Archive for the 'Salad dressing' Category


The world needs another Kale Salad recipe

The top selling salad at work is the Kale Carrot.  I made a batch of it yesterday.  It will all be sold out by the end of today.  How much kale is in a batch at a busy deli?  20 large bunches.  8 cups of toasted sunflower seeds and about 25 carrots. 

A few posts back I gave you the recipe for the kale salad we sell at work.  Kale is our new green at home.  I used to make dinner salad with romaine, but it has been replaced with kale.  I love it!  Plus, it has to be better for us than romaine or leafy green lettuce, right?

Lots of good nutrition in that bowl

According to Food Lover’s Companion, kale is a member of the cabbage family.  It is a cruciferous plant (having four-petaled flowers, suggestive of a cross) that provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.  I knew it was better for us than romaine!

So, last night our salad consisted of kale, shredded carrot, red onion, thinly sliced, a handful of chopped walnuts and satsuma wedges.  The satsumas are in season now and are oh, so sweet and juicy.  Be sure to remove the stems from the kale and wash the leaves.  Slice the leaves into thin strips.

Pretty little citrusy dressing

The dressing is what really made this salad outstanding.   Here goes:

1 large spoonful (2 tablespoons) of vegenaise

1 heaping tablespoon of frozen orange juice conentrate

1 tablespoon of orange muscat vinegar (Trader Joe’s)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

zest of one orange

Whisk it all together in a small bowl and dress salad.  Salad is best if the dressing has a chance to soak into the kale for about 30 minutes or more before serving.  I usually make the salad first and then prepare the rest of our meal.

A microplane is a great tool for zesting

If you don’t have a microplane, you can use a cheese grater.  A microplane is just so much easier to use and you get a finer zest.

A lovely salad for any time of the year

I hope you give this one a try.  We really liked it.  What did I serve this with?  Butternut Squash Ravioli in a garlic veloute sauce topped with Parmesan cheese and sweet and spicy roasted Brussel sprouts.  But it would be good just on it’s own with perhaps a hunk of garlic bread.


Deli? We don’t need no stinkin’ deli!

And neither do you.  Here is an easy, quick deli style salad that you can whip up in the privacy of your own kitchen.  It features quinoa, one of my personal favorite grains.  If you are not yet familiar with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) I strongly suggest that you two should get acquainted.  It cooks up like rice, is packed with protein and it looks pretty cute!

Colorful, tasty Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 bunch green onion, cleaned and thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (I prefer to use the whole pepper including the membrane and seeds, but if you are a light weight, you can ditch them)

2 tablespoons rough chopped cilantro

Bring 1 1/2 cups salted water to a boil.  Add quinoa, stir and lower heat to simmer.  Place lid on pot and simmer for 19 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir to fluff.  Spread cooked quinoa on a baking sheet and allow to cool.

Once quinoa has cooled, place in a large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients.  Make dressing:

1/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 – 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, if you want more kick to it

Whisk all together in a small bowl.  Pour over salad and toss to coat well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Ready for it's close up, just to make you hungry

I think this is best after the ingredients have had a chance to mingle and marry.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  This will last for about 3 days in the refrigerator, but it never lasts that long at our house!


What’s for dinner?

“What’s for dinner?”  I hear this question from my spouse quite frequently.  I also hear it from my co-workers.  Not that the co-workers come to my house for dinner, but they are always interested in what goes on in my home kitchen.  I often bring leftovers for lunch, and someone always comments on how good something smells.

Last night I wanted to keep it light, as we have been eating some higher fat things lately and clothes are beginning to fit a bit snug.  I always enjoy at big salad meal and some warm bread.  I baked up a nice Brown Beer Bread and a made a hearty salad, filled with protein and veggies.  The salad dressing was super tasty and super easy.

Salad full o goodness, dressed with Fig Lavender Dressing and Brown Beer Bread
Salad full o’ goodness, dressed with Fig Lavender Dressing and Brown Beer Bread



1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp fig glaze (see Chocolate Fig Custard Cake post for recipe)

1 tbsp lavender vinegar (purchased at a lavender farm, but you could make your own.  Steep dried lavender in white vinegar for a few weeks.)

Whisk together in small bowl and dress salad.  That’s it.


1 package Trader Joe’s Vegetarian “Chicken”

1 head Romain heart, roughly chopped

1 large slice red onion, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper. cut in bit size pieces

1/4 cup sliced black olives

1 medium carrot, shredded

1 small tomato, chopped and seeded

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 small roasted beet, cut in small cubes

1/2 large avocado, cubed

Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium high heat.  Spray pan with non stick canola or olive oil.  Toss in “chicken” strips.  Season to taste.  I used garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cook until slightly browned, just a couple of minutes.  Set pan aside to cool while you put the salad together.

In a large bowl, mix Romain, red onion, red bell pepper, olives, carrot and tomato, Parmesan cheese, and cooled “chicken” pieces.  Drizzle on dressing and toss.  Divide among salad bowls and top with avocado and beet cubes.  This recipe served 2 adults as a main meal.  It can serve 4 – 6 as a side salad.

You can use whatever dressing you like on the salad; but if you made the recipe for the Chocolate Fig Custard cake and have leftover fig glaze, you should really try this.  So good!


3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

12 ounces Black Butte Porter (or other dark beer, Not Guinness!**) Room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9 x 5′ loaf pan with non stick spray.  Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add beer all at once, mixing as little as possible.  Batter will be lumpy.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Pour melted butter evenly over the top and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Turn out on rack to cool.

**  You can use Guinness in bottles but not the kind that comes in the can.  The canned variety gets it’s carbonation from nitro, which doesn’t work well with this bread recipe.



Grilled Corn Salad

Vibrant color and smoky, spicy grilled flavor abound in the Grilled Corn Salad

Vibrant color and smoky, spicy grilled flavor abound in the Grilled Corn Salad

I am not a big fan of the summer heat, but this salad I made up the other day sure made it a bit more tolerable.  Cool and crunchy, spicy, smoky and sweet it was the perfect accompaniment to some wheat meat “chicken” fillets marinated in Spiced Plum Sauce and served over Basmati rice.  You can use any veggies you like, but this combo was certainly a hit.  It tastes like summer!


Grilled Corn Salad

4 ears of corn

1 bunch asparagus

½ medium pineapple

4 ¼” thick slices Halloumi cheese*

1 cup cooked black beans

½ medium red bell pepper, chopped

½ small red onion, chopped

1 large jalapeno 

Shuck and clean corn.  Peel and slice pineapple into 4 thick slices (leave the core, you will remove than after grilling).  Clean asparagus and remove tough ends.

Grilled pineapple and jalapeno

Grilled pineapple and jalapeno


Grill pineapple slices and jalapeno until the pineapple has nice grill marks and the pepper is charred.  Remove from grill and set aside.  Grill corn and cheese.  Cheese will be done grilling before the corn.  Turn cheese and brown the other side. Remove from grill and set aside.  Keep turning the corn to get it roasted on all sides.  Remove and set aside.  Grill asparagus until slightly charred.  Remove and set aside.

Grilling the corn and Halloumi Cheese

Grilling the corn and Halloumi Cheese


Cut pineapple slices in quarters and remove the core.  Cut pineapple, asparagus and cheese into bite size pieces and place in salad bowl.  Add chopped red bell pepper and red onion.  Add black beans.  Toss.

Remove corn from cob.  I like to place the corn in a large bowl, stand it on end and holding the top, slice half way down.  Go all the way around the cob then turn upside down and repeat until all of the corn kernels have been removed.  This prevents the kernels from spilling all over your counter top and it catches the sticky corn milk.

Add corn to salad bowl and toss.

 You are probably wondering why I had you grill that jalapeno, right?  It’s for the dressing.

Roasted Jalapeno Dressing

1 large jalapeno, roasted

2 medium tomatoes (from the garden or organic are the best flavor)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of one lemon and one lime

Salt to taste


Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Pour over salad, toss and marinate in refrigerator for about an hour.

* Halloumi cheese is an imported goat and sheep milks cheese made in Cyprus, Greece.  It is sold in most upscale markets but you can also order it online.  To learn more about Halloumi cheese go to


Homemade Salad Dressing

Do you remember that Good Seasons salad dressing commercial where the lady is making a salad and then someone tries to pour a bottled dressing on it and she screeches “Bottled Dressing on my fresh salad?”  And then she claims to make a fresh dressing for said salad, out of some oil and a packet of salad dressing mix.  What’s the difference here?

 I never use bottled dressing either.  I make it fresh every time we have salad, which is almost every evening with our meal.  Here is my fool proof homemade salad dressing recipe:

Fast, Easy Salad Dressing

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP vinegar, your choice

1 TBSP mustard, your choice

1 TBSP honey

salt & pepper to taste

Place in bowl and whisk until emulsified.  That’s it!

My current favorite combinations are olive oil, Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce and Tupelo honey.

I like to find different varieties of each of these ingredients in my travels.  Wineries are great places to find all of these things.  Gourmet shops, road side produce vendors, and cheese shops are always ripe with these goodies as well.  Have fun with it.  Experiment, because that’s what cooking is all about.

Fast, simple dressing and salad

Fast, simple dressing and salad



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