Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

08 July 2015

Basilicious Corn & Tomato Pasta Salad

I made this simple corn salad for a coworker's picnic using leftover roasted corn and basil from my garden. Since there's nothing in this salad that requires refrigeration, I feel it's fine left out on the counter for a good while, but I understand food safety folks may not agree so ymmv.

My go-to roasted corn recipe is to place the ears, trimmed but still in their husks, straight onto the rack of a 400°F oven and cook them for about 20 minutes or until they look pretty brown and the kitchen smells like corn. (Time really depends on number and size of ears, so you do have to keep an eye on them).

As a time saver, you can find bags of frozen roasted corn at most grocery stores and thaw them for use in this salad. Also, I used garlic vinegar (because GARLIC), but you could probably use white wine vinegar with equally good results.

Basilicious Corn & Tomato Pasta Salad

Yield: 6


  • 3 cups roasted corn (about 4 ears)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup diced grape tomatoes
  • 3 oz mini farfalle (tiny bow tie) noodles, cooked as directed for al dente
  • Generous palmful of basil, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp garlic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, gently tossing to coat well. Cover and let rest for about an hour or refrigerate until ready to serve.

While the little bit of leftovers was still pretty tasty the next day, I wouldn't recommend making this too far ahead because it simply tasted best the day of. If you are going to make this hours ahead, stir the basil in just before serving, because otherwise it wilt and lose its bright color.

03 July 2015

Repurposed Picnic Leftovers or "Hide It In Salad"

Is there anything sadder looking than a picked over vegetable tray the day after a picnic? Usually, I chop up whatever remains and throw it into a "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" tossed salad for lunch, but it was still the weekend and The Husband needed feeding, too, and salad is not really his favorite kind of supper. Happily, I had a box of Betty Crocker's "Classic" Suddenly Salad and knew he'd go for that ... appropriately amended with picnic leftovers.

I prepared the salad according to the directions on the box, then stirred in leftover grilled chicken, guacamole, salsa, lime juice, cilantro, chopped peppers, grape tomatoes, and onion. When I served it, I topped each portion with shredded cheddar, crushed tortilla chips, and more salsa.

Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good salad for something that started out as a box mix, but I think it could have benefited from the addition of black beans and corn.

17 June 2015

Quick White Bean Salad

I first made this bean salad for our Memorial Day picnic, because I knew we were going to stuff ourselves with burgers and deviled eggs so should probably pack a healthy side. Also, I wanted something mayonnaise-free that could sit on out on a warm picnic table in the woods for a bit without becoming intestinally exciting.

Anyway, it was so good that I've made it several times since. It's a very simple recipe and works well with other herbs, so feel free to use whatever you have too much of in the garden! I especially like it with fresh dill.

Quick White Bean Salad

Yield: 4


  • 15-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • Generous handful finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Small palmful finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp garlic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Combine beans, onion, celery, parlsey, and rosemary in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a measuring cup or small bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over bean mixture, tossing to coat. Cover and chill for several hours.

12 June 2015

Burger Salad Bowl

I have no proper recipe for this burger salad bowl -- although you can find lots of variations on Pinterest -- just take the toppings you usually love on a burger and put them on your salad. I used chopped pickles, red onion, and tomatoes on a mix of sweet butter and red leaf lettuce. I was craving "special sauce," but was too lazy to make it from scratch so I dressed the salad with its bastard cousin, low-calorie thousand island dressing.

Delicious with Little Penguin cabernet sauvignon.
Frankly, this salad was pretty fabulous and I look forward to making another one soon. Maybe with a little bacon and homemade "special sauce" spiked with sriracha?

05 June 2015

Pasta Salad Season Continues

I threw this quick pasta salad together Sunday night so we'd have something quick and cool to eat after a long, hot Monday. It's not particularly fancy -- more of a "garbage" salad than anything else -- but it came out pretty well and I'll definitely be using the mayonnaise-milk-lemon-mustard combination again.

Mom always served pasta salad with pickled beets ... so I do, too. Tradition!

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Yield: 4


  • 6 oz whole grain elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 5 oz can albacore tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup chopped radishes
  • ¾ cup light mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup 1% milk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. In a large serving bowl, combine macaroni, tuna, onion, peas, and radishes.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, mustard, dill, and black pepper.
  3. Pour mayonnaise mixture over pasta and toss to coat.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

I took the leftover pasta salad and pickled beets (not-too-rigorously drained canned beets tossed with garlic vinegar and refrigerated overnight) to work with garlic Triscuits:

27 May 2015

Pasta Salad Season Is Here, Hurrah

Sunday, I prepped a bunch of food for the week including a vegetable soup, egg salad, and this macaroni salad. Like the soup, it helps clear out the crisper of neglected vegetables. Unlike the soup, it's definitely a dish The Husband will eat. Usually I make my creamy pasta salads with light mayonnaise that has been thinned with a little milk or Italian vinaigrette, but this time I decided to be "fancy" and thin the milk the fat-free peppercorn ranch and then jazz it up with shredded parmesan.

Love this speckled lettuce -- makes every salad fancy.

I tried to dice all the vegetables small -- pea-sized, actually -- for a bite-sized delicousness. Who wants to fork up some salad, get a tiny pea and a big chunk of celery? Eh.

Very Veggie Tuna Macaroni Salad

Yield: 4 generous servings


  • 2 cups uncooked whole grain elbow macaroni
  • 5 oz can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
  • ⅔ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ⅔ cup chopped celery
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup diced radishes
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • ¾ cup light mayonnaise [Hellmann's]
  • ½ cup light peppercorn ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Greek seasoning blend [Penzeys]
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine tuna, vegetables, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour frozen peas into the bottom of a colander. Drain macaroni over peas and rinse in cold water; add to tuna mixture.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise, dressing, cheese, and seasoning blend in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with pepper.
  5. Pour mayonnaise mixture into pasta bowl and stir to coat. Refrigerate macaroni salad for a few hours before serving.

20 May 2015

Fried Pork Chops & White Bean Salad

Sometimes, I have reasonably good idea about what main dish I'll serve for supper, but don't really plan on a side dish, because I'll just microwave some frozen vegetables or something and call it done. But then it comes time to cook and I realize I'm not really in the mood for microwaved frozen anything ...

Pan-fried thin-cut pork chops and white bean salad. Yum.
Beans to the rescue! Jazz them up with diced vegetables and a quick vinaigrette and there's a bean salad to be (reasonably) proud of.

White Bean Salad

Yield: 4


  • 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup finely diced seeded cucumber
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp garlic vinegar
  • Penzeys Tuscan Sunset
  • Parsley
  • Black pepper


  • Combine all ingredients, seasoning to taste.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

13 May 2015

Greek Chicken Salad

While it's only the second week of May, it feels like summer at my house and I'm thisclose to turning on the air conditioner. Unseasonably sweaty workdays call for cool, relaxing suppers and salad's just the thing.

I marinated the chicken using the gyro marinade recipe on the Penzeys Greek seasoning packet -- Mix 1 Tbsp seasoning in 1 Tbsp water. Let stand 5 minutes, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Combine with 1 lb chicken tenderloins. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

When we were ready to eat, I broiled the chicken for 5 minutes each side on a foil-lined baking tray. When the chicken was done (165°F), I set it aside to cool for about ten minutes -- just long enough to make two supper-sized salads.

For the salad, I tossed 1½ hearts of romaine (sliced into thin ribbons) with chopped cucumber, red onion, grape tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, and garbanzo beans. Then I sliced the cooled chicken (there was leftover chicken for future salads) and arranged it atop the salads.

It wasn't really "Greek," I know, but was good! Next time, I'll add roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts.

18 September 2014

Improv Challenge: Milk & Honey

Every time I sat down with my notepad to think up interesting combinations of milk and honey for September's Improv Challenge, I ended up with lists of cakes and puddings. Which would be fine ... if I hadn't recklessly decided to stop eating (as many) cakes and puddings. Every autumn and winter, I gain weight. Every spring and summer, I struggle to lose that gain. It's annoying. It's boring. I'm tired of it.

Long story short, I made a salad for September's Improv Challenge. And it is tangy-sweet delicious. And pretty healthy.

Salmon Salad with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing
Serves 2

For the salmon:
2 6 oz portions skinned boneless salmon fillet
olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

For the dressing:
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard [Maille]
2 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley flakes

For the salad:
spring mix with herbs [Nature's Promise Organic]
chopped, peeled, seeded cucumber
small slivers of red onion

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Place the salmon fillets in a baking dish. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake 12-15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your salmon.

While the salmon bakes, dump all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whiz with an immersion blender until smooth and uniformly blended. A regular blender or bowl-and-whisk combo will work, too, obviously. Makes about 6 ounces of dressing.

Toss lettuce blend with cucumber and onion. Divide between two plates.

Gently remove the salmon fillets the tray and place atop the salads. Drizzle with the honey mustard dressing. Serve.

You could also omit the olive oil and brush the salmon with some of the dressing before baking it. Of course, this would mean assembling the dressing first! Also, the recipe makes more dressing than you'll need for two salads, but it will keep in the fridge for a few days (can't exactly say how long since I tend to eat it all within 3 days).

The dressing is a bit runny, but I don't know how to fix that without changing how it tastes and it will thicken up a bit if you refrigerate it (well, the first batch thickened up ... but the second didn't).

I used linden honey in this recipe, but any mild-tasting honey would work just fine.

23 July 2014

More Beanz!

My bush green beans are quite ... prolific ... this year and I'm having a little trouble keeping up! Usually, by the middle of July, the plants have fallen prey to some hungry critter or been crispified by drought and bean production is over. This summer ... well, I'm pretty sure my cats have zeroed out my neighborhood's rabbit population and, thanks to cooler than normal temps and some decent rain, my bean and chard bed is a dense jungle! I'm not bothered that the chard is getting monstrous (it will be good whenever I harvest it) but leave beans too long and they go all woody and "untasty."

Over the weekend, I made a bean and tuna salad using one of Plated's recipes but subbed with my own green beans instead of their haricot vert as those were brownish and unappetizing looking. Anyway, the salad was dead easy to throw together -- just blanched beans, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, parsley, dill, shallot, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon, sea salt, and black pepper -- and I'll definitely make it again with more garden beans and cherry tomatoes (if, by happy coincidence the beans are still bearing when the tomatoes ripen).

The bean salad was meant to be served with oil-poached tuna, but I chose to poach my tuna in low-sodium fat-free chicken broth because the Plated recipe called for poaching the tuna in 1½ cup extra virgin olive oil and my parsimonious brain was like "Dude! That's $7 worth of oil! Duuuude! And you only keep two tablespoons! The rest gets thrown away?! WTF?" Anyway, the salad was fine served with broth-poached tuna as I ended up flaking the tuna and tossing everything together to make two meals for work.

I also made an easy minestrone with green beans, garden basil, canned tomatoes, and a farmers' market zucchini I had kind-of forgotten about in the back of the crisper. It came out pretty well for something that was just "Well, I'll saute some onion and garlic and carrots and celery and then add some chopped green beans and broth and herbs and zucchini and tomatoes and salt and pepper and just keep fiddling until it tastes right."

09 July 2014

Picnic Season! Hooray!

We had our Independence Day picnic on Saturday which turned out to be The Best Idea Ever as it rained (and thundered and lightning-ed) most of Friday. I hung out around the house, making food for Saturday, and catching up on my Giant Pile of Library Books. (If I'm not "supposed to" put twenty books on hold, then the system shouldn't let me put twenty items on hold ... it's not as if I am capable of practicing restraint in the presence of free books, after all).

When I was planning the menu for our picnic, I knew I wanted old-fashioned, traditional picnic foods. No yogurt for mayonnaise. No quinoa for pasta. So I made three salads that, if they weren't quite my aunts' or grandmothers' picnic salads, were pretty darn close. And it only took 1½ jars of Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise to accomplish this. And I thought "Oh, my cake, we have no green vegetables! I should marinate some cucumbers or something!" and then I thought about all the things I could be doing if I stopped cooking ... and I went off and did them and there were no green vegetables.

Wait! We had sliced cucumbers and peppers with onion dip! Those are vegetables! And cucumbers are green! Huzzah!

The potato and pasta salad recipes I used were both from Mr. Food because I still have a soft spot for the man, having spent many childhood summers watching his short cooking segments during the noon news, and his picnic salad recipes are pretty darn traditional.

"Basic Macaroni Salad" -- elbow macaroni, hard-cooked eggs, celery, red onion, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, black pepper. The pasta salad was fine. Just your basic no-frills deli pasta salad. Utterly innocous. I would probably make it again, as it kept well in the fridge, but would add some flaked canned tuna and thawed frozen peas and serve it over shredded lettuce as a light lunch or supper.

"Presto Potato Salad" -- potatoes, mayonnaise, hard-boiled eggs, red onion, celery, prepared yellow mustard, salt, black pepper, white vinegar, sweet relish, paprika. I bought a bottle of French's Classic Yellow Mustard specifically for this recipe as we don't usually consume yellow mustard. I did not expect the mustard to pack much of a kick and thus was completely taken aback by The Husband's reaction to his first forkful. As he said, the mustard's heat it was "a bit of a surprise!" But it was also delicious and he ate quite a lot of potato salad over the following days, so I take that as a sign to make this potato salad again.

The cole slaw I made -- my very first mayonnaise-based slaw, by the way -- was a hodgepodge of recipes I cobbled together based on memories of my mother's coleslaw and my own taste preferences:
1 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp ground celery seed [Penzeys Ground Indian Celery Seed]
1 tsp ground mustard [Penzeys Regular Canadian Mustard Powder]
½ tsp paprika [Penzeys Hungarian Half-Sharp Paprika]
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz bag shredded coleslaw mix
It was a bit spicy! Perhaps, too spicy? My mother, who generally enjoys spicy dishes, actually had to stop eating it for a bit and switch over to the potato salad! And that in itself was amusing, because the potato salad had a bit of a kick! Not really sure about the coleslaw -- beside being too spicy for my mother, it was a little too mayonnaise-y for me. Reducing the mayonnaise and cutting it with some buttermilk might fix that.

22 June 2014

Cool, Crisp, Refreshing ... Radishes

I've had Kalyn's recipe for "Cucumber and Radish Salad with Feta, Red Wine Vinegar, and Buttermilk Dressing" pinned since last spring when I had a tremendous radish harvest and not a lot of good ideas for what to do with them. While I never got around to making the salad last spring, it was the first thing I thought of when I harvested this spring's massive radish crop. Seriously, we're a two person household and only one of us really likes radishes so why do I keep planting so many? Because they're pretty! And easy! And I never think that so many will many to survive the weather, cats, chipmunks, and bunnies.

"Easter Egg" Radishes

Kalyn's recipe calls for one teaspoon fresh thyme, but I used a handful of fresh dill as my dill plants are growing like weeds and will soon get out of hand if I don't start using them more. Fresh oregano would probably also work well with the cucumber-feta combination.

This salad is a cool and refreshing summer side dish that would be perfect with Greek marinated grilled chicken breasts or shrimp skewers. Or just by itself with in a lettuce cup with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper on top. If you're not that keen on radishes, there's no reason why you couldn't make this without, adding a little red onion or shallot in for kick. (And when I make this again, I will probably halve the amount of radishes, because The Husband picked most of his radishes out).

We ate ours with grilled chicken kabobs (from Whole Foods, because I couldn't be arsed) and it was the perfect lunch for the Second Day of Summer.

01 June 2014

Picnic Time: Pasta Salad

While trying to push beyond our comfort zone and learn to socialize like "real adults do," we recently attended a picnic thrown by one of my coworkers. Because I didn't feel comfortable showing up empty-handed, I asked if I could bring a pasta salad (it turned out everyone felt the same way, anyway, and also brought something). Since I wasn't sure how hot it would be that day or what the food storage situation would be like (didn't want to poison anyone), I made "Pasta Salad with Summer Vegetables" from The Best Light Recipe by the detail-driven folk at Cook's Illustrated.

This is a flavorful mayonnaise-free pasta salad I've made several times now. Every time I make it, I mean to experiment and try one of the variations provided, but I always end up sticking with the tried-and-true. The basic version is delicious, so why mess with a sure thing?

Ingredients: penne, green beans, cherry tomatoes, carrot, red onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, basil, parsley, Dijon, red pepper flakes, Parmesan, salt, black pepper.

I used Ronzoni SmartTaste penne to keep the salad looking "normal" while somewhat improving its nutritional values. Not that it's an unhealthy salad to begin with, what with all those beans and tomatoes!

30 May 2014

Plated: Seared Salmon Salad w/ Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette

I came home to my first Plated box last Friday after a long, crazy work week. I was low on energy and pretty much regretting my impulsive subscription ... until I opened the box and saw the recipe card for "Seared Salmon Salad with Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette" peaking out at me. Surely, I thought, I can sear some salmon and toss a salad. I am a capable human being, after all.

How it looks just out of the box.
Salad ingredients, unpacked.
The salad went together easily ... there was just a surprisingly large amount of it considering it was meant to serve two people! And I actually forgot to include the small head of butter lettuce! It was easily salad for three with just the arugula, frisee, and radicchio. Adding the butter lettuce would have made salad for five or six! Not that would have been terrible -- "free" meals -- but there really wasn't enough salmon to go with all that salad. Even I, who love big ass salads, ended up leaving a small pile behind because I was out of salmon and simply couldn't tolerate more bitter radicchio. The Husband, who likes his salads heavy on protein and light on greens, left a lot behind.

The tomato sherry vinaigrette was surprisingly zippy and might have benefited from cutting back on the acids or upping the amount of honey (I thought about whisking in some of my own honey, but decided I should try the recipe as provided). Also, a bigger tomato wouldn't have gone amiss as my shallot and tomato were about the same size and the shallot overwhelmed the tomato when they were mixed into the dressing. (I did think about using one of the tomatoes meant for the "Cheesy Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes," but figured I'd regret trying to stuff a tiny tomato later).

The Husband and I both agreed that the seared salmon was totes delicious and I was very pleased to learn a new method for cooking salmon. Previously, I'd always avoided cooking salmon in a skillet (unless I was poaching it) because I couldn't figure out how to do so without overcooking the fish. Obviously, you cook the salmon flesh-side down.

Would I make this seared salmon salad again? Definitely ... but would definitely dial the bitter greens back a bit! And not forget the butter lettuce!

18 May 2014

All the Little (and Big) Fishes

It all started with a salad. I made a delightful salad of chopped romaine, radishes, cucumber, capers, dill, lemon, sieved hard-cooked egg, and mashed sardines that was so delightful I ended up going on something of an oily fishy bender. And why not? Oily fishes like mackerel and sardines are both delicious and wholesome -- a good source of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Because tinned fishes aren't just for lunch, I mashed a tin of Neptun Mackerel Fillets in Tomato Sauce with spicy horseradish, lemon juice, and black pepper and spread it on slices of buttery, crunchy toast for breakfast. Since that only accounted for about half of the mixture, I ate the rest on top of a toasted mini bagel spread with a little light cream cheese as a nice afternoon snack.

And since that still just wasn't enough fish for me, I also made a cottage cheese and mackerel salad that turned out pretty darn fine. I drained a tin of Season Skinless & Boneless Fillets of Mackerel in Olive Oil, mashed it fine, and mixed it with light cottage cheese, diced seeded cucumber, minced red onion, fresh dill, lemon juice, and black pepper. Everything sat overnight in the fridge so the dill and lemon flavors could spread themselves around and then I ate it for lunch spooned onto pretzel crisps. The salty crunch of the crisps paired with the cool creaminess of the salad was mighty fine.

12 April 2014

Chop-All-The-Things Salad

Get to the end of the week and the fridge is just chock-a-block with foodstuffs that won't keep much longer, but aren't each anywhere enough to be a meal. What to do? Chop everything up and call it a salad.

What's in it? Chopped buffalo chicken strips, corn salsa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and romaine.

I tossed this salad with a little salsa and guacamole just before eating and it was delicious. So delicious that I was both surprised and saddened by how quickly I arrived at the bottom of the bowl!

11 March 2014

Southwestern(ish) Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad

I made this Southwestern(ish) shrimp salad last week when, in fit of madness, I decided to ignore how cold I always am at work and decided not to pack a hot lunch. It was a delicious salad, but even though I immediately followed it with two cups of scaldingly hot tea, I spent the rest of the night shivering away at my desk.

Ingredients: romaine, cucumber, red onion, grape tomatoes, black beans, lime juice, shrimp tossed with Penzeys Arizona Dreaming seasoning blend, and guacamole.

When I make this salad again (in, say, May), I'll add some cilantro and Trader Joe's Corn & Chile Salsa.

08 March 2014

Hello, Leftovers: Shredded Beef Taco Salad

I'd intended to make quesadillas with the leftover slow cooker shredded beef, but then realized taco salad was an even better idea. I do love me some taco salad, after all, and the temperature was supposed to rise up to 49°F today suggesting Salad Season was on its way, so ...

Taco Salad

Shredded Beef Taco Salad

2 small flour tortillas
Olive oil, as needed
1 cup leftover shredded beef
red onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
romaine, chopped
cheddar, shredded
[Cabot Seriously Sharp, of course]

Preheat oven to 425°F. (If you have a pizza stone, preheat it with the oven. Otherwise, get out a sheet pan).

Lightly brush tortillas with a little olive oil and place on preheated pizza stone (or place on sheet pan and put in oven). Bake for 4-5 minutes, depending on desired brownness.

Baked Tortillas

Remove tortillas from oven and plate. Microwave beef until heated through. Divide meat between tortillas. Garnish with cheddar, romaine, red onion, salsa, guacamole, and cilantro. Eat.


(My shredded beef already had corn and black beans mixed in so I didn't add any to my salad, but would certainly recommend it if yours doesn't).

26 January 2014

Beet Salad, You Disappoint Me

I love beets and I'm always excited to find new ways to prepare them so, when I came across a recipe for "Kraut and Beet Slaw" in my Grandma G's 1956 edition of Cooking with Sour Cream and Buttermilk, I knew I had to give it a whirl.

I skewed the recipe toward beets rather than sauerkraut, making it much more a "chunky salad" than a "slaw." Because I am just too lazy to roast and peel beets, I used a mixture of 8 oz packages of Melissa's and Love Beets' vacuum-packed cooked beets. I wouldn't say there's a lot of difference between the two brands.

Prepared Packaged Beets

I also adjusted the seasonings, because more flavor is better.
Creamy Beets & Sauerkraut
Serves 4 generously as a side

2 8-oz packages vacuum-packed cooked beets
1 8-oz can sauerkraut
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt
1-2 Tbsp prepared horseradish, depending on zippiness of brand [Gold's]
½-1 tsp sugar, depending on taste
1 tsp ground caraway
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Drain and rinse the sauerkraut. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze until no more liquid comes out. Dump it in a mixing bowl.

Dice beets and add to sauerkraut with the red onion. Set aside.

Making Creamy Beets & Sauerkraut Salad

In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, horseradish, sugar, caraway, salt, and pepper. And beet mixture and stir until well combined.

Chill overnight to allow flavors to marry. Mix well and allow to come to room temp before bringing to table. If desired, garnish with chopped egg.

Creamy Beet & Sauerkraut Salad

I have found this dish is best if allowed to come to room temperature before serving as, when it's fresh from the fridge, the flavors are muted and it just tastes ... cold. But, on the other hand, you don't want to serve it immediately after making it, because it tastes like ... nothing much ... when it's new. Let it sit in the fridge for a day and it's markedly better -- slightly sour yet also sweet and earthy and deliciously creamy.

Indeed, this is not a bad retro recipe. But it's also not very good. Certainly, not as good as something made with two of my favorite ingredients should be. There's a lack of depth in flavor, which may have to do with using canned sauerkraut rather than fresh and so little caraway. If I were to make this again, I'd use fresh sauerkraut, rinsed and drained far less zealously, and more caraway. And more pepper. And salt. And celery seed, maybe?

23 January 2014

Italian Pasta Salad

I'm not really sure that mozzarella and salami necessarily an Italian salad make, but I didn't know what else to call this dish. Everything-That-Needed-Eating-Up Salad? That would certainly be true, but also very prosaic.

"Antipasto" salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Serves 3 as lunch with fruit

5 oz mini farfalle pasta
4 oz baby spinach
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 small red onion, chopped small
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
6 Tbsp sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
3 oz thin-sliced uncured salami, sliced into strips
5 leaves fresh basil, rolled and sliced thin
Fresh ground black pepper, as desired

Cook pasta as directed by package. Drain. Toss warm pasta with spinach so the leaves wilt a bit. Add in remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve while still warm.
Ingredients like chopped canned artichokes, chickpeas, and olives would make tasty additions to this salad.

"Antipasto" salad