Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

This is one of my favorite salads to bring to a pot-luck meal.  I always come home with an empty bowl, and get lots of requests for the recipe.  I have been making this salad for a long time and don’t remember where I learned to make it. These days I pretty much make it from memory.  It’s that easy.

Basically it consists of raw broccoli and sliced celery combined with green grapes, and golden raisins.  I also like to add some salted sunflower seeds for additional texture.  The dressing is made up of mayonnaise and yogurt, or sour cream, with some sugar added and white vinegar.  As you can imagine there’s lots of “crunch” to it provided by the broccoli and celery, and that is off-set by the sweetness and juiciness of grapes and raisins.

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Everyone seems to love it, even children.  Probably because of the sweetness.  So for anyone needing a way to introduce more vegetables into their diet, this salad, I believe, is a good place to start.

In my experience I find that the flavors blend better if you make the salad and refrigerate it at least an hour before you want to serve it.  It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator if you should happen to have any left over. The amount of the individual ingredients is flexible, so  you can put in as much  of any ingredient as suits your taste.

BROCCOLI SALAD

Yield:   Servings:  8

All the ingredients you need.

All the ingredients you need.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1  1/2 cups seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar

Directions:

1.  Combine the first 5 ingredients  in a large bowl.

2.  Combine mayonnaise, and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk.  Pour dressing over broccoli mixture, and toss well.  Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Mixing up the dressing.

Mixing up the dressing.

Toss salad and dressing and chill for at least an hour.

Toss salad and dressing and chill for at least an hour.

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P.S.  If I’m really feeling “devil-ish”,  I cook up 3 – 4 slices of bacon, and crumble it into the salad as well.    Oh, Yeah!!

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Beet and Orange Salad with Goat Cheese

Beets are one vegetable that I’ve had a complete turn-around on.  That is to say,  I didn’t used to like them and now I love them.  Roasting is what brought about my change of heart.  Once beets have been roasted they taste like a completely different vegetable.  I’ve described my method for roasting them in an earlier blog post that you can find here.  I frequently use them in salads as they combine well with other vegetables and some fruits.

Beet and Orange salad with Goat Cheese

Beet and Orange salad with Goat Cheese

Oranges are one of the fruits that play well with beets.  Their citrusy sweetness goes well with the sweetness that roasting brings out in beets.  Then I add some greens for color and texture contrast and nuts for crunch, in this case, pistachios.   Over the top is drizzled a Dijon vinaigrette dressing and some crumbled goat cheese.  Mr. D. loves this salad and asks for it on many occasions.  I kind of like it too!

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Please note, in the recipe below, directions are given for quickly cooking beets in the microwave if you are short on time for oven roasting them.  This works well in a pinch.

BEET AND ORANGE SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 pounds halved, peeled beets  (wear gloves for peeling or you will have stained fingers)
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sectionedIMG_5271
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/3 cup salted pistachios
  • 2 Tablespoons goat cheese

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4  tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:

1.  Wrap beets in parchment paper.  Microwave on HIGH until tender, about 7 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a salad bowl.

2.  Section the orange and place the pieces in the salad bowl with the beets.**

3.  Add the salad greens to the salad bowl with the beets and orange sections.

4.  Whisk together all the dressing ingredients till well blended.   Add to salad bowl.  Toss  to coat.

5.  Top with the  pistachio nuts and crumbled goat cheese.

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** When I make this salad for two of us, I construct it on salad plates, as you see pictured.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Fresh Herbed Heirloom Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Crostini

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese Crostini

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese Crostini

Today’s post features tomatoes used as a salad.  Everyone it seems is familiar with Caprese Salad, that includes mozzarella cheese and basil along with the tomatoes, but this one depends on the tomatoes alone to carry the responsibility for the whole salad. Fresh tomatoes are dressed with a flavorful drizzle of lemon and herbs, and served with toasted baguette (crostini) spread with goat cheese.    This is so good, I can’t wait to make it again, and again while fresh tomatoes are still available.

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Please try to use heirloom tomatoes, in varied colors if possible, for the most beautiful presentation.  Of course, any fresh tomatoes will do nicely, but I really like the colors you get in heirlooms.  This recipe certainly illustrates the phrase, “less is more”, because the simple lemon-herb dressing perfectly enhances the sweetness of the tomatoes, and that would be enough.  But don’t stop there;  make the crostini because the crunch of toasted baguette and the smooth tanginess of goat cheese is a perfect companion to the tomatoes.    In my version, seen here, I used herb-seasoned goat cheese.

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I think this would make a light, appetizing and different appetizer, and If I were to serve it in that way, I would dice the tomatoes instead of slicing them, and serve them in a small glass to be eaten with a small spoon, with the crostini on the side.

HERBED HEIRLOOM TOMATOES WITH GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients:

Heirloom tomatoes in many sizes and colors.

Heirloom tomatoes in many sizes and colors.

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp.  water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8  (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette
  • 4 tsp. goat cheese, divided ( used goat cheese with herbs if possible)
  • 20  (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

2.  Place the first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.

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3.  Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350*F for 7 minutes or until crisp.  Spread 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese over each slice.

4.  Divide tomatoes evenly among 4 salad plates.  Drizzle each serving with 1 Tablespoon herbed oil.  Sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper.  Garnish each plate with 2 crostini.

In my rendition of this delightful salad, I served the whole salad on a large platter, so all the colors of the tomatoes would be seen.

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I just love this,  it’s so pretty; almost too pretty to eat!

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Ranch Potato Salad

Ranch Potato Salad

Ranch Potato Salad

Fifty ways to make potato salad.  Can you believe it?  I was amazed when I found a small recipe booklet for potato salads  included in a regular sized copy of Food Network Magazine, probably about two years ago.  Up until then I knew of perhaps three ways to make it. I always made it same way with a mayonnaise dressing, chopped celery, hard-cooked egg and little onion,  but I never really loved potato salad.  It was just something we always had in the summer with cook-out meals and I would eat a little, but it wasn’t a big deal with me.

Let me tell you, the little booklet changed all that.  Out of a list of 50 recipes I’ve made at least 10;  but there is one that stands out with both me and Mr. D. and I find myself going back to it and have even made it to bring to a picnic where everyone loved it.  It is made using red skin potatoes and the dressing has the same ingredients that would be used to make Ranch Salad Dressing, so the flavor is familiar.  We like this potato salad because it is moist and creamy, and stays that way even if it’s left over.  With other potato salads I’ve made the potatoes tend to absorb the dressing and the salad gets really thick.  But not this.  Perhaps because of the red-skin potatoes which are more waxy and dense.  Anyhow, I’m including it here today in case you’re ready for a change and are looking for a replacement for the way you always make potato salad.

RANCH POTATO SALAD

Yield:   about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red-skin potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise (low-fat is OK)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large pot of salted water, cook potatoes until fork tender.  Drain, cool, and cut into cubes or chunks.

Red-skin potatoes cooked tender.

Red-skin potatoes cooked tender.

2.  In a large mixing bowl,  place the potatoes, celery, and scallions.

Mix potatoes together with other ingredients.

Mix potatoes together with other ingredients.

3.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and remaining ingredients.   Pour over the potato mixture and toss to coat evenly.    Chill at least an hour to allow flavors to meld, and serve cold.

Mix all together and allow to chill a while before eating.

Mix all together and allow to chill for about an hour before eating.

4.  Leftovers will remain moist and become even more flavorful.

Perfect with franks and baked beans.

Perfect with franks and baked beans.

SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Let’s pretend we are vacationing in the South of France, in the little seaside town of Nice.  We’re sitting outdoors at an umbrella table overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranian Sea, while below us boats and yachts are floating at anchor, and we are enjoying a delicious salad for lunch.  Ah, yes— we can dream.  But the rest of this is not a dream. The salad is called Salade Niçoise and you can have it right in your own home.  Today!

While no one claims to have invented this French salad (niçoise just means “in the style of Nice”),  credit is given to Julia Childs for popularizing it in the U.S. during the 1960’s.  I, for one, am so glad she did.  Thank you, Julia!

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Over the years I have made this salad many times.  It is one of my go-to meals when the weather turns so warm that you don’t want to cook, and barely have an appetite at all.  This salad will change all that.   When there is fresh produce available at the supermarket and roadside stands, it is so easy to prepare.  You can vary the vegetables you use, and it is also a good way to use up small amounts of leftovers.   The classic Salade Niçoise, usually contains small cooked potatoes, thin green beans, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, radishes, olives, and tuna on a bed of lettuce.   These ingredients are laid out on a large platter so everything is visible, making a rather grand presentation.  At serving time, simply dress with your favorite oil and vinegar dressing.  Enjoy with a crunchy loaf of French bread.

Although the recipe below outlines all the steps for cooking the various components of this salad, I usually make it when I have some left over red-skin potatoes, and green beans on hand from a previous meal.  This saves times when you want to make the salad.  Also, a good quality tuna is usually used here, but I have substituted cooked shrimp at various times, with the same wonderful results.

NIÇOISE SALAD

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce or Boston lettuceIMG_4614
  • 8 – 10 small whole red-skin potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 10 0z. thin green beans, or haricots verts, trimmed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 small grape tomatoes
  • 6 radishes, trimmed and quartered
  • 2  (5 1/2-ounce) cans Italian or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup black olives

1.  Put potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a bowl.  Drizzle with the white wine and let cool.  Reserve the saucepan.

2.  In another saucepan, bring salted water to a boil.  Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender and bright green,  2 – 4 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking action.  Drain and pat dry.

3.  In the reserved saucepan, place the eggs and cover with cold water by about 1 inch.  Bring to a simmer, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand 10 – 12 minutes.  Drain, then run under cold water to cool.  Peel immediately under cold running water.

4.  Make the dressing:  Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and peper to taste in a bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.

5.Toss the tomatoes in a small bowl with salt, pepper and a little dressing.  Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss.  Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.

6.  Wash the lettuce, dry with paper towels and chop into bite sized pieces.

Assemble the Salad:

1.  Place the lettuce on a large platter

2.  Begin by placing the tomatoes in the center of the platter, then work your way out to the edges making small piles with the other ingredients.  There is no required pattern, just make it attractive.    A nice presentation is your goal.

3.  Drizzle more dressing over all, or serve  dressing on the side.

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SOURCE:   French Cooking Made Easy,   Julia Childs

Keeping it Cool!

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

The heat wave in the East continues.  This is day #7, with at least one more day of it before some promised cooler weather makes its way here sometime over the weekend.  The electric company is asking us to limit power usage during peak times, so I’m not using the stove or oven, and it’s too darn hot to stand outside over the grill cooking.  What’s my solution to preparing meals?

Well, since the refrigerator can’t be turned off, I am making use of it to the max and we are eating cold foods.  Today, I went to the super market early in the morning to get some necessary items for my menu.  You know, I actually Shivered while shopping in the frozen foods isle.  Yikes, almost didn’t recognize what was happening!   When I got home I did a little preliminary cooking (morning is not peak time for power usage.), so that I could put together a cold salad plate for dinner.  It turned into a Salad Niçoise, but I’ll save that for another day.

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Two foods that always suggest coolness to me are watermelon and cucumbers.  Having purchased some of each of those foods, I was  led  to create a salad combining both of them.  Chilled watermelon and chunks of cucumber tossed with feta cheese, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic dressing.  I love that salty-sweet-tangy thing going on.  It is guaranteed to keep you cool as a cucumber when the temperature outside will have you melting.  I could be happy eating just this for lunch;  it is so refreshing and cool.

The second item I made using watermelon was Creamy Watermelon Pie.  A pie so refreshing that it never lasts long on a hot summer day.  Using just a few convenience foods, you can make it in a flash, then sit back and wait for it to thicken.  Dee-lightful!

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CHILLED WATERMELON, CUCUMBER AND FETA SALAD

Yield:   Servings,  4IMG_4632

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chilled seedless watermelon, diced large
  • 1 medium chilled seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh mint – or basil- thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl, place the watermelon and cucumbers.  Top with feta and mint or basil.   When ready to serve, drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette, and toss to combine.

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SOURCE:   adapted from  Skinny Taste.com

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CREAMY WATERMELON PIE

Yield:  6 – 8 servings

Ingredients:IMG_4608

  • 1 package  (3 ounces) watermelon flavor gelatin  (I used Jolly Rancher Brand)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 1  ( 9-inch) graham cracker (or other) pie crust.  (I always use Shortbread Cookie Crust)

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile cut up watermelon into small cubes. Whisk the whipped topping into the gelatin; then fold in the watermelon.  Spoon into the crust.  Refrigerate for 2 hours until set.  Yield 6 – 8 servings

Pour filling into crust and chill for at least two hours.

Pour filling into crust and chill for at least two hours.

Such a pretty pink.

Such a pretty pink.

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SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

I distinctly remember the first time I had a Cobb salad.  We were on a motor trip, driving through Virginia, when we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant serving “home-cooked” meals.  The day was very warm and since we would be continuing with our driving I wanted something cool and light for lunch.  Cobb salad was what I ordered, not knowing what to expect, but the description of it was enticing.

The salad lived up to its promise, having lots of my favorite foods in it and I thought it was delicious.  Since then I have made this salad many times and we enjoy it as our main meal in the summer  months when there is so much fresh produce available.

Recently Food Network Magazine ran an article on Classic Salads and the Cobb salad was one that was featured.  This is where I learned the background on the salad.  Quoting from the magazine, ” Cobb Salad , 1934.   This popular dinner salad originated as a midnight snack for  Robert Cobb, owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles.”   The classic Cobb salad usually contains these essential ingredients:  chicken, bacon, hard cooked eggs, tomatoes, avocado and cheese on a bed of lettuce.

OOPS,  I forgot the cheese!

OOPS, I forgot the cheese!

The recipe that follows is the one from the Food Network article.  However I made some modifications when I prepared the salad.  I used some Rotisserie Chicken instead of cooking chicken breasts, and I substituted cheddar cheese for the blue cheese. ( It had not found its way onto the salad at the time of  photography.)

CLASSIC COBB SALAD

Yield:   serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:IMG_4487

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • kosher salt
  • 2  6-ounce skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
  • zest – in wide strips – and juice of  1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1.  Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, until crisp.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.

2.  Meanwhile, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand 10 – 12 minutes.  Drain, then run under cold water to cool.  Peel under cold running water.  Chop the hard-cooked eggs and season with salt.

3.  Combine the chicken, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan;  Add enough cold water to cover the chicken b 1/2 inch.  Bring to a bare simmer over medium heat ( do not boil) and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 160*, about 7 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, make the dressing:  whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a serving bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified; season with pepper.  Dice the chicken and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing in a separate bowl.

5.  Halve, pit and dice the avocados.  Season the tomatoes with salt.  Add the Bibb and romaine lettuce to the serving bowl on top of the dressing.  Arrange the bacon, hard-cooked eggs, chicken, avocados, tomatoes and cheese in rows on top of the lettuce.  When ready to serve toss the salad and season with salt and pepper.

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SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

White Bean and Radish Salad

White Bean and Radish Salad

White Bean and Radish Salad

Summer is for salad, folks.  When the weather turns this warm, I just want a cool, easy to fix salad for my meal.  One that looks good on the plate, tastes good, and is healthy for you are all necessary attributes.  If it is made with readily available staples that I have in my pantry that’s even better.  Well, I’m happy to tell you, this salad fills all those criteria and more.

I put this salad together in about 15 minutes.  Once made I let it chill so it would be nice and cool by dinnertime, and served it with some salmon kabobs, cooked quickly on the grill.

Opening a can of white beans is one of my favorite ways to start cooking.  There are so many ways you can spin them into salads and side dishes.  They can be paired with whatever you have in the fridge or what looks good at the market.   In this case the beans are mixed with fresh radishes, scallions, black olives and lots of fresh parsley in the dressing.  I would also not hesitate to pair them up with some tuna fish, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, some herbs, and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.  When using an ingredient like beans in a salad, you want to combine them with something that offers a contrasting crunch and a pop of color.  Here, we have red, white, black and green.  So pretty when you plate it up!

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This satisfying salad was great served alongside fish, but it will also go well with grilled or roast chicken or steak.  It can even become a completely vegetarian meal just by adding some wedges of hard boiled egg.  Give this one a test run, it might become your new favorite go-to salad.     Its also a great take along if you’re going to a pot-luck picnic over the July 4th weekend.

WHITE BEAN AND RADISH SALAD

Servings:   6 – 8

Ingredients:IMG_4402

  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained**
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. drained capers
  • 2 cups (packed ) fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1/4 cup (or more) white vinegar
  • Kosher salt, black pepper
  • 1 bunch radishes, trimmed, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3  (15-oz) cans cannellini -white kidney beans- rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted, quartered

1.  Blend anchovies, oil, capers and 1 cup parsley in a blender until a coarse puree forms.  Transfer to a large bowl, mix in 1/4 cup vinegar, and season with salt and pepper and more vinegar, if desired.

2.  Add radishes, scallions, beans, olives, and remaining 1 cup parsley to bowl and toss to combine.

3.  Cover and chill till ready to serve.  May be made 4 hours ahead.

**Many recipes call for just one or two anchovies to be incorporated in a dish, leaving you to wonder what to do with the remainder of the tin.  I keep a spare ice cube tray available for just such times when I will put 2-3 anchovies with their oil, into each of the depressions, add a small amount of water to cover and freeze them.  Once frozen, place into a zip-top baggie, keep frozen, and use as needed in future recipes.

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SOURCE:  This recipe was derived from Bon Appetit magazine.

Grilled Hoisin-Glazed Steak with Vegetables

Hoisin-Glazed steak with grilled vegetables and salad.

Hoisin-Glazed steak with grilled vegetables and salad.

I imagine many families will be gathering around the outdoor grill this weekend to celebrate Father’s Day.  Whether Dad is the one doing the grilling or you’re the one grilling a meal for him, this quick and easy way of cooking steak results in a piece of meat that is tender, juicy and full of flavor.  Along side it on the grill lay some of your, or his, favorite vegetables and you will have most of the meal at your fingertips.  While the grilling is taking place, have someone on kitchen duty making a salad to go with it, and before you know it everyone will be sitting down together to celebrate Dad in the best possible way.

The glaze on the steak calls for hoisin sauce, ginger, and fish sauce, giving it an Asian flair, so I kept that theme going in the meal I prepared by using green and yellow squash, brushed with a little sesame salad dressing as they cooked.  For a salad I made cucumbers and radishes dressed with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  The recipes for making this complete meal are given below.Whether you make all of it or only part of it, I think you will enjoy it as much as we did.

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HOISIN-GLAZED STEAK 

Yield:   Serves 4

For the steak:

  • 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated, fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce  (This adds a rich, savory flavor to the glaze, but it’s OK to omit it if you don’t have it on hand.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1  (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed; or any other tender cut of steak  (I used boneless rib eye steaks)

1.  Preheat the grill to high heat.

2.  Combine hoisin and remaning ingredients ( except steak) in a small bowl.  Brush half this mixture on one side of the steak(s).  Place steak glaze-side down on the hot grill rack and grill about 5-7 minutes.

Lay steak on the grill glazed-side down.

Lay steak on the grill glazed-side down.

Brush top side of steak with remaining glaze mixture and turn steak over.  Grill another 5 -7 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

Brush top side of steak(s) and turn over.

Brush top side of steak(s) and turn over.

For the Vegetables:

  • 1 medium size zucchini squash
  • 1 medium size yellow squash
  • 1 bottle commercially made sesame salad dressing

1.  Slice the squash lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Brush both sides of the squash with the salad dressing.

Squash slices on the grill.

Squash slices on the grill.

2.  Place squash slices directly on hot grill rack or use a fine mesh cooking screen if squash is in danger of falling through the grates.  Cook squash, turning over several times, until nicely marked and just fork tender.

Squash cooked on the grill gets lovely grill marks on it.

Squash cooked on the grill gets lovely grill marks on it.

For the Salad:

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced finely on the diagonal
  • 1 cup finely sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, or cilantro leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

1.  Combine vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a medium bowl;  add cucumber and radishes.  Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro and salt.  Toss gently to coat.

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SOURCE:  Adapted from  Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

A salad of spinach, strawberries, goat cheese and almonds.

A salad of spinach, strawberries, goat cheese and almonds.

Some spring seasons have come and gone when I haven’t devoted much time to utilizing strawberries.  This year for some reason I feel as though I’m on a mission to use them in as many ways as possible.

When I was growing up we lived next door to a farm where every year one large field was planted with strawberries.  When they began to ripen,  several of us teen-agers were hired to help with picking and the berries were sold at a road-side farm stand.  Picking strawberries by hand is an experience not to be missed (or forgotten, either).  The work is hard on the knees and back,  but the opportunity to sample warm, sweet, juicy strawberries, right off the plant more than made up for the aches and pains in the back and knees.

Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field (Photo credit: timtak)

On most days when I got off work, I was sent home with a basket of berries for my folks.  As I recall the only ways my mother served strawberries was as a shortcake or fresh strawberry pie.

We did not have access to California grown strawberries in the supermarkets as we do now.  So when the berries were ripe (usually end of May through to July 4, if the weather was good)  we ate berries often, made jam, and froze some sliced and ready for recipes in the months ahead.  And since they are fruit they were designated as dessert.  Now-a-days we add fruits to main entrees, and salads, and I like the sweetness fruits add to a dish.   The recipe I have for you today is just such a combination;  a spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese, or feta, and almonds.  The dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette, which really complements the strawberries and helps to bring out their sweetness.  This is very easy and quick to make, and goes with a variety of main dishes.  With all that spinach, its also healthy and good for you, so try this while berries are “in season” where ever you live.

A pretty salad on the plate.

A pretty salad on the plate.

SPINACH AND STRAWBERRY SALAD

SERVINGS:     4

Ingredients:

  • 1  ( 5 – 7 oz. pkg.) Baby Spinach 
  • 2  cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 / 2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper

1.  Combine spinach and strawberries in a large bowl.

2.  Whisk together the vinegar and oil in a small bowl.  Add the basil and season with salt and pepper.

3.  Add vinaigrette to salad and toss gently to evenly coat.  Divide salad among four plates.  Sprinkle each salad with cheese and almonds.

SOURCE:   TASTE OF HOME