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Posts tagged “Greens

Black Grape, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad

with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.

So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!

  • Mixed greens
  • Black grapes, sliced or halved
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)

Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • milk or rosewater, to thin

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious SundayAll my Bloggy FriendsTuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.


Sweet Onion Melted Gouda (SOMG!) BLT

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (SOMG BLT!)

This is such an amazing sandwich. It’s really so simple. But it takes the whole concept of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato to a new level.  All you have to do is add a little bit of sweet onion and some gouda cheese, get that cheese really good and melty and OMG you will be drowning in heaven when you eat your sandwich. So that’s why it’s a Sooo OMG BLT.  SOMG = Sweet Onion Melted Gouda. How sweet is THAT?

The most necessary thing for this sandwich is a fresh-from-the-garden tomato.  If you don’t have a garden (or a friend or relative who has a garden who will share a tomato), one from the farmer’s market will do in a pinch. If you’re going to use a grocery store tomato, just skip this whole idea. Go make something else. Because to get the true essence of a really great BLT, you need a really good fresh garden tomato.

The sweet onion and the melty gouda cheese elevate the bacon and the heavenly homegrown tomato taste and then the mixed greens come along and top it all off with their beauty and crunch. You really must have at least one of these beautiful sandwiches during tomato season … I have had two so far and I’m SO tempted to make another one … SOMG they are SO good!

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (Soo OMG BLT)

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich (SoooOMG BLT!)

For each sandwich:

  • 1 nice thick slice of bread (homemade bread works the best … I used my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
  • 3 slices of lower-fat, naturally smoked, thin-sliced bacon
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Fresh garden tomato slices
  • A few slices of Gouda cheese (I used Dofino Gouda that they sent me … )
  • Mixed greens

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon strips to your liking. I like mine a little floppy, but my sisters hate the way I make bacon. My kids love it though. (HA! For once I am validated by my kids.) Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to soak up the excess fat from the bacon.
  2. Set the bread on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray. Cover the bread with a layer of bacon, then several slices of the sweet onion, then make sure you cover the whole thing with fresh tomato slices. Cover the tomato with slices of gouda cheese.
  3. Bake at 400 for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is really good and melted and bubbly.
  4. Remove the sandwiches from the oven and carefully transfer each sandwich to a plate and add a good tumble of mixed greens. Then revel in the joy of a purely wonderful sandwich.

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (Soo OMG BLT)

I want to thank Dofino cheese for sending me some of their wonderful Gouda cheese and my amazing friends from the BOHO tribe for helping me name this sandwich! It was Uncle Gary from Uncle Gary’s Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly that thought of this name.

This is an #onionlove post.

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This recipe was also shared at Share it SaturdayScrumptious Sunday, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Cantaloupe Walnut Salad w Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

I went into the kitchen to get a cup of chai this morning. It was nearing lunchtime and when I reached into the fridge to grab the milk, the cantaloupe reached out to me. I came out of the kitchen with this salad. I got so caught up in the salad that I had to go back into the kitchen for the tea.

You must try this salad. It is pure simplicity to make, but tastes like heaven, especially if you can find yourself a really good juicy sweet cantaloupe. The sweet maple syrup with the mint and the tangy yogurt perfectly balance the juicy muskmelon and the crunch of the nuts. The mixed greens just round it all out, adding crunch, color, and variety.

Not to mention your body will love you for it. Every ingredient in this simple salad pitches in to help you feel energized and alive.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Inspired by my Maple Mint Cantaloupe Lassi

  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • Toasted Walnuts
  • Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing (recipe below)

Mix up the dresssing. Fill your bowl most of the way with greens. Add a generous pile of cantaloupe chunks. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the Maple Mint Yogurt dressing to your heart’s content. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or edible flowers if you like. Revel in the wonderful taste of this ultra simple salad.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/4  cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped fine

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Drizzle generously on the salad. Store any remaining dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday and Share it Saturday.


Cherry Beef Salad with Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Cherry Beef-Salad with Toasted Pecans & a Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

I’m SOooo excited … there are sweet cherries in my house! I almost never have sweet cherries. They just don’t grow here, and I can’t bear to pay $4 to $5 per pound for them so I very very rarely buy them. But this year must be a good cherry year because I’ve seen them for $2.50 – $3.00/pound. So I bought some! Three times now! The first time my daughter ate all of them. The second time she ate most of them, but I got a few. THIS time must be my turn because she hasn’t touched them yet. So I seized the opportunity and put them in my salad. And while I was at it, I made a cherry red wine vinaigrette, which turned out even better than I ever dreamed it would. I just started throwing things together and up came this brilliant-tasting cherry red sweet/tart vinaigrette that’s just super yummy.

Cherry Beef-Salad with Toasted Pecans & a Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Cherry Beef Salad with Toasted Pecans

I think some goat cheese would be nice on this salad too, but I’m all out of it!

  • Mixed greens with spinach
  • Pitted sweet cherries
  • Sweet onion, sliced and roughly chopped
  • Sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • Toasted pecans
  • Chunks or slices of cooked beef or venison (I used some leftover Spiedies)
  • Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Fill your salad bowl most of the way with greens. Toss on a bunch of cherries, some onion, a little bell pepper and then sprinkle with a few toasted pecans. Drizzle generously with cherry malbec vinaigrette and enjoy.

Cherry Beef-Salad with Toasted Pecans & a Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

  • 10 sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup Malbec (or other red wine)
  • 2 Tablespoons cherry (or berry) syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • a few fresh basil leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional, but they add nutritional value and help thicken the dressing)

In a handi chopper, blender or food process, blend up all the ingredients well till the cherries and garlic are fully pureed. Store in a covered bottle in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Summer Salad Sunday, Hearth & Soul Bloghop and Manic Monday.


Egg on a Salad with Sundried Tomato Ranch

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Let’s re-define the idea of egg salad, shall we? I mean, who decided that “egg salad” should be a bunch of chopped hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise on bread? Excuse me, but how is that a salad? I don’t mean to knock the traditional egg salad sandwich … there’s a comforting charm in a well-made egg salad sandwich, but I have to tell you, when I think salad, I think greens. To me, a salad really needs greens before it deserves to be called a salad.

Yesterday I redefined the whole concept of “egg salad” in my mind. I put a fried egg on my salad. Really, it’s nothing new, but it’s new to me … it’s been done before … I’ve seen it, but the idea of putting a fried egg on a salad sounded completely crazy to me. A fried egg? on a REAL salad? With greens? Seriously?

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

It sounded so completely weird to me until I made this sundried tomato ranch dressing. And my friend Melissa said to me: it would be great on eggs. Oh. my. gosh. YES! A fried egg, over easy, with that beautiful bright yellow messy, runny yolk … and toast … and crunchy green salad … oh let’s toss on some avocado too … oh yes! It’s brilliant! I could eat this forever … I made it again today. It’s like the quickest meal ever. And it’s SOooooo goood!

It is the sundried tomato ranch dressing that makes this brilliant. Without it, it’s just eggs oozing all over my greens and yeah not really that exciting at all … but add that dressing and some crunchy toast and I’m happy as a clam.

(Are clams really happy? I sure hope so, cuz otherwise it would make NO sense to say “happy as a clam” … then again, we don’t really know that they are happy, so why do we say that?)

Whatever. This egg salad made me happy. Like giggly from my toes to my nose kinda happy. I will never, ever, think of egg salad the same way again.

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

I got so excited talking about the salad I forgot to tell you about the flowers! They are hosta flowers … the flowers of hostas, like hosta leaves, are edible. You probably have some growing in your yard. They taste like salad. And they are insanely beautiful, on or off a salad.

  • Mixed spring greens with spinach (or whatever greens you’d like to use …)
  • Green bell pepper, chopped
  • Sweet onion, sliced and chopped
  • Avocado, sliced and/or cut into chunks
  • Organic hosta flowers (or other edible organic flowers … totally optional but they look pretty! make sure yours aren’t sprayed with nasty lawn chemicals before eating, though)
  • Eggs, 1 for each salad
  • Thin slices of french bread or baguette, toasted
  • Sundried tomato ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Directions:

  1. First mix up the dressing and set it aside.
  2. Make a good bed of greens in your salad bowl and tuck in some onion, avocado, and bell pepper. Add a few flowers if you like, around the edge, leaving a good space in the center for the egg.
  3. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Crack a fresh egg into the pan and season with Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and freshly ground pepper. Cook it sunny side up or over easy, whatever you prefer.
  4. Toast the bread while the egg is cooking, then spread the ranch dressing on the bread slices.
  5. When the egg is done to your liking, set it gently on top of the salad. Top with the ranch (or serve on the side), and serve with the toast.

Fried Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFit & Fabulous FridayFoodie Friends FridaySummer Salad Sunday and Manic Monday.


Triple Tomato Ranch Pasta Salad

Triple Tomato Ranch Pasta Salad with Meat & Feta

This was the salad I had in mind when I created the sundried tomato ranch dressing. A super simple, very tomato salad bursting that really focuses on the tomato. I forgot to put the feta cheese on BEFORE I took the pictures … ooops! But don’t forget to add the feta. The tangy salty feta is so good with the juicy tomatoes and ranch.

Triple Tomato Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese Crumbles & Sundried Tomato Ranch

Triple Tomato Ranch Pasta Salad

You could add other fresh vegies to this salad as well … this recipe made enough for two meals for me, but I’m not a big eater.

  • 1 cup dry cellentani pasta (rotini, bowtie, or penne would work well for this too)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
  • 2 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • Mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato ranch dressing (recipe here)
  • Several sundried tomatoes, chopped into bits
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Leftover grilled meat (optional … I tossed in some of my Spiedies) … or try some cooked chickpeas (or other beans) instead and maybe some sunflower seeds?
  • For garnish: Green onion, snipped

First, make the dressing and set it aside while you create the salad.

Cook the pasta in boiling water till done, then drain. In a bowl, mix together the pasta, sweet onions, tomatoes and ranch dressing.

Cover your salad plate (or bowl) with a layer of mixed greens, then add a healthy bunch of the pasta salad mixture. Top with the chopped sundried tomatoes, chunks of meat, feta cheese crumbles and snipped green onions.

Enjoy! (I did take ONE photo after I added the feta … I had already started in on devouring the salad by then though …)

Triple Tomato Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese Crumbles & Sundried Tomato Ranch

This is a post for #tomatolove.

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This recipe was also shared at Manic MondayCast Party Wednesday, and Tastetastic Thursday.


Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad

on Mixed Greens with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad with Pinons & Goat Cheese

Hey guess what?  I’m guest posting on Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen today … it’s a yummy salad I made with my mulberries.

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad on Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & a Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Go on over to Carrie’s blog and check it out!

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad on Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & a Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFoodie Friends Friday, EveryDay Mom’s Meals and Summer Salad Sunday.


Red, White, & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

My foodie friend Justine over at Full Belly Sisters has been making red, white and blue foods like crazy lately … which got me thinking … I need to make a red, white and blue salad! It’s been in my head for a week, waiting to come to life. I’m so glad I finally took time to make it today (even though my son was upset with me for making something for myself since we had agreed to go out for lunch today … hey, it’s just a salad!)

Besides being just the right colors for the 4th of July, it’s got just the right mix of sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy to make a super-delicious salad. Tangy goat cheese pairs so well with berries, sweet onions kick up the flavor just slightly, the pinons add a soft crunch and a slight sweet nutty flavor, and the lime and ginger yogurt dressing takes it over the top.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

And you know what else? Before eating this salad, I felt tired and run down. But AFTER eating this delectable salad, my body felt so refreshed, revived, ready to go! Besides, all those gorgeous colors are a feast for the eyes …

Red, White & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Greens
  • Fresh Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Fresh Sweet Blueberries, washed
  • Sweet onion, sliced  and roughly chopped
  • Pinon nuts and/or almond slices, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing (recipe below0
Fill the bowl most of the way full of mixed greens. Arrange/tuck a bunch of sliced strawberries and fresh whole blueberries amongst the greens, then sprinkle on the nuts and crumbles of goat cheese . Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

Red, White, and Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

By the way, Justine at Full Belly Sisters made a Red, White & Blue Salad too! Go check out her version.

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Summer Salad SundaysScrumptious SundaysManic Mondays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad

with Gorgonzola cheese, sweet onions and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Sweet Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese

I am totally enthralled with edible flowers … so I planted some nasturtiums this year. I soaked the seeds overnight, planted them, watered them, waited. And waited. Watered some more. Waited. Weeks passed and none of them grew. I was so disappointed … but I took the pots and planted other things.

And then one day I noticed something growing in with my celery plant. It didn’t look like a weed to me so I let it grow … and grow … and it produced a flower. A brilliant red flower.  There was a little tickle of recognition in the back of my mind, but I had never seen a red nasturtium before so I couldn’t quite figure out what this gorgeous flower was. I took a picture of it and posted it on facebook and asked my friends what it was. I was almost embarrassed when my friends pointed out to me that it was a nasturtium. Silly me! So one of my little seedlings DID grow … she just took her time doing it.

My Surprise Nasturtium

My daughter asked if we were going to eat it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat this lone pretty flower. I let it stay there on the plant. However, my sweet little plant heard my silent wish and made me more flowers. A bunch of them. Enough for a salad. I didn’t act quick enough and the heat killed several of them off, but still I collected enough for one salad. Maybe she’ll make me some more again? I’ll be happy either way. I’m so glad this little plant graced my life with her beauty. Her flowers tasted pretty good too. Slightly peppery, but mildly flavored. The leaves are little more peppery. I only used a few leaves; my sweet plant is just a little one and I want to let her grow. The flowers turned more orange over time.

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Sweet Onions

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Pitted Dates, sliced
  • Crumbles of Gorgonzola cheese
  • Sweet onion, sliced thin and quartered
  • Several nasturtiums (and toss in a few of the leaves too … why not!)
Fill your salad bowl 3/4 full of greens. Toss on some walnuts, sliced dates, crumbles of gorgonzola, and sliced onion. Tuck in Nasturtium flowers (the whole flower or just the petals, either way … I kept one whole and tossed the petals from the not-as-pretty flowers in there). Drizzle with the honey lemon vinaigrette (recipe below) and serve.
Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Honey Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckManic MondaysKatherine Martinelli’s Nut Bloghop and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


A Forager’s Thai-style Peanut Chicken Stirfry

A Forager's Thai Peanut Chicken Stirfry

I have been fascinated with foraging since I was a little girl. My parents instilled this trait in me … I remember as a child, when we were driving along somewhere, my mother would sometimes suddenly exclaim that we needed to stop.  And my dad would stop the car. We would just stop and pick asparagus out of the ditch … or wherever it was she discovered it. I remember her stopping to pick wildflowers sometimes too. We also went mushroom hunting, which is the ultimate in foraging, and if you have never gone, find yourself a friend who hunts mushrooms and tag along with them sometime. Mushroom hunting is great fun … you just have to know what you are looking for.

Back then I think foraging in general was much safer. The sprays that are used in parks, lawns, and ditches these days (in the US) can be pretty toxic. So you need to be more careful where you forage … but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t forage. You can forage in your own yard, where you have control over what goes on your plants. And I totally think you should … I mean, what is better than free food that you picked fresh from the landscaping? (By the way, if the idea of foraging in your yard scares you, skip over to the recipe … I provided substitutes for the “foraged” parts of the meal.)

I used the word “landscaping” very intentionally there, because the foods I foraged for this dish are commonly used in landscaping in many yards in the city:  hostas and day lilies. I long suspected that hostas are edible … because my deer love them … and whatever my deer love to eat, I start wondering about … so I went searching about the internet and I discovered that I was right! Ha! In fact, hostas are a common food in Japan, called Urui or Yuki-urui. Thanks to Miss Modish, I know this now. The day lily discovery I made the other day and I will point you to my Stella de Oro salad post to learn more about them. Do NOT try to eat just any old lily from your yard. Some lilies are poisonous. Make sure you are eating a DAY lily. Google “eating day lilies” if you aren’t sure of the difference and do some reading before you start picking. Also if you have food allergies, I would suggest eating a small bit first to make sure you are not allergic.

Hostas and Day Lilies are Edible!

Notes on picking: for day lilies, pick the fresh buds, unopened pods and fresh (unwilted) flowers. It’s best to pick them fresh, right before you plan to eat them, but if you can’t eat them right away, put them in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper. Day lilies only last a day, so if the flower looks “spent”, don’t bother trying to eat it. DO pick them off the plant, though, because the plant will produce more flowers that way. When picking hostas, choose the smaller, tender leaves in the center of the plant. The larger ones tend to be a little tough.

I had tried the day lilies raw and tasted the hosta leaves (yeah, they taste like a leaf), now it was time to discover how well they cook up … and it turns out they do cook up quite beautifully. Both of them. Together. With a little garlic and olive oil. Oh, and I threw in some carrots from my dad’s garden too. And just a splash of white wine.

What do they taste like? The day lily pods when cooked taste a bit like green beans. The flowers are slightly sweeter and more tender/wilty. The hostas taste sort of like spinach. (I tasted them after they were cooked and before I put the sauce on to get the “true” taste of the day lilies and hostas.)

Stir Frying Day Lilies & Hostas

A Forager’s Thai Peanut Chicken Stirfry

This was enough for little old me for a big, hearty lunch. Pick more for multiple people!

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Half of a very large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced and cut in half-moon shapes (or 1-2 regular sized carrots)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A small mixing bowlful of small, tender hosta leaves, chopped (they cook down like spinach does, so you’ll want quite a lot) … if you don’t have hostas, substitute some spinach
  • Several handfuls of day lily pods and blossoms (see picture for amount … I’m not quite sure how many there were) … if you don’t have day lilies, substitute green beans
  • A splash of white wine
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, sliced or chopped
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons of Super Simple Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe here)
  • Hot cooked Basmati rice (to serve the lovely stirfry upon)
  • Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish, if desired (I had no cilantro and totally forgot about the peanuts … not that it NEEDS garnish because the dish is so beautiful already!)

Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the olive oil, swirling around to coat the pan. Add the carrots, garlic, hosta leaves (or spinach), and day lilies (or green beans) and sautee for a few minutes. Throw in a splash of white wine and the chicken and cook until the carrots are crisp tender, the hosta leaves are wilted and the chicken is hot. Stir in the peanut sauce and served over the hot rice. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves, if desired, or a fresh (uncooked) day lily flower would be a beautiful garnish.

Forager's Thai Peanut Chicken Stirfry

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

My chives are growing like crazy right now and they’re in full bloom with big, beautiful purple flowers. They’ve taken over a big chunk of my raised bed already … Mom warned me that they would, but I’ve never had anything grow like that here . Perhaps it’s because the deer eat everything … except for the daffodils and the chives.

Their loss! I love them. Besides that they are gorgeous, I think chives taste marvelous. And chive flowers even moreso. While chives add sort of a subtle onion taste to a dish, chive flowers are more intense, little bursts of flavor.

And Dad gave me some beautiful fresh shelf mushrooms he found … I thought they’d go perfect with the chive flowers.

Chive flower, mushroom, white bean and walnut salad

Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Cooked white beans
  • Fresh mushrooms, sliced or torn into chunks
  • Fresh cut “shards” of parmesan cheese (thinly cut slices)
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Chive flowers
  • Avocado ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Fill your bowl most of the way with greens, then toss on some beans, fresh mushrooms, parmesan, and walnuts. Tuck in the chive flowers and drizzle with avocado ranch.

Before you eat the salad, make sure you take a moment to savor the beauty of these flowers. Then dive into the taste of them … You might want to pull them apart and scatter them all over your salad.

Chive flower, mushroom, white bean and walnut salad

This recipe was shared at  Tastetastic ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Manic Mondays.


My Mom’s Orange, Date & Almond Salad

Mom's Orange, Date & Almond Salad

Juicy oranges, sweet chewy dates, and crunchy toasted almonds on a bed of lovely greens.

When I was in junior high school, I took Latin. Every year, my Latin teacher would have a “Latin dinner” night where everyone was supposed to bring some food that the Romans would have eaten back in the days of the Roman empire. Most people brought things like lasagna or garlic bread … my mom (the dietician) thought we should bring salad. This salad was mom’s idea … I don’t know where she got the inspiration, but even as a young pre-teen girl, I thought it was the tastiest salad ever.

For a dressing, we just drizzled it with olive oil. When I remade it yesterday, I tried topping it with my Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette. Either way, I think you are going to love this simple salad.

Now as I’m writing this, I’m wondering how it would taste with a few crumbles of goat cheese on there? I bet that would be delicious …

Mom's Orange, Date & Almond Salad

My Mom’s Orange, Date, & Almond Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Oranges, peeled, sliced horizontally and cut into pieces
  • Dates, chopped
  • Almonds, toasted
  • Olive oil or Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Fill your salad bowl with mixed greens.  Tuck the oranges and dates in amongst the greens, sprinkle with a few toasted almonds. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil or the vinaigrette.

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container.

My Mom's Orange, Date, & Almond Salad

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Mealtime Mondays, Thursday’s Treasures and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens

with Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Pecans, and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

It was a “make do with what you’ve got” kinda lunch day. I thought I would have a salad, but I didn’t have enough greens left to fill my bowl.

So I went scrounging in my yard for greens. My spinach is still too tiny to pick, so I came in with a bunch of dandelion greens and a couple flowers as well. I know, these common yellow flowers are not generally well loved. Most people don’t want them in their yard. But they do have a lot of health benefits, they cost nothing and they’re really quite tasty and beautiful. The only problem is the greens do tend to get bitter.

However, bitter greens in a salad are really lovely if you pair them with something sweet. So I went looking for something sweet. No berries left, but I did have some dried apricots and cinnamon pecans. I threw in some chopped chicken and tangy blue cheese and I had quite a nice, well rounded, tasty salad.

If you are averse to using dandelions in your salad, skip the dandelions and use different greens. Arugula mixed with some fresh spinach would be nice.

Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

  • Mixed greens (I used spinach and dandelion greens)
  • Cooked chicken (leftover chicken or natural chicken nuggets), chopped … I think this salad would be incredible with some apricot-glazed chicken … as you can see, I used the chicken nuggets.
  • Blue cheese crumbles (just a few)
  • Fresh or Dried apricots, chopped
  • Cinnamon pecans (recipe here)
  • Snipped green onion
  • Dandelion flower petals (optional … only use these if you have a safe, chemical-free source of dandelions)

Fill your salad bowl most of the way with greens. Sprinkle the salad with chopped chicken, blue cheese crumbles, apricots, pecans, green onion and flower petals. Drizzle with Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette.

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container.

Wild Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursdays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Grapefruit & Sweet Toasted Walnut Salad

with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Grapefruit & Sweet Toasted Walnut Salad with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

I don’t know why, but the past two days, all I have wanted to eat was this salad. I need to make some soup, but I don’t really care … all I want is this green salad with pink, juicy grapefruit chunks and toasted sweet walnuts and this luscious vinaigrette. I could drown myself in it …

The first time I made it, I didn’t have any greens, so I had to go foraging in my lawn and what little is growing in my garden so far. I added the petals from a couple chrysanthemums too … since I was picking things …

The mums were lovely, but I completely forgot them the second time around. Because this time I had a big tub of organic spinach I found at the grocery store, so I didn’t have to go outside picking anything. And because the second time my son joined in in “helping” me prepare the grapefruit and before I knew it, we’d gone through 3 grapefruit  and only one was left for my salad … because he pilfered all the rest … not that I mind … I love it when he revels in eating something healthy.

It reminded me of a different time and a different place when we used to have a grapefruit tree, so we would have “grapefruit festivals” … the kids and I would sit at the table and eat and eat and eat grapefruit to our heart’s content … and if we wanted more, we just ran out to the tree and picked a few more. This went on until we had each eaten 3 or 4 grapefruit. I’m not really sure how many we actually ate … it just seemed like the feasting went on and on and on. There was always a huge pile of rinds when we were done.

Grapefruit & Sweet Toasted Walnut Salad with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Grapefruit & Sweet Toasted Walnut Salad

  • Mixed greens or spinach
  • Grapefruit
  • Walnut pieces (just a couple tablespoons per serving)
  • Powdered sugar (maybe 1/3 cup?)
  • Cinnamon (not sure how much I used … 1/2 teaspoon? maybe more?)
  • Chrysanthemum petals (or fresh mint leaves … or you could just leave these out)
  • Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Peel the grapefruit and section it like you would an orange, then pull off all the membrane. If you have any difficulty doing this with your fingers, use a knife. Make sure you have extra grapefruit if you have any others around that like to “help”.
  2. Take the powdered sugar and mix it with some cinnamon (and maybe a bit of powdered ginger? of course this occurred to me AFTER we’ve eaten all the grapefruit in the house!), then dump your walnut pieces in. Use a colander or sifter to separate the nuts from the powdered sugar. Reserve the cinnamon sugar mixture for next time (or for powdering a dessert).
  3. Put the nuts on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees or until the nuts are brown on top.
  4. In the meantime, put a big bunch of greens in the salad bowl and hide the grapefruit sections amongst the greens.
  5. Sprinkle with the sweet toasted nuts and chrysanthemum petals (if you have them), then drizzle with a bit of the ginger grapefruit vinaigrette.

Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

This makes a small amount, but you really don’t need much on the salad because it has a lot of flavor (but then, I’m a “light on the dressing” kind of person). If you want extra for future salads, double the recipe!

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ginger sugar (the sugar that falls from making candied ginger … or 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)
  • 1 Tablespoon jam (I used mixed berry jam, but I think you could use whatever jam suits you)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fancy prepared mustard (I used garlic peppercorn mustard, but Dijon would also be fine.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil until everything is well blended. In a thin stream, add the olive oil, whisking the dressing till the oil is incorporated into the dressing.

Store any extra salad dressing in the fridge … let warm slightly for just a few minutes at room temperature to warm the olive oil and shake well before using.

Grapefruit & Sweet Toasted Walnut Salad with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysThursday’s Treasures, Full Plate ThursdaysWeekend Potluck, and Meatless Mondays.


Tulip & Violet Salad with Salmon Cucumber Toasts

a.k.a., Tiptoe through the Tulips with Me Salad

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Blue Cheese Cucumber Toast

I have been wondering what beautiful blossoms in my yard are edible? There must be something besides dandelions and wild violets …

So I did a little research and it turns out there is a reason the deer chomp off the tulip blossoms so quickly … they’re delicious! Tulips have a faint taste sort of like asparagus, but with a lighter, more flowery taste.

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Blue Cheese Cucumber Toast

I have planted a lot of tulips, but I don’t get to see very many of my sweet tulip blossoms, thanks to the deer that visit my yard so frequently. I welcome the deer as a magical presence in my life … and at the same time I get frustrated with them for killing my trees, eating all my tulips, lilies, strawberries, hostas, apple and apricot trees (will I EVER have apples?) … it’s very hard to garden with deer around.

I had just three surviving tulip flowers  … I figured I had better pick them before the deer got them.

Please do not try eating your tulips if you use chemicals on your tulips or on your lawn anywhere near your precious tulips.

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Cucumber Toast

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Blue Cheese and Pinons

  1. Find some greens. I snipped some “volunteer” greens from my garden. Make a bed of greens on your salad plate or bowl.
  2. Arrange tulip petals and wild violet greens and blossoms (whatever you have) on top of your greens.  (Just please make sure there aren’t any nasty lawn chemicals on your flowers!)
  3. Sprinkle your beautiful salad with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts (pinons) … or other nuts of your choosing.
  4. Drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette. I was sure I had some berry vinaigrette in my fridge, but I couldn’t find it and settled for my maple cranberry vinaigrette. It worked out beautifully anyway.

Salmon Cucumber Toasts

  • French bread
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon or so of blue cheese
  • A sprig of fresh dill, snipped
  • Garlic scapes, snipped … or a bit of fresh garlic, chopped
  • A bit of finely chopped onion … or green onion
  • A small fillet of salmon, grilled or smoked
  • Cucumber slices and basil leaves, for the top

Directions:

  1. Toast the french bread lightly
  2. Mix the cream cheese, blue cheese, scapes or garlic, onion, dill and salmon in a small bowl till mixed well.
  3. Spread the french bread toast with the cheese mixture and top with cucumber slices and basil leaves.

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Cucumber Toast

This recipe was shared at Full Plate Thursdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, Katherine Martinelli’s Easter Blog Hop, Fit & Fabulous FridaysEveryday Mom’s Meals and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

Do you recognize those “wild” greens?

Today is National Weed Appreciation Day and you know what? I really appreciate my weeds. Oh some of them are a pain, literally, like the thistles and the cockleburrs that I just can’t seem to get under control, but the dandelions and wild violets that sprout up all over my yard and in the cracks of my sidewalk are just lovely! I totally love the thought of picking food from my yard. I mean, what’s better than free food?

Here’s one of the wild violet plants that sprung up in the crack of my sidewalk. How lovely is that?

Wild Violets

So today I thought I would honor the beautiful weeds that grace my life by making a gourmet toast with them. I don’t use any herbicides or pesticides on my lawn so it’s relatively safe for me to eat them. Please don’t try this if you use any chemical weed control in your yard.

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

This could be served as an appetizer, a snack, a nice lunch, or even a light dinner!

  • French bread
  • Raspberry jam
  • Cooked salmon (I had some leftover salmon we did on the grill the other night)
  • Havarti cheese, sliced
  • Dandelion and/or wild violet greens and some wild violets if you are lucky enough to have some about that are chemical free and clean

Directions:

  1. Lightly toast the french bread, then spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam.
  2. Add flakes of salmon on top of the jam, then arrange slices of Havarti cheese to cover the salmon.
  3. Bake at 400 or broil the toast for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and melted and bubbly.
  4. Top with wild greens and violets and enjoy!

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFull Plate Thursday and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Bread and White Bean Salad with Feta & Basil

Bread and White Bean Salad

5,000 likes on facebook! :)Yesterday my little blog reached a new milestone: 5,000 “likes” on my facebook page. I was so excited I took a screenshot! … I have met sooo many wonderful foodie friends through this blog. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me. My foodie friends take me on culinary journeys all over the world, but not only that, they lift me up when I am down, they always have a cheery good morning and a good night, a cup of hot coffee, and oh the amazing foods we share. We have parties together, share stories, food, music, drinks … They are my inspiration, but more than that, they are my friends … I want to do something to celebrate and thank all of you but I wasn’t quite sure what to do. One of my friends suggested “5 different things” … we tossed around some ideas for that … at first I was thinking party foods, but I think I will go with 5 favorite foods.

First of Five Favorites: Salad. One of my very favorite foods is salad. I loooove salad! I think I could eat salad every day. Salads are often meals for me. I dress them up with all sorts of things, and I love to make my own salad dressings. And I love sharing my salads with my foodie friends.

For this salad, I wanted to do something like an Italian Bread Salad with my sunflower spinach parmesan bread, but I didn’t follow a recipe. This salad just sort of “happened”, like a lot of recipes in my kitchen do. I just wing it. Most of the time it turns out pretty good. This one was really good, but I’ll warn you it’s super garlicky. Personally I like that. One of the things I want to do before I die is to get to the garlic festival in Gilroy, CA. I already have two garlic cookbooks from there and they are very well used. We drove through Gilroy once. You can smell the amazing garlic from inside the car. For a couple minutes, our car smelled like an Italian kitchen. I bet everyone in Gilroy cooks with a LOT of garlic. I think I’d fit right in …

Bread & White Bean Salad with Feta and Basil

Bread and White Bean Salad with Feta & Basil

Makes 1 “meal-sized” salad or 2-3 side salads. Multiple if you are cooking for more people!

Croutons

Beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked Great Northern, Cannellini or other white beans
  • 2 whole canned tomatoes
  • Granulated garlic
  • Red Robin seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • Italian seasoning

Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Red onions, thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Lowfat garlic ranch dressing (I used this one) … or I think a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette would be nice on this salad too …

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and granulated garlic. Cut the bread into cubes, and brush lightly with the olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 – 10 minutes or until the bread is toasted and crunchy.
  2. While the croutons are baking, put the beans in a small bowl and crush the tomatoes over them, allowing the juices to drip into the beans, then add the tomatoes. Season to taste with garlic, Red Robin seasoning and Italian seasoning. Heat the beans in the microwave or a small pan till they are hot.
  3. Assemble the salad: in a salad bowl, toss the greens with the onions, beans, and croutons. Sprinkle with feta, basil leaves, and sunflower seeds and drizzle with the dressing.

Bread & White Bean Salad with Feta & Basil

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysMidweek Fiesta, Cast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic Thursdays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.

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Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad

with cilantro, cucumber, and toasted pinons

Couscous, Black Bean, Kumquat and Avocado Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

I couldn’t stop eating this salad. It was one of those find-things-in-your-fridge-and-toss-them-together kind of meals … but once I got it all together, I could not believe how good it tasted.

I was telling my yoga friend about this salad and she asked how it is that I have all these strange things “on hand”  in my kitchen …  I think what I do is I just collect interesting ingredients and let them flow together. Oh, yes, there are times when I buy things specifically to make a particular dish, but it quite often doesn’t work out that way. Life gets in the way. My plans get thrown out the window. I have learned along the way that plans are only a point of departure, and you have to be ready at any point in life to make new ones. I find myself doing a lot of that.

In any case, this was a very happy accident.

Couscous, Black Bean, Kumquat and Avocado Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad

with Cilantro, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

If you haven’t got any kumquats, you could try substituting other citrus fruits.

  • 2/3 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced and cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • Roughly 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 kumquats (about 2 inches in diameter, add more to taste depending on how large your kumquats are), sliced thin and chopped (reserving a few slices for garnish)
  • About 2 cups of green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped fine
  • About 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
  • About 1/3 cup of toasted pinon nuts
  • 1/2 of an avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped

Directions:

  1. Prepare the uncooked couscous according to the package directions and make the dressing.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss everything but the avocado until mixed.
  3. Toss the avocado in the dressing to coat (the kumquat juice in the dressing will help the avocado from turning brown), then toss the avocado and the dressing into the salad and stir gently to combine.
  4. Garnish the top of the salad with extra feta crumbles, slices of kumquat, cilantro leaves and a few pinons.

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons of kumquat juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Black Bean, Feta, and Avocado Couscous Salad with Kumquat, Cucumber, Toasted Pinons

This recipe was shared on Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Everyday Mom’s Church Supper, Weekend Potluck, Love your Hearth MonthMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, and Freaky Friday.


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