Fennel, Asparagus, Strawberry & Feta Salad with Grape Vinaigrette

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After making the Roasted Grape Vinaigrette, I was hungry for a salad. I tore up some Romaine lettuce leaves to form the base, shaved off a couple slices from a fennel bulb and chopped them up, shaved three asparagus spars with a peeler, sliced three strawberries (they were twice the length of regular strawberry) and layered it all on the lettuce. I added the Roasted Grape Vinaigrette, assed some salt and pepper and sprinkled with feta cheese (a bit more than usual because the package was so close to empty) and that was it.

The flavors are a good blend. The sweet strawberries are a delicious counter to the tangy feta, the fennel and asparagus complement each other and Romaine is always a good foundation. The vinaigrette is a perfect, sweet and tangy dressing.

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Lettuce Salad with Grapes, Feta, Almonds & Celery

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I had a huge and easy salad for lunch today. I made a big bed of chopped romaine lettuce. Here’s an easy tip for cleaning your lettuce to avoid contamination. Just put the uncut leaves in a bowl of white vinegar for a bit and then shake off the vinegar, it will kill more bacteria than rinsing under cold water and unlike hot water, will not make your lettuce limp.

While the lettuce is soaking in vinegar, you can toast a handful of almonds to chop and toss on top of the salad at the end.

I cleaned 1 stalk of celery, cut it in half lengthwise and then sliced both pieces on the diagonal. I placed that on top of the lettuce. I drizzled the dressing left over from making my grapefruit and asparagus salad yesterday. It makes a dark dressing and I thought the salad would just look better if it was mixed into the lettuce and celery rather than on top of the cheese and grapes.

  • grapefruit zest
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Then I sprinkled on some feta cheese, more than I intended because I was shaking some on and it would not come and not come and not come and then a whole bunch fell out at once. But it’s not like a little too much feta will ruin anything. I then tossed some red seedless grapes on top that I also rinsed in vinegar. I usually cut them in half, but I was feeling super hungry and in a hurry. It makes no difference to the flavor.

I sprinkled on the almonds and then generously sprinkled tajín on top of the salad. Use salt and pepper or any other spice blend you might like.

It has a nice mix of flavors and textures and brings in enough indulgence with the grapes, feta and almonds to be very satisfying.

 

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.

 

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.

Greek Salad with Spiced Beef

Beef Greek Salad

Whenever I finish frying up some meat, I add just enough water to deglaze the pan. Sometimes that goes into what I am making, but if not, I save it for the next meal and use it instead of oil to cook in. For this, I used the deglazed jus from the night before. I tossed in 3 oz of chopped roast beef and a mix of aromatic spices, just a pinch of them as this was such a small serving. I added some cardamom, sumac and oregano along with salt and pepper. Then I squeezed juice from half a lemon over it and stirred until the meat was cooked and most of the fluid was absorbed or evaporated.

While it cooked, I chopped up some romaine and spread it on a plate. I spread a couple tablespoons of feta on top of that and chopped up about 8 olives and tossed that on it. I added the hot cooked beef that had acquired a savory Middle Eastern flavor from the spices and then dressed the salad with Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette.

Beef & Mushroom Tortellini with Salad

Beef Mushroom Tortellini and Salad

I love to cook up a beef roast since I can cut it up for lots of quick little meals such as this Beef & Mushroom Tortellini. My best friend brought me a huge roast from her stockpile. She and her husband buy a whole cow each year directly from the farm and have it butchered for them, guaranteeing that they get grass-fed BGH-free beef at a reasonable price. I am an occasional benefactor and have to say, it’s much tastier than from the supermarket.

I started by sauteing onions and garlic. I think I start everything this way. I used about two 1/4 slices of onion and 1 clove of garlic. I then chopped up 1 large crimini mushroom and 3 ounces of roast beef which gave me roughly equivalent amounts of beef and mushroom. I tossed them in and added 2 TBSP of mustard and about 1 TBSP of water and put the lid on.

Meanwhile I started water boiling and added 1 cup of tortellini. When it was done, I strained it and tossed it in with the beef and folded it in. It was ready to serve.

While the tortellini cooked, I cut up a few romaine leaves, chopped up some olives and added about an ounce of feta with some of Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette. I swear by that dressing. It is so delicious and tangy. I don’t use it just for salad. Sometimes I will dress cooked veggies or pasta with it.

Romaine Salad with Raspberries, Pecans and Chevre

Summer Salad - Romaine, Raspberries and Chevre

Chevre was on sale at the grocery store and I bought a pound of it, looking forward to summer salads of fruit and lettuce with a bit of chevre and cheese. There really is no tastier cheese for a summer fruit and cheese salad. There also is almost no limit to the number of salads you can come up with, but for me, the tastiest is a mixture of raspberries, pecans and chevre with some romaine and raspberry vinaigrette.

First wash and shred the romaine, making a bed for your salad. Add  a handful of raspberries, a few pecans and a generous bit of chevre. I just dig it out with the tines of a fork. It’s so soft and creamy that slicing it seems silly. Sometimes I add some apple or pear slices, but today I went for a simpler salad. It’s so delicious with the sweet creaminess of the cheese blending with the sweet tartness of the berries to contrast with the freshness of the lettuce and the salty crunch of the pecans. Add a tart salad dressing like raspberry vinaigrette or a balsamic dressing and you’re in business.

Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers & Mango Shake

I mixed up a batch of Swedish Meatballs last night but forgot to snap a picture, I was that hungry when I was done. I will do a post about them next time I make them. The mixture makes plenty of meatballs for a few meals, so I only cooked up a portion, putting the rest in a baggie for other things – such as stuffing banana peppers.

The Meat Mix

  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 pound of ground beef, lean
  • 1 egg
  • 4 TBSP of bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp of cardamom
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 2 TBSP of dried parsley
Mix this all together and use it to order. I cut the tops off the peppers and cleaned them, heated them in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften them enough not to crack when stuffed. Stuffed the meat in, packing it in deeply, and putting the caps back on. I laid them on an ungreased pie plate and baked them 30 minutes in a 350° oven.
I served with a salad with some feta, olives, and Girard’s Greek Feta Dressing.
While the peppers were roasting, I cleaned a mango and put it in a magic bullet cup (you could use a blender), I squeezed the juice of half a lemon in with the mango and added 1/4 of plain yogurt. Adding a touch of fresh nutmeg, I whipped it until smooth, for a tart, fresh, summer drink.

Gyros Burger & Greek Salad

This is embarrassingly easy. New Seasons sells a fresh gyros lamb sausage. I bought 5 ounces and fried it in a burger shape on the skillet. For the bun, I combined three of the raw English Muffin dough pieces I had stored in the fridge and cooked on a griddle 10 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other. The sauce is 2 TBSP of plain yogurt, 1 TBSP of feta cheese, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. A one-minute sauce reminiscent of tsatziki.

The sald is made from three leaves of romaine, 1/2 ounce of feta, 6 olives, 1/4 of a Roma tomato and one green onion sliced finely. I added 1 TBSP of Greek-Feta Vinaigrette.

Chicken Wraps & Cheesy Sauteed Zucchini

You can make the chicken salad while the veggies cook. First chop up one clove of garlic and 3 thins slices off a large onion (about 3 TBSP) and soften in 1/2  TBSP of olive oil. Add 3 finely slice mushrooms and cook for a few minutes before adding 1 zucchini sliced fine. When it’s nearly done, add 1/4 of a Roma tomato chopped up, toss in 1 TBSP of dried dill weed and cover. Just before serving sprinkle 1 ounce of shredded or finely sliced cheddar cheese and cover for 30 seconds.

The salad is made with 2 ounces of cooked chicken (reserved from soup I made earlier) and 2 ounces of diced pink lady apples. I added 1/2 of a stalk of celery, 1 TBSP of sweet onion and about 2 tsp’s of diced red pepper and a sprig of cilantro. Then I squeeze 1/2 a lemon on it, some salt and pepper and 1 TBSP of plain yogurt.  I took 3 leaves of romaine and put them on the serving platter and heated them for 15 seconds in the microwave  so they would be flexible enough to be salad wraps, but still have fresh crunchiness in the texture.  I sliced wedges of the remaining apple and served on the side.