This will be my last post until after the holidays so I will share with you one of my favourite holiday salads. Introduced to our holiday table many years ago by my sister in law, this became an instant tradition with every Christmas dinner.
For the of us who have people in our lives who resist eating broccoli in any way, shape or form, sprinkle the bacon on top of the salad instead of mixing it in and call it a bacon salad.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!
This will serve 6 – 8 as a side dish.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped broccoli, from about 1 medium head
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and salt together in medium mixing bowl. Add broccoli and stir to combine well.
Stir in dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and crumbled bacon. Transfer to serving bowl and serve.
DO AHEAD – Salad can be made 6 hours in advance, without sunflower seeds and bacon. Toss those in just before serving.
A lot of people I know are intimidated by making their own salad dressings. Thats understandable, all one has to do is look at the myriad of dressings available today to make them think anything coming out of their kitchen could not possibly measure up to the masters at Kraft. I get it. it is intimidating, plus, look at all that variety! And, its so convenient. There are a lot of arguments for buying commercially made dressings, and I admit to succumbing to the lure of their simplicity at times.
But, have you taken the time to read the labels on those bottles before you plunk them in your cart? The bottle of Ranch in my fridge includes cornstarch, MSG, artificial flavours, Xanthan gum, EDTA and 3 other ingredients I can barely pronounce.
You will note that you can pronounce all the ingredients in this dressing, and all of them are probably already sitting right there in your kitchen.
This recipe makes 1 pint, so after you spend 15 whole minutes putting this together, you have about the same amount as a bottle of commercial dressing, so it is just as convenient.
It has a lot of flavour, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure I liked it at first. But by the end of my salad, I was a fan. If you like bread and butter pickles, you will enjoy this dressing.
An added bonus is that it has NO FAT or OIL
and, I give it extra points because it includes Pumpkin Pie Spice, making it the perfect dressing for this time of year.
Click here, or on the link above to take you to the original blog, by TRKINGMOMOE
1 cup water
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup white vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
In a small sauce pan heat water and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to pour in food processor or blender. In food processor with blade or blender, add all other ingredients with sugar water. Blend for 30 seconds. Store in refrigerator until use. This recipe makes about 2 cups of dressing. It keeps several months stored in a jar in the refrigerator.
Grilling Romaine lettuce is nothing new. in fact, it has been going on so long, I think I think I might actually be one of the last people to try it!!
Anyway, I had an opportunity this week to give it a try, and you know what? I really liked it! Romaine is a strong lettuce, and stands up nicely to a little heat from the grill.
It only takes a couple of minutes to get enough char on the lettuce, so you can easily put this together while the meat you just grilled for the main course is resting.
The instructions are for a gas grill. If you are using charcoal, you may want to do this with the lid off. Watch closely as you may not need the full 2 minutes. ( I know our Charcoal grill tends to be hotter than our gas grill.)
This salad is similar to a Caesar salad, but without the raw egg.
Grilled Romaine Hearts with Anchovy Dressing
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
3 Romaine Lettuce hearts
12 slices of baguette 1/2 ” thick
Pre-heat gas grill to 350F.
Puree anchovies, garlic, oil, in blender until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Brush both sides of baguette slices with some of this mixture and grill both sides until toasted.
Add the lemon juice and zest to the anchovy oil and blend until emulsified. Taste for seasoning add more salt if needed and set aside.
Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise. Place over direct heat on grill grates and close lid. Grill about 2 minutes, just until char marks from the grill start to appear. (You want to grill them, just until grill marks appear, and you need the lid closed to get the heat to do this. Otherwise, you and up with a wilty mess of greens no one wants to eat. )
Transfer cooked greens to large platter, spoon dressing over, arrange baguette slices on top and serve.
Alternately, you can slice the grilled lettuce into 2″ pieces transfer to bowl and toss with dressing, serving baguette slices on the side.
DO AHEAD – Bread can be brushed with anchovy dressing. and the dressing can be completed 4 hours ahead. Lettuce hearts can be cut in half and kept refrigerated in advance as well.
Fattoush is a Middle Eastern salad made with veggies and bread. This is a nice change from plain old boiled beans, which I love, but this salad gives them a whole new personality. Bonus points if the beans came from your garden!
Toasting the pita rounds stove top helps keep the kitchen cool. Remember to prepare the ice bath before you start cooking the beans so they don’t overcook.
This serves 2 as a main course. If you are not totally on board with the whole meatless main thing, add some cubed cooked chicken or the leftover Souvlaki from last night.
Green Bean Fattoush
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 clove garlic, mashed
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 pita breads, split in half to make 4 pita rounds
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled quartered and cut into 2′ pieces
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Whisk together the juice and zest from the lemon and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil, whisking constantly until mixture is emulsified. Set aside.
Prepare ice bath for beans. Cook beans in pot of salted, boiling water until bright green and tender-crisp. about 1 minute. Drain and plunge into the ice water. Let cool a minute, then pour into colander to drain well. Set aside.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Brush both sides of each pita round with olive oil. Working with one pita at a time, toast each one in pan until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.
Pat beans with paper towel to dry, then add to a large bowl along with the onion, cucumber, feta, mint and parsley. Drizzle with half the vinaigrette and toss to combine.
Break pita bread into bite size pieces and add to veggies in bowl. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette, toss again and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Let stand at least 10 minutes (and up to an hour) before serving.
This is a nicely balanced salad, sweet enough to serve with brunch, but also great with a grilled chicken breast for dinner!
This will serve 4 as a side, or 2 as a main.
Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts
3 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt (homemade if you have it)
Juice from half a lemon
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 Tablespoon liquid honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups baby arugula
3 cups leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted See Cooks Notes below
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons raw, unseasoned sunflower seeds
Whisk dressing ingredients together in large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add arugula. lettuce, apples and walnuts to dressing in bowl. Gently toss to combine well.
Sprinkle toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds over top.
COOKS NOTE – to toast walnuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally until beginning to brown and slightly fragrant. Remove walnuts from pan immediately (so they don’t burn in the hot pan). Set aside to cool before adding to salad.
Don’t let the anchovies throw you off. They add the ‘pop’ this dish needs to make it great.
This serves 4 for a light lunch 8 or as a starter salad.
Aside from tasting good, this salad is very pretty. then scrape skins off using your fingers or a paring knife. Plate individually for best effect, or bring it to the table on a large flat plate and serve it family style.
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (from 15 oz can or home cooked) drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan (optional)
1 cup arugula or mixed baby greens
Char bell peppers over the flames of a gas burner or bbq, using tongs to turn as skin blackens and blisters (about 10 minutes per pepper). Alternatively, you can do this under the broiler, turning as skins blacken. Transfer blackened peppers to medium bowl and cover the bowl with a plate. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, whisk anchovies, garlic, vinegar, oil and parsley in medium bowl to blend. Add beans and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and let stand while you finish preparing the peppers.
Remove charred skins from peppers, using your fingers or a paring knife. Cut peppers in half, remove and discard stems and seeds. Arrange on platter and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Spoon beans over top, and scatter arugula over top. Sprinkle parmesan over top and serve.