shrimp pasta salad

Here is a perfect summer lunch recipe.  Actually, this recipe can be made one day in advance and used for a lunch, tea party sandwiches, summer snacks, or a light summer dinner.  Choose an attractive lettuce leaf to serve with the salad, such as bibb, Boston, mache or a red romaine.  The recipe was adapted from a Taste of Home magazine.

Here is the recipe:  Use an 8 ounce bag of cooked salad shrimp. (100-200 size)

Mix together 1/2 cup light sour cream, 1/2 cup light mayonnaise, 1-2 celery stalks minced, 3 minced shallots, 1 Tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon horseradish, salt and pepper to taste.

When this sauce is mixed together, add 2 cups of cooked and chilled macaroni noodles.  Chill completely for at least 3 hours and serve.

Melon and cucumber salad

For Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed this cool and refreshing salad made from honeydew melon and cucumbers.  I was inspired to make the recipe, which I found in Better Homes and Garden magazine, because of the interesting flavor profile and mix of fresh ingredients.

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This is an easy salad to pull together.  The main ingredients are cubed honeydew melon pieces, sliced small cucumbers, chopped red onion, and crumbled feta cheese.  The dressing is made from 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mixed with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds.  The dressing is made separately and then added to the salad mixture just before serving. Use only enough dressing to lightly coat the ingredients. The feta is also reserved until just before serving the salad.

I mixed the salad ingredients and kept them refrigerated.  I added the feta, a splash of dill weed to the salad, and the dressing just before serving.

Very unusual but so very tasty and refreshing.  The honeydew melon gives this salad a wonderful flavor.  This is not a salad that can be stored for days.  This is one that needs to be fresh and eaten within a couple of hours.  Each of the ingredients contribute to a tangy, cool, crunchy or sweet taste which comes out perfectly.

If desired, grated sea salt and ground pepper could be added for additional flavor enhancement. This salad could also be served in a lettuce cup or simply on a bed of arugula or salad greens.

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Spring Cara Cara and tangerine salad

A spring citrus salad can be so refreshing.  The pastel color of the fruit helps to make the salad presentation bright, light and fresh.  I chose to use Cara Cara navel oranges for my Easter salad this year.  I found them at Whole Foods this past weekend, and their sweet taste is delightful. This variety has a very low acidic taste.  I also noted that this fruit was grown in California, which encouraged me to make the purchase. Their rose-pink color was so attractive on the plate in contrast with the tangerines.  Another option would be to use blood oranges, which I could not find in my market.

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I used a salad dressing recipe from Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2015 edition which was super easy and perfect for this salad.

Combine these ingredients to make the dressing:  1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Shake or stir very well in a salad dressing jar.

Then, plate the salad.  I used baby arugula, with slices of Cara Cara and tangerine, topped with chopped pistachios.  Add a drizzle of the dressing.  Delicious, Bright, and so very Spring!

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Asian inspired coleslaw salad

Here is a delicious salad for ladies who lunch, with an Asian inspired salad dressing. Actually, this coleslaw could be used for a great pot-luck salad, for the weekend football party, or even as a great burger topping.  The salad dressing, make with Asian chili sauce gives the slaw a great flavor profile.

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I purchased a cole slaw mix, but shredded red and green cabbage, along with other shredded vegetables such as jicama, cilantro, or even fresh corn kernels were suggested in the recipe found in the July, 2014 issue of Southern Living magazine.  I adapted the recipe, and found it to be extremely tasty with my changes.

To make the slaw:

In a large salad bowl, mix together one bag of coleslaw mix, which includes shredded carrots, with one sliced red bell pepper, 3-4 chopped green onions, a large handful of arugula, and 1-2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.  Mix and chill the salad until ready to serve.  Then, add the dressing.

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To make the salad dressing:  Combine these ingredients.  Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 1 tablespoon mustard, 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger.  Keep this mixture chilled until ready to serve.

As the recipe suggests, serve the Asian slaw over crispy won ton crackers.  I shared the directions on how to make the won ton crackers on the blog yesterday. The salad can also be served with shredded grilled chicken, as in the photograph below.  Delicious.

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cherry vinaigrette on homegrown lettuce leaves


 

it was time to cut some lettuce leaves from my deck garden.  the single lettuce leaves were tender and delicious.  having grown to three to four inches in length, i simply cut them and washed and dried in a salad spinner.  the lettuce flavor is so mild and sweet, also being a great source of Vitamin A.

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growing home lettuce in pots is so easy.  no worries about rabbits munching them in the evening.  to serve with this lettuce, i tried making a cherry vinaigrette.  i used a sample of fresh fruit vinegar from mange.  the sample was provided for me to taste and review for the blog.  the fruit vinegars are made in Vermont, and are shelf stable vinegars.  they are perfect for basting, cooking, and even for cocktails.

using my basic recipe for vinaigrette, i mixed three parts of salad oil to one part of the cherry vinaigrette.  i also added a pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  the dressing on the lettuce leaves was delicious.

for more information about fruit vinegars, please follow this link:  http://www.freshfruitvinegars.com/
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

cucumber salad

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Jamie Deen has a good food cookbook featuring recipes using great ingredients–from the land, the sea, and the farm. one recipe caught my eye for cucumber salad.  i just had to make it.  i know this is one of those recipes that i seem to always see at other homes, but i have never made myself.  i was excited to finally have an opportunity to try it out.

the salad is very easy to make.  slice two cucumbers after peeling every other strip down the side of the cucumber.  i like the way that makes the cucumbers look in the salad.  place them in a large mixing bowl, with one pint of sliced grape tomatoes.  add about 1/3 of a sliced Vidalia sweet onion.  season to taste with fresh parsley, salt and pepper.

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to make the dressing:  mix and whisk together 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2 teaspoons honey.

incorporate into the salad and chill before serving to keep the cucumbers very crisp. we really enjoyed the taste of this salad.

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tomato feta Christmas salad

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSome of the most basic recipes seem to often be my family’s favorites.  This recipe is perfect for Christmas as it uses red and green ingredients.

Of course, this salad can be used year-round, but I seem to gravitate to red and green foods to highlight my holiday table each year.  I use my own salad dressing on Ina’s classic Tomato Feta Salad.  I also adjust the ingredients, since her recipe makes enough for 12 servings.

This is how I adapted Ina’s recipe:

Slice two-thirds of one box of grape tomatoes, preferably red for Christmas.  Chop and dice 1/2 medium red onion. Divide 1/2 of one cube of low-fat Feta cheese into medium-sized pieces.  Combine these ingredients into a bowl.  Then, season with salt, pepper, dried or fresh basil, and fresh parsley.  Chill until ready to mix with oil and vinegar dressing.

Lemon vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons Fustini’s lemon olive oil to 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar.  Mix well.

Just before serving, mix dressing over the salad to taste.  I simply drizzle some of the dressing over the salad.  Some guests may like more.  The flavor of the lemon dressing is delicious with the tomatoes.  Serve over arugula leaves in a small bowl.