This is so basic but it is the beginning of nearly every salad.
The exciting part comes when you make it your own...
Try different kinds of vinegar... tarragon, seasoned rice, balsamic, sherry, champagne, red wine, etc.
Try adding some chopped shallots, thinly sliced scallions or a bit of minced garlic.
And how about a dab of mustard?
Don't forget the fresh herbs!
And if you wish, add a bit of cheese. (I like blue cheese, parmesan or feta)
2 Tbsp. VINEGAR
5 Tbsp. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
Optional: shallots, scallions or garlic, mustard, herbs, cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil until well combined.
Add your favorite embellishments.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and whisk again.
Be sure that your salad greens are cold, crisp and dry and toss with some of the dressing.
Soybean, Arugula and Feta Salad
This is probably one of the most refreshing and satisfying salads I have eaten in a long time and is quick and easy to prepare.
I really do like soybeans and they are excellent paired with arugula and feta cheese.
The original recipe was from the book Gorgeous Greens by Annie Bell and called for fava beans rather than the soy beans.
l lb. FROZEN SOYBEANS
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Juice of half a LEMON
SEA SALT and freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
3 SCALLIONS, trimmed and finely sliced diagonally
6 Tbsp. coarsely chopped FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY
7 ounces FETA CHEESE, crumbled
Follow package directions and cook frozen soybeans in the microwave.
Toss the soybeans with 6 Tbsp. olive oil and the lemon juice, salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Once the soybeans have cooled, toss in the scallions and 2/3 of the parsley.
Serve on a bed of arugula with an extra drizzle of olive oil and top with the crumbled feta.
Yesterday my oldest daughter celebrated her 46th birthday! Happy Birthday Molly!
I knew I wanted to make her a cake and had recently been thinking about a Hummingbird Cake
after my friend Onda from back east mentioned that she visited with Mildred, a friend who we worked with years ago in ICU.
Mildred was the unit clerk for many years at the hospital, then she retired and then she returned to work in the pharmacy and worked until she was 89!
She just celebrated her 90th birthday!
I would love to see her again!
Mildred loved to bake and she was always bringing in goodies for the staff and sharing her recipes.
So I dug into my "cake" folder of recipes and there it was... her mimeographed copy of her Hummingbird Cake.
The recipe was a bit tattered and had some splatters on it, but it was still perfectly ledgible.
Being the end of the summer I knew I had plenty of hummingbirds stashed away so I pulled them out of the freezer.
OK!!! JUST KIDDING!
I have no idea how this cake got it's name but I do know it is easy to make and doesn't even require a mixer!
NO HUMMINGBIRDS WERE HARMED MAKING THIS CAKE!
So... Happy Birthday to Molly and Mildred!
3 c. FLOUR
2 c. SUGAR
1 tsp. SALT
1 tsp. BAKING SODA
1 tsp. CINNAMON
3 large EGGS, beaten
1 1/2 c. SALAD OIL
1 can CRUSHED PINEAPPLE, undrained (8oz can)
2 c. chopped WALNUTS (1 c. for the cake, and 1 c. on top of the icing)
2 c. chopped BANANAS
1 1/2 tsp. VANILLA
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add beaten eggs and oil, stirring until ingredients are moistened. Do not beat.
Stir in pineapple, nuts, bananas, and vanilla.
Spoon batter into 3, 9-inch greased cake pans or 2, 10-inch pans.
Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.
CREAM CHEESE ICING
1 (8oz. pkg) CREAM CHEESE
1/2 c. soft BUTTER
1 lb. CONFECTIONER'S SUGAR
1 tsp. VANILLA
Combine cream cheese and butter and mix well.
Add sugar and vanilla.
Frost cooled cake layers.
Top with remaining nuts.
Prairie Corn Chowder
This is one of my favorite soups that I used to prepare when the children were growing up, and to my surprise, it was one of their favorites and my daughters now make it for their families.
It is from the American Home All-Purpose Cookbook published in 1966 and this was the cookbook along with a Betty Crocker cookbook that I started cooking from when I got married.
It is a 563 page book with very few photos but is chock-full of good recipes, even now... 47 years later.
Nothing too trendy, just solid recipes that would appeal to many palates.
3 Tbsp. BACON
1/2 c. ONION, chopped
2 c. POTATOES, pared and cubed
2 c. WATER
2 cans CREAM-STYLE CORN
1 qt. MILK
2 tsp. SALT
1/4 tsp. PEPPER
1/4 tsp. dried ROSEMARY, crumbled
1/4 c. PIMIENTO, diced
1/4 c. CHEDDAR CHEESE, shredded (I use a bit more)
2 Tbsp. PARSLEY, minced
Cook bacon in a large heavy pot until crisp and brown; remove browned bits; reserve.
Add onion to drippings; saute until soft, but not browned.
Add potatoes and water; bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add corn, milk, salt, pepper, rosemary, pimiento, and browned bacon bits; heat until steaming hot; stir in cheese and parsley.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Goat Cheese and Veggie Mini Strata
OK... so I was bad. I was in the doctor's office and there were a bunch of WebMD magazines and duplicates of many of them.
Well, I saw this recipe and it sounded so good and I did the unthinkable... I tore it out!
(I did confirm that they had several more of the exact same issue before being so brazen as to rip out the page.)
This is easy to make and I like it because you could use bits of whatever veggies you might have leftover from another meal.
I threw in a few carrots and green beans as well as the broccoli, mushrooms and onions.
Make it ahead and refrigerate it and then bake before serving.
1 Tbsp. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 medium ONION, minced
1 c. small BROCCOLI FLORETS
1 c. diced PORTABELLO MUSHROOMS
1/4 c. thinly sliced SUN-DRIED TOMATOES (not packed in oil)
6 large EGGS
3/4 c. MILK
SALT and PEPPER
4 oz. GOAT CHEESE, crumbled
5 c. cubed WHOLE GRAIN BREAD
Garnish: CHERRY TOMATOES (optional)
Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet to medium high.
Add onion and cook 7-8 minutes until brown and caramelized.
Add broccoli, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook 4-5 more minutes until vegetables are soft.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper.
Add vegetables, cheese, and bread cubes and mix to combine.
Pour egg-and-bread mixture into the muffin pan, dividing evenly to ensure that liquid saturates the bread cubes.
Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
Heat oven to 350°F. Bake strata about 25-30 minutes until puffy and golden brown.
Loosen with a knife and serve two per person.
Garnish if desired with fresh cherry tomatoes.
This is nice served with a green salad or with a fresh fruit salad.
If you should have leftovers... they reheat very nicely in the microwave!
Cranberry Orange Muffins with Walnut Crumb Topping
My daughter Molly made these and sent them home with me and of course I had to shoot them.
Now that my work is done, I think I will fix a cup of tea and indulge in a muffin!
2 c. FLOUR
3/4 c. SUGAR
1 tsp. BAKING POWDER
1/2 tsp. BAKING SODA
1/2 tsp. SALT
1 c. CRANBERRIES
3/4 c. ORANGE JUICE
1/4 c. VEGETABLE OIL
1 tsp. grated ORANGE RIND
Combine dry ingredients. Stir in cranberries.
Beat egg, orange juice, oil and orange rind. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just to moisten.
Spoon into greased muffin cups. (fill 3/4 full).
Sprinkle walnut crumb topping over muffins.
Bake 400°F 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.
WALNUT CRUMB TOPPING
1/4 c. WALNUT PIECES
1/2 c. ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
2 Tbsp. SUGAR
2 Tbsp. LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
1/4 tsp. BAKING POWDER
Pinch of SALT
2 1/2 Tbsp. BUTTER, melted
In a pie plate, toast the walnuts for 5 minutes, or until browned and fragrant; cool.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the granulated and light brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the butter, then add the walnuts and pinch the topping mixture into clumps.
Sweet Potato and Collard Greens Salad
My friend Terree from the nature photography club shared this recipe with me. She makes it with kale in place of the collard greens.
It is an interesting combination of flavors and is easy to make and very colorful.
3 c. SWEET POTATOES, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
1/2 tsp. SEA SALT
1/4 tsp. PEPPER
1/2 c. ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS (PEPITAS)
3/4 c. DRIED CHERRIES
Zest and juice of one LEMON
1 Tbsp. coarse MUSTARD
1 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
Toss sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast at 375°F for 25-30 minutes.
Toss collard greens with hot sweet potatoes and return to oven for about 5 minutes or until greens are wilted.
Transfer to bowl and add pumpkin seeds, cherries and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, whisk lemon juice, mustard, and oil and toss with salad.
Serve at room temperature.
Zesty Quinoa Salad
1 c. QUINOA
2 c. WATER
1/4 c. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 LIMES, juiced
2 tsp. CUMIN
1 tsp. SALT
1/2 tsp. RED PEPPER FLAKES
1 1/2 c. halved CHERRY TOMATOES (I substituted the multicolored peppers, diced)
1 (15 ounce) can BLACK BEANS, drained and rinsed
5 GREEN ONIONS, finely chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh CILANTRO
SALT and ground PEPPER, to taste
Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10-15 minutes.
Set aside to cool
Whisk olive oil, lime juice, cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl.
Combine cooled quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and green onions together in a bowl.
Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss to coat.
Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and black pepper
Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.
Strawberry Arugula Salad with Ginger Dressing
This recipe came about because I had some leftover Ginger Dressing from a recipe for Ginger-Scallion Coleslaw.
The ginger dressing was addictive and I thought it would be good with this salad combination.
ROMAINE LETTUCE, thinly sliced
ENGLISH CUCUMBER, thinly sliced
STRAWBERRIES, halved or quartered
BLUE CHEESE or GOAT CHEESE
Prepared GLAZED NUTS WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES
1 c. plain RICE VINEGAR
1/2 c. SUGAR
2 Tbsp. GINGER, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. SCALLIONS, finely chopped
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to dissolve the sugar.
Drizzle over your composed salad and enjoy!
This is delicious served with mini cinnamon rolls heated in the microwave.
Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup with Parmesan
4 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL, plus more for garnish
2 LEEKS, trimmed, well rinsed, and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced GARLIC
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ROSEMARY, or 1 tsp. dried
SALT and PEPPER
1/2 c. dry WHITE WINE
2 BAKING POTATOES, peeled and chopped
3 c. canned WHITE BEANS, drained
5-6 c. VEGETABLE or CHICKEN STOCK
1 1/2 lb. ASPARAGUS
PARMESAN CHEESE, grated
Heat the oven to 450°F. Toss the asparagus with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast, turning once or twice, for 10-15 minutes or until the stalks can be pierced with a knife.
In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil and add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and beginning to color, 3-5 minutes.
Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add the white wine and stir to loosen the bits of vegetable that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add the potatoes, about half the beans, and the stock.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat so that the mixture bubbles steadily.
Cover partially and cook, stirring infrequently, until the potatoes are disintegrating, 20-30 minutes.
Mash the potatoes and beans a bit with a potato masher.
Cut the roasted asparagus into small pieces and add to the soup along with the remaining beans.
If desired, drizzle each serving with additional olive oil and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
ROASTED ASPARAGUS AND WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH SAUSAGE: If desired, fry about 8 oz. crumbled Italian sausage in the oil prior to adding the leeks.
Roasted Potato Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese
A simple spring lunch...
2.5 lb. SMALL RED POTATOES, halved or quartered, depending on size
8 unpeeled cloves of GARLIC
1/3 c. OLIVE OIL
2 tsp. WHOLE-GRAIN MUSTARD
1 Tbsp. BALSAMIC VINEGAR
1/2 c. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
3/4-1 c. ARUGULA, rinsed and dried
1/2 c. crumbled GOAT CHEESE
Freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
1 SCALLION, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
2 tsp. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Preheat oven to 300°F.
In a roasting pan, toss together the potatoes, garlic, salt to taste, and olive oil.
Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir occasionally during roasting.
In a jar, shake together the mustard, vinegar and olive oil until vinaigrette thickens.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and scrape into a large bowl, removing the garlic cloves.
Pour the vinaigrette over the potatoes and gently toss them with the dressing.
Add the arugula and toss again.
Heap the potato salad into a large shallow bowl or on a platter.
Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese over the top.
Season to taste with pepper and drizzle with 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil.
Garnish with sliced scallion if desired.
Serve warm or at room temperature.