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Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette

 

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Semantically Ambrosia is a powerful word, the food or drink of the immortals, Greek goodess, sweet luscious juicy fruits, sweet honey smells, something that will bring  youth, pleasure, and health. In my crazy fantasy food world I imagine Homer, Penelope, Aphrodite, and Sappho and their ambrosia offerings of sweet and incredible nectars.  But the enchanted elixir got shattered when I Googled “ambrosia salad” and the record sounded broken. To my surprise his ambrosia salad it is an abominable concoction from the 50’s. Where all the Greek Gods must of been under the marshmallow influence, along with cans of syrupy fruits like cherries red no.5, pineapple chunks of yellow no.5 undistinguished cubes of fruit matter, bright green grapes and that fluffy component all tied up into a sweet coma. That’s what I call fulminating love…(Pepé Le Pew style hehhee)

Being lost in translation and trying to rescue the origins of the word,  this salad came to my mind. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “no wimpy salads” and a lot of encouragement to try and thrive while you feed not only your body, but the enticing act of eating consciously present and awake.

Althoug, I can not promise all of this matters in just one salad, I will assure you that this is not a wimpy one. In fact it does have the Ambrosia elements, fruits, smells textures, sweet, salty, acidic, juicy, creamy, crunchy all the components that make a salad a memorable meal, and the kind of salad you will crave the next day and perhaps the next weekend too. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, grapefruit segments, cucumbers, salty, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy nutty and meaty walnuts, all carefully combined and drizzled with a simple three ingredient Dijon-honey -grapefruit juice vinaigrette.  Needless to say the salad is healthy, energetic, nutritious, beautiful  and delicious.

This Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette  is what you need to welcome Spring and feel like a greek goddess, Enjoy!

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For the recipe you will need…

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Watermelon Wedge Salad

Watermelon-wedge-salad_fresh-and-crisp!_ready-to-serve

Its hot in here! Austin is reaching 100F temperatures. All I can think of is something refreshing. I’m craving lots of juicy ingredients. So what to make?… Watermelon and iceberg lettuce together its the ultimate ode to crisp and fresh.
Inspired by the classic wedge salad, I played with summer flavors and made a Watermelon Wedge Salad. It consists of one head of iceberg lettuce cut into quarters plus a good sweet crisp watermelon dressed with a light and clean, olive oil + salt + black pepper dressing. 
One bite has it all; crisp crunch of the iceberg lettuce, tangy lemony light dressing, sweet juicy watermelon, creamy and salty pancetta, fragrant basil adds a great herb note.

What is not to like ?

This recipe is a pairing of summery ingredients that work divine together. Much like a summer gathering of good old friends having a good time.
Easy, fast and fun to make, in a blink of an eye this salad is ready to cool you down.

Music pairing: Our favorite music band : SPOON just released its new album: “They want my soul “
that is what is playing on the background.

Keep it fresh. Enjoy!

Watermelon-wedge-salad_ingredients

Watermelon Wedge Salad

Serves 4 warm souls

1 head of iceberg lettuce
4 cups seedless watermelon chilled.
½ cup goat cheese crumbs.
2 half inch thick slices of pancetta.
Small bunch 6-8 large leaves fresh basil.
2-3 tablespoons fresh finishing extra virgin olive oil
2 juicy lemons
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

1. Cut the pancetta in small cubes, sauté until crisp and render the fat. Place them over a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Watermelon-wedge-salad_render-pancetta
2. Remove the hard steam of the lettuce. Cut the head lettuce in four wedges.
3. With a melon baller scoop 4-5 cups of watermelon balls.

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Watermelon-wedge-salad_ready-set-go!
4. Place the lettuce wedges on a plater, and drizzle olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, generous amounts of kosher salt and black pepper.

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5. Add the watermelon balls, crumbled goat cheese, crispy pancetta.

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6. Tier the basil leaves and sprinkle on top, add the rest of the lemon juice a little extra drizzle of olive oil, serve.

Note: Make sure your watermelon is cold, place it into the refrigerator hours before to ensure maximum chill! This salad taste better when the crisp clean iceberg lettuce and the juicy watermelon are cold.

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Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the freshest of them all?

Music Pairing: Spoon – They want My Soul

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Dress your lettuce and Enjoy!

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 Avococo Salad Dressing, Yes, more please!

 

 

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