Tag Archives: salad

Vanilla Vegetable Salad

Vanilla Vegetable Salad

I was skeptical about this one from the start.  I mean, I love vanilla.  In puddings and cakes and other treats.  But in a salad dressing?  I wasn’t so sure… But, in the name of French Fridays with Dorie I gave it a go.

At least it was simple to make: First I made ribbons of carrot and zucchini with a vegetable peeler.  These and a couple handfuls of mixed greens were tossed with a dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, and vanilla (along with some salt & pepper).


So?  Meh.  I am not a big fan of ribbons of vegetables.  I find them hard to eat and a little too much like rabbit food.  And the vanilla in the dressing, while subtle, seemed like it didn’t belong.  My husband felt the same way I did.  Actually, I was curious if he would pick up the vanilla in the dressing.  As he tried he said, “Is there vanilla in this?”  I guess he noticed.  But it wasn’t a good thing.

They can’t all be winners, can they?  Next month is looking up; all the October recipes sound delicious to me.  Stay tuned to see what they are!


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Hélène’s All-White Salad + Leek and Potato Soup

Helene's All-White Salad

I am running a day late for French Fridays with Dorie because we have a sick girl in the house.  I had to pick my daughter up from school early yesterday; it seems she has a cold.  My poor little girl is so congested!  Unfortunately my husband and I are not feeling optimistic about our own health, but so far neither one of us is ready to admit we have the cold too.

We will be discussing two FFWD recipes today:  Hélène’s All-White Salad and Leek and Potato Soup (a make-up from the early days).  Let’s start with the salad!

Hélène’s All-White Salad

When Dorie’s friend Hélène opened up a restaurant, she created a bunch of “color-themed” salads.  The all-white salad was Dorie’s favorite.  It contains celery, apples, mushrooms, and Napa cabbage, tossed with a yogurt-based vinaigrette.

All-White Salad

This one had mixed results in my house.  I thought it was fine, and would eat it if it were given to me, but I probably won’t make it again.  My daughter doesn’t usually eat salads, but I gave her some as an experiment.  She picked out all the apples.  My husband declared after one bite, “I won’t be eating this one again”!

I think I would have liked this one better with a different type of apple.  The Granny Smiths were too tart for my taste.  Also, my dressing was a little bitter.

Leek and Potato Soup

The Leek and Potato Soup fared better.  The French Fridays group made this one early on and it had received mixed reviews.  I read some of the old entries to figure out what people didn’t like about it, and how I could make sure it was a success for us.  Very helpful!

Leek & Potato Soup with Bacon

I didn’t change much.  The main issue is that Dorie tends to like thinner soups.  Leek and Potato seems like it should be a bit heartier, so I reduced the liquid by 2 cups (I used 3 cups broth & 2 cups milk vs. the 4 cups/3 cups called for).  Also, I didn’t have whole milk, so I used half 1% milk and half heavy cream.  The cream definitely added a nice richness to the soup!

Leek & Potato Soup

This soup can be served chunky or smooth, with any number of toppings.  I chose smooth, blending it with my immersion blender and leaving it slightly chunky.  For dinner the first night, I topped it with Gruyère cheese and bacon.  Everything tastes better with bacon!  For lunch the next day, I just used Gruyère and chopped parsley.

I am so glad I had the wisdom of the Dorista’s who made this before me!  We enjoyed the soup and I would definitely make it again with my changes.


This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, and online group cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.  We don’t share recipes, but I encourage you to get this wonderful book!


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Hearts of Romaine with Sugar Snap Peas and Green Goddess Dressing

Hearts of Romaine with Green Goddess Dressing

A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated my birthday by going to one of my favorite restaurants, 4th St. Bistro.  The meal was delicious as always.  I particularly enjoyed the salad I ordered: Hearts of Romaine with Sugar Snap Peas and Green Goddess Dressing.  Topped with thinly sliced radishes and a few chives, it was delicious and refreshing!

Salad and Salmon

I don’t often try to recreate dishes I order in restaurants, but this salad was so good, and seemed pretty straight-forward to copy.  I already had a recipe for Green Goddess Dressing, so I started with that.  Adding the proper veggies was a snap.

Romaine Salad

This salad came very close the restaurant version and I enjoyed it very much.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Hearts of Romaine with Sugar Snap Peas and Green Goddess Dressing

Print Recipe

  • One heart of Romaine lettuce
  • 4 oz. sugar snap peas
  • 1 radish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ½ cup Green Goddess Dressing (recipe follows)

Chop the Romaine into bite-size pieces.  Cut each snap pea into 3 – 4 pieces.  Thinly slice the radish.

Place the Romaine and snap peas into a large bowl.  Toss with Green Goddess Dressing to taste.  Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.

Place salad in serving bowl or on individual plates.  Top with radish slices, and sprinkle with chives.

Serves 2

Green Goddess Dressing

Adapted from Greens Glorious Greens!

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion, white and green parts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for 1 to 2 minutes.  Taste and adjust for sweetness and seasonings.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Makes about 1 cup

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Chunky Beets and Icy Red Onions

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is a lovely salad called Chunky Beets and Icy Red Onions.  While this salad required very little hands-on time to make, you need to plan ahead because a few of the steps require some cooking or resting time.

After cooking your beets (I roasted mine), cut them into chunks and toss with a simple sherry vinaigrette.  Chill for at least an hour.

I love the way the onions are done:  After thinly slicing them, they are rinsed in a cold water bath to remove the bitterness.  Then they are drained and put in an ice-water bath to give them some crunch.

To assemble the salad, add fresh chopped oregano to the beets and taste for salt and pepper.  I was inspired by Dorie’s Bonne Idee and placed my beets on a bed of arugula and added a little goat cheese.  Finally, top with the icy onions and serve.

Because so many steps in this salad are do-ahead, this would be a great salad to make for company.

I enjoyed this salad a lot.  It made a lovely lunch and is very pretty.  The goat cheese added a really nice flavor, so I highly recommend using it.  I didn’t even bother asking my husband to try this because he really dislikes beets.  My daughter had a few chunks of beets and ate them right up!


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Mozzarella, Tomato, and Strawberry Salad

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is a mozzarella, tomato, and strawberry salad.  Start with sliced strawberries and grape tomatoes.  Toss them lightly with salt, pepper, and a few drops of olive oil.  Serve the strawberries and tomatoes alongside fresh mozzarella di bufala.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of fresh basil.  The recipe calls for a few crushed pink peppercorns, but I don’t have any and didn’t want to buy them to use just a few.

We had mixed feelings about this recipe.  We liked the flavors well enough.  I especially liked the flavors of the strawberry and mozzarella di bufala together.  But I didn’t really care for the tomatoes with the strawberries.  Both my husband and I prefer a more traditional caprese salad with peak-of-season tomatoes.  I think the main problem we had with this recipe was our expectations.  We expect a salad of this type to be a certain way, and the strawberries threw us for a curve.

While enjoyed eating this salad and I’m glad I made it, I doubt that I will make it again.  I will wait until our garden tomatoes reach their peak and make a caprese salad that meets our expectations.


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Simple Arugula Salad

This small salad represents the very first harvest from our vegetable garden!  I harvested just enough arugula to make myself a salad for lunch.

The salad couldn’t be more simple to make.  Add a little lemon juice and salt to the arugula and toss together.  Drizzle a little olive oil, toss to coat, and serve.

While I didn’t use any exact measurements, I roughly followed this recipe from Epicurious:  Arugula with Lemon and Olive Oil.  Simple and delicious!

I haven’t posted any garden updates for a while, but a lot has been happening!  MANY tomato plants have been planted, as well as peppers, cabbage and zucchini.  Hopefully I will have some pictures to share soon.


Filed under Cooking, Gardening

Herbed Potato Salad

I love having an herb garden!  It’s wonderful to be able to step outside and harvest fresh herbs just in time for dinner.

I discovered this recipe last summer when I was looking for something that used some of the mint and oregano growing in my herb garden, which I had an overabundance of.  This recipe uses both!  It’s also perfect for me because the dressing is olive oil-based rather than mayo-based.  I have never been a big fan of mayo-based potato salad.

This would be a great salad for packing on a picnic because it really benefits from giving the flavors a chance to blend.

I found the recipe on Epicurious.  It was originally published in the June 2000 issue of Bon Appétit.

Herbed Potato Salad

(click here to print)

  • 1½ pounds small red-skinned potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces.  Steam until tender, 10 – 15 minutes.  Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Add olive oil to potatoes and toss to coat.

Add the onion, bell pepper, lemon juice, oregano, mint, salt and pepper and toss together gently.

Serve right away or can be made up to 4 hours ahead and chilled.  Bring the salad to room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Serves 3 – 4


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Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

I just want to say how much I’ve been enjoying participating in French Fridays with Dorie.  It’s been great fun cooking a recipe from the same cookbook each week, especially knowing there are home cooks around the country (and world!) cooking along with me.  I really enjoy seeing all the variations people come up with.  I am also learning new skills and improving old ones.

One of my favorite things about FFwD is trying recipes I may have skipped over.  Take for example the Eclairs we made last month.  I would have drooled over that recipe every time I saw it, but probably would never had made them because they seemed like so much work.

Then there are the recipes that just don’t appeal to me but become happy surprises.  Like this week’s recipe, Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad.  The recipe sounded find to me, but I was turned off by the picture of the yolk running into the salad.  I don’t like runny egg yolks.

At first I considered making myself a hard-boiled egg to put on top of my salad, but in the spirit of FFwD I decided to compromise.  Rather than following the salad recipe to cook the eggs, I used the “old-school” poached egg recipe on page 492, but cooked the eggs a little longer than recommended.  I ended up with yolks that were not quite completely cooked through, but also not runny.  Perfect!

The eggs is cooked perfectly (for me)

We really enjoyed this lovely salad.  The flavors of the mild vinaigrette blended very nicely with the asparagus, greens, bacon, eggs and walnuts.  To turn this into a main course dinner salad, I gave each person a few extra asparagus spears and an extra handful of lettuce.

Served with white wine, cheese and bread, this was a perfect Spring dinner!


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BBQ Chicken Salad

I really like the take-out BBQ Chicken Salad from Trader Joe’s.  It’s the item I choose most often when having a grab-and-go lunch.  It has a nice blending of flavors and textures.  Every time I eat this salad, I think to myself that I could probably come up with a recipe to recreate it at home.

Trader's Joe's Salad

When I recently picked up a copy of Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Family Favorites by Beth Hensperger, I quickly spotted a barbecue chicken salad recipe.  While it wasn’t exactly like the Trader Joe’s salad, it looked like a great starting point.

I used the recipe’s “Barbecue Dressing” as-is, but changed up almost everything else.  Many of the ingredients are the same but I changed the proportions.  Most significantly, I grilled the chicken instead of poaching it in the slow cooker, and I added Romaine lettuce and Ranch dressing.

The end result tastes very much like the Trader Joe’s salad!  The creamy sweetness of the Ranch dressing contrasts nicely with the tangy spiciness of the barbecue sauce.  The Romaine gives the salad a nice crunch.

Tossed and ready to eat

BBQ Chicken Salad

(click here to print)

Barbecue Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed

Corn Salsa:

  • 1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels
  • ½ cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if canned
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper


  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded Jack cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 10 cups chopped Romaine lettuce (about 2 hearts)
  • Ranch Dressing (use your favorite – I used Litehouse)
  • ½ cup crushed tortilla chips

In a small bowl, mix the Barbecue Dressing ingredients together, stirring with a whisk to mix well.  Place ¼ cup of the dressing in a smaller bowl and set aside.

If using fresh or frozen corn, cook briefly in boiling water until just tender.  Drain and cool.  If using canned corn, drain well.  Combine the corn, black beans and red bell pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.  Brush the chicken with the reserved ¼ cup Barbecue Dressing.  Grill or broil the chicken until cooked through.  Let the chicken cool a bit, and then cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Place the Romaine lettuce in a large bowl.  Toss with the Ranch dressing to taste.  Divide the Romaine between 4 plates.  Place a quarter of the corn salsa on top of each serving.  Next divide the red onions and Jack cheese among the plates.  Add the chicken on top of the onions and cheese.  Drizzle a little of the Barbecue Dressing on top of each salad.  Finally, top with the crushed tortilla chips.

Pass the extra Barbecue Dressing at the table so diners can add to taste.


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Tag, I’m It!

There’s been a game of tag going on around the blogosphere and last week Elaine, from California Living, tagged me.  It started out as an Easter game:  if you got tagged, you were to put together a virtual Easter menu based on dishes you have previously posted on your blog.  Since Elaine got tagged so close to Easter, she changed the rules so that you can create a meal for any upcoming celebration of your choosing.  After browsing my previous posts and recipes, I decided to create a Father’s Day dinner (I know Father’s Day is a ways off, but really it will be here before we know it!).

To start things off on this virtual meal, here is a lovely Caprese Salad:

Caprese Salad

For the main course, let’s have BBQ Meatballs.  Instead of the potatoes shown below, I would do mashed potatoes, either Yukon Golds or sweet potatoes.

BBQ Meatballs

Finally, to finish off the meal, how about Macaroon Cake:

Macaroon Cake

Since most of the people I would tag in this virtual game have already been tagged, I will not pass this one on.  I hope you enjoyed catching up on some of my older recipes!


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