salads

Summer Beet Salad with Corn, Cucumber and Basil

July 8, 2013
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Beets seem to strike two types of reactions in people; they either love them, waxing poetic, or dislike them with a passion usually reserved for people who steal your parking space at the mall. I am firmly in the “love” camp, though I came late to the party in my affection for beets. People who say they don’t like beets, when pressed, usually admit to a long rooted childhood aversion to canned, over-cooked, or pickled beets and often haven’t tried them again as adults.

My theory is that like many other foods, beets, if properly prepared, are almost impossible to dislike. If your only experience with fish as a child was eating school cafeteria fish sticks, then I’m not surprised if you say you don’t like fish. But let me give you a spectacular piece of grilled wild salmon and I promise to convert you. The same holds true for …

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Wheat Berry Salad with Corn, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Pesto Vinaigrette

September 23, 2012
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Here in Southern California, summer is not quite over. We’ve been pushing temperatures in the 90′s for the last two weeks and it certainly doesn’t inspire any cooking which requires slaving over a hot stove or even turning on the oven. That’s why I’m so enamored lately by cold salads which can do double duty. They can serve as a side dish or the main course later in the week (assuming you have leftovers!).

What is a wheat berry?

This is wheat in its whole grain form. According to Grain Mains wheat berries are one of the most common whole grains and appear in many forms; hard red wheat berries (hearty and firm in texture and flavor), soft white what berries (often used to grind into flour), whole grain farro, spelt berries, kamut, and whole grain bulgar (not the processed kind which removes the bran).

The book recommends pre-soaking the …

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Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Preserved Lemon

August 21, 2012
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It’s been hot here in Southern California. Really hot. Hot, as in the lawn has turned crispy, hot. Hot, as in run the A/C all night long, hot. Hot, as in melt your ipad case in the car, hot. Yep. That last one happened to my husband. He’s lucky the ipad still works.

When the weather is as unrelenting as it has been, I only want to eat cold food, and salads like this one serve double duty. I make one each weekend, usually with some sort of whole grain, rice, or pasta and lots of vegetables mixed in. We eat them first with a piece of  easily grilled protein (chicken or fish grilled outside to keep the house cool). Then I’ll serve the rest of the salad later in the week as a quick veggie lunch or with something like leftover chicken tossed in. These Simple Sunday Salads

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Winter Quinoa Salad with Mixed Beans and Tahini-Chili Dressing

January 12, 2011
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Last year I did a 21 day cleanse diet which I detailed here on the blog. During that time I adhered to a very simple, yet strict, set of rules; no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no wheat gluten and no animal products (totally vegan) for the entire three weeks. I was very proud to be able to say I completed my goals with no cheating. It was an eye-opening experience and taught me three big things; I have the will power to say no to donuts (and everything else for 3 weeks), that pork really isn’t a food group (I didn’t need to eat meat protein at every meal), and that I have the skills to eat well even with limitations. That said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to return to how I normally eat when it was over.

Even though my typical diet …

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Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella

June 29, 2010
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My mother and I are a lot alike. People often confuse our voices on the phone, we’ve been known to (independently of one another) buy the same shoes, and we share the same Sicilian temper which flares up on occasion.

But I am not my mother and this is not her justifiably famous macaroni salad. I can’t compete, so I won’t even try. In fact, I still don’t know exactly what she puts in it, so I simply made up my own, and the two salads can stand proudly side by side, as individuals, just as we do.

This salad is a twist on the traditional, adding in some old world flavors and the sweetness of fresh corn so readily available in summer. It’s an easy side salad for a summer BBQ or picnic and makes enough for a crowd.

Tell me, do you have a family recipe which you’ve tweaked or updated?

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Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Lemon-Anchovy Dressing

June 21, 2010
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The last couple of times I’ve been to Rome I’ve had a wonderful salad made of a bitter green I’ve only seen there called puntarelle. You can see photos of it on my Favorite Rome Markets post. Typically this green is trimmed, pushed through a wire slicer, and then plunged into cold water so the leaves curl and crisp up. It’s then dressed with lemon juice and anchovies. Simple yet fantastic, like most food in Rome.

Here at home, I don’t have puntarelle, but I do have a surplus of zucchini and yellow squash in my garden (yes, already) and I’m always trying to figure out new things to try with it. I thought it would pair well with this dressing and liven up an otherwise sometimes bland vegetable. I’ve added the arugula to give it a slightly bitter, peppery kick like the puntarelle. This salad is light and …

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