pear or for sauces and jams, but perhaps a bit tender for salads. Nonetheless, it didn’t break apart in the salad or turn to mush. As for flavor, it could not possibly be tastier.

Caramelized Grapefruit Salad with Bacon, Almonds and Chevre

Caramelized Grapefruit Salad

With half a grapefruit left from yesterday’s salad, I knew I wanted to try out something different. I thought about broiling the grapefruit for a nice char, but decided to save that for some another day. Instead I decided to caramelize them in a saute pan. But let’s start at the beginning.

I cut away all the pith and peel and sectioned the grapefruit with a knife. I also chopped a small handful of almonds – perhaps 10 or so and let them sit on the cutting board while I cooked bacon.

I fried two slice of bacon in a skillet until well done. When they were crispy and browned, I removed them to a paper towel, patted them dry and cut them into small pieces.

While the was frying, I put the almonds in a small saute pan with no grease that I had heated on med-high. I shook the pan so the almonds didn’t blacken, but toasted evenly. As soon as they were toasted, I slid them out of the pan back onto the cutting board. I put 2 teaspoons of sugar  in the same pan and tossed the grapefruit segments in, swirling them around as the sugar melted and caramelized on the segments. I used lemon sugar I made last winter because I had it on hand, but regular sugar is fine. As soon as the grapefruit began to get brown on the edges (caramelizing) I turned them out into a bowl to rest.

I chopped 3 leaves of romaine lettuce and made a bed of it on the platter. I then laid down the crumbled bacon followed by the grapefruit. I sprinkled about 1 oz of chevre cheese over that and then added the toasted almonds. I drizzled 2 TSP of olive oil and about 1.5 tsp of balsamic vinegar over everything and grated some fresh pepper on top and it was done.

The bacon and caramelized grapefruit were made for each other, add the rich chevre and the nutty bacon and fruity smokiness of the balsamic – this was a delicious salad that I know I will make again.

Spring Strawberry Salad

Strawberries, Apple and Chevre Salad

It’s springtime and there were fresh strawberries at New Seasons. I decided to make a lovely salad with it.

I washed and tore up 5 romaine leaves to make a bed for the salad. I sliced up half a Gala apple and layered it over the lettuce. Then I cut two strawberries up and made a layer with them. I crumbled up about 1 ounce of chevre on top of that and tossed on a few toasted almonds. To dress the salad, I squeezed some lemon juice on top with a splash of olive oil. A bit of fresh grated pepper finished it off.

It’s fresh, sweet and the fruit and chevre are a perfect combination. The tartness of the lemon and pepper balance the flavors.