Category Archives: salad

things I like: sweet potato + pomegranate salad by love & lemons


photo credit Love & Lemons

This salad was featured on Love & Lemons right after Christmas. Isn’t it PRETTY?!  I’ve made it so often that my husband politely asked when we might try something new.  Never.  The correct answer is: never.  I am utterly addicted.  For quick assembly, I typically prep all of the ingredients at the beginning of the week.  Chop and roast the sweet potato, then store it in the fridge.  Make a big batch of the dressing to use throughout the week (or just use your favorite balsamic or champagne vinaigrette).  Trader Joe’s carries shelled pistachios – just chop ’em up and toss ’em in.  And, if you are not a big feta fan (my husband is not), you can easily substitute soft crumbled goat cheese.

My favorite part of the prep is the pomegranate. I refrigerate the seeds in an airtight container, and use them all week long.  There are many ways to de-seed a pomegranate (I have a friend who swears by the under water method), but I  prefer to beat the hell out of it with a wooden spoon.  Cheap therapy.  Here is a great video of Martha getting the job done…just make sure to wear an apron, because girlfriend is not kidding – it is messy business.   Enjoy!

click here for RECIPE


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SOUTHWESTERN SALAD w/ a side of book club

This is a salad that I brought to book club a few months ago, and have neglected to post.  Oops.

It’s great served with tortilla soup or corn chowder.  If it’s a work night,  shred up a rotisserie chicken and make it a meal.

serves 4 (as a side)
2 cups green lettuce, roughly chopped
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 oz crumbled goat cheese OR cotija cheese
*more options: shredded jicama, tortilla strips, diced avocado

makes about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeds removed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
the juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
Process ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth.  (I use the chopper attachment on  my Cuisinart Smart Stick for this).

Some of our favorite book club selections (in no particular order) have included:
1.  The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
2.  Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Verghese (I struggled through the middle of this book, but powered through)
3.  Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See (of the three in the series, I preferred Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)
4.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (I loved all three)
5.  Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay

Next week, we are discussing My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor.  If you have the time, watch her video on TED–it’s fascinating!  Not sure what’s next up, but I’m dying to read Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  Had your nose buried in a good book lately?  Send me your recommendations!

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Now that the sun has decided to grace us with its presence, we have an abundance of ripe strawberries in our garden.  There is nothing like eating a berry that is fresh off the vine, still warmed by the sun.  Because they seem to ripen at exactly the same time, we have a bit of “strawberry-palooza” at the moment.  Part of the fun of gardening is figuring out creative ways to use an overabundance of produce (I will be getting creative with my butternut squash this year also, as it decided to re-seed itself all over the place).  THIS is the salad that I will be eating in MASS quantities all summer: Green Salad with Strawberries, Maple Glazed Walnuts, Blue Cheese, and Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette from Pinch My Salt’s blog.  I made it for a barbecue last weekend, and have had it two more times since then (today is Tuesday, btw).  The real challenge when preparing this salad is controlling the urge to eat ALL of the maple glazed walnuts off the cookie sheet before they make it into the salad. (I’m happy to report that a few of them survived long enough to make it into the bowl)  Enjoy! 

(ABOVE PHOTO by Matt Klee)

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Prior to  my sister-in-law’s help with my first garden, I was convinced that my thumbs were black.  Fortunately, she helped me to see that this is NOT the case…they happen to be quite green actually (this comes as a tremendous shock to my mother…and pretty much everyone who knows me).   Picking lunch (and dinner) has become my new favorite thing to do.

Lately my salad of choice has been a Thai chicken salad.  I just picked the ingredients pictured above and am happy to report that in a month, I will only be required to purchase two things for this salad: the chicken and the dressing.  I’m not in the habit of buying bottled dressings, as I much prefer homemade.   However, Trader Joe’s (LOVE) Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette has become a staple in my fridge, as have their frozen breaded chicken breast tenders.  To make this salad, toss together: mixed greens, shredded carrots, chopped peanuts, basil, mint, cilantro and chives with the chicken and the peanut vinaigrette–it’s fresh and packed with flavor. 

I’m also looking forward to a long summer of caprese salads with tomatoes and basil from the garden.  I toss it with the following balsamic vinaigrette:   

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE (*these are approximations, alter amounts to your preference) 
WHISK together: 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper

My other salad fave is the good old iceberg lettuce with green onion, candied walnuts, and blue cheese dressing.  Again, I tend to eyeball the ingredients, but this one is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.  

MASH together: 
1 1/2 cups blue cheese
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 crushed garlic clove
mix in: 
1/2 cup sour cream or whole fat plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons mayo
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper

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VIETNAMESE RICE NOODLE SALAD the best international recipe

This recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, The Best International Recipe, developed by America’s Test Kitchen.  Any creation by ATK is considered a Bible in my kitchen.  I’m especially excited about this Best Recipe book as we are starved for international cuisine here in the Gorge.  Merely writing about this recipe makes me drool–the combination of fresh ingredients is heavenly. The book calls for broiling the pork tenderloin, but because the prep is tedious and time consuming, I typically roast the pork and slice it over the salad.  Either way, it is delish.  Happy eating….

GLAZE:  1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 TBSP mirin, 1 TBSP rice vinegar, 1 TBSP honey. WHISK together in a small bowl and set aside.  

REMOVE the silver skin with a knife.  DRY the tenderloin with paper towels, salt and pepper.  HEAT one tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat until just smoking.  BROWN the tenderloin for approximately 2 minutes per side, until it is browned all the way around.  TRANSFER pork to a baking dish.  GLAZE the meat.  BAKE on the middle rack at 450 degrees for 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through until instant read thermometer registers 135 degrees.  TENT the pork with foil, on a separate plate, and let rest for 10 minutes.  SLICE into bite sized pieces.

2/3 cup fish sauce (* I decrease this amount slightly, depending on the “fishiness” of the sauce)
1/2 cup warm water
3 limes, squeezed
5 TBSP sugar
1-3 minced thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, seeds and ribs removed (*depends on your heat preference)
2 crushed garlic cloves
WHISK until sugar dissolves and set aside. 

3 large carrots, shredded
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (*plus extra for topping) 
1 minced thai, serrano, or jalapeno chile, seeds and ribs removed
8 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
4 cups red or green lettuce, sliced thin
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil (* use Thai basil if you can)
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint
TOSS carrots, cucumber, chile, and peanuts with 1/4 cup dressing, set aside.

BOIL 4 qts of water, remove from heat.  ADD noodles and let stand until tender, 5-10 minutes.  DRAIN and transfer to a larger bowl.  LAYER with carrot-cucumber mixture, lettuce, herbs.  POUR half of remaining dressing over the mixture and toss to combine.  DIVIDE among four serving bowls, top with pork and additional peanuts.  CHOW down. 

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