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Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

14 Jul

kale bacon

With a hankering for bacon and the idea to use kale as a vehicle, i was reminded of a warm bacon vinaigrette someone brought to a potluck dinner party i attended years ago. I didn’t have the recipe but googling brought me here, which i used as the basis for my dressing. This salad has countless add-ons and i have listed a few here. mine is reminiscent of those devils on horeseback- bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese (and sometimes almonds). Feel free to get creative. One thing that makes this salad so great– besides the obvious combination of bacon and dates–is that the warm of the dressing softens the kale just slightly.

One bunch lacinato kale (or can use curly)

5 slices decently thick cut bacon

dressing: 2 tablespoons chopped shallot (about half a shallot), 2 tsp light brown sugar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

add ons: cucumber. dates or dried cranberries. gorgonzola. apples. some kind of nut or seed. if you want to be indulgent, a sunny side up egg.

To make dressing: add bacon to cold frying pan. Cook on med-low heat until well done. move bacon to paper towel and reserve bacon fat. there should be about 3 tablespoons. you can add olive oil if you are shy of that. add shallot to bacon fat and saute a minute to soften. stir constantly. whisk in sugar, vinegar, and mustard. season with salt and pepper to taste.

The key to a good kale salad is thinly shredding the kale. to do so, take kale off the stalk, pile the leaves, roll up and cut thinly (chiffonade). Add your desired toppings including chopped up bacon. add enough to warm bacon vinaigrette to lightly coat. enjoy.



Salad Dressings

17 Jul

My mother used to make a dressing that i still love– simple simple– lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
At Dana C’s house– we used to have olive oil, balsamic and parmesan.
Salad dressing changes the flavor of the whole salad. So in additon to the ol’favorites– I’ve been trying out some new ones lately. What I love is how easy these are to make – just throw contents in jar and shake (except carrot ginger and caesar which require blenders). Super fast & fresh.

Butcher & Baker dressing
Ina’s red wine vinagrette
Chuck’s chopped salad dressing

Carrot Ginger dressing

I have long been major fan of ginger dressings– like you find at japanese restaurants. I found a bottled brand that i like– but after the earthquake, it was briefly discontinued. Though it came back- once you start making your own- it is hard to go back to buying.

a Real Simple Recipe. Reed sent me this recipe.
1 cup sliced carrots (about 2 large- or a handful of minis)
1 small shallot, sliced
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced [i grated it]
1/4 cup white miso [would recommend sticking w. white- but i used mostly red miso and worked fine]
2 tablespoons rice [wine] vinegar [reed says sometimes uses a splash of white vinegar and water]
3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup canola oil [i used grapeseed oil][reed uses mostly lemon juice instead of oil]

Place the carrots, shallot, ginger, miso, vinegar, and sesame oil in a blender. [i used my immersion blender and the smoothie/measuring cup it came with.] Blend, scraping down the sides as necessary, until very finely chopped, about 1 minute.
Add the canola oil and blend until nearly smooth, about 30 seconds. If necessary, thin the dressing with up to 2 tablespoons water. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Tastes great on raw kale!

Honey-Tahini dressing– i usually halve the recipe below. Came across this one on good ol’google. It is from
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

combine all in a small bowl, jar or blender. and salt and pepper.
[a strange thing happens when you make this- it starts w. half liquid, half tahini- and the second you shake it up it gets super thick. i usually thin with a tablespoon of water or so before putting on salad- to reach dressing consistency again]

Cobb Salad

19 Jun

Made this salad for Father’s day brunch. It is all about assembly and presentation. Not only are the rows pretty- but they allow people to only take the ingredients they like. Eggs are on the side- b/c pops things they are yucky. Served this as side salad for 5… and scaled down some of the ingredients below (half pint of tomatoes, 4 hb eggs)- but if you are serving for a big party- by all means, do it all. Saw this recipe on Chuck’s Day Off. He is so dreamy.  Oh- and the dressing is awesome- could use for anything.

And by the way- if you didn’t get the memo already– it’s Cold-Brewed Ice Coffee season!

A Chuck Hughes recipe.

8 slices thick-cut bacon, cubed [used regular bacon
2 cups watercress
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled sliced [boil water, submerge eggs for 11 mins. remove to cold water bath to cool]
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and cubed
2 tomatoes, cubed [subbed pint cherry tomatoes]
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges [used boston lettuce]
salt and fresh ground pepper

2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire, sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
salt and freshly ground pepper

For salad:
Skillet Method: Cook the bacon in a large skillet over med heat until crisp, about 10 minutes.
OR the Oven Method: line a rimmed baking sheet w. foil. Lay bacon. Put in cold oven. turn on and cook 17-20 minutes.
Transfer to paper towels to

For dressing:
Bowl method: In a small bowl, using a fork, mix the egg yolks into the mustard to make a paste. Whisk in the maple syrup, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil to form a thick dressing. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water to loosen it up if necessary- [was not necessary for me]. Whisk in the chives. Season with salt and pepper.
OR my Jar Method: Do egg/mustard paste as above. Add maple, vinegar and worestershire- mix w. fork. Add oil. Put lid on and shake vigoursly. Then fork mix in salt/pepper/chives.

To serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad [or serve on side].

Greek Panzanella

4 Jun

Made this massive summer salad a couple years ago when I had some friends out to the beach house. Sigh, those were the days. Panzanella is generally an italian-  tomato and stale bread based salad. But this Ina Garten is like an enchanced greek version. Would be great for picnics- summer bbqs etc.

A Barefoot Contessa Recipe
1 hothouse cucumber [those long ones wrapped in plastic], unpeeled, seeded [cut cucumber in half lengthwise, take a small spoon and run it down the center, scooping out the seeds— this makes the salad less watery], and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved [grocery store was out- so begrudgingly used plum tomatoes– scooped and seeded out the middle]
1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes [i just crumble some]
1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted [i leave pitts in, just cause I like it that way]

olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) [i used a multigrain loaf]
kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

Croutons. 2 choices here. Ina Stovetop Method: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed. [The first time I made this, I had a bit of a struggle– pan was too small, pile of bread too big- so not toasting- and I had to split into 2 pans. So I’d suggest only single layer of bread. OR Tessa Oven Method: Preheat oven to 400. Toss bread, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Spread in single layer and toast until golden– about 15 minutes

Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl [legit large- this makes a giant salad].

Ina way: For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Tessa way: put all contents in a mason jar, shake vigorously. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Spinach Avocado Grapefruit Salad

31 May

I almost forgot how much I love this refreshing salad- so perfect for summer. Comes together in about 5 minutes. I used to make it before my Snacko Backo days– in the w. village apartment. Seriously, so easy. Make it now. And share it with your friends. As I did once w. ms. beezy burgess— to whom I send a special congrats– for grad school graduation!!
This recipe comes from Moosewood Low-Fat Vegetarian Cookbook
5 oz fresh spinach
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 grapefruit
1 avocado
salt and pepper to taste.
Rinse the spinach and spin or gently pat dry [ever tell you how much i love my salad spinner? totally worth the $$- small one]. Tear spinach into desired size. In large bowl, mix together spinach, oil, garlic– toss well and set aside.
Peel, seed and section the grapefruit- putting grapefruit and its juice into a small bowl [i have this super handy serrated grapefruit spoon- so you can just cut the grapefruit crosswise and dig out the good stuff].Chop up the avocado and add into the bowl- gently mixing together. Add them to spinach salad bowl. Sprinkle w. salt & pepper to taste.
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