Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category


The Infinity of Rick Bayless’ Divinity

August 24, 2012

You know, it’s getting to the point where if Rick Bayless gave me a recipe for stewed monkey brains with rabbit feces, toilet paper and chalk, I’d probably make it…and it would be delicious. I’m not sure how we hadn’t made today’s recipe thus far, but it’s fantastic. It’s almost like a chunky chicken and potato salad hybrid, infused with oregano, vinegar, spicy chipotles, crunchy Romaine, and sweet and creamy avocado. Rick’s original recipe calls for the chipotles to be seeded, but we kept the seeds and added a little honey to offset the spiciness a bit. We used a rotisserie chicken, but any leftover chicken you have would be fine. It’s a one-dish meal, perfect for warm summer days. Enjoy!

Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado, Red-Skin Potatoes and Romaine

(serves 4)

1 large red-skin potato or Yukon Gold, sliced about ¼ inch thick
1 tbsp. salt
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, chopped

1 tsp. honey
¼ small white onion, finely chopped
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) coarsely shredded cooked chicken breast
2 cups sliced romaine leaves – slice them about ¼ inch across
1 ripe avocado, cut into ¼ inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 warm corn tortillas

Place the sliced potatoes into a large microwavable bowl, pour in ¼ cup of water and sprinkle generously with salt. Cover and microwave on high for about 4 minutes. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and let cool, reserving cooking liquid. Add the vinegar, oregano, chipotles, honey, and onion to the bowl with the potato water to make the dressing. Mix and then add salt. Use a fork to break up the potatoes into ½ inch pieces, then place them in a large bowl. Add the chicken and the dressing, and toss to combine. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving, add the lettuce and avocado, and drizzle with olive oil and toss gently to combine. Serve with warm tortillas. Eat!


Cobb-led Salad

August 15, 2012

There is some controversy regarding the history of the Cobb salad. Some report that the owner of L.A.’s famous Brown Derby restaurant, Robert Cobb, created it himself in the late 20’s or early 30’s; others say it was his head chef that created it, and still others say the chef created it and named it for the owner. (Those of you who watch the show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” may recall an episode where the origin of the salad is questioned.) Our theory is that “Cobb” is actually short for “cobble,” in that this salad was simply cobbled together with various ingredients. Regardless of its past, it’s a tasty salad that, when done the right way, bursts with flavors and can be relatively healthy. This recipe features most of the usual Cobb salad ingredients, with a nice shallot-infused vinaigrette with a hint of mustard. The real key to a good Cobb is the freshness of the turkey or chicken. We bought a rotisserie-cooked turkey breast at the market and chopped it up; it really elevated the salad to a new level. The bacon and blue cheese add some saltiness and tang, the tomatoes give it sweetness and some acidity, and the buttery avocado adds some creaminess that really ties it all together. Plus the dressing really brings out the flavors well. It’s a simple version of a simple dish – but when the simple things are done right, it’s always delicious. Enjoy!

The MHK’s Cobb-led Together Salad

(serves 2)

1 shallot, minced

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. spicy/Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ cup olive oil

1 head leaf lettuce (Boston, butter, green), chopped

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken breast, chopped

4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

1 Roma tomato, diced

2 oz. blue cheese crumbles

1 ripe avocado, sliced

Mix the first five ingredients together in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Arrange lettuce on plates. Top with turkey, bacon, tomato, cheese, and avocado. Drizzle dressing over each salad. Eat!


Som Tum is Yum

August 7, 2012

We’ve espoused enough about our love for Thai food on this blog, so I’ll save the back story and get straight into the food. Som tum, the fantastically fresh and spicy papaya salad from Northern Thailand, is something we’ve wanted to make for a while but for some reason never got around to it…until now. We based this recipe on one from; as far as the flavors go, it was a complete success. As far as the texture goes, it was not up to our standards. The problem was with the papaya – it’s a very juicy, moist fruit, and if you don’t get that moisture out of there, it turns very soggy; sweet and delicious, but soggy. That was the failing of the dish – somehow we will extract the moisture better next time. But the sweet tomatoes, the crunchy bean sprouts, the hot and spicy chili peppers, the salty fish sauce (which can be substituted with soy sauce to go vegetarian), the tangy lime juice, and the cilantro and peanuts create a vibrant ménage of flavors that is very refreshing. You can certainly remove the seeds and veins from the peppers if you don’t like it spicy, but it’s the spiciness that really brings the dish together (otherwise it’s a lot of just sweet and salty). We even used spicy peanuts, but we are kind of insane about spicy food. We used Fresno chili peppers – if you can find Thai chilis that would be ideal, but serranos would work just as well (get an extra one or two though since they are small). We served this with a quick and delicious Thai omelet (traditional Thai street food made with fish sauce and black pepper in the eggs, with cilantro and Sriracha on top – really tasty!). It was like Bangkok in our kitchen; almost as humid too, but with no underage prostitutes…that we know of. Enjoy!

Som Tum (Thai Papaya Salad)

(serves 2)

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup bean sprouts

2 red chili peppers, stemmed and chopped

1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

2 scallions, coarsely chopped

2 cups shredded green papaya

1 lime

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Combine the garlic, tomatoes, chili peppers, and bean sprouts in a large bowl; add fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Add the papaya and mix well. Add the scallions and 1 tbsp. of the peanuts; stir to combine. Top the salad with the remaining peanuts and the cilantro. Eat!


When Raw is Right

July 31, 2012

We at the MHK experienced a revelation a few weeks ago when we discovered that, at the right time of year, you can eat raw corn, straight off the cob. And it’s sweet and juicy and delicious. Who knew? Nobody from CA I’ll wager. It has to be fresh, and luckily we are surrounded by farms here in Upstate NY, so the markets get the good stuff for a few months in the summer. This recipe showcases the corn’s natural sweetness, by complimenting it with tomatoes and basil, and contrasting it with salty salami, tangy quick-pickled onions, nutty parmesan, and spicy red pepper flakes. We based it on a recipe from here; it’s a tasty salad perfect for picnics and backyard cookouts. Enjoy!

Raw Corn Salad

(serves 4)

½ cup thinly sliced red onions

2 tbsp. white vinegar

1 ½ tbsp. salt

4 medium ears of corn, husked, silks removed

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

2 tbsp. olive oil

¼ tsp. black pepper

10 thin slices sopressata salami (or other salami), coarsely chopped

¼ cup shredded parmesan

Put the onion slices in a bowl with the vinegar and salt. Let stand for 10 to 12 minutes. Cut the kernels off the corn cobs. Add the corn to the bowl and mix well. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes, basil, olive oil, and soppressata. Mix lightly to combine. Sprinkle cheese on top. Serve and eat!


Insalata Estiva

July 24, 2012

An Italian summer salad really hits the spot on a muggy evening; particularly this one, based on a recipe from The freshness of the ingredients is key – tomatoes that are just ripe, a quality mozzarella, and prosciutto makes everything awesome, right? We used jarred hot banana peppers, but mild ones would be fine, if you are opposed to the spicy. You get sweet from the tomatoes and cukes, salt from the prosciutto, great texture from the cheese, a little bite from the peppers…it’s a tasty summer meal. Enjoy!

Italian Summer Salad

(serves 2)

2/3 cup fresh unsalted mozzarella chunks
Kosher salt
1 minced garlic clove, pressed to a paste with a little salt on a cutting board
1 Tbsp chopped banana peppers
1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 tsp red-wine vinegar
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
8 slices prosciutto, roughly torn

In a mixing bowl, lightly salt the mozzarella. In another bowl, combine the garlic paste, peppers, and white vinegar. Mix well and let everything sit for 5 minutes. Add the cucumber, wine vinegar, and tomato to a third bowl. Add the pepper mixture, olive oil, prosciutto, and mozzarella. Mix well. Eat!


Just Peachy

June 27, 2012

Another heat wave is set to bake the Northeast this weekend, and here’s what we’ll be making for dinner. Nothing cuts through that summer heat like a fresh, flavorful salad. Grilled peaches are a marvelous thing – their sweetness becomes enhanced by the warmth from the grill, slightly caramelizing the sides of the peach wedges. This salad, from Working Mother Magazine, utilizes the grilled peach slices to balance the peppery arugula, and the creamy goat cheese binds it all together. The addition of the brown sugar on the peaches helps with the caramelization – make sure you use ripe peaches, but not so ripe that they are soft. They need some firmness to maintain their integrity on the grill. And if you have some extra peaches, grill them and save them for dessert – top vanilla ice cream with them and your tongue will thank you. Enjoy!

Peach, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad

(serves 4)

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 firm, ripe peaches
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 bunches arugula (about 2 cups), tough stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring ½ cup of the vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cut peaches in half lengthwise; remove and discard the pits. Cut each half into 6 wedges. Place in a shallow dish, sprinkle with brown sugar, and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Brush and oil the grill grate or a vegetable-grilling basket. Arrange peaches on the grate or in the basket directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 1 minute per side. In a large serving bowl, combine arugula and oil; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange peaches on top and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Top with cheese to serve. Eat!


Salad Dressing Spontanaeity

January 7, 2012

During our sojourn on the west coast, I took it upon myself to help with Christmas dinner, in the form of making a salad dressing (big task, I know). My first instinct was to make a simple vinaigrette, but as I began rummaging through the MHK-in-law’s pantry, I just began throwing things into the food processor, tasting and adjusting as needed, until I was happy with the results. The most unusual ingredient? Bacon fat. Not much, just a little, but I think it worked – I had cooked some bacon to crumble into the salad anyway, so it’s not like I went out of my way to procure bacon fat. It added some salty, smoky flavor to the dressing, and it seemed to go over well. Enjoy!

The MHK’s Pantry Raid Salad Dressing

(makes approx. 1/2  cup)

1 tbsp. bacon fat (somewhat cooled from the pan)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp.mayo

1 tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. lemon juice

3 tbsp. olive oil

Add all ingredients except the oil to a food processor. Pulse to combine. Slowly add the oil while processor is running. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Eat! (On a salad).


Recipe Revision!

August 23, 2011

As summer begins to wind down and the fall harvest is nearly upon us, we felt like making this dish the other night. We first printed this recipe about a year ago, but this time I decided to add an ingredient that for some reason I did not think to add when we created this recipe – cider vinegar. The original recipe was very tasty on its own, but was created with the intent of putting it on a pulled pork sandwich, as a twist on the traditional coleslaw. That pairing didn’t work too well, and I couldn’t figure out why – apples and pork go well together, the seasoning was very good, and the texture was great. But now I know why – the slaw needed vinegar, a nice touch of acidity to balance out the sweetness of the apples and cut through the honey and mayo. Now this dish is perfect, and it does go great with pulled pork or as a side for any BBQ meal. Enjoy!

Zesty Apple Slaw

(serves 4)

2 granny smith apples, peeled and julienned

1-1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

1/3 cup chopped scallions

2 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. mustard

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.  Taste for seasoning.  Cover and refrigerate up to an hour.  Eat!


The Sense-ible Dish

August 16, 2011

You know a good dish when all of your culinary senses are stimulated, when each bite has just a bit of sweet, salty, acidic, bitter, spicy, etc. This salad is a perfect example of that kind of dish. The roasted tomatoes provide sweetness and acidity, the crispy prosciutto adds a salty touch as well as a nice textural contrast, the avocado’s creaminess is a great match, and the peppery arugula gives it a subtle kick. Allow enough time to roast the tomatoes (this recipe slow-roasts them to really bring out their flavor, but if time is an issue, set the oven to a higher temperature and reduce the roasting time). This is the first recipe we’ve tried from the book Bowl Food, and we certainly will be trying more. The original recipe calls for shrimp as well, but we decided to omit it. Serve the salad with some fresh bread for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato, Prosciutto, and Arugula Salad

(serves 4)

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. + 1 tbsp. + 1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

5 oz. arugula

8 slices prosciutto

2 avocados, diced

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 275. Place tomato quarters and garlic in a shallow baking pan. Toss with 1 tbsp. oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 90 minutes. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook prosciutto in batches, turning until each slice is browned and just crisp. Drain on a paper towel, then break into smaller pieces. Combine the 1/4 cup oil with the vinegar. Place roasted tomatoes and garlic (with pan juices), prosciutto, avocado, and arugula in a bowl with 1 tbsp. of the oil and vinegar. Toss well. Divide on to four plates and top with remaining dressing. Eat!


Bella Panzanella

July 21, 2011

Panzanella is an Italian salad, traditionally comprised of tomatoes and bread along with other ingredients. You know what – to heck with the prologue. Let me get right to the point – this recipe is absolutely awesome. The Food Network Magazine strikes gold again, this time delivering a fresh, light dish that bursts with flavor. It’s a one-dish complete meal that dazzles the taste buds. The sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers, the saltiness of the salami, the beautiful aroma of the basil, and the crunchy yet chewy bread all play marvelously together, and are tied up nicely by the lemon vinaigrette. The flavor of the veggies is enhanced by grilling them, leaving their texture somewhat firm but tender. The one change I would make is to eliminate the salt from the preparation – the salami adds enough saltiness on its own. Of course you can simply omit the salami for a vegan version of the dish (but then you’ll want to add salt to the veggies). We used a roasted garlic loaf for the bread, but pretty much any thick loaf will do. Serve with some white wine and you’ve got a perfect summer meal. Enjoy!

Grilled Panzanella Salad

(serves 4)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 medium tomatoes, halved

6 scallions

2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 10-ounce loaf ciabatta or semolina bread, halved lengthwise

½ cup torn fresh basil

¼ lb. thinly sliced salami, cut into 2-inch ribbons

Preheat a grill to medium high. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut-side down until slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking pan. Put the scallions, peppers and zucchini in the same bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the bread with olive oil. Grill the bread and vegetables until charred, about 2 minutes per side for the bread and scallions and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and zucchini. Transfer to the baking pan and let cool slightly. Cut the scallions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and bread into bite-size pieces; transfer to the bowl. Add the basil, salami, dressing and any juices from the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Eat!