Panzanella Salad

Ina Garten shared a recipe for the 4th of July that we ended up loving – Panzanella Salad.  It is fresh, easy and hearty enough to be a main dish for lunch.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 loaf of French Bread, cut into 1″ cubes (ends up being 6 cups)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes cut into 1″ cubes

1 cucumber, unpeeled, halved and seeded, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp capers, drained

Vinaigrette
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (Ina uses Champagne vinegar but I didn’t have any)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan. Add bread and salt and cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently for 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients

In a nice large bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, red onion, basil and capers. Toss with vinaigrette, and then add bread cubes and toss again. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Can serve right away or after a half hour.

Delish.  Thanks for another fabulous recipe, Ina!

Tangy Fruit Salad

Another great recipe from Ree Drummond, that’s both pretty and delicious.  I ended up halving Ree’s original recipe, which serves 12, and still had more than enough for the 6 of us, with plenty left over for nibbling later.

The Orange Vanilla sauce adds just enough sweetness and tanginess to brighten everything up without being too sweet.  We loved it and had leftover fruit and syrup on vanilla ice cream the next day.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
juice of 1 orange
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 pints strawberries, hulled and halved
2 pints blueberries
1 cup red grapes, halved
1 cup green grapes, halved

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the sugar, water, orange juice and orange zest into a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 to thicken slightly. Set aside to cool, then stir in vanilla. Store in the fridge until cold.

Mix together all the fruit in a large bowl and refrigerate.  Just before serving, pour the syrup over the fruit, tossing gently to coat.

 

Ina’s Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad

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Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

We are pretty lowkey on Christmas Day:  gifts and stocking with the kids in the morning  with lots of good coffee.  But I do like to make a good Christmas Lunch.  This year I made Roasted Carrot Salad, a Pork Tenderloin and Maya’s request: Baked Apple Pancakes.

This recipe is outstanding – from Ina Garten’s “Cooking for Jeffrey.” You can easily roast the carrots and soak the cranberries the day before and then assemble the salad in minutes.

Ingredients

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut in diagonal slices 1″ wide and 2″ long
Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2/3 cup Craisins
2/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar (Ina uses sherry, but I didn’t have any.)
2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, or 1 tsp crushed garlic
6 oz. baby arugula
6 oz. feta cheese crumbles (Ina uses goat cheese, medium-diced)
2/3 cup roasted salted whole almonds (Ina uses Marcona almonds)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, toss carrots, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Dump everything onto a big sheet pan, and roast for 20 minutes. (Use two sheet pans if needed.) Toss after 10 minutes so they brown nicely all over. Remove from oven, drizzle with maple syrup, toss again and and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Combine cranberries and orange juice in a small pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk in 3 Tbsp olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss together carrots, arugulas, craisins with all liquid, feta, vinaigrette and almonds.

Serve on a white platter. So good!

To make ahead, cook the carrots, soak the cranberries in orange juice, and make the vinaigrette in a small mason jar. Take everything out an hour before serving, so it can warm to room temperature and put salad together.  

Sanibel Summer Salad

I first had this salad at Over Easy Cafe in Sanibel, and it’s so delicious I recreated it at home, with a few minor changes. (The original recipe includes mandarin oranges, diced red onions and chow mein noodles.) It’s become one of our favorite salads and always reminds me of sitting on the patio at Over Easy.

Ingredients

1 bag of mixed baby greens
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup pecans (can used candied, but I like plain)
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup craisins
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Sesame Crackers (Trader Joe’s has great Sesame Crackers.)
4 eggs, hardboiled, peeled and halved lengthwise

Any “sweetish” vinaigrette (Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette and Simply Dressed Pomegranate Vinaigrette are both good.)

Place greens in a large bowl. Top with everything but the crackers, eggs and vinagrette. Just before serving, toss the crackers over, add halved eggs and drizzle with vinaigrette. Delish!

Ina Garten’s Green Goddess Dressing Recipe

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home

Every year at our big family potluck Christmas Eve, we choose a country and everyone brings food and drink from that country.  This year my very clever brother Ron and his wife Lisa suggested that instead of a country, we choose a time and so our focus this year was Betty Crocker.

Our Mom cooked a lot from the Betty Crocker picture cookbook, so we all grew up loving many of those recipes.  I remember being fascinated with name and story of Green Goddess Salad dressing, so that’s what I brought.  Ina has a wonderful recipe in her  cookbook and it was of course, delicious!!!

Ingredients

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped green onions (scallions), white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Asian Fish Sauce (Ina uses 2 tsp anchovy paste, but that’s something I’ve never used. Asian Fish sauce is basically anchovy sauce, and works pretty well, too.)
1 cup sour cream

Add all to a food processor and buzz just until blended.  It does make a lot of dressing, so you can easily halve the recipe.

It really needs nothing more than to be tossed with nice salad greens and halved grape or cherry tomatoes, but would also be great on a iceberg lettuce wedge salad.
Ina also uses it on asparagus and broccoli – which I’ve never tried but plan to do so.

Chicken, Avocado and Bread Salad

chicken avocado and bread saladCame home late from work and hadn’t really planned supper.  We had lots of great ingredients, but I just didn’t feel like cooking.  However, I pulled together an easy salad that was frankly delicious – and one I’d be glad to eat again!  I may try to find a copycat recipe for Trader Joe’s dressing, since we totally love it.  Or maybe not – it’s so easy to just pick it up.

For each serving:

Baby salad greens (or whatever lettuce or salad leaves you have on hand)
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chicken meat chunks, cooked (I buy Costco roasted chicken. Click here to see how I use it all.)
1 slice bread (I used the heel of a hearty peasant loaf, cut into 1″ pieces.)
Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette

Add a generous handful of salad greens to a bowl. Top with avocado, chicken, and bread cubes. Drizzle with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.

That’s it. Ridiculous, no? And yet truly delicious.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

caprese salad

Nothing is more beautiful than tomatoes, mozarella and basil, drizzled with a tangy, sweet balsamic vinaigrette!  And takes almost no time at all.

4 tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 ball of fresh Mozarella, cut into 1/4″ slices
Handful of fresh basil leaves

Vinaigrette Recipe:

3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (Costco’s is amazingly good)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp honey mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix vinaigrette up in a mason jar, and shake well.

Layer tomatoes with Mozarella and basil leaves on a broad serving dish, and drizzle the vinaigrette over. So good.