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Salads

Our winter salad: vitamins in a bowl!

What’s quicker to make: toast or salad? When it comes to cooking, this is the kind of thinking I’ve been using lately.

Yep, easy and fast: that’s all I want from recipes these days. Our little baby girl and my job have been taking a lot of my time, and laboring in the kitchen for hours on end just doesn’t seem feasible anymore – for now, anyway. I long for a day when I’ll no longer feel rushed, stressed out and unbelievably tired. Until then, we still have to eat, of course, 🙂 so I’ve been trying to come up with quick, easy and healthy meal solutions. For us, salads have been the way to go these past few months.

The salad below is what I usually call “a winter salad,” and it strongly reminds me of the years I spent in Eastern Europe during communism. Back then, cabbage represented a very popular food option (our choices were limited to begin with), and cabbage on the menu was a clear sign of winter. Years later, I found out my mother-in-law made this salad as well. However, she also used chopped dill in it – a sensible addition, which provides the cabbage & carrot mix with freshness and an extra flavor boost.

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Veggie and smoked fish salad: my “madeleine moment”

It all started with a sample I was offered at a newly opened grocery store in our area. It was a sample of smoked salmon, meaty and delicately smoky, with a vibrant color and an enduring appeal. I tasted the fish and, like in Marcel Proust’s famous madeleine scene, my mind went back in time to my childhood and to a salad my mom used to make a lot: potato and smoked fish salad. Back in those days any meat was considered a delicacy, and my mom was very excited whenever she could get her hands on some smoked fish from the local general store. Usually it was smoked mackerel – tasty, but oh so full of bones! Nevertheless, we never complained: we just had to spend some extra time taking the bones out. It was food – and this was all that mattered. 🙂

With these memories in mind, I decided to buy smoked fish and to remake mom’s salad in an American setting. I found some gorgeous looking smoked rainbow trout and got a piece which weighed a bit over 1lb. In this salad I also wanted to pay tribute to the years I spent in England, so I decided to marry the smoked trout with another very dear ingredient: pickled hot & sweet cherry peppers. Keep Reading

Bringing together the produce stand and the pantry: the story of my “transitional” salad

I don’t know about you guys, but I can see fall creeping in. Birds are not as chirpy as they used to be, nights are getting longer, and mornings are getting chilly – so chilly that I actually had to put on a coat yesterday morning, when I went out to water the plants. This summer has been very challenging for me, as a new mom. However, it has also been a lot of fun: seeing my little one grow up, noticing small changes in her almost daily, has made my journey sweet and unbelievably rewarding. Why do good times have to go by so fast? 🙁

With summer almost behind us and with fall coming up shortly, I wanted to prepare a dish to capture the spirit of this transitional, in-between seasons, period – so earlier this week I made a salad using freshly bought produce and ingredients from my pantry. Keep Reading

A balancing act and another trip down memory lane: fried cheese and salad for my summer lunch

I think I wrote this here before: I am a cheeseaholic! There is something really comforting and delicious in a slice of cheese – something nostalgic and wholesome, intriguing and assertive. I like to eat cheese on its own, but I also use it (as you may have noticed by now) in lots and lots of recipes. Moreover, our refrigerator is always stocked with different kinds of cheese to suit all preferences in our household. That’s it: I think we are the Cheeseaholic family 🙂

Whenever I have a good melting cheese – such as mozzarella or provolone – at my disposal, I like to fry it and to serve it accompanied by a salad or simply sandwiched between some good bread slices. Keep Reading

My Memorial Day menu: It’s fruits and veggies… and burgers, of course!

It took me awhile to come up with a Memorial Day menu. Nowadays, my mind tends to wander off aimlessly more often than not, and I have found that sleep deprivation affects my creativity. With summer just around the corner however, and with the local stores brimming with new crop fresh produce, I had extra incentives to work on this menu, and as I developed it I felt inspired and energized. I also experienced a great satisfaction seeing my family enjoy these dishes, which I intend to make again this coming weekend.

I used plenty of olive oil to make the salads below, as well as salt and pepper for seasoning. I started off by making tzatziki, the traditional Greek sauce which we usually eat as a dip. Keep Reading

It’s time for summer lightness and freshness: It’s time for a caprese salad

I don’t know about you, but I always develop an appetite for healthy foods during the summer. It is in the summer that I feel the need to take the greatest care of my body, giving it as much nutrients as possible and taking advantage of the abundance of fruits and veggies. The summer season’s fresh produce always inspires me to come up with new ideas in the kitchen, and this summer makes no exception. It’s even better now, because since becoming pregnant I have miraculously started eating a lot healthier than before. The little one definitely knows how to stir me in the right direction food-wise. 🙂 Keep Reading

4th of July menu: Let’s celebrate with burgers, hot dogs, salads and sangria!

Happy 4th of July everyone!
What are you all doing today? Over here, one thing is for sure: the grill will be on 🙂 We’ll grill burgers and hot dogs and we’ll eat plenty of various salads. As for drinks, since I’m pregnant I’ll limit myself to apple juice. Meanwhile, my husband will enjoy one of our latest flavor discoveries: the Beso del Sol sangria! I was very excited when the Beso del Sol creators asked me to review their product and to build a summer menu around it. Sangria is one of my favorite drinks ever, so why not?

We used to drink sangria when we lived in Europe, and we loved it. A refreshing mix of delicious wine and fruity goodness, to me it is the quintessential grown-up summer drink: light and flavorful, it is also alcoholic enough to be taken seriously. You can add extra sliced fruit when you serve it, or you can leave it as it is. Either way, the fruit used while making the sangria will shine through, rendering an unmistakable flavor and a tantalizing aroma to the original wine. Keep Reading