Salads

Sriracha Wedge Salads

Sriracha Wedge Salad

I’m rather obsessed with video streaming on Amazon Prime and in fact, a bit embarrassed to divulge how much binge watching I’ve done over the past several months….ok, more like year. Like Netflix, it’s just too easy to either continue on with the next episode of whatever show I’ve gone crazed for or check out some flick I hadn’t heard of before.

I’ve watched things like Band of Brothers (I know, I was nearly 15 years late on that), House of Lies, a bunch of teenie-bopper movies and documentaries like Sriracha. Yup….I said Sriracha.

Like millions of others, I adore the Thai influenced chili condiment. I keep a bottle at work, packets in my purse and my home is never without it. But to give me some cred, I was chugging Sriracha long before it had such an insane cult following as it was basically in my bottle as a baby–being the standard condiment for Phở.

Sriracha Wedge Salad
After the quick documentary, I was inspired—to consume lots more Sriracha. What can I say? Product placement works well on me. So I jumped in the kitchen and rummaged around a bit to see what things I could throw together. And this is what I came up with…

Sriracha Wedge Salads!

What?! Why haven’t I ever thought of it before?! I love classic wedge salads–mostly because it’s one of the greatest ways for me to enjoy blue (or is it “bleu”?) cheese dressing. I get that bleu/blue cheese isn’t for everyone….it’s piquant, tangy and can be a little stanky–but in a good way! Which is why a crisp and chilled iceberg is a wonderful pairing for it.

I doctored up my easy bleu/blue dressing with a hefty portion of Sriracha and BOOM! The Sriracha Angels Sang!

The dressing keeps well in the fridge for about a week—so go crazy and make a double batch to dunk some crispy wings/fries/ calamari in, smother over burgers or whatever your Sriracha-lovin’ heart desires!

Need some other ideas to spread the Sriracha love with? How about:

Happy Sriracha Adventures!

____________________________
Sriracha Wedge Salads
Serves 4

Ingredients:

¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup low fat sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, more to taste
2 heaping tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
kosher salt
black pepper
½ cup bleu cheese (blue cheese) crumbles
1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into quarter wedges
¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
4 slices crispy bacon, chopped
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, Sriracha, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in a few pinches of kosher salt and black pepper until combined before mixing in the cheese. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the 4 lettuce wedges on separate plates. Take the Sriracha Bleu Cheese Dressing from the fridge. Stir the dressing and drizzle a few spoonfuls over each wedge. Top each wedge with the sliced red onions, bacon, diced tomatoes and Italian parsley.

Enjoy!

Advertisements
Condiments/Sauces · Salads · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Tropical Summer Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Tropical Summer Salad Main

When I used to live in San Jose, I used to go to a spot called the Sonoma Chicken Coop quite often. They had a pretty extensive menu with affordable prices…and the food was consistent. I used to always rotate between their Skillet Chicken Carbonara, Rotisserie Chickens and whatever specials they were offering for the day.

Yet, despite all of that goodness–what I miss the most is their Citrus Grove Salad. Essentially, it was a big ol’ plate of mixed greens, avocados, mangos, and various citrus fruits. But MAN—was it delicious! And there wasn’t even any meat!!! Which is a big deal for this carnivorous gal.

Sesame Dressing

Since I’m no longer in the Bay Area (and because I heard that many of their locations are now closed… #SadPanda), I like to make my own variation from time to time–especially when summer fruits are wonderfully sweet like they have been as of late.

I like to use whatever leafy greens I have on hand. I used baby spinach in the pics shown here but an arugula-kale mix would be lovely. I top the greens with slices of sweet mango, avocados cucumbers, kiwis, and pink grapefruit. In addition to all of that goodness, I add some goat cheese crumbles for a bit of richness and toasted macadamia nuts for a bit of crunch. Then the whole thing gets a drizzle of a Sesame-Ginger Dressing that I shake up in a mason jar.

Tropical Summer Salad

The end results in an incredibly bright and light dish that can be served as an appetizer or even a main course. But if you’re wanting something a tad heartier, some grilled prawns, chicken, or grilled fish on top of the salad would really send things to the next level.

With that friends…Have a wonderful week and enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

________________________________________________________

Tropical Summer Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, roughly crushed
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 garlic clove, finely minced
½ inch knob ginger, finely grated
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey or agave
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 pinches red pepper flakes
2 pinches black pepper, plus more to plate
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups greens (spinach, arugula, romaine, kale etc.)
½ small ripe mango, peeled and sliced
½ small pink grapefruit, “supremed”
1 small kiwi, peeled and sliced
3 inch piece of cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup toasted macadamia nuts

Prepare the dressing. In a jar, add the sesame seeds, shallots, garlic, ginger, mustard, honey, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Secure the lid tightly on the jar and shake vigorously for a minute until the items have combined and emulsified. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.

Divide the greens between two large plates. Top each plate with the mangos, grapefruit supremes, kiwis, cucumbers, avocados, goat cheese and nuts. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the Sesame-Ginger Dressing over each plate and serve.

Salads · Side Dish

Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad

June 2015 Family Dinner: Watermelon-Feta Salad

Y’all know what today is?

National Watermelon Day!

I swear–I can’t make this stuff up. My Hallmark calendar on the wall says it is— so it must be true.  And since I’m all about celebrating holidays, I wanted to share this delectable and light little number with you…

Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad.

June 2015 Family Dinner: Watermelon-Feta Salad

This type of salad appears to be all the rage this summer as I’ve seen various renditions all over the place. And how could it not be?

Peppery arugula leaves mixed with sweet watermelon cubes and piquant flavors of feta cheese. When we made this for our June’s Sunday Family Dinner, I opted to dress the greens with a Mint-Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette but it would also pair nicely with a thick balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil.

Need a couple other ways you could celebrate National Watermelon Day?

How about toasting the day with these bright Watermelon Soju-tinis? They are the perfect cocktail for warm summer nights.

Watermelon Soju-tinis

Want something booze-free? Then these Watermelon-Basil Aguas Frescas would be fantastic!

And if you’re looking for extra points, freeze some of it to make popsicles for your munchkins. Bright, refreshing, and you know exactly what’s in it.

Watermelon Basil Aguas Frescas

And with that dear friends, have a wonderful week and have a delicious National Watermelon Day!

_____________________________________________________

Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or agave
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches black pepper, plus more to plate
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
5-6 cups baby arugula leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
15-20 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Prepare the vinaigrette. In a jar, add the shallots, mint, mustard, honey, vinegar, olive oil, pepper and salt. Secure the lid tightly on the jar and shake vigorously for a minute until the items have combined and emulsified. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

Place the arugula, red onions and torn mint leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle a few spoons of the vinaigrette over the greens and toss well. Try not to overdress the greens as it will wilt and become too soggy. Plate the dressed greens on a large platter. Top with the watermelon cubes and feta cheese. Sprinkle the platter with additional black pepper and serve.

Pastas/Noodles · Salads · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Guys… I moved to Việt Nam.

Okay, not really. But I swear, San Diego these past few weeks have been as hot and humid as South East Asia in the dead of Summer!

I’m MELTING!!!

And turning on the oven or kitchen burners has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do. But a girl has got to eat and the lighter and easier the dish–the better!

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Quick and light bites like this Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad is the perfect remedy to combat the heat. Soba (buckwheat) noodles tossed with fresh veggies in a bright and acidic ponzu sauce is easy to make and doesn’t leave you feeling like gazillion pounds.

I opted for a vegetarian take but if you miss the meat, throw in such grilled chicken or shrimp and you’ll be a happy camper.

Now excuse me as I pass out in front of the air conditioner.

__________________________________________

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad
Serves 2

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons prepared ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil (or other light flavored oil)
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon sambal paste
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
kosher salt
black pepper

6 ounces dried soba noodles
1 heaping cup sweet peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup blanched edamame beans
1 cup blanched asparagus tips
1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers (or other small cucumbers of your preference)
¼ cup sliced scallions
1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or accordingly to package instructions. Drain the soba in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl. Add all the vegetables to the noodles, except the scallions. Add several spoons of the vinaigrette over the noodles and vegetables and toss well. Add additional vinaigrette as needed for everything to be lightly coated.  Divide the contents between two serving dishes. Top each plate with scallions, sesame seeds and enjoy!

Pork · Salads · Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad

Dear Summer,

Please don’t ever leave.

I love how you bring the bright, radiant sun out to warm us.

I love how you encourage me to wear flip flops every day (even to work).

And I love how you bring out the incredible sweetness and intense flavor to stone fruits. It makes me want to eat them all the time! Nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots….oh, the endless possibilities!

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad

And Summer, you also inspire me to eat light and fresh dishes. So I decided to take your hint and threw some delectable stone fruits into some greens. A salad filled with all types of mixed greens to give that peppery verdant flavor, a needed savory element with the thin prosciutto slices, a salty & nutty profile from the parmesan cheese and much needed texture from the chopped pistachio nuts.

I don’t even bother with a vinaigrette. Instead, I opt for a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice for acidity and a drizzle of EVOO for that needed richness.

Divine.

So Autumn, please push the snooze button a few more times to allow my Summer to stay a bit longer.

xoxo.

______________________________________

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad
Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed greens (arugula, romaine, baby spinach, etc)
¼ cup sliced peaches
¼ cup sliced nectarines
¼ cup sliced plums or pluots
2 thin slices prosciutto, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon roughly chopped pistachio nuts
1 ounces parmesan cheese shavings
juice of 1 lemon wedge
1 tablespoon quality extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches coarse black pepper

Plate the first seven items on a serving dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the plate, followed by the drizzling of olive oil. Season with the kosher salt and black pepper. Enjoy!

Poultry · Salads · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Cobb Salad – Taste the Rainbow

Cobb Salad

I made a Rainbow.

Well….a huge salad that looked like a Rainbow.

Cobb Salad

And the thing is….I wasn’t intending to write about it but after I assembled everything, I said to myself:

“Damn. That is a good-looking bowl o’ goodness.”

Cobb Salad

So here it is.

My Cobb Salad.

Nothing crazy, nothing shocking but darn delicious. And like all great Foodies and Nutritionists will tell ya –each meal should cover the Rainbow.

__________________________________

Cobb Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad
5 cups roughly chopped Romaine lettuce
1 cup arugula leaves
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1 small avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (I like to use orange and yellow peppers)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup diced grilled chicken
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 crispy bacon strips, roughly chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. (I also like to add the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up–it’s a wonderful alternative to emulsify the vinaigrette but it serves as the perfect storage vessel for the remaining dressing.)

In a large bowl, add the Romaine lettuce and arugula. Add enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. Toss to evenly cover and plate between two bowls.

Divide the remaining ingredients between the two bowls. Serve additional vinaigrette alongside each bowl. Enjoy!

Appetizers/Small Plates · Pork · Salads

(Isaan) Pork Larb Gai – Thai Minced Pork Salad

Pork Larb Gai

Larb (also often spelled as laap or laab) has been one of my favorite Thai dishes for a long time. It essentially translates to “minced meat salad” and can be made from a variety of different proteins – pork, beef, chicken, fish, duck, etc.

The word larb means “to chop up” in Thai. That’s right folks–authentic larb aficionados use a cleaver to chop/mince their proteins until they reach the perfect consistency. But truthfully, I’m a tad lazy and use pre-ground pork/chicken/turkey.

Andy Ricker, chef and author of Pok Pok does a beautiful job narrating his adventures of Thai cuisine and does an infinitely superior job of explaining the nuances of larb than I ever could. In a nutshell, there are two different schools of larb — the Northern Thai version and Northeastern Thai (Isaan) version. I gravitate towards the Isaan style that is heavily laden with citrus and toasted rice powder. The Northern style also uses various proteins and herbs but often includes pork/beef blood.

Pork Larb

I’m obsessed with Isaan-style larb because it’s truly a flavor explosion (I’m so cheesy). It’s incredibly savory with the garlic, shallots, fish sauce……bright and aromatic from the tons of citrus & fresh herbs…..and rather “earthy” from the toasted rice powder. Whether you eat it with sticky rice or as lettuce wraps, larb has multiple layers of texture, especially when you take intermittent bites of fresh cucumber slices, cabbage or fresh chiles.

My version isn’t totally authentic but it definitely is my homage to the original and can be whipped up in about 20 minutes. Not bad at all when you need a quick bite and its lightness is perfect for a warm summer meal.

_________________________________________

(Isaan) Pork Larb Gai – Thai Minced Pork Salad

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon warm water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
1 tablespoon minced Thai chiles, divided
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 pound ground pork
2 scallions, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon toasted rice powder*
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly torn
accoutrements: extra fresh herbs, lime wedges, cabbage, lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, steamed rice

In a bowl, create the sauce by whisking together the sugar and warm water until dissolved. Add in 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste). Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste), red chili flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high and add in the pork.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the pork around the wok/skillet while breaking it apart to a crumbled consistency. Cook the pork until it is no longer pink, approximately 3-4 minutes. Stir in the remaining fish sauce and scallions.

Remove the wok/skillet from the heat. Toss in the rice powder, remaining lime juice, red onions, mint, cilantro, and basil. Stir in a few spoonfuls of the sauce to taste. Plate the larb with extra fresh herbs, whole chiles, lime wedges, sliced cucumbers, lettuce and cabbage. Serve with either steamed rice or whole lettuce leaves for wraps. The remaining sauce can be served alongside as a dipping sauce.

*If you cannot find pre-ground toasted rice powder, you can easily make your own. Toast uncooked jasmine rice in a skillet over low heat until golden brown. Once cooled, transfer the toasted rice into a spice grinder and grind until you get a fine powder.