with Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Pecans and Mixed Berry Vinaigrette
I’m fascinated with edible flowers right now … last week I found a list of 42 edible flowers … and realized I had another edible flower literally on my front doorstep.
My mom brought me a mum from her garden. A confused mum. Chrysanthemums are supposed to flower in the fall, but this one was in full bloom already. Mom said just plant it and pull off the blossoms and it should bloom again in the fall. I didn’t have the heart to pull the blossoms off … it looked so pretty. So I left it in the crumpled metal bucket mom brought it in and set it on my doorstep.
And now I’m so glad I did. Because I LOVE the taste of these flowers! My daughter tasted them too and she loved the taste as well. Said they would be great in a salad. Which made me laugh because that is EXACTLY what I thought.
My white mum flower petals have a floral herb-y taste to them, with a hint of bitterness and slight peppery bite. (Mums come in a wide variety of colors and according to treehugger the flavors vary from peppery to pungent.) Which makes a perfect pairing for a berry salad.
Warnings: You should eat only the petals of chrysanthemum flowers. Also, be careful to choose a flower plant that hasn’t been sprayed or treated with any strange chemicals (or better yet, grow your own!)
Strawberry Chrysanthemum Salad
with Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Pecans & Mixed Berry Vinaigrette
- Pecan pieces
- Powdered Sugar
- Mixed greens and/or fresh spinach leaves
- Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Chrysanthemum flowers that are free of pesticides and herbicides
- Berry Vinaigrette (recipe here)
Mix some powdered sugar and cinnamon in a bowl till you have a good-tasting mix. Put the nuts in the powdered sugar and toss to coat them. Pour through a colander or sifter to separate the nuts from the powdered sugar mixture. Put the sugared nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes. The sugar sorts of melts onto the toasted nuts.
Now it’s time to make the salad! Fill your plate or salad bowl mostly with greens, top with sliced strawberries, then a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles, then take your Chrysanthemum flowers and pull off the petals and sprinkle them all over the salad. Sprinkle with the cinnamon pecans and drizzle with berry vinaigrette.
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with Toasted Pinons and Avocado Ranch Dressing
Do you still have ham left over from Easter dinner? I do … a LOT of it. Dad gave me more than I really thought I could handle. And I talked him into giving me one of the smaller ham bones. So soon there will be soup!
But not today. Today is salad day. I love a good salad. And what better way to use up leftover ham than to toss it in a salad, right? … Okay, there are tons of other great ways to use ham, but this is one of the best options, in my humble opinion.
Ham, Avocado & Blue Cheese Salad
on Mixed Greens with Toasted Pinons and Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Mixed organic greens
- Cooked ham, sliced or diced or just torn into chunks
- Red onion, sliced
- Avocado slices
- Pine nuts (pinons), toasted
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Avocado ranch salad dressing (recipe here)
- Make the salad dressing. Go here for the recipe.
- Make a nice big bed of greens on your salad plate or bowl.
- Toast the pine nuts in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes (watch them closely!) or until they just start to turn brown. Just be careful to watch them carefully so they won’t burn. If you have a toaster oven that toasts nicely without burning things (unlike mine), you can put the nuts on a toaster oven pan in your toaster oven and set it on toast (medium setting) and they will be perfectly brown. Or you can toast them in a skillet pan over medium heat.
- Sprinkle the ham, red onion, avocado, pinons and blue cheese crumbles over your beautiful bed of greens.
- Drizzle with avocado ranch dressing. If you happen to have a wild violet or a viola, invite it to sit on top of the salad to make a pretty garnish. Then chow down and feel how much your body (and your taste buds) love you.
Even as I was eating my Thai Chicken Pizza the other night, I began dreaming of this salad. The flavors on that pizza were just screaming to be thrown over some pretty greens and doused in that amazing Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce. Add some pineapple, a bit of celery, and some chopped peanuts and ooh what a beautiful summer salad. I forgot I was actually going to throw in some carrots, but didn’t miss them until after I inhaled the salad, but if I did this again I would …
Thai-Style Barbecued Chicken Salad
For the chicken:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person)
- Plain nonfat yogurt and/or buttermilk for marinading the chicken
- Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- Granulated garlic (or chopped garlic cloves)
For the salad:
- Mixed organic greens
- Chopped fresh pineapple
- Chopped fresh celery
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Carrot, thinly sliced (if desired) or carrot “ribbons” would be lovely too
- Peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Thai Peanut Sauce (super simple recipe here!)
Marinade the chicken in yogurt or buttermilk. I used about half yogurt, half buttermilk. (No, I didn’t measure it, just poured it into a bowl till it looked like about the right amount to cover my chicken.) Then I added some granulated garlic and Red Robin seasoning until it tasted good. Then I added the chicken and let it marinade for an hour. Or two. I don’t know exactly how long …
Heat up your grill and put the chicken on there and cook it up till the juices run clear when you pierce the chicken with a knife.
Slice up that lovely hot chicken.
Pile the greens on your salad plate(s), then top with pineapple, celery, onion, carrots and cilantro leaves. Arrange the chicken on the greens and drizzle with the Thai Peanut Sauce, then sprinkle with nuts and a few more cilantro leaves.
An Oriental-inspired salad-scape.
Because I was suddenly hungry and my son was making chicken nuggets and there were tangerines sitting in front of me and greens and a beautiful red bell pepper in the fridge. Not to mention a bottle of Oriental vinaigrette already made.
This is kind of a melange of all the oriental salads I’ve tried … tangerines or mandarin oranges are divine in an oriental salad … I was kind of wishing I had some chow mein noodles on hand, or some rice noodles I could fry up, but all I had for oriental-style noodles were Ramen noodles so yes, they went into the salad. Raw, crunchy, right out of the package.
Chinese Chicken Tangerine Salad
- Mixed greens
- 4 chicken nuggets or leftover cooked chicken, warmed and chopped
- Chopped onion
- 2 tangerines
- Chopped bell pepper
- Chow mein noodles, crumbled uncooked Ramen noodles, or rice noodles, deep fried till they are crunchy and puffy
- Toasted almonds (I know, there aren’t any in the picture … I remembered them after the photo shoot!)
- Oriental vinaigrette salad dressing
Fill the bowl 3/4 of the way with mixed greens. Arrange the other salad ingredients on top and drizzle with the oriental vinaigrette.
Oriental vinaigrette salad dressing
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 1/2 c. rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2 T. honey
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine OR 1/4 t. granulated garlic
- 1/2 t. ground ginger OR 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
- About 10 drops of sesame oil
- 1 T. canola oil
- 1 T. fish sauce
- 1 T. chinese mustard
Pour all ingredients into a bottle and shake well to blend the flavors. Refrigerate.
By the way, I’m horrible with chopsticks … can you tell from the picture?