Category Archives: Salad

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

A conversation about this amazing Southwestern Cobb Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing.


Emily: “It’s defnitely the toasted pecans that make this salad awesome, definitely.” Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “Oh really? See, I think it’s the eggs and bacon.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Maybe the pecans with dressing? That dressing is manna from heaven.” Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “My favorite dressing you ever made for sure. But I still think it’s the eggs and bacon. And maybe the bleu cheese.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Don’t even get me started on the sprouts, such a great addition. And I love the tomatoes and corn.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “Wow, I just figured out why this salad took you so long to make! There’s so much to it! Are you going to check this under ‘lengthy recipe but worth the whisking, sweat and tears?'”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Yes honey…I still say it’s the pecans.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Seriously, this salad did take a while since there are so many components but, this was one of the top five favorite salads that I’ve ever made in this house. Definitely give it a try and don’t leave out the pecans.  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

The Salad Only Married (Or Extremely Close) Couples Should Eat


Heed my advice on this one pandas, this salad is covered with cilantro, three types of beans, and grilled onions and jalapeños. Mmmhmmm. Not really the first date type of salad or heck, even the 15th but after almost two years of marriage and a kiddo – who cares! It’s damn good!

This Pinto, Black and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado was insanely yummy and super simple to put together. It doesn’t even have a dressing! The fresh lime juice was just perfect with the almost caramelized onions, spicy jalapeños, sweet corn and buttery avocados. I have to say our veggie only week is going splendidly so far!

Tonight I’m making a watermelon and cucumber salad and yes, a spice-rubbed pork tenderloin – it’s just a little bit of meat, I promise! Stay tuned…

Food & Wine Week!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved recipes from Food & Wine magazine but I’ve noticed as of late that they have really inspired me to want to cook. Like these whimsical Garlic Bread “Fries” with Marinara “Ketchup” or the three bomb diggity dishes I made the past two days.

Lila just started daycare and while she’s fine, I’m the one losing it with worry and well, missing the heck out of her. So, while I was waiting for her and David to get home, I did what I know will help calm me down and keep my mind off of things…COOK! What better way than to honor the Chef who found sheer joy in cooking than the one and only Julia Childs. I tried this Julia’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe from Food & Wine and to start, it was divine! Roasted chicken always sounds so simple but to nail it, it takes great timing, and a few simple ingredients to really make it shine and shine this one did. I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot to this but I didn’t mind the effort given the return when it was done. We both raved about this and I followed the instructions to a “T” to ensure I honored Miss Julia. As recommended, I paired it with the Bread Salad with Currants and Pine Nuts.  This was bonkers good and perfect with the roasted chicken. I would recommend a smidge more dressing than it calls for since I felt it needed it at then end to dress it up and add a little more flavor. Otherwise, perfect.

For tonight’s State of the Union speech we made this Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade from another icon of women chefs, Nancy Silverton. Simple should be this recipes middle name and out-of-this-world delicious would be its last. YUM. We snarfed this down in no time, and while I was hoping for leftovers the next day for lunch that was just not the case. The only thing I added was toasted bread to add a bit more crunch and texture to the salad.

I’ve got to say that roast chicken recipe was probably my favorite. It’s lengthy and a bit more of a food workout than normal but worth it! As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

© John Kernick

Pantry Party!

Typically through my menu planning process, I go through pretty much everything I purchase if not in the first week, then definitely in the next. But there are those rare occasions were the beckoning of a Polvo’s Crackerita is too strong or I’m just too darned tired to cook after baking in the kitchen. I decided to check my pantry for these rare occasion relics that might be lurking in my pantry and found cream of mushroom soup, piquillo peppers in a jar and canned whole cranberries. As I sat trying to remember what recipes these ingredients were for originally, I started researching some new fun ones to try and voila lambs, I found two!

Bobby Flay’s Loin of Lamb Marinated in Merlot, Garlic and Parsley with Piquillo Pesto. Now I didn’t change much except for, well, the main protein. We are on a tight budget after all the wedding festivities so I turned to my most favorite, cost-effective cut of meat – flank steak. It’s juicy, flavorful and worked beautifully with this marinade. Talk about simple and quick. I marinated the steak, made the pesto (in our new food processor, yippee!!) and then when David got home, I threw the steak on the grill and bam dinner was done. I turned this into a small salad with arugula, bleu cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and then placed the steak on the greens and drizzled the pesto on top. I also had enough pesto the next day to make David a snack with pita chips. Am I getting good wife points yet?

Moving on to the cranberries. I found this Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa from Cooking Light…yum! Keep this one in mind for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays for sure. Although I substituted

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa (Photo by Randy Mayor)

rotisserie chicken for turkey, what really makes it is the salsa. I can see canning this and giving it as pretty holiday gifts or it would even be great over some baked brie or on an old shoe, seriously it’s really good. I made extra and now we both have quesadillas and cranberry salsa for lunch today. YAY!

Now, what the heck am I going to do with that Cream of Mushroom soup?

Le Menu Plan

So lambs, it’s a quiet week, a little too quiet if you ask me. Since there is some time to take a breather, this means I can get back in the kitchen and cook my little heart out. In fact, I’m sitting in our newly cleaned and organized kitchen right now. Sweet.

Below is what we are having this week and last night we had this Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Asparagus, or as I called it, “Health on a Plate.” Full of good for you salmon, avocado, spinach, ginger, asparagus and buckwheat noodles and it was still flavorful to boot. It was absolutely delicious and much needed after a wedding filled weekend full of gorging on fabulous food and beverages! Huge congrats toour gentle friends Justin and Carrie on a beautiful wedding and here’s to a lifetime of happiness together.

Monday Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Peppers, Cipolline Onions, and Balsamic Vinegar (in the April Bon Appetit, I’ll post here if it’s gentle.), Olive Oil-Mashed Potatoes with Spinach and Basil

Tuesday Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile

Wednesday Sautéed Chicken and Radishes with Mustard and Tarragon, Carrots with Caramelized Ginger
Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Asparagus (Photo by Nigel Cox)



A Perfect Dinner

There are times after a meal, when you sit back and have loved the whole experience from start to finish. I chose this Roasted Lamb with Pomegranate Sauce from Cooking Light and Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Green-Tea Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit and we loved it.

The lamb was a simple sear and roast and then you let it stand for ten minutes to help all of the delicious juices redistribute. This is going to sound strange, but I liked that when measuring each liquid for the sauce the recipe used up my 1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 cups all at once so I could easily mise en place them all and pour as I go. Anal retentive much? Me thinks so. After resting, the lamb came out perfectly medium rare and juicy to boot plus pomegranate sauce rocked. The only thing I would change is using one teaspoon of flour instead of two, as it was slightly thicker than desired and I think reducing the amount would do the trick if you are into a thinner sauce.

Onto the salad…shockingly easy and the vinaigrette is AMAZING. I was so happy to see a second use of the green tea (matcha) powder I purchased for this dish last week. I feel like matcha is quickly becoming the flavor enhancer of the day. The vinaigrette mixed with the toasted walnuts, cheese and pears was so light and delicious and worked perfectly as an accompaniment to our lamb dish.

I highly suggest giving these two a try lambs! The salad recipe originates from SENCHA in Colorado Springs and I couldn’t find it online so here you go. Heart you!

Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Green-Tea Vinaigrette
Prep 25 minutes
Total 25 minutes

2 tablespoons of Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon match green-tea powder
3 tablespoons corn oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (thanks for the excellent olive oil Kari H.!)
6 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens
2 pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Puree vinegar, shallot, chives, mustard, basil, and matcha in processor. With machine running, gradually add corn oil and olive oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixed greens, pear wedges, toasted walnuts, and Gorgonzola cheese in large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of vinaigrette to salad mixture and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among plates and serve, passing remaining vinaigrette alongside.

– Compiled by Zinzi Edmundson and Janet Taylor McCracken

And now, I leave this for David…the Brie/Gorgonzola line is just too appropriate…There’s Something About Mary

Thai Beef Salad

A flavorful salad that’s done in about 20 minutes max? Sold to the Thai Beef Salad from Cooking Light! In a section all about shortcuts and fast recipes this one stood out to me. One, I heart fish sauce. Lambs, I know that’s a crazy thing to swoon over but I love the salty bite and unique flavor it lends to dishes. Maybe I should produce an “I Heart Fish Sauce” t-shirt? Anyone with me?

Thai Beef Salad (Photo by John Autry)

Two, the flavor combinations looked to die for with cilantro, cabbage, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, orange zest, serrano chile and mandarin oranges. Three, it’s a simple, hardly no-cook recipe that worked around our current kitchen status. We simply broiled the steaks in our Wolf microwave/convection oven to medium rare and made the rest of the salad while it cooked. The one thing that really stood out to me was the dressing. After making it in the food processor I gave it a taste and then did a little jig in our kitchen. Emily jig = really, really good.

Give this one a try for a super fast, delicious and healthy salad, and don’t skimp on the fish sauce.

Recipe Redo: Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

Yep, I made this recipe again last night but this I time served the salsa on top of boneless pork chops that were drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with ancho chile powder, salt and a dash of white pepper. We roasted the chops in the new Wolf convection oven and I’m so impressed with it we might just run off together. Seriously, the oven cooked our pork chops to perfection and with the Strawberry-Avocado Salsa on top of the chops with a simple mix of spinach and arugula salad? YUM. And, I did learn my lesson from the first trial run and made more salsa this time around. You can guess what happened to all of it I’m sure. If you haven’t made this yet I’m insisting you do!

Hot and Hot Tomato Salad – Just skip this review and make this dish immediately

Ok, you can read the review if you want, but I will make it quick so you can head to the farmer’s market ASAP. Here’s what Cooking Light’s Vanessa T. Pruett has to say about this dish: Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Hot and Hot Fish Club’s signature summer staple is adapted here, combining crisp fried whole baby okra and delicate lady peas served over fresh heirloom tomato slices and topped with smoky bacon and a creamy herbed dressing. “With fried, okra, fresh peas, and tomatoes, this would be hard to beat as the perfect summer meal,” praises Test Kitchen Director, Vanessa T. Pruett.
Agreed and then some. There’s a reason this Hot and Hot Tomato Salad recipe was chosen as the Cooking Light staff favorite for the month of August. First of all, there’s a hamhock mixed with peas and onions. I do love me some hamhock in anything, collard greens, beans, cereal, you name it. I couldn’t find lady peas so I went with frozen peas – not farmer’s market I know but hey they were still delicious. We did find some gorgeous red and yellow heirloom tomatoes which are always to die for in any dish. For the fried okra, I grew up eating my Mom’s version as a kid and I’ve never found a better way to make it than she does. So, I followed my Mom’s method for fried okra and, of course, it turned out perfect. The dressing complemented the entire salad perfectly and let’s not forget there is BACON on this bad boy to make it the perfect salad. All I have to say is go make this right now and if you do, please let me know your thoughts. Here is our version! It aint as purdy but it sure did taste good.

Dulce de Leche. That’s All I Have to Say!

The new Bon Appetit created a schuper mix-and-match section called The Ultimate Summer Menu Grilling Guide for all of the delicious grilling that’s bound to happen this summer. For a gentle get together of a few friends this past Memorial Day, I selected a few recipes from the sides and desserts sections including the Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad, Roasted Mix Peppers with Capers and Marjoram and Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars. For the protein choice we decided to do one of our friend Adam’s agave-glazed pork tenderloin recipe that is to die for. Keep reading poodles.

First, the Bon Appetit recipes…rockstars, all of them. Both the salads were easy to assemble and the flavors were amazing. If I had to choose one over the other to make again I would go with the roasted pepper salad. Something about the blend of roasted peppers, capers and marjoram, which has such a delicate floral note, really hit the spot. For leftovers you could easily use this on top of a pork chop or grilled fish for a super quick weeknight meal.

The Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars have to be one of my favorite new dessert recipes. I’m usually not the world’s biggest caramel fan but when mixed with salt, especially fleur de sel, I’m hooked. I really enjoyed making these bars and they were quite simple to make, especially since I don’t bake/make desserts too, too often. These were an instant hit with my friends and random new friends we made by the pool who were snarfing them up too. They were also still great a few days later, late at night on the couch. Yes, total fat kids.

For David’s birthday one of our friends made an amazing pork tenderloin recipe that we decided to recreate for our get together. We simply brined four (about a pound each) tenderloins in kosher salt for a few hours, then created a rub of chili powder, garlic, cumin and cinnamon and then poured agave syrup on each loin. We then grilled until it was slightly pink, let it rest and then did a final glaze of agave syrup to finish. Simple. Awesome. Delicious. Since we had leftover pork, the next night we placed them in a dutch oven with two cans of mild Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles to give it a little different flavor. We let it sit for about 45 minutes and then shredded to make soft tacos. Combined with my favorite salsa and some avocado we had a great little weeknight meal.I’m on cooking fire eh?