Summer Pasta Salad

 

Hello all– This weekend we’re happily stacking all the things we need to pack up for early Monday morning, when we fly off for our Laurel & John’s wedding in the woods of Wisconsin!  Party dress,  check. Sunblock, check. Grandma Lo’s wedding cake bride and groom, check.  Surprises for grand-girl Jobay, turning 6 on the wedding date, checkity check.

And meanwhile, around here, we’re cleaning out things lingering in the kitchen before we go.  Had a 1/3 bag of egg noodles, a ready to eat avocado, MORE of Larry’s sweet tomatoes…  Throw them in with some corn, a couple slices of bacon and a little chicken.  Summer Pasta Salad  –just right on a hot summer evening!

SUMMER PASTA SALAD
4 oz. pasta (I used egg noodles)
1 boneless chicken breast
1 tab. olive oil
5 slices bacon
2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 avocados, cut to nice chunks

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar*
1 tsp. seedy mustard
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and let it cool.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Cut the chicken breast into 3 flat filets and saute in a skillet until it’s nicely browned and cooked through (3 or4 minutes on each side). Remove to cutting board and cut into nice polite size pieces.

Wipe out the skillet and cook up the bacon.  Crumble it to small bits.

Cook the corn cobs in the microwave 6 or 7 minutes.  Cut the corn from the cobs with a large knife.

To make the dressing put the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until it’s completely blended.

When the chicken and pasta have cooled, put them in a large mixing bowl and mix in the bacon, corn, tomatoes, green onion and dressing.  Then gently fold in the avocado.  Put to chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Cherry Citrus Salad

 

Hello friends– Have cherries turned up at your market yet??  I walked over to the Farmers Market in San Francisco last week with little Lois and there were cherries galore!  So dark and sweet– we bought a bagful for a treat.

And back home there are piles of Cherries at the market too– So when Jenni invited us over for a bar-b-que, we arrived with this salad in hand.  Bright and sweet and hearty.  Just right for a summer night eating grilled chicken & sausages with a table of friends.

CHERRY CITRUS SALAD
8 cups mixed salad greens
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
2 avocados, cut into chunks
3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
2 oranges, peeled and cut into sections

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. Champagne orange vinegar*
1 tsp. sugar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Spread the greens into a large salad bowl.  On top, layer the beans, avocados, cherries and oranges.

Shake the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid until they are thoroughly blended. Drizzle the dressing over the salad when you are ready to serve it.  Enjoy!

*They have this luscious Orange Vinegar at Trader Joe’s– but I’ve seen it other places too.

A couple pics from our trek to the SF Farmer’s Market  (San Francisco City Hall in the background)–
   

Steak Salad with Peruvian Peppers

 

Hello there– This year they put a Whole Foods Market in our little suburb– chuck full of beautiful food!!  But a little over my price range.  So this week I dropped in to get a couple nice candy bars for a little birthday treat for a friend– and indulged myself with a loaf of crusty bread, 3 perfectly ripe peaches, those candy bars and from the olive bar–a handful of olives and these brilliant little red Peruvian peppers!  Total– $12.90!  I happily clutched my little bag of treats and headed home…

The Peruvian peppers inspired this salad– sweet and just a little spicy– and so pretty on the plate.  With that loaf of crusty  bread– dinner ready!

STEAK SALAD

Salad:
2 small beef filets
1 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups salad greens
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced
1/2 cup cucumber sliced thin
1/4 cup Peruvian peppers (petit poivrons)*
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
a little red onion, sliced

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
1 tsp. seedy mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil in s skillet on high heat.  Liberally salt & pepper the beef and drop it into the hot skillet.  Cook the beef for 3 or 4 minutes on each side for medium rare (depending on the thickness).  Remove it from the pan and slice against the grain.

Layer the lettuce, sliced avocado and cucumber and beef on 2 plates.  Sprinkle on the feta and little peppers.

To make the dressing, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, slat & pepper in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake it until the ingredients are well blended.  Pour over the salad when you’re ready to serve it.

*The peppers are available from Amazon as petit poivrons.

Blueberry Broccoli Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Ranch Dressing

Hi all– Should I apologize for the extra long title of this salad??– I just wanted you to know the yummy components and plus also the lovely dressing on top!

Took this salad along to my brother’s house for our Easter dinner.  And liked it so much we had it again last night!  It’s bright and fresh and I can say it works well with Easter ham or a slice of mushroom pizza!

BLUEBERRY BROCCOLI AVOCADO  SALAD

Salad:
5 cups of your favorite salad greens
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Poppyseed Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. tarragon vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Layer the salad ingredients in a pretty bowl.

Then stir together the ingredients  for the dressing until they are thoroughly blended.  It makes more dressing than we needed on our salad, so there’s more in the fridge for another day.

Mandarin Pomegranate Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

 

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Hi all–  A couple weeks ago we had friends in for a wintery night dinner.  There was honey crusted pork loin, wild rice and Brussel spouts– and this bright sweet salad to start us off.

The real hit of the evening was after dinner, when our friend Mark pulled out his little bag of tricks and did an amazing magic show!  How did the nine of hearts jump from that stack of cards to the other?? Or the coin go right through the table??  You had us totally mystified Mark.

MANDARIN POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING

Salad:
4 cups of your favorite greens*
3 mandarin oranges
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 avocado, cut to neat chunks
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. orange vinegar**
2 tab. honey
1 tab. poppy seeds
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Peel and break the mandarin oranges into neat segments.  Then layer the greens, mandarin segements, pomegranate seeds, avocado and almonds onto a pretty platter.

In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the oil, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds. salt & pepper until they are thoroughly blended.  Pour over the salad when you are ready to serve it up.

*I used baby arugula– spinach, green leaf lettuce, bib lettuce are all great.
** Love love Trader Joe’s Orange Champagne Vinegar, but red wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar would be terrific too.

 

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Green Goddess Veggie Dip

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Hi all– I think I’ve already told you about the group of 20 somethings who drop in every Monday night to meet up, talk, laugh, plan, pray.  The don’t knock–just drift in 2 or 3 at a time, stop in the kitchen to say they’re here, to catch up.  It’s great. And I get to feed them– just a little snack to get us going.   I love our Monday nights.

So this week (too hot to bake!) we had the coffee table full of veggies, dip and some crackers on the side.  Here it is:

GREEN GODDESS VEGGIE DIP
2 ripe avocados
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt (about 1/2 tsp.) and freshly ground pepper to taste.
garnish: chopped green onion

Just drop all the ingredients into a blender or use a stick blender until it’s smooth and creamy.  Set it out with a board of veggies and maybe a few crackers.  Done.

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P.S.  I know this recipe is nothing like the traditional Green Goddess dressing– I think the name was just stolen because it’s green!

Crunchy Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

 

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Hi all–  I like this bright friendly salad– All that sturdy kale, hearty farro and those crunchy almonds.  But the real star is the dressing!  So much flavor from the cilantro, tahini, cumin, garlic…

Actually I had the tahini in the fridge, because I got it for a humus recipe that was grand failure (lumpy, bumpy and bland).  Add that to the list of not so great cooking attempts that never made it to be blog posts!!   But happily, the tahini was just what I needed when I came across a version of this salad (thanks Pinterest!). I think you might like it as much as we did…

CRUNCHY KALE SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. red wine vinegar
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
2 tab. tahini
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
several grinds of freshly ground pepper

Salad:
1/2 cup farro, uncooked
5 cups, kale, chopped to bits
1 carrot, shredded to strips
5 radishes, sliced thin
1 avocado, cut to small pieces
1/4 cup toasted almonds

Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients until they are thoroughly blended, set aside.

Cook the farro according to the package directions– mine said boil with 1  1/2 cups slightly salted water for 10 minutes.  Drain in a sieve and rinse with cold water to be cool enough for the salad.

Then layer up the kale, farro, carrots, avocado, radishes and almonds.  Pour on the dressing when you are ready to serve it up.  Crunchy good!

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