Category Archives: Salad

Ladies’ Night

My friend and fellow blogger Ivette from Here’s to Looking at Life has been dying for me to watch the movie Amélie for quite some time, not just because it’s my name en français, she knew I would love it! Being that we are total food dorks, the idea came about to have a French-themed food night to go along with our little movie…best laid plans is all I have to say.

Joining the intimate party was my niece Alex, Ivette of course and Lindsay from Apron Adventures. We started cooking pretty late, well because there was good French wine – we loved Le Coq Rouge for $11 at Whole Foods Market – and cheese, crackers, grapes and apples to munch on while we gossiped about everything under the sun. For our main course, we chose this delicious Dijon Croque Monsieur recipe with Haricots Verts Salad from Cooking Light and for dessert Alex made these awesome Café Au Laits from Gourmet.

The Dijon Croque Monsieurs were very easy to assemble and I liked the fat-free milk/egg substitute wash for the sandwiches that gave them a nice crisp texture. This was a simple, cheesy, ham-a-licious sandwich that we all enjoyed and the haricots verts salad (we used bagged green beans and they worked just fine!) had a delicious and easy vinaigrette and we added in some toasted almonds for crunch; recipe below. Click here to see our finished dish from last night at Here’s To Looking at Life.

I didn’t make the Café Au Laits but watched Alex make them and it came together really, really, really easily and by the end of the night we inhaled them although we said we were just going to have a bite. 😉
Why best laid plans? We didn’t even watch the movie! Leave it to a group of besties to get around each other with great food, good wine, the best company and not need anything else to entertain us – I wouldn’t have it any other way. C’est si bon!
Haricots Verts Salad
Cook ¾ pound trimmed haricot verts in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge beans into ice water, drain. Place beans in a medium bowl; add ½ cup of slivered red bell pepper. Combine 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over bean mixture; toss to coat (add almonds if you desire).

Bananas, Wheat Germ and Canned Tuna, Oh My!

Well it’s my first post of 2010 and I hope this finds you having a gentle start to the New Year. Personally I’m ready to get back to work but am really enjoying just one more lazy day before everything gets started again.
All of the January/February issues are out and I’m literally swimming in magazines from Cooking Light, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Saveur, Prevention, EatingWell and Food Network Magazine and I have recipes selected for weeks and weeks. One fun recipe testing idea I’m starting in the New Year was created by my friend Ivette who walked in my office one day with this flash of fun brilliance – “Battle of the Cover Recipes.” Like the name states, each month I’m going to test and taste the covers recipes of cooking magazines and announce a winner by the end of the month. Thank you Ivette! I’m testing Bon Appétit’s delicious-looking Spaghetti and Meatballs All’amatriciana this week and have also chosen Cooking Light’s comfort-in-a-bowl Beef and Pinto Bean Chili and Food and Wine’s dripping with ooey goeey goodness Butterscotch Sticky Buns…let the battle begin!

Now where were we? Oh food, cooking and recipes yes! I have had a nice easy day of cooking this morning with two awesome recipes from the new Cooking Light. One is this Banana, Wheat Germ and Oats breakfast dish that was quick, super delicious and reminded me of a grown-up version of the oatmeal my mom would make for me when I was kid. I am a big believer in breakfast and never, ever skip it so I love having quick and easy new recipe ideas for the day’s most important meal. I saved the remainder of the cooked oats for tomorrow and then will just add the brown sugar, butter and bananas for a super fast breakfast in the morning.

For lunch, I came across this Spanish-Style Tuna and Potato Salad in their Easy Cooking section that focuses on a slew of recipes all based on one convenience staple, in this case, canned tuna. Did you know that you get more healthy omega-3 fatty acids from drained tuna packed in water instead of oil? Hmm, good to know. I tested this recipe to its full capacity so I am going to have this salad around for days to munch on and am I glad because this was delicious! The crunchy romaine lettuce worked perfectly with all of the smoky flavors of smoked paprika and red pepper and tangy dressing, plus I loved the mixture of shallots, tomatoes, red potatoes, green beans and of course canned tuna. This was a fast, easy and fresh salad that I think you will love. I’ve got some more cooking to do tonight and I’ll keep you posted of any further success.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing

I’m on a blog posting and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine kick today! I tried this Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing for lunch and it was yummo (yeah I went there). The magazine features mangos in this month’s “Have Your Way With…” section with four delicious looking mango recipes. As I’ve mentioned here in my blog, I work in food public relations and have the pleasure of working with the National Mango Board, so seeing mangos in in the magazine was just too cool and I have to give them a try.
This recipe was really quick to assemble and perfect for a light lunch. I really liked the mango dressing mixed with the shallot as it had a great balance of flavors. One note on this recipe, I couldn’t find jicama so I put this over fresh spinach instead and it was delicious. I also really liked the fresh mint, cilantro and peanuts to give it a great crunch.
As the trend is going today, I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go!

Every Day with Rachael Ray
Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing
Serves 6
Prep 25 min
Cook 5 min

2 mangoes, 1 1/2 cut into matchsticks
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
Grated peel of 1 lime, plus 3 teaspoons lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled
1 1/2 pounds jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high. Using a blender, puree the 1/2 uncut mango, shallot, lime juice and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Thread the shrimp onto skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until opaque, about 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, toss the jicama, cilantro, mint, lime peel and mango matchsticks with the dressing. To serve, sprinkle with the peanuts and top with the shrimp skewers.
© 2008 National Mango Board. Photo used by permission of the National Mango Board. All rights reserved.

A New Goddess in My Kitchen

(Photo from Food &
And you thought there could be only one! Ha! This lovely dish graces the cover of the September issue of Food & Wine magazine and let me tell you it is worthy of such an honor. After a late work night, I came home and seriously thought of just pouring myself a bowl of cereal and mouthbreathing on the couch – I’m glad I didn’t. Now, I have made some Green Goddess Dressings in my lifetime – including this one from Molly Wizenberg that rocks – but this recipe’s dressing mixed with the kalamata olives, celery, bread, jarred piquillo peppers (who knew!) is worthy of being served to Aphrodite.
I particularly liked all the salty, crunchy parts with the creamy, herb-y dressing that coated everything perfectly. I’ve never included Piquillo Peppers in anything and it was a nice alternative to typical jarred bell peppers and packed a little more punch. This was really, really easy to put together and did not interfere with my couch potato time one bit.
I had plenty for leftovers today and it was still quite amazing. Bow down to the goddess, no, not me silly! 😉

Thai Salad with Pork (or the salad that made me literally lick my plate)

So I just got the new Family Circle and am dying to try some of the recipes in the June issue. First up this Thai Salad with Pork recipe, that yes, I may have licked my plate when I was done. What really made this dish amazing was the dressing. A little backstory for you. I grew up in East Texas and have been visiting Shogun’s (a hibachi grill) my entire life. They make this ginger dressing that is out of this world and this is the first homemade dressing I’ve made that reminded almost exactly of their’s. So maybe it was a little bit of delicious dressing mixed with fond childhood memories? I don’t know.

The other thing I liked about this was how quick and simple it was to make and on a good-for-you scale this one registers way up there, with cucumbers, red bell peppers and lean-pork. I didn’t have bean sprouts (which I love) so I decided to do something very un-cooking inside the lines and added fresh mango to add a sweet note (and more vitamins and fiber) to the dish and it was great.

On a random side note, I was watching Andrew Zimmern’s latest installment of Bizarre Foods last night and saw an ad that next week is his tour of Texas. Being a very proud Texan, especially of our food culture, I can’t wait to see where he ends up. It airs next Tuesday, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. CT.