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Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet-Potatoe-Salad_ingredients

It takes a lot to be a sweet potato…to be more precise 95 days. Along with plenty of ground space and long warm days; they grow best in an imperfect soil. Sweet potatoes grow fast. Deer, japanese beetles, and many other insects love to nibble on their sweet leaves causing light damage to the plant. However, sweet potatoes are so vigorous that they usually outgrow foliage pest problems. When they are ready to harvest, they need to be cured 10 days after they have been cut to develop their sweetness. In late summer, Sweet potatoes often produce flowers that resemble those of morning glory, the ones that are blue and look like a phonograph.

When I learned about the life of a sweet potato, it reminded me of my life.
I, like the sweet potatoes, have grown on an imperfect soil, raised from a divorced parents I grew up in a not so perfect family. It takes a lot to be complete and to develop your persona considering this circumstances. I grew up fast. And just like sweet potatoes I’ve been vigorously fighting life problems and circumstances that in most cases have allowed me to grow new foliage. Both of my parents have helped me in being who I am today and for that I’m infinitely grateful for every bit of it.

Now, for quite a while, I’ve been trying to find my so called “purpose” utilizing my passions and skills. Eight months ago, after a long stretch of unfulfilling jobs, I decided to start this cooking blog with Ian, my husband. Finally I felt I could cultivate the life I was meant to be pursue. And we have. We post, we photo shoot, we write, we share, we eat, we laugh and listen to music, we’ve seen the blog grow and will keep it coming!.

To Ian who often I call “My sweet potatoe” some days is hard to harvest,
but always sweet when I’m with you.

I made this salad thinking of him enjoying the process and watching this blog bloom.

Thank you to all our family, friends and readers for your time, comments and support. You, reading the blog, making the recipes sharing and commenting that’s what keep us going. Enjoy!

Sweet-Potatoe-Salad_ready-to-eat!

Sweet Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

3-4 medium size sweet potatoes.
1 medium size red bell pepper dice into cubes
1 english cucumber with skin small diced
½ cup celery into small dice, including the leafy parts
½ cup red onion
1 tablespoon of roughly chopped capers
3 tablespoons of fresh mexican mint -yerbabuena chiffonade* see picture below.
(if using spermint, or mint use a little less since the flavor is a bit stronger.)

Sweet-Potatoe-Salad_mint-chifonade

For the vinaigrette:

6 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin Olive Oil I used
3 tablespoos rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup of fresh mandarin juice or orange juice
1 teaspoon dry or fresh dill
1 garlic clove grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Preparation:

1. Wash, peel, cut into cubes and boil the sweet potatoes. Cook until firm or al-dente.
When cooked drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Live them air dry.
2. Dice, cut, shifonade all the rest of the vegetables and combine them all in a bowl.
3. Wisk all the vinagrette ingredients.
4. Combine the vinaigrette, cooked sweet potatoes and the rest of the vegetables.
Toss until well combined. Serve.
5. This salad taste great if you make it ahead of time. Serve at room temperature.

Sweet-Potatoe-salad_vinaigrette

Sweet-potatoe-Salad_assamblingSweet-Potatoe-Salad-Yes,-more-please!

 

 

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Avococo Salad Dressing

Avocado-Dressing-ingredients

Wicked! Is how I describe this creamy dressing. Avocados the natural butter of the fruit kingdom, and coconut milk make a fantastic duo. Lemon Zest, Lemon juice, salt pepper and herbs is all you need.

You have to try this dressing, forget about that white stuff you have been dumping on your salads and make this spectacular dressing on a blink of an eye!

I used this avocado-coconut dressing over a Boston Lettuce, thats what I found on my farmers market incredible fresh and so beautiful that I could not resist to bring it home with me. I’ve included step by step photos of a 4 step easy method to leaf and separate with out bruising this gorgeous and delicate Boston lettuce, I really believe you gonna find this method a keeper for your vegetable techniques.

Avococo dressing drizzle liberally, over lettuce, carrots, fish chicken, your hiking boots, it’s delicious everywhere!…Celebrate and be green green green Spring time is here!

Avococo-salad-Dressing~Yes,-more-please!

Avococo Salad Dressing

Makes about 2-2.5 cups of dressing, it stays good for about 4 days, avoid plastic, save it in a glass jar with an air tight lid.

1 medium size ripe avocado
1 to 1-1/2 cup coconut milk (depending on avocado size and preferred consistency)
4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil.
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
the juice and zest of a lemon
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1  garlic clove
6-8 sprigs of parsley, basil, or cilantro. (use only the leaves)
1 teaspoon dry dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh black pepper.

Preparation:

Place all ingredients on a blender or on a glass of an immersion blender, puree until smooth and desired thickness. If needed, adjust thickness by adding a bit more coconut milk.
Keep it on a glass jar with an air tight lid, it will keep for about 4 -5 days.

Avocado-Dressing-all-ingredients-to-the-blender!

How to wash and de-leaf a Boston lettuce?…

Wash:

Holding the head of lettuce upside down, submerge the lettuce into a big bowl with iced water and shake a few times. Leave the lettuce floating for a few minutes to allow the little dirt particles to sink to the bottom. Remove from water, shake several times, and live it air dry upside down over a clean kitchen towel. Shake 2- 3 more times to make sure all water is out. Then proceed to de-leaft.

De- leaf the lettuce:

1. Run a pairing knife around the back of the stem.
2. Gently pull the core of the stem.
3. Hold the head of lettuce in your hands and place your thumbs in the center, gently pull apart.
4. With a small lettuce, like this one, half will make a great portion, if bigger, arrange and divide leaves in 4 portions.

How-to-leaf-a-boston-Lettuce~Yes, more please!

Dress your lettuce and Enjoy!

Avocado-Dressing-Boston-Lettuce-~Yes,-more-please!Avocado-Dressing-Boston-salad~Yes,-more-please!

 Avococo Salad Dressing, Yes, more please!

 

 

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Roasted Carrot Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_red,-orange-and-yellow-Carrots

January brings the roots out. Its a fun time at the farmers market a great variety of root vegetables. What caught my attention this time were the carrots. Great variety of colors, from red, orange, yellow and pale cream color. How can you not get inspired from all this colors? So I bought a bunch of the red carrots including the greens. Carrot greens are really tasty and a great source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and vitamin K and are also high in protein. Flavor-wise they taste a bit peppery and resemble parsley. They are also a great addition to any salad and you can make pesto or tabbouleh with them… in fact!… that might be the next recipe I will attempt. When you are buying carrots and carrot greens, make sure your source is organic. There is a bit of controversy about eating the tops or the carrot skins and other non-organic vegetables. Know your source and enjoy your carrot greens with no worries.

For me, roasting is one of the best ways to bring out the sweet flavor of the carrots. The skin gets caramelized while inside it remains tender and all the ‘carrotness’ flavor is contained in a little cute pencil shape. Delicious! For the vinaigrette I took the same spices you will use to make hummus and I mix them with some sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice. This Roasted Carrot Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette Its easy to make, and very comforting. Enjoy!

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette--carrots,-mustard-greens,-carrot-greens~-Yes,-more-please!Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette~-warm-salad-for-the-winter

Roasted Carrot Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette

Serves 2 as main course, 4 as side dish or 1 wabbit feast.

2 bunches of carrots red, orange yellow any kind will work.
½ cup carrot tops washed and leafs cut.
4 cups mustard greens washed and hand cut in pieces
½ small onion cut in slivers
½ cup garbanzos cooked.

For the Vinaigrette:

¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
The juice and zest of half a lemon
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons tahini
2-3 grated garlic cloves
2 good pinches of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven at 450F/230C
Wash and pad dry your carrots upon size, slice carrots in half or quarters for evenly roast.
In a baking sheet lined with parchment paper place the carrots, onions, garbanzos, drizzle a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Roast them for about 10-15 minutes or until caramelized and fork tender.

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_red,-orange,-yellow-carrots

Mean time prepare your vinaigrette by simply combining all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Check on your carrots. If they look done they will show golden tones and edges a bit charred and fork tender.

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_roasted-carrots~Yes,-more-please!

Remove them from the oven and in the same tray toss the mustard greens and half of the vinaigrette, toss and place back in the oven for about 1-2 minutes which will slightly warm up the mustard greens.

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_tossing-the-salad

Serve immediately and drizzle the rest of the dressing, adjust salt and pepper, squeeze more lemon, sprinkle a few more toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Serve with toasted pita bread and a dollop of yogurt on the side. Enjoy!

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette~ready-to-serve

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette-~Yes,-more-please!

Scrumptious!

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Warm Acorn Squash Salad

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad_ingredients

Full winter here in Austin! Yeah!!! I love cold weather and with it the delicious and comforting warm salads.
This scrumptious Warm Acorn Squash Salad is a great dish to keep up with the winter calories. If you know what I mean… I’m saving calories to spend them at Christmas… hehehe

Imagine a roasted wedge of acorn squash, topped with baby spinach watercress, green apples, toasted nuts, creamy goat cheese drizzled with a slightly warm lime-ginger-ancho chilli vinaigrette… super easy, and comforting. This recipe will make you crave salad in the winter.

So, keep warm and I hope you fall in love with this easy and healthy dinner. Enjoy

Acorn-Squash-warm-salad~Yes,-more-please!

Warm Acorn Squash Salad

Serves 4

1 acorn squash cut in 4 pieces
4 cups spinach
2 cups watercress
1 granny smith apple cut in long match sticks or similar.
¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
¼ cup salted toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
4-6 oz goat cheese

For the warm vinaigrette:

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Agave nectar
1 teaspoon ancho chilli powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
The zest and juice of one lime
½ teaspoon salt

Preparation:

1. Place the 4 acorn squash segments in a baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil, salt and pepper, Roast at 450F for about 25-30 minutes, checking half way thru, rotate the pan. And bake until fork tender.

Acorn-squash-warm-salad_roasted-acorn 2. In a salad bowl combine, the spinach, watercress, cut apples, toasted pecans, toasted pumpkin seeds.

Acor-Squash-warm-salad_match-sticks-apples

3.To make the vinaigrette:
Slightly warm the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (warm to the touch). Add agave nectar, ancho chili, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, whisk until well combined. Or place all this ingredients into a small clean glass jar and shake. The warm oil will marry the flavors and develop the aromas, as well to cozy up your greens.

Acorn-squash-warm-salad_making-the-dressing

4. Once the Acorn squash is roasted, toss the salad with some of the dressing, and top each acorn squash wedge with the salad.
5. Crumble some goat cheese and drizzle a little more of the vinaigrette.Enjoy!

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad_dressing-up-the-salad!

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad~Yes,-more-please!-delish

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad_above-your-expectations!

Warm Acorn Squash Salad…warm up!~

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Kale and Lentil Salad with Honey- Mustard Vinaigrette

Kale and Lentil Salad with Honey- Mustard Vinaigrette_kale purple leaf

Feeling blue?…Have some greens!. Kale is the number one power green, full of nutrients and rich in flavor.
If you wonder what the color green should taste like… it tastes just like kale.
It’s high percentage in Beta carotene, Vitamin K, vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, iron, potassium, calcium and fiber, make it the king of the greens. The season for this green is Autumn and Winter.
Kale salad will lift up your mood and give you plenty of energy through out the day.
There is Curly Kale, Dino Kale, Premier, Redboar, Siberian, Walking stick kale, Red russian, Kamome red, *sight and I assure you I’m missing more varieties, this are just a few of the ones I know and I’ve tried.
I remember the first time I tried Kale it was a bit intimidating, I felt like I was eating some prehistorical plant; it is a bit hard to chew when is raw and most of the varieties develop their nutrients and are easier to digest when they are steamed.
I’ve tried different cooking methods, some favorites of mine: Curly and Dino kale make great baked chips, Kamome is great for steaming it holds its shape beautifully, and the Redbor Kale I love it in salads like this because it adds great texture, I usually cut it or tier it in small pieces because is easier to chew, the vinaigrette helps to tenderize the leafy texture and what is great is that kale will not wilt when you add the vinaigrette.
Kale and Lentil Salad with Honey- Mustard Vinaigrette is a nutritious  and delicious combination. Kale, lentils, walnuts for some crunch is just what you need to boost your energy. This salad Makes a great Lunch or a light dinner side dish.

Kale and lentil salad with honey mustard vinaigrette_red kale

Kale and Lentil Salad with Honey- Mustard Vinaigrette_healthy and delicious

Kale and Lentil Salad with Honey- Mustard Vinaigrette.

Serves 4

4 cups of Redbor kale (washed and pad dry) ( you can use Dino Kale )
2-3 cups of cooked green lentils*
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 red bell pepper finely diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
A couple of tablespoons of Bulgarian Feta cheese

Honey- Mustard vinaigrette

2 teaspoons of whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons Extra virgin Olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons of honey or ambar agave nectar.
the juice and zest of ½ lime or lemon.
Fresh ground pepper to taste.

*How to cook Lentils?

These green Lentils are best cook in lots of salted water, just like pasta. Bring water to a boil add 1 generous teaspoon of kosher salt and a Bay leaf. Add the lentils, bring back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to low and gentle simmer you barely want to see little bubbles on the top. Cook for another 15-20 minutes with no lid. after 15 minutes check on doneness. I like mine al-dente, specially for a salad like this, I want them with a bite. So I usually remove from heat at 15 minutes and cover them for another 10 minutes. Strain them and let them air dry for a few minutes on a single layer in flat tray.  I usually serve this salad with barely warm lentils, I love the texture and comfort.

Directions:

Start by removing the stems of the kale leaves and breaking the pieces into small bite size. In a small bowl whisk the vinaigrette ingredients. In a platter, layer the kale, lentils, chopped onions, red bell pepper, parsley and walnuts. Drizzle over the mustard vinaigrette. Mix and top it all with crumbled feta cheese.
Serve the salad at room temperature. It is also great in a pita with some Greek yogurt or served in avocado halves!!!Kale-and-Lentil-Salad-with-Honey--Mustard-Vinaigrette_ingredients-layout

Kale and Lentil Salad with Honey- Mustard Vinaigrette_vegetarian_healthy dinner

Kale-and-lentil-salad-with-honey-mustard-vinaigrette_Yes,-more-please!

Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Don’t Worry be happy – Bob Marley

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Panzanella Melon Salad

Panzanella Melon Salad ~ ingredients, Yes, more please!
My mouth waters for this Tuscan Salad! If we go back to the 16th century the Italian poet Bronzino, he praises the onions with oil and vinegar served with toast. Later on, when the tomatoes arrived to Europe, they were incorporated into the salad with other ingredients like cucumbers and capers. I’m not a food historian but it is of great interest and curiosity to know where food comes from, and the origin of dishes throughout history. Knowing these facts can sometimes lead you through perfecting a recipe, or re-inventing it. In this case I need to reinforce it because bread, onions, oil and vinegar simply are not gonna do it for me.

Many different versions of this traditional Panzanella Italian Salad can be made. From the type of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, capers, onions, and a simple vinaigrette. One of the keys is goods Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Red wine vinegar. Playing a little bit with the sweet and savory notes,  I added Cantaloupe melon for sweetness and some prosciutto for a salty meaty note.

This would be just the thing for a summer picnic; something to combine all the flavors of the season. I like this salad texture and contrast, and that every bite has a different flavor depending upon what you pick with your fork. All these flavors on your palette produce a very savory and mouth-watering experience. Imagine, the crusty bread cubes absorb the juices from the tomatoes and the vinaigrette; that combined with the crunch of the onions, salty olives, juicy tomatoes and sweet cantaloupe with cracked pepper… the result, I just want the shade of a tall tree to dine under and my bread to be older. I hope you like my version of my version of Panzanella Melon Salad…Enjoy!

Panzanella Melon Salad ~ served, Yes, more please!

Panzanella Melon Salad_perfect summer brunch!  ~ Yes, more please!

Panzanella Melon Salad

Serves 4

½ loaf day old Italian or French crusty bread.

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1-2 small tomatoes cut into cubes

1 cup English cucumber into cubes

1-2 cups Cantaloupe Melon cut into cubes

½ red onion cut into slivers.

½ cup green Castelvetrano olives.

Arugula (optional)

6-8 Basil leaves

1 cup of bite size (bocconcini) Mozzarella or regular size cut into bite size cubes.

6 -8 Prosciutto slices

1/3 cup good quality fresh extra virgin olive oil.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar.

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Method:

Start by cutting the bread into bite size cubes. If your bread is not a day old you can toast it in the oven at 350 F/175 C for 3-5 minutes. In a big salad bowl whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar salt and pepper. Add the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella olives and bread toss them lightly. Let the salad absorb the flavors for 15-30 minutes. Before serving, toss the salad and tear and sprinkle the basil leaves and prosciutto over the top. It’s best to serve this salad room temperature with a chilled glass of white wine…I hope you like it as much as I do.

When serving, drizzle some balsamic vinegar for sweetness.

*For a Vegan or Vegetarian Version, you can omit the prosciutto and mozzarella. Instead add some roasted red bell peppers it will be a great complement.

Panzanella Melon Salad _dicing bread-~ Yes, more please!

Panzanella Melon Salad-mouth watering flavors and textures!

Panzanella Melon Salad have some wine! ~ Yes, more please!

 Mouth watering Salad for the sumer…Enjoy!

 

 

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