Cold Asparagus Salad

Hopefully, you are still able to get fresh asparagus where you are! This makes a wonderful summer salad side dish and is fairly easy to prepare. We enjoy edit with a great hamburger and potato salad. There’s very little prep involved too. Follow the asparagus directions as shown and do not overcook it.

Asparagus Salad COLD

Ingredients

  • 1 large hard-boiled egg (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 2/3 cups chopped asparagus
  • 2 slices cooked and crumbled center cut bacon (check labels for Whole30)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (check label for Whole30)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • pinch salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until tender yet firm. Drain and run under cold water to stop it from cooking further. Setaside OR place asparagus stocks, trimmed, in a microwave dish and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, Drain!

2. In a small bowl mix the Dijon, oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Arrange the asparagus on a plate, top with egg and bacon and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Shopska Salad

A day late this week, as we just returned from vacation in Ontario, Canada. While there we had this wonderful salad in a Serbian restaurant. In researching, I came to see the same recipe listed as Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, etc. Nevertheless, it was great. It is important to dice the vegetables as indicated. If not, you may think you are making a Greek salad as the ingredients are very similar without the black olives!

Shopska Salad

Servings 6

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato about or the same amount of regular tomatoes
  • 3 mini cucumbers each about 15 cm/ 6 inches long or a regular long cucumber
  • 3 bell peppers red, yellow and green
  • 1 medium onion red or white
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Chop the tomatoes into cubes. Halve and chop the mini cucumbers. If using a large cucumber, remove the seeds with a tablespoon. Chop the bell peppers. Finely chop the onion and the parsley.

2. Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl.

3. Dressing: whisk together the sunflower oil, red wine vinegar, fine sea salt, and pepper. Add to the salad and stir.

4. Crumble the creamy feta on top of the salad. Sprinkle cheese on the salad or mash it with a fork and smear on top of the salad. You can also crumble it and stir it into the salad.

5. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and more vinegar, if you like it.

Italian Romaine Salad and Dressing for Two

Since we are back trying to shed some pre-Christmas pounds/kilos, I find we are eating more salads. This one is very similar to a well known Italian restaurant chain in the US! It’s fresh and very tasty, as well as filling.

Italian Romaine Salad 204 calories per serving

  • 1 head romaine lettuce or 2 small romaine hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Grated, parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Pepperoncini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Black olives, sliced or whole
  • 1 pint Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Croutons, store bought or homemade OPTIONAL

Italian Dressing

  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Tired of the same old green salads? No lettuce in the house? Greek salad is the answer – minus lettuce, which is not even normally found in a true Greek salad.

Start with a freshmade dressing, refrigerated while you chop up the salad ingredientes. This is one of our new favorites, for sure! And it looks beautiful as well.

You won’t find a better Greek salad anywhere…

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

(Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, process the ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them together in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

Greek Salad

  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • ½ English seedless cucumber large dice
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ cup whole black olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Stacked Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

20200704_184142

Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, (beefsteak, yellow, and heirloom), sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • Tapenade, recipe follows*
  • 1-pound goat cheese, thinly sliced (or use Mozzarella, but goat is better)
  • Fresh basil leaves and sprigs, for layering and for garnish

Sweet Basil Dressing, recipe follows below

Directions

Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Then place a slice of the goat cheese on top, add a few basil leaves, and finish with another tomato slice. You can add another layer to make Napoleon as high as you desire. Top with another small spoonful of the tapenade and then drizzle the Sweet Basil Dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and repeat to make 4 to 6 plates. For a smaller version, use Roma tomatoes.

Tapenade (Honestly, I buy a small jar at the store…a whole lot easier)

  • 2 cups kalamata or niçoise olives, pitted
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine olives, garlic, anchovies and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sweet Basil Dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup pure olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (roll the leaves in a little tube shape and slice across the leaves)

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and then stir in the basil.

20200704_184300

Classic Cobb Salad + Dressing

Just in case you are wondering about the difference between  a Chef’s Salad and a Cobb Salad, here is what I found in Wikipedia

A Chef Salad and Cobb Salad both have lettuce, cheese and meats such as bacon, chicken breast, and ham, plus hard boiled eggs. But a Cobb salad usually has a mixture of lettuces, and also has avocado and tomatoes. It was named after Robert Cobb who was the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and created by his chef in 1937.

This is the Pinterest version I was able to locate. Cobb Salad Dressing.

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or leftover baked ham, chopped
  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce (or salad greens blend)
  • 8 grape tomatoes (I chopped up a Roma tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 3 ounces ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing) OR Cobb Dressing below*
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until is crispy. Removed from oven and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Heat grill or a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook chicken, flipping once, for about 3-4 minute per side. Make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temp and is no longer pink. Remove to a plate to rest. (Substitute chopped ham in place of chicken).
  3. Rinse and dry lettuce, then remove outer leaves and core. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a platter or shallow serving bowl.
  4. Rinse and halve tomatoes. Place on top of the lettuce to one side of the bowl. Slice eggs and place next to the tomatoes in a line. Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and then chop or slice. Add next to eggs.
  5. Slice or dice chicken and place on salad next to avocado. Crumble bacon and place next to the chicken/ham. Crumble blue cheese and place next to bacon.
  6. Serve with the ORIGINAL dressing! 

Cobb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a blend and blend together until well mixed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

A Little Taste of Brazil!!

One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?

Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.

brazilian-picanha-raw-meat-picture_csp60647878.jpg

In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…

cache_899438757

I chose to roast it whole.

There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.

Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe

Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.  Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked.  It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more.  By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.  

Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows

Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.

Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!

Slice against the grain for tender cuts.    

Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.

20200105_192139.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Too many Argentinian chorizos…My best friend, Pinterest, shared this recipe! Fortunately I had some chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and black olives…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

20191112_183658.jpg

Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Traybake

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 1 white onion cut into wedges
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped chorizo
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F)
  2. In a large pyrex baking dish add the chopped bell peppers, onions, cherry, chorizo, tomatoes and olive.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the veggies and toss with your hands to ensure everything is well coated. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and brush with the remaining sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove from the oven half way through cooking and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and veggies before returning back to the oven to bake.
  5. Check the chicken to ensure it’s no longer pink. Sprinkle the veggies with chopped parsley before serving.

Caramelized Leek, Parmesan and Ham Quiche

Still time to prepare this wonderful quiche for Easter morning, friends!Its not all that difficult, if you start with a refrigerated crust. Make sure to really clean the leeks well, as they often have dirt hidden inside!! Serve with some ice fresh strawberries…

Could also be good to use up that leftover ham after Easter!

IMG_20170409_114746

Caramelized Leek, Parmesan and Ham Quiche

 Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 oz. Ham
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Egg wash
  • 2 Eggs,
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 10 slices Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup Cream
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

Prepare the caramelized leek. Clean the leek and peel off the top layer of skin. Cut in half length-ways then finely slice width ways. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and gently cook the leek for a few minutes until soft. Add the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Stir for another couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved and set aside to cool.

Prick the bases of the pie shell with a fork about a dozen times evenly around the base. Place on a tray and into the oven for the time recommended on the package. 

Remove the pie shell from the oven. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove, brush the shell with egg wash and cook for a further 3 minutes.

 Remove the quiche from the oven. Evenly distribute the shaved ham and caramelized leek evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle over the grated cheese. In a mixing bowl whisk together the 2 eggs, cup of milk and cup of cream. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jug and carefully pour into the pie shell. Cook for 20 minutes.

  • Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

 

 

Mediterranean Caesar Salad

Thanks to all of you who follow and view my blog. As of today I have reached 13000 VIEWS and over 5400 Visitors!!!  Hope you will continue to spread the word…hope you still have time to try this wonderful salad…

Today’s Caesar salad is tomorrows Mediterranean Caesar Salad if you have left over homemade dressing…which I always do. I just substituted the Parmesan and sliced mushrooms for feta cheese and black olives. You could even add a few garbanzo beans for added protein and texture. We actually liked it better tha the original Caesar!

Mediterranean Caesar Salad

The Dressing –

  • 1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce or use the traditional anchovy paste (TIP)
  • 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup oil (NOT olive oil) vegetable oil

Blend all ingredients in a shaker,. Shake and refrigerate until needed…

The Salad –

  •  Romaine lettuce torn in pieces
  • 2 or 3 sliced green onions
  • 3 or 4 strips crisp bacon crumbled
  • Black olives halved (to taste)
  • Feta cheese (to taste…I like lots)
  • Caesar bread crouton
  • mushrooms sliced

*For more protein throw in a few canned garbanzo beans