Salad Samplers Archives

April 26, 2009

SS #1 - Palma & Jerry Salad w/Blood Oranges


Eden of Wanderings and Wonderings had the honor of choosing the first salad for our Sunday Salad Samplers group. She says she was inspired!

The salad that I made was inspired by Palma and Jerry's creation using blood oranges, so I could call this Palma and Jerry Salad... or Foraging the City because it involved my hunting for my main ingredient... Blood Oranges.

I did not have any recipes, so here goes what came to my mind -

Palma & Jerry Salad w/Blood Oranges


Some greens - use your favorite or a combination of favorite greens

Blood Oranges - at least two or three if they are small

Berries - I used yellow and red raspberries when available

Dried Cranberries - because I had some and love them

Crumbled cheese - like Feta

Roasted candied pecans

Croutons, if you wish


Eden's really simple put together method:

(I found out that slicing the blood oranges and then peeling them with a knife going around the circumference of the slice was much easier than peeling and segmenting them. This will take the most time, so start with preparing the blood oranges.)

On your salad plate or your serving bowl, start with a bed of greens. continue by assembling the ingredients on top.

Just before serving, you can add the cheese and your favorite salad dressing. I had croutons on the side but no one used them.

I made the salad a few days ago. Bill provided the greens straight from his garden. Aren't they pretty?


Then came the berries - raspberries, blackberries, and dried cranberries. It looks like I kind of overdid the berries, so maybe a little less next time. I wish I had gotten some orange cranberries from Trader Joe's because they would have been perfect with this.


Then came the blood oranges, but they proved to be a little problem. I sliced them first as Eden suggested, but then when I tried to peel them, they wouldn't stay together and came apart in segments. So, my segmented blood oranges didn't look as pretty as they should have, but they still tasted good.



The rest of the ingredients are ready to go - avocado, a little Maui onion, toasted sliced almonds, gorgonzola cheese, and the blood oranges, of course.


It turned out to be a beautiful and colorful salad, and delicious too. This one is a keeper!


May 3, 2009

SS #2 - Black Bean Salad for Cinco de Mayo


TourMama (Judy) picked the salad for our second week. Here is what she said:

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I decided for May 3rd to share a great recipe for a Latin flavored Black Bean Salad. Given to me by a former co-worker who is also a caterer, the instructions begin "It's not a recipe fixed in stone...", so quantities and ingredients are flexible.

This was a very tasty salad, substantial enough for a salad dinner but versatile enough to be a side dish at a BBQ. And you can be really creative with it.

In addition to Judy's ingredients, I added some chopped raw asparagus and cherry tomatoes. The dressing added a lot to the flavor of all of the other ingredients. I just used regular frozen corn, but next time I am going to get Trader Joe's roasted corn.

I used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice in the salad, but I only prepared one package of the three in the box. I think I would double it next time so the ingredients (black beans and corn) would be more equal. I may have overdone the corn, though - 2 12-oz packages.

Definitely a keeper - thanks Judy!

Black Bean Salad for Cinco de Mayo

2 cups dried black beans

Cover dry beans with 2 inches of water, and allow to soak overnight; drain soaking liquid, cover with fresh water, bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook (1 – 2 hrs) until beans are tender. Do NOT salt the water – it can cause the beans to toughen. Rinse and drain beans well, to get rid of all the black/grey liquid, which can discolor the salad.

Note – if you prefer, you can substitute 4 – 16. oz cans of cooked black beans; just rinse and drain thoroughly as above.

While beans are cooking, also cook:
1 – ½ to 2 cups long grain rice, brown rice, or an "8 grain" mixture of rice/grain that you can get from some stores, following package directions..

Cool beans and grain.

Dice some combination of the following:-- try to dice all vegetables uniformly to a size similar to the size of the black beans for best appearance:

Red onions (maybe 1 whole one)
Garlic, minced or crushed (up to 12 cloves more or less)
Bell peppers. I like to use 3 colors to brighten up the salad.
Jalapeno - 2 or 3 depending on heat you like, minced
Corn, canned, frozen or fresh as you like maybe a cup or so (suggestion – use the roasted corn from Trader Joe’s for an extra layer of flavor).
Optional addition --green beans or zucchini

Toss all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.

Then add Cumin-lime vinaigrette:

Olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
Lime zest
Lime juice (about 1/4 cup)
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon or so of mustard
Garlic (maybe 6 or so cloves)
Cumin and/or chili powder (1-2 teaspoons to taste)

Adjust these ingredients as needed to balance the flavors.
Optional: stir in fresh chopped cilantro.

Garnish with cilantro.

Here's all of the salad ingredients:

And my chopped veggies:

Such a colorful salad - we loved it!

May 10, 2009

SS #3 - Raw Asparagus, Pea and Arugula Salad


Amy of Destination Anywhere picked this week's salad.

This Spring salad is a variation of one that came from Bon Appetit a few years ago. Raw asparagus is surprisingly nutty tasting, and contrasts well with peppery arugula and sweet peas. You could also use a salad mix if you prefer a sweeter lettuce. I give directions for dressing the greens and asparagus separately and then plating so it looks pretty, but you could certainly just toss everything in a salad bowl.

Raw Asparagus, Pea, and Arugula Salad

For the dressing--put these ingredients in the food processor, and whirl to combine. Taste and adjust to your liking.

* 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar, rice-wine vinegar, or other delicate, slightly sweet vinegar
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 shallot, minced
* 1/4 cup hazelnut, toasted walnut, or pistachio oil (or just increase the olive oil--but a nut oil adds a lot of flavor)
* 1/4 cup light-tasting olive oil
* Salt--a pinch
* Pepper--a few grinds

Salad Ingredients:

1 lb fat asparagus
2 cups garden peas; or frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 lb arugula (about 6 cups)
1 cup toasted walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, or other nuts
a chunk of good parmesan cheese


Snap off just the really woody bottom end of the asparagus. Since you'll be peeling the stems, you can use more than usual. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stems all the way up, stopping just at the tips. (this step will make the stalks much more tender and juicy!) Cut off the tips, and blanch the tips for 2 minutes. Slice the stems on the diagonal in one-inch diagonal slices. Put the arugula in a bowl, and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. In another bowl, combine the asparagus tips, cut-up stems, and the peas. Toss this mixture with dressing as well. Place a serving of the arugula on each salad plate. Top arugula with a portion of the vegetables. Shave large slices of the parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler, and add to the salads. Sprinkle on nuts, and serve.

I made the salad in a HUGE salad bowl. The recipe didn't say, but I think it was enough for 6 or 8.

I added a few sugar snap peas as some of the other salad bloggers did. And the olive oil I chose for the dressing was tangerine flavored from Pasolivo. It blended really well with the almond grapeseed oil and other dressing ingredients. The nuts I used were toasted pine nuts from TJ's.

Oh! My parmesan ended up being grated instead of shaved. Just a little different appearance - the taste was the same.

All I can say is . . . YUMMY! Along with the chicken breasts with panko crumbs, it was a great hot-weather meal! Thanks, Amy!

Here are the dressing ingredients:

And the salad ingredients:

I loved this salad!

May 17, 2009

SS #4 - Thai Chicken Salad


Jerry (JdeQ) of Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants! chose this recipe, and here are his notes:

Those of you who made the soups will be able to use up some of those 'asian sauces' with this recipe. Wink

We first had this a few months ago at one of the cooking classes that we attend. I've modified the recipe a bit - i.e. added the chopped, roasted nuts as the garnish etc.

It is really two separate components - the chicken and the vegetable base. Each has its own dressing.

We loved this salad - it was fresh tasting and had a wonderful mix of flavours and textures which is so characteristic of Thai cooking. I doubt that it is 'authentic' Thai . . . but it is tasty!

It looks like a lot of ingredients but it comes together quite nicely. When I make it I cook the chicken the night before - so it can cool before I shred it, and make the dressing for the vegetables as well. Then the next day the salad itself comes together nicely.

Thai Chicken Salad

Makes 4 servings.

For the chicken:

4 roasted chicken breasts
½ tsp chopped galangal (can substitute with ginger)
Juice of two limes
1 ½ tsp minced bird’s eye chilies (or 1 tsp chili paste such as sambel oelek)
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 kaffir lime laves – centre rib removed, cut in a chiffonade
¾ tsp fish sauce

Shred the chicken breast.
Mix all of the dressing ingredients.
Toss the shredded chicken with the dressing. Adjust the seasonings – there should be a balance of hot, sour, and salt. To adjust seasonings in Thai food follow these rough guidelines . . . if it is too sweet add more fish sauce . . . too salty add more sugar . . . not tangy enough - add more lime juice . . . not hot enough - add more chili or some sambel oelek

For the salad base:

2 T fish sauce
2 T palm sugar – (can substitute with regular or brown sugar)
¼ cup lime juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 bird’s eye chilies, minced
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
8 Napa cabbage leaves cut in a chiffonade
16 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup blanched green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
½ bunch cilantro, leaves trimmed and coarsely chopped
½ bunch mint, leaves trimmed and cut in a chiffonade

½ cup roasted peanuts (non-salted) or cashews, chopped

Mix the fish sauce through to chilies in a jar. Stir/shake well to dissolve sugar. Taste for seasonings). Store it in the refrigerator overnight so the flavours come together.
Mix together the watercress through mint in a large bowl.
Toss with dressing.

To serve:

Divide the vegetable mixture amongst 4 plates.
Add the chicken on top of the vegetable mixture.
Sprinkle with chopped, roasted nuts. You can also add some cilantro to garnish.

My Notes:
I used ginger instead of galangal (I'm not sure I even know what it is) and chili paste in the chicken dressing. I could not find kaffir lime leaves, so I left those out.

In the salad dressing, I used serrano chiles instead of bird's eye chiles (I'm a wimp - what can I say), and I didn't blanch the green beans (we like raw veggies). Cashews were my topping.

We both loved the salad. I only did half of the salad greens, so we can have the second half of the recipe as a reprise. Yeah, don't have to cook again!

Thank you, Jerry! Loved the salad!

Here's my ingredients:

And the finished product:

May 24, 2009

SS #5 - Tuna Salad Nicoise


Debrah from Slow Travel picked the recipe for this, our 5th week, and here is what she said:

The recipe below is to serve 2 people but clearly, you can just double it or triple it at will. Anyone who has read recipes I have posted in the past may remember that I am rather loose in my interpretation of recipes but I hope that this fairly straightforward composed salad is easy to make.

Because I couldn’t decide which dressing is my favourite, I am giving two alternatives, one for a more traditional dressing and one for an Asian dressing, which I think goes exceedingly well with the Tuna.

Grilled Tuna Salad Nicoise


2 Tuna Steaks
2 cups Green Beans or asparagus - whichever is freshest (cut in half for presentation purposes)
2 cups cooked Potatoes (sliced, diced or quartered depending upon size)
12 Olives (use your favorite, or a mixture - obviously, nicoise are the classic)
1 Orange or yellow pepper
2 Green Onions
1 cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 hard boiled egg (if following classic recipe)

*Optional: spring baby carrots or radishes - scrubbed served whole

Dressing: (should be made up prior to cooking veggies)

Classic: (put all ingredients into a jar, cover and shake)
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
2 small or one large shallot (minced finely)
4 T. olive oil (or toasted walnut or hazelnut oil)
½ t. anchovy paste (optional)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 t. whole grain mustard
pinch of thyme

Asian (put all ingredients into a jar, cover and shake)
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
4 T Sesame Oil
Garlic - 2 cloves crushed
Ginger - about 1 tablespoon grated
4 T olive oil


Steam or parboil green beans or asparagus until just tender crisp. Put into ice water to stop cooking process.
Cook small potatoes (fingerlings are an idea) whole. Let cool, cut into shape you desire and pour a small amount of dressing on and chill. I roast or grill the peppers and tomatoes (with a small amount of either dressing tossed on) I like to cook the tomatoes until they release their juice and carmelize a bit. (If you are using really fresh flavourful tomatoes, you don’t need to bother!)

Put tuna steaks on the grill, brush with dressing and cook to your preference.

Plating: I like to present it as a composed salad - so each ingredient is given it’s own space on the plate, including the Tuna. Arrange the two plates, dividing up the vegetables, drizzle with dressing and serve.

*Clearly, you can use any vegetable you desire to finish up your plating. I think that tiny carrots whole and whole radishes add impact and more nutrients to the meal.

Enjoy - isn't it wonderful to look at the bountiful season ahead of us with all these colorful and tasty vegetables!

We had our salad for dinner, and it was wonderful! My Stater Brothers market had fresh tuna steaks, so that made it even better. I prepared the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs ahead, and then we grilled all of the other veggies, along with the tuna.

Our vegetables were green onions, small white onions, red potatoes, small multi-colored peppers (I left them whole to grill, and they turned out great. Also asparagus, large cherry tomatoes, olives, and a some fennel.

I made both dressings to try - Bill had the classic one, and I tried the Asian, and we put the dressings on at the table. I loved both of the dressings and will make them again.

Here's all of the ingredients:

And the beautiful finished plate (no dressing yet):

May 31, 2009

SS #6 - Fajita Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce


Kim of What I Really Think was in charge of picking this week's salad, and here are her notes:

Originally, I thought I'd do, Chicken Caesar Salad, which is a "Go To" for me during the summer (both girls love it), but Cindy Ruth already selected a "Caesar Saladish" recipe, so I bagged that idea.

Then I thought I'd do, Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges, which I made last summer for a lunch for friends (very good), but thought maybe it's too similar to some of the Thai salads, so instead, I opted for Fajita Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce which I haven't made in a while but remember we all loved it when I did (so I'm looking forward to making it again soon).

Fajita Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinned, boned chicken breast, cut into thin strips
Cooking spray
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced green bell pepper rings
1 cup sliced red onion, separated into rings
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges
Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce


Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken; toss to coat. Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add chicken mixture; sauté 8 minutes or until chicken is done. Set aside.

Divide lettuce and next 6 ingredients (lettuce through tomato) among 4 bowls; top with chicken mixture. Serve with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 serving salad, 3 ounces chicken, and 1/3 cup sauce)

CALORIES 520 (38% from fat); FAT 21.9g (sat 6g,mono 6.8g,poly 6g); IRON 5.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 101mg; CALCIUM 360mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.7g; SODIUM 1061mg; PROTEIN 3.6g; FIBER 6.6g

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce

This recipe goes with Fajita Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce


1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients, and stir well with a whisk. Cover sauce, and chill.

Yield: 1 1/3 cups (serving size: 1/3 cup)

CALORIES 113 (65% from fat); FAT 8.1g (sat 1.2g,mono 2.4g,poly 4.2g); IRON 0.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 32mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.6g; SODIUM 254mg; PROTEIN 3.2g; FIBER 0.1g

What a yummy dinner we had last night! Thanks for the great recipe, Kim!

Here are the ingredients:

I put the sliced onions and bell peppers in with the chicken for the last couple minutes of cooking, as some of the other salad makers suggested. The seasoning on the chicken was SO good!


When I made the dressing, I zested the lime before squeezing - I really like an intense lime flavor. The dressing was delicious!

I served the salad in a large salad bowl rather than on individual plates. We put the dressing on at the table.


Oh, and I used green olives rather than black. That's all I had at home, and I didn't want to go back to the market.

It was a GREAT dinner! And we have enough for tomorrow!

June 7, 2009

SS #7 - Roasted Corn & Wild Rice Salad


Lucky #7 was chosen by Deborah of Old Shoes - New Trip. I think we have another winner! Here are her notes.

I got this recipe on the internet a few years ago. Unfortunately, I can't remember where in order to give proper credit.

The recipe is very easy. It keeps well and freezes well. You can serve it both chilled or at room temperature. Great for picnics where you don't want to worry about spoilage.

Roasted Corn & Wild Rice Salad


1 4 oz package - uncooked wild rice. (the original recipe called for wild rice blend, but I prefer the stronger flavors of only wild rice.)
2 cups - frozen roasted corn nibblets (I use Trader Joes)
1 cup - finely chopped celery
3/4 cup - shredded carrot
3/4 cup - Craisins
2/3 cup - toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup - finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup - raspberry vinegar
1 tbs - olive oil
1 tbs - low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp - grated orange peel
1/2 tsp - pepper


Cook rice according to package directions: omit salt and fat. Cool.

Combine rice, corn and all other ingredients in a bowl; stir well; chill overnight to blend flavors.

Serve cold from fridge or bring to room temp if you prefer. (I like room temp., Dan likes cold)

This makes a pretty big batch, so you might want to halve it.

I made a few additions and substitutions. I probably added to all the veggies to make them one cup each - celery, shredded carrot, and red onion.

Regarding the Craisins, I intended to get orange cranberries at TJ's, but they were out. But, what I did find was a bag of Super Cranberry & Pomegranate Blend, which also included raspberries, cherries and black currants. It was delicious in the salad and healthy too! Next time I am going to try the orange cranberries, though,

The toasted sunflower seeds I got were unsalted. I am now wondering if the salted ones might have been more interesting - you know, the salty and sweet combination.

Here's all my ingredients - well, almost all, because I forgot to take the roasted corn out of the freezer until after I took the picture.

Everything's all chopped!

Ready for dinner:

And here's the label from the Trader Joe's Super Cranberry & Pomegranate Blend:

June 14, 2009

SS #8 - Shrimp Salad


It was Jan's turn to choose this week's salad. Jan is jgk on Slow Travel, and her blog is Keep your Feet in the Street.

Simple, summery and good.

Shrimp Salad


1 pound extra large shrimp (16-20) fresh, wild if you can find them.
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
¼ cup mayo
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, tarragon or parsley.
1 large stalk celery chopped
¼ large red pepper chopped
salt and pepper


Steam the shrimp for about 5 minutes in water with Old Bay.

When cool enough to handle, remove shells and chop into about 5 or 6 pieces per shrimp.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Toss in the chopped shrimp and chill.

Serve over a bed of lettuce of your choice.

We loved, loved, loved this salad!

I forgot to get the red bell pepper, so I chopped up a tomato instead. I used both parsley and tarragon and really liked the flavor. I didn't get the huge shrimp - since they were going to be cut up anyway, I used smaller ones. I also added some chopped red onion.

Here are the ingredients:

And the salad before we gobbled it up:

Oh! I know this was probably supposed to serve four, but we ate it all for dinner! Now you can see why I can't lose weight!

June 21, 2009

SS #9 - Grilled Romaine Salad with Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette


This week Cindy Ruth of Baked Alaska picked the recipe for our Salad Samplers. Here is what she said:

I chose Grilled Romaine Salad with Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette. I adapted this recipe from one I found on FoodTV. One substitution that I often use when making this is to substitute part of the olive oil in the dressing with lemon-infused olive oil. It's not necessary to do it, but if you happen to have some of the delicious lemon olive oil, this is a great place to use it.

Grilled Romaine Salad with Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings.


2 heads romaine lettuce
Extra-virgin olive oil
Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette, recipe below
Chopped tomatoes
Homemade croutons, if desired


Preheat grill to med-high.
Rinse and pat dry the lettuce. Cut the 2 heads in half lengthwise. Brush surface wtih olive oil and grill about 4 to 5 minutes total, turning occasionally. Place each wedge on a salad plate and drizzle with Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette. With a vegetable peeler, shave some pieces from a wedge of Reggiano-Parmigiano over each salad. Top with chopped tomatoes and homemade croutons and serve.

Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons anchovy paste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a pint jar with a lid. Secure the lid, then shake to blend. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I really liked the dressing. Of course, I changed a couple of things - instead of olive oil, I used Citrus Cilantro grapeseed oil and instead of white wine vinegar (which I didn't have), I used rice vinegar.

When I shopped for the parmesan cheese, I saw an Australian parmesan and decided to try it. It was actually very good!

The salad was delicious - ANOTHER keeper!

Here are the ingredients:


Accompanying our salad, we had some Farmer's Market squash - a real vegetarian dinner!

June 28, 2009

SS #10 - Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto


We are up to Week 10 of our Salad Samplers - gosh, time does fly! MarciaB of Happy Trails For Us: My Reluctant Blog picked this week's recipe. Here are her comments:

It was the last week of March, I was about to reach into my recipe files, as we were just setting up Salad Samplers, when the mail came and with it my April Bon Appetit. This salad was on the cover. Spring popped out to me and I decided it would be "my" salad recipe. So as we edge into summer . . .

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto

Makes 4 servings


1/4 cup (packed) fresh tarragon leaves plus 2 teaspoons chopped
1/4 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons pine nuts, divided
5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2 teaspoons chopped shallot
6 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
4 boneless chicken breast halves
4 1/2-inch-thick slices country-style French or sourdough bread
1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
1 cup thinly sliced radishes (from 1 large bunch)
1 cup thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers (about 1 1/2)


Place 1/4 cup tarragon leaves, parsley, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and shallot in mini processor; chop coarsely. With machine running, gradually add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil by teaspoonfuls to thin, if necessary.

Whisk 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon, remaining 4 teaspoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush chicken breasts on both sides with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until grill marks form, skin is crisp, and chicken is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface; let rest 5 minutes. Using clean brush, brush both sides of bread with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until dark-brown grill marks appear on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place greens, radishes, and cucumbers in large bowl. Toss with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among 4 plates.

Cut grilled chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange 1 sliced chicken breast atop salad on each plate. Spoon tarragon pesto over chicken. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons pine nuts over salads. Serve with grilled bread slices.

This recipe made a very satisfying one-dish dinner. Bill and I both enjoyed it - so simple and delicious - great for a cool summertime meal.

Here are my ingredients:

Dinner is ready, and I am hungry!

July 5, 2009

SS #11 - Watermelon Salad


I chose Watermelon Salad because my week to pick was July 4th weekend. Watermelon and the 4th of July just seem to go together!

But the task was then to choose the best Watermelon Salad. I have seen many recipes and have tried a number of them, with a variety of ingredients. So, it became my mission to test variations of the recipes and pick my favorite.

This is actually a very flexible recipe - ingredients and the amount of each one can be changed to suit individual tastes. So I think I will just list the ingredients in each variation and let each of you determine the amount to put in.

My first "test" had the following ingredients:
Watermelon - Cut into bite-sized cubes or balls
Cherry Tomatoes
Red Onion - Sliced very thinly
Kalamata Pitted Olives - I left them whole
Feta Cheese - Flavored or not
Chopped Basil
Olive Oil - Not a lot

It was good, but I am trying for memorable.


My second "test" had the following ingredients:
Watermelon - Cut into bite-sized cubes or balls
Red Onion - Sliced very thinly
Kalamata Pitted Olives - This time I cut them in half
Feta Cheese - Flavored or not
Chopped Cilantro on this one
Olive Oil - Not a lot

Bill really liked the cilantro in this one. In case you were wondering, the white flowers were from the cilantro in our garden.


Is the third time a charm? We shall see. Ingredients were:
Watermelon - Cut into bite-sized cubes or balls
Red Onion - Sliced very thinly
Kalamata Pitted Olives - About 10 olives chopped
Feta Cheese - Flavored or not
Basil & Mint - Chopped
Watercress - About a cup
Lemon Juice - To taste

This was good too and more healthy, I guess (no olive oil).


Oh my gosh! I just found this website with TONS of watermelon salad recipes! I need to try them all, but here is my favorite so far and the one I am choosing as my pick:

Blue Watermelon Walnut Salad

Makes 6-8 servings.

For the walnuts:
1 cup walnut pieces or halves
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the reduction:
2 cups inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary

For the Salad:
3 or 4 ounces fresh baby greens
2 seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
4 cups seedless watermelon cubes
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
2 cups fresh, trimmed and sliced strawberries
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Heat the walnuts in a seasoned wok or heavy non-stick sauté pan over medium for a minute and stir in the sugar and soy sauce. Adjust heat to prevent burning while constantly stirring the nuts until the sugar melts. Continue to stir and cook until the nuts begin to stick and the mixture is getting sticky. Spread the nuts over a sheet of waxed or parchment paper and cool. Break apart into small pieces and crumble. Set aside.

Heat the vinegar in a heavy non-corrosive saucepan over medium heat and stir in sugar. Continue to stir and adjust heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the rosemary sprig to the pan. Continue to simmer until the contents of the pan reduces by 1/2 its original volume. Set aside.

Divide the greens among 6 or 8 salad plates and arrange the orange sections, watermelon, grapes and strawberries over the greens. Drizzle the balsamic syrup over the fruit and the cheese crumbles over that. Top with the candied walnut pieces and serve.

Oh my gosh! What can I say but Wow! Wow! Wow!

It's hard to go wrong with blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola) and candied walnuts, but the watermelon and other fruits also played an important part in enhancing the taste sensations.


So, the door is wide open for watermelon salad recipes - try the one that I did (see above) or go on the website and try a different one.

July 12, 2009

SS #12 - Ceviche Salad


Candi, of Candi's Corner: Wanderlust and Passions, chose this week's salad. Here are her comments:

After twelve weeks of sampling delicious and nutritious salads, it is challenging to come up with something different. I was originally planning on a southwestern chicken salad with creamy salsa, but since we just had Marcia's wonderful chicken salad, I thought I'll go with ceviche.

Ceviche is a great summer salad that is popular in South and Central America, as well as Mexico, in many variations. It is traditionally fish "cooked" in lime juice,where the acids give the fish firm, cooked texture by breaking down the proteins over time.

I chose a version of Ceviche that poaches the fish to reduce cooking time, and also for food safety reasons. I got the recipe from the book Ageless Face, Ageless Mind by Nicholas Perricone. I adapted it a bit to add more flavor. Here is my adapted recipe:


Makes 6 servings.

To cook the fish:

3 cups of water or chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of two limes
1 Jalapeno or Serrano chili sliced in half
3 gloves of garlic,crushed
I Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 lb firm white fish fillet(halibut or the like)
1/2 lb large shrimp,peeled and deveined

Coat the fish and shrimp with old bay. Bring the broth, wine, lime juice, chili and garlic to simmer. Add fish and shrimp and simmer (do not boil) until fish is opaque (about 5 minutes) and shrimp is pink (about 2 minutes). Remove from poaching liquid and cool in the refrigerator.

To make the salad

2 large tomatoes,diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 jalapeno,seeded and diced (or more if you wish)
Juice of two limes
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
Hot sauce to taste
Sea salt and cracked black peppers to taste

Mix tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro together. Season to taste with hot sauce,salt and pepper.

When the fish is cool, cut shrimp in half and fish into bite-sized pieces. Mix into tomato mixture. Chill for at least one hour and up to four hours.*

*I think it lasts longer than that in the fridge. I've had leftovers the day after and still thought it was good, just hotter after sitting in the hot sauce for so long.

Prep time:15 minutes plus time to chill. Cooking time:10 minutes.

It was really hot in SoCal yesterday, so this salad was perfect! Easy to put together too. And healthy!

I used cod and medium-sized shrimp. The tomatoes I had on hand were multi-color cherry tomatoes, so that added to the color contrast. I had some multi-color mini bell peppers, so I chopped those and added them to the tomato mixture. I had a sweet and mild Vidalia onion, which I chopped - I love those in raw salads.

Although this recipe is supposed to serve 6, we ate nearly all of it (just two of us). I saved a little bit of mine for lunch tomorrow, but Bill cleaned his up. We had some parmesan flavored Triscuits with the salad, and it was a perfect summer meal. Thank you, Candi!

Here are my ingredients:

The fish is poaching:

All of the veggies are chopped:

What a beautiful colorful plate:

July 19, 2009

SS #13 - Israeli Salad


Lucky #13 was Terry's choice. She is teaberry on Slow Travel. Here is what she said about her recipe:

I first ate this salad when I visited Israel, where they love eating fresh vegetables cut up small like this for breakfast! Almost every Israeli knows how to make an Israeli salad, and there are probably as many variants as there are Israelis.

This variation is actually from Molly Katzen's book, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, which was an early standard for me. I'm not vegetarian, but I do love vegetarian food, and she was a real groundbreaker in that cooking genre. Her original recipe includes 1/2 cup of minced red onion, which I omit because I am not a fan of raw onions, but please feel free to include it if it suits your fancy. You can make this several hours ahead of serving time.

Israeli salad

Makes 4-6 servings.


1 large English cucumber, or 2 6" regular ones (the English cucumbers have fewer seeds)
2-3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
12 radishes
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives
2 scallions
1 large Kosher pickle
1 medium green pepper
3/4 cup (packed) fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1 large lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Cut the cucumber and tomatoes into small cubes and place in large bowl.

In your food processor, place the radishes and olives; pulse until roughly chopped. Add to the large bowl.

Place the scallions, pickle, and green pepper in the food processor and mince. Add to the large bowl.

Mince the parsley in the food processor; add to large bowl.

Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to your salad, and toss everything together gently. Chill.

Optional additions: feta cheese on top, or you can serve with yogurt or sour cream or little cubes of cream cheese on top.

This was a really refreshing salad for a really hot evening in SoCal. We had grilled chicken with it.

I used a Vidalia onion and red and yellow heirloom tomatoes. I got some non-fat feta cheese at TJ's, which I hadn't tried before. It was fine on the salad because there were so many other flavors, but by itself pretty nondescript. Nonfat sometimes equals nonflavor too!

Here are my ingredients:

Everything's chopped:

And the yummy salad:

July 26, 2009

SS #14 - Thai Beef Salad (Yam Neua)


This week's salad was chosen by Maria I. of My Place in the Sun. The salad calls for tender beef, but Maria (and several of my Salad Sampler compadres) made it with shrimp.

Thai Beef Salad (Yam Neua)

This salad is one of the favorites in restaurants and home kitchens alike in Bangkok and Central Thailand. This version was given to me by my niece Isabel who for many years assisted her Thai mom in Atlanta-area restaurants.


1 lb tender beef steak, such as top sirloin.

For the salad:

1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise in half and thinly sliced
1-2 Thai bird’s-eye chilies or according to taste (I use 1-2 serrano chilies)

For the sauce:

1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions


Grill beef until medium to well-done. Slice thinly on the bias and set aside. Combine all the salad ingredients and add the sliced beef. Make the sauce by mixing together all the ingredients and toss with the salad.

Serve over a bed of green lettuce (e.g. Romaine) whole or chopped, or place individual servings over a large lettuce leaf.

Variations - Mint and sliced shallots can be added to the salad. Grilled shrimp or calamari may be substituted for the beef. Instead of lettuce, the salad may be served with a wedge of fresh cabbage. Palm sugar (or any other sugar) may be added for a slight touch of sweetness.

This salad uses many of the same ingredients in Jerry's Thai Chicken Salad, so the same seasoning guidelines posted for his recipe can be followed for this salad:

Adjust the seasonings – there should be a balance of hot, sour, and salt. To adjust seasonings in Thai food follow these rough guidelines . . . if it is too sweet add more fish sauce . . . too salty add more sugar . . . not tangy enough - add more lime juice . . . not hot enough - add more chili .

I did the beef version, which was very good. I think I will try the shrimp version next time to see how they compare. Bill was really impressed with the salad and gave it 5 stars!

I think I followed the recipe except for the herbs - I used a blend of cilantro-Thai basil-mint.

My ingredients:

This was our very light yummy dinner:

August 2, 2009

SS #15 - Tropical Rice Salad


Palma of Palmabella's Passions picked this week's recipe. Anyone who knows Palma or has attended any of the desert GTGs at her home will attest to the fact that anything that Palma makes is GOOD! Here is what she says about her recipe:

This is a great side dish with grilled chicken or fish. It is served cold, so you can make it ahead, and let the flavors blend.

Tropical Rice Salad


2 c. chicken stock
1 c. white rice (I've never tried it with other rice, but feel free)
1 c. halved snow peas
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
3/4 c. celery
2/3 c. (or one can) sliced water chestnuts
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can crushed (or chunk) pineapple, drained well


2 t. orange juice concentrate
2 t. honey
1 t. soy sauce
1 t. olive oil
1/2 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/4 t. minced gingerroot


Cook rice in chicken stock. Drain well. Cool rice. Put rice in a large mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over rice mixture and toss. Chill six hours, and toss again before serving.

I used fresh pineapple instead of canned and TJ's brown rice instead of white, but everything else was according to the recipe. We loved the salad - thanks Palma!

Here are the ingredients:

Everything is chopped (rice is cooling off):

Salad is ready to be served:

We had our salad with Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing. It was a recipe from Food Network's Giada De Laurentis.


August 9, 2009

SS #16 - Couscous Salad


AnnieNC of Churches in Venice had the pleasure of selecting this week's salad. These are her notes:

I found this recipe on the McCormick spice website after a friend brought me a big bag of cinnamon from Vietnam and I started looking for savory recipes to use it in. The recipe was created by Suzanne Goins from the Los Angeles restaurant Luques.

I use whole wheat couscous and sometimes substitute dried apricots for the dates. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Vietnamese cinnamon is pretty strong so if you're using regular cinnamon, you might want to use a little bit more. This is a great party/potluck recipe (it keeps and travels well).

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Dates & Cinnamon

Serves 8


3 green onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 (10 ounce) package couscous

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Finely dice white end of green onions. Slice green parts of green onions and reserve for salad. Gently cook white onion pieces in olive oil 5-7 minutes in a medium saucepan. Stir in chicken broth, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil; add couscous. Cover and remove pan from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and olive oil in a small bowl.

Fluff couscous with a fork; put in a large bowl. Toss in sliced green onions, chickpeas, carrots, dates, pinenuts, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; add vinaigrette and toss again. Serve right away or chill. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Our salad for dinner last night was great - another keeper! It seems like I have said that about each of the weekly salads we have made, but they have ALL been yummy!

I used chopped dates, as the recipe called for, but I think I will try dried apricots next time, as suggested by Annie. I also threw a few more toasted pine nuts on top, along with some chopped chives that I had in the fridge.

It was a great accompaniment to grilled chicken. The recipe made a lot - probably enough for six or eight as a side dish. I am also thinking about adding some kind of protein to the salad to turn it into a one dish meal - maybe pork or chicken chunks.

Here are my ingredients:

And the finished product:

August 16, 2009

SS #17 - Potato Salad


Sandi (Bugulu on Slow Travel) of Whistletop Cafe picked the recipe for this week's salad. She is a cooking whiz and a Southerner, so you know ahead of time that these potato salads have to be great! And she gave us TWO to choose from! Here is what she said:

I know there are as many recipes for potato salad as there are kinds of potatoes. This is a recipe that is a combination of a southern potato salad and a german mustard potato salad. It is a favorite for us!

Southern Mustard Potato Salad


1-2 pounds potatoes
4-5 hard boiled eggs
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup pickle relish
3 Tbs spicy mustard
1/2 cup mayo


Clean potatoes then boil them whole. Once tender, 15-20 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool. Dice onion and celery. Dice potatoes into large chunks.

In another bowl whisk together mayo, mustard and pickle relish. Add kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stir all ingredients together. Finally, peel and slice the hard boiled eggs and stir those in as well. Serve warm or cold.

Another favorite potato salad is this one from my cookbook...

Warm Potato Salad


1 pound red potatoes
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup non fat sour cream
2 Tbs vinegar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp salt


Wash and cook potatoes whole until tender.Drain and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine sourcream and vinegar. Slice the potatoes into thin slices. Combine all ingredients. Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve warm.

I will leave this open to more suggestions... If you have a recipe your family loves~ share it with us. It'll be fun to see what we come up with.

I fixed Sandi's first recipe, Southern Mustard Potato Salad, but I also wanted to tell you about the potato salad that my Mother always made, which was kind of unusual. Keep going to the second page of today's blog entry

My salad is going to look strange to you because of the potatoes I used. Bill had harvested a bunch of small purple, red and fingerling potatoes, and I decided to use them in the salad.

I got all of my ingredients together:

Potatoes are ready to be put in the pot:

Everything is chopped or sliced or measured:

Ready to be served:

As you can see, I added a few cherry tomatoes and some chopped chives to give the salad a little more color.

Thank you, Sandi - we loved the salad!

Continue reading "SS #17 - Potato Salad" »

August 23, 2009

SS #18 - Tortellini Salad


I can't believe this is our last Sunday salad!
It has been so much fun to make these each week and blog about them. Just as we loved all of the soups, the salads have all been delicious!

Ida (Vico Girl on Slow Travel) chose this week's final salad. Here is what she said:

I've been making this for years and it's especially good for a buffet/party as it serves quite a few. Now... I've never really measured the exact amount of the ingredients I use, but I tried for ST so here goes:

Tortellini Salad

1 lb or a little bit more fresh or frozen tortellini or a Barilla bag of dry tortellini

Boil as per package instructions and set aside.Don't overboil them! COOL them down a bit. (I used fresh tricolored).

In a very very large bowl mix together:

1 container of pearl or small sized fresh mozzarella balls (I buy mine from Sam's Club or BJ's)

16 oz jar of Julienne cut Calif sundried tomatoes in oil (I use 3/4 of the jar) plus the oil! Just pour the oil into the bowl.

4 cloves garlic chopped superfine

1 large bunch Italian parsley chopped fine

1 jar black dried olives in oil pitted and sliced (this takes a while).

16 oz jar (or larger from Costco) marinated artichokes cut into pieces (I think mine was 24oz).

1 jar marinated red peppers cut in strips if you want (I stopped adding them).

S/P and some extra virgin olive oil

Now that you've mixed the above ingredients well, add cooked tortellini a few scoops at a time mixing well. Cover bowl with glad wrap and refrigerate overnite as it taste even better the following day after the flavors blend together. Serve at room temp! I served mine with grilled shrimp.

This recipe seems just made for improvisation (using things that you have on hand), so that is what I did!

I got the fresh tri-colored tortellini like Ida used - miraculously my Stater Brothers had it. Mozzarella balls were from Trader Joe's - I had them in the fridge.

A friend had given me some jars of Mezzetta products which seemed just perfect for this salad. The first one was a combination of veggies - green olives, dried tomatoes, kidney beans, artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, and herbs in a red wine herb vinaigrette. The second jar was roasted bell peppers, which I chopped. I used a small jar of julienned sun-dried tomatoes from TJ's, and some pitted kalamata olives from the fridge, which I sliced.

So, after mixing all of the veggies together, I added the cooled tortellini. I garnished the bowl with cherry tomatoes from the garden.

The jar of marinated veggies did not have enough artichoke hearts, so next time I would use more of those. Thank you, Ida, for an easy, delicious recipe.

Here are my ingredients:

This is the jar of Mezzetta marinated vegetables:

The veggies and cheese balls are ready to be mixed together:

Another beautiful salad:

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Winelover's Wanderings in the Salad Samplers category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Recipes/Food Fun is the previous category.

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