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salad recipe

Squid ink pasta salad: two trends, one dish!

This salad is the result of an impulse purchase I made at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago. It sounds so random, doesn’t it? And yet, I must confess that I have actually found shopping trips very inspiring, as of late. Gone are the days of me heading to the stores with lists on hand and neatly organized recipes on my mind. More often than not, I “squeeze” in shopping between professional and family commitments, I don’t make lists, and I forget to buy the basics (ooops!). On the plus side, not having preconceived ideas about what’s for lunch or dinner has made me more open to experiment with impulse buy ingredients – which brings me back to… squid ink pasta 😉

Preserving the natural beauty of this pasta was my priority, and the decision to use it in a salad came in naturally. I wanted to pair it with vibrant fresh ingredients such as cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas. Lastly, I wanted my salad to include one of the hottest ingredients of the moment: the oh-so-delicious Everything Bagel seasoning mix. Later on, upon doing some research, I discovered that ingredients and dishes featuring squid ink are also very popular, and their appeal may actually go beyond a passing fad for very interesting reasons. Keep Reading

Cabbage and curry roasted potato salad: fresh and fiery – and perfect for fall!

I can’t remember the first time I used curry powder in my cooking, but I’m sure it happened while I lived in the UK. Indeed, back in those days, I would find the sophisticated pungent aroma of curry pretty much everywhere: in the dorm room I used to live in while working on my postgraduate dissertation; intermingled with the deep-fried smells coming from the local chippy; on my hands after lunch in the noisy cafeteria. Steeped in a long history and perceived by some as a tool for re-imagining a cuisine largely characterized by robust ingredients and rustic applications, the lasting impact of curry on British dishes is nothing short of extraordinary. Indeed, I fell in love with this ingredient while living in the UK – and I will cherish it forever πŸ™‚

This salad pays tribute to my ongoing fascination with curry while also epitomizing my belief in plant-based eating, which has fueled my inspiration in the kitchen these past few years. I have been roasting a lot of veggies lately (it is fall, after all, lol), and for this recipe I decided to pair roasted veggies with fresh carefully picked ones to create a balance of flavors and textures. This salad is all about the present (fall roasted veggies) and the future (fresh veggies in all their colorful glory). Something fresh, something roasted – and a lot of plant-based goodness in between πŸ™‚

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Potato lemon balm salad: summer cooking at its best!

Did you know use of “uncommon herbs” is one of this year’s hottest culinary trends? I picked up this information while doing research in preparation for attending the latest National Restaurant Association Show (you can check out my review here), and I couldn’t be happier. I’m glad to see the overall “return to nature” approach at work, be it epitomized by plant-based products, imperfect produce, exotic fruit and super fruit – or, finally, uncommon herbs.

But, what are some of the less used herbs at the top of the popularity pyramid this year? In the brochure which details this year’s top trends, the National Restaurant Association gives chervil, lovage, lemon balm and papalo as examples of uncommon herbs. I really wish we’d grown lovage: my mom uses a lot of lovage in her cooking, but sadly I have yet to find this plant available for purchase in Chicagoland. Luckily, on the other hand, our lemon balm bush has survived the polar vortex and is now thriving in our garden. Time then to make a lemon balm salad – so beautiful, so seasonal, so fresh πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

Aloha pepper and purple potato salad: spicing up your lunch, vegetarian style!

This salad has everything you want from a summer dish. It’s light yet satisfying thanks to the addition of purple potato carbs. It’s flavor-packed, and its explosion of fresh aromatic herbs will make your belly and your soul happy. It looks deliciously gorgeous on the plate. Last but not least, it contains lesser used ingredients which are sure to stir up curiosity. Aloha peppers have stolen my heart – and I know they’ll steal yours too πŸ™‚ Keep Reading