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Category Archives: Salads

Strawberry & Avocado Spinach Salad in Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

A truly summer salad! If you are not into making your own dressings, buy a similar raspberry balsamic one at the store. This salad both looks and tastes great!!

Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad in Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 2

ingredients
• 1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach
• 2 cups strawberries, sliced
• 1 avocado, diced
• 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
• 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
• 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup raspberry white balsamic vinaigrette (* see below)
directions
1. Assemble salad, toss in dressing and enjoy!

Option: Goat cheese or feta also work well in place of the blue cheese.
Option: I like to throw in some fresh peas when available in spring.

  • Raspberry White Balsamic Vinaigrette
    Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Servings: 1cup

ingredients
• 1/2 cup raspberries fresh (or thawed frozen)
• 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• salt and pepper to taste
1. Mash the raspberries and mix everything. 2. Pour over your favourite summer salad…

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Thai Jicama Salad

Pachyrhizus erosus, commonly known as jicama or Mexican yam, Mexican turnip, or Mexican water chestnut is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant’s edible tuberous root. Jícama is a species in the genus Pachyrhizus in the bean family (Fabaceae). Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean, although the term “yam bean” can be another name for jícama. The other major species of yam beans are also indigenous within the Americas.

imagesChopped, cubed, sliced into fine sticks, raw or cooked, jicama is versatile and great in stir-fries, salads, slaw, soup, and with other veggies and fruits like oranges, apples, carrots, and onions, as well as meats and seafood. A favorite Mexican recipe is chilled jicama slices sprinkled with chili powder, salt, and lime juice.

Our friend Lynda is a great Thai cook, having lived there for many years. This salad is awesome. FYI…yes jicama is available in Canada and the United States.

Thai Jicama Salad
Ingredients
2 green onions finely sliced
1 jicama sliced match sticks (2 to 3 cups)
1 cucumber chunk or match sticks
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup Thai basil (or any basil)

Salad Dressing
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. soya sauce
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp sugar
1 minced red chili or 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes

Combine all dressing ingredients and stir to dissolve sugar.
Place all salad ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing over & toss well.

Great for a potluck…

Jack’s Icebox Salad

My mom used to belong to the Women’s Institute when I lived on the farm. This salad often appeared at family functions with different variations. I was surprised to see it again at a recent birthday party, brought along by our friends Jack and Carlos. This was Jack’s version. If you leave out the bacon it is VEGAN!

Chop up romaine lettuce and spinach and place in the bottom of a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish.

Add the following in layers –
1 cup shredded celery
6 hard boiled eggs chopped
10 oz. frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
8 green onions sliced
6 oz. sliced water chestnuts
8 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon

Dressing – 1 cup mayonnaise + 1 cup sour cream + 2 Tablespoons sugar. Spread the dressing over the bacon layer!

Top with –

1 cup grated medium cheddar
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon.

Cover with Saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 24 hours!! Trust me on this one…it sets better…

When ready to serve cut into squares and place on chilled salad plates.

Lee Hongs Cucumbers

My ex-wife and I have been making this simple salad for years! I have not thought about it much for several years until It came to me when I bought some nice English cucumbers in Mexico. Until today I never thought much about what the difference was between the different varieties besides the shape. This is what I found…

Definition: a variety of cucumber that is generally sweeter than the regular, common cucumber. It is longer, sometimes a bit thinner, and has very tiny seeds. In contrast, a regular cucumber has many large seeds, which can contribute to the bitter flavor.

As for Lee Hong…I have not a clue! Before summer ends, give this a try!

Heres the simple recipe DO NOT USE REGULAR CUCUMBERS!!!

Lee Hong’s Cucumbers
“I got this from the Best of Bridge cookbook. It is a real hit at BBQ’s as well as a side dish on a hot summer day. I make a big batch because people always want to take leftovers home! Tastes even better the next day, but the cucumber will be a bit wilted, but doesn’t affect the taste. Enjoy! Edited to include: You can also add some fresh dill weed to the dressing. It adds a nice flavor. Edited June 2011 to include: You can also try using Splenda in place of sugar. It doesn’t alter the taste too much. I have successfully used it in place of sugar. It depends on your taste buds.”
Ingredients
o 1 tablespoon salt
o 1 long English cucumber, sliced very thin ( do not use short green cucumbers)
o 6 tablespoons sugar
o 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
o 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
o 8 tablespoons white vinegar
o 6 tablespoons water
Directions
1. Slice cucumbers as thin as you can.
2. Arrange cucumber slices in a bowl in layers, salting between layers. Sprinkle the cukes with salt, don’t over salt them.
3. Let stand 2 hours.
4. Rinse with cold water until no salt remains. Make sure you rinse salt out of cukes extremely well or the salty taste will stay.
5. Drain well and pat dry.
6. Thinly slice red onions and break apart rings.
7. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and oil, then add vinegar and water.
8. Add more sugar or vinegar if not sweet or sour enough.
9. It should have a nice tangy taste.
10. Add onions and cucumber to vinegar dressing.
11. Mix well.
12. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours, stirring frequently to blend flavors.
13. Serve with steak, chicken, at a BBQ or with a deli style sandwich!

Roasted Corn and Sweet Pepper Toss

Summertime in southern Ontario means sweet corn is plentiful. Try something a little different and use it in a fresh salad, as my daughter did. It is an awesome side salad and worth the effort.

6 cobs of corn (or used a good quality canned corn)
1 T olive oil
2 red peppers
2 orange peppers
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice
3 T cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove of garlic minced
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1’2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 cups arugula leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove husks from the corn and brush the cobs with oil. Place on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet. Cut the peppers into quarters and add to the corn. Roast for 45 minutes or until corn and peppers are golden. Leave to cool.

Scrape the kernels from the corn into a large bowl. Chop the peppers into bite sized pieces and add to the corn.

Whisk together the lime juice and zest, vinegar, paprika, garlic sugar and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, whisking constantly. Pour the dressing over the corn and peppers and toss to coat. Add green onion and cilantro and toss again. Place arugula on a platter and pour corn mixture on top. Chill for 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you are an arugula lover, I would add chopped arugula to the salad and toss it all together.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Arugula and Basil Salad

Just tried this from the LCBO Food and Drink Magazine for summer. Simple and very tasty…

Arugula & Basil Salad with Nectarine

Dressing
Juice and zest of one lime
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 tsp. Sesame oil
1/4 cup salad oil (not olive)
Salt and pepper

Salad
8 cups baby arugula
2 ripe nectarines cut into thin wedges
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves in thin strips
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Prepare dressing and let stand. Add arugula and basil. Toss with the toasted sesame seeds and nectarines.

You could likely substitute firm peaches OR mango.

Cherry Tomato Salad (Found on Annie’s Eats)

What happens when you buy too many cherry tomatoes at Costco? You get desperate to use them up…LOL. This salad was great!

Cherry Tomato Salad http://www.annies-eats.com/

2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium shallot minced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

ground black pepper

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch chunks

4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (about 1 cup)

1-2 tablespoons parsley minced

Combine the tomatoes, salt and sugar in a medium bowl and toss. Let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a salad spinner and spin until the seeds and excess liquid have been removed (about one minute). SAVE 1/2 cup juice.

Return the tomatoes to the original bowl.

Combine 1/2 cup of the liquid with garlic, oregano, shallot and vinegar in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Simmer until mixture is reduced about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the oil and season with pepper to taste.

Add the cucumber, goat cheese and parsley to the bowl of tomatoes. Toss with the dressing and serve.

Caesar Salad

Everyone generally loves a great Caesar salad. Did you know it was invented by a chef in Tijuana, Mexico? If you don’t believe me, check out this Wikipedia article, where you will find the original recipe of Caesar Cardini – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_salad

Personally, it is hard to believe this since most Caesar salads in Mexico do not even come close to Caesar’s…except my former sister-in-law’s which I use always. Try it for the long weekend!

Caesar Salad

1 inch of anchovy paste (I know it isn’t part of the original recipe)

Crushed garlic (you be the judge)

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar

1 egg yolk coddled (if your eggs are pasteurized I just use a yolk and do not coddle it)

3/4 cup Crisco oil (NOT extra virgen olive oil)

Mix all of the first 6 ingredients together with a whisk. Slowly add in the oil, whisking away as you go. Chill.

My Caesar salad includes:  romaine lettuce leaves minus the ribs, fresh croutons, green onions, fresh bits of bacon and fresh mushrooms and, of course, LOTS of Parmesan cheese!!!!

Enjoy the holiday weekend!!!

Sweet Amish Macaroni Salad

Considering that my spouse is NOT a big pasta fan, I was surprised when he wanted to try this summer salad! It turned out to be awesome with this particular dressing. Great for the long weekend coming up in Canada.

Sweet Amish Macaroni Salad

Serves 12 to 15 (you can half it if you are not feeding 15…LOL)

Ingredients:

1 lb. macaroni (we used the little ‘tulip cups’ in multiple colours)

4 hard boiled eggs chopped

1 small onion finely diced

3 celery stalks finely chopped

1 small bell pepper, preferably red for colour, chopped

1 can of artichoke hearts quartered* (add a few hours before serving so they don’t get soggy)

black olives to your liking

Dressing:

2 cups mayonnaise (do NOT use Miracle Whip)

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 cup yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon salt

paprika for garnish

Cook the macaroni according to package directions and let cool. Add the other ingredients to the salad. Toss with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the dressing. You can save the rest to be served at the table.

Chill overnight for best flavor. Will keep for two days in the refrigerator if not all eaten.

Greek Salad a la Larry

Larry decided to explore several different Greek salad recipes one day – the result was his version below, which turned out to be very good!

Larry’s Greek Salad Recipe

Dressing Ingredients:

1 1/2 TBS  lemon juice

2 TBS     red wine vinegar

6 TBS       olive oil

2              small garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp      white sugar

1 tsp      salt

½ tsp     course ground pepper

1  tsp     Dijon grainy mustard

6 to 8     black / Kalamata olives finely chopped    Note: 15 oz can, the remainder go in the salad.

Mix all ingredients well in a salad dressing mixer or glass jar with lid.  Adjust quantities of ingredients to your individual taste.  The small amount of sugar cuts the acidity and is pleasant on the tongue without being sweet tasting.

Salad ingredients:

1              small red onion, very finely sliced

 Cut into approx.  one inch cubes:  1 green pepper,  1 red pepper,  1  yellow pepper (seeded, etc)

½ c          coarsely chopped flat parsley leaves  (if you like, you can also add some chopped mint leaves)

12 -16    Kalamata / black olives, pitted and halved

4              mini  cucumbers  (Costco), quartered lengthwise, and cut in 1” thick slices

200 gr    feta cheese, cut into small ½” cubes ( in Mexico, I use Apetina brand found at Superama, in brine)

1 cup     Plum tomatoes, halved ( more if you like)

Mix all the ingredients together and toss with some of the dressing.  I like to add the feta cheese to the individual salad bowls.   Guests can add more dressing if they like.

Another option:  let guests add their own dressing and feta.  If there is salad remaining, it will store better without the dressing added.