Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 29 Salad

The delicious champagne vinegar I mentioned the other day tastes great on its own but even better with a little bit of olive oil, Dijon and lemon juice. This sweet vinaigrette popped atop a heap of spinach, goat cheese crumbles, shaved almonds and dried cranberries.

Orange vinaigrette
¼ cup orange muscat champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon
¼ cup olive oil
Whisk first three ingredients in a bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil.

May 28 Salad

Rubicon Brewing Company is the spot for tasty food and even tastier beers. Chris and I rode our cruisers into midtown and treated ourselves to a late lunch on the patio. I had the tostada salad featuring mixed greens, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, chicken breast and shredded cheddar, nestled in a flour-tortilla shell and served with salsa and ranch.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 27 Salad

I do a little bit of edible gardening, and one item that always makes the cut each spring is tomatoes. Nothing compares to home-grown, sun-ripened tomatoes. Mother Nature’s taking her sweet time heating things up around here, and it’ll be a while before my plants start yielding anything. So for now I’ll have to stick with store-bought tomatoes. They still taste good in one of my favorite summery snacks, this quick salad of tomatoes, blue cheese and balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 26 Salad

This is the Ahi Salad at 3 Fires Lounge. You’ve got sliced ahi, shredded red and green cabbage, grated carrots and cilantro vinaigrette. Not too shabby!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 25 Salad: Bell pepper bowl?

Who needs lettuce? Not me, not today anyhoo.
I got my green on in the form of a raw, crunchy bell pepper (stem and seeds removed) stuffed with shrimp meat (squirted with lime juice), fresh corn, cherry tomatoes and diced avocado, with some of the red pepper vinaigrette I made the other night for kicks.
The bell pepper might look a little small for a salad bowl, but once you start cutting into this delicious cornucopia you realize it's going to be a while before you're a member of the clean-plate club. Believe me, this is a good thing. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 24 Salad: Muscat love

I picked up some orange muscat champagne vinegar at Trader Joe’s the other day and put it to good use with this salad of mixed lettuces, sliced Asian pear and goat cheese crumbles.

May 23 Salad

We stopped in Santa Rosa for lunch on our way home from a wine weekend in Healdsburg. This is a salad of mixed lettuces, shaved carrots, cucumber, roasted shrimp and herb vinaigrette from Jackson’s Bar and Oven.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 22 Salad

I worked up a serious appetite tasting some of Sonoma County’s finest on Sunday. Good thing we stopped at the Dry Creek General Store in Healdsburg to pick up lunch provisions, including a delicious organic quinoa salad with snap peas, edamame and Asian dressing.

May 21 Salad

We headed to Healdsburg for the weekend with Chris’ parents — they’re out visiting from Wisconsin. Monti’s Rotisserie & Bar in Santa Rosa was a good pre-wineries lunch spot. I enjoyed a French Cobb with Romaine, roast chicken, tomatoes, feta, hard-boiled egg and a mustard-herb vinaigrette.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20 Salad: An Omnivore's Delight

 Chris made his world-famous tri tip tonight and I went all omnivore on him, making a salad with the tri tip, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, fresh white corn (raw, cut right off of the cob) and a roasted red pepper vinaigrette.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
Two roasted red bell peppers
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic

To roast bell peppers, either toss ‘em on the grill or throw them in the broiler, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and blistered. Remove from heat and place them in a paper bag for a couple minutes (wait until they’re cool enough to handle) before removing skin, stems and seeds.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

May 19 Salad: Oh wow

Second course from our start-to-finish divine feast at The Kitchen was a Dungeness crab “cheesecake” and salad of lettuces, pickled shallots, cured lemons, walnuts and Castelvetrano olives, with some deep-fried soft-shell crab for good measure. My photo doesn’t do it justice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18 Salad

Here’s a good, colorful lunchtime salad with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, chopped carrots, English cucumber and shaved Parmesan and Romano cheeses. In order to add some zest to this mid-day meal I made an Italian-inspired dressing by whisking together ¼ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil (infused with dried red peppers and herbs), a teaspoon of dried oregano and some salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17 Salad

I love it when something simple ends up being a knockout. I couldn’t get enough of my lunch today — mixed greens, Granny Smith apple slices, walnut pieces, crumbled blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

May 16 Salad

When you’re looking for a salad with some serious crunch, look no further than this Chinese Chicken Salad served by the good folks at La Bou Bakery & Café in Auburn. This is one of my go-to places on days when I either forget to pack a lunch or have nothing absolutely in the fridge to bring to work, which was the case Monday following a weekend out of town. This salad features chicken, lettuce, cabbage, peanuts and soy sesame vinaigrette.

May 15 Salad: Bay to Breakers edition

I spent my weekend in San Francisco causing trouble with friends and participating in (notice I didn’t say “running” or “competing in”) the 100th Bay to Breakers.
After a grueling day spent people watching some of our crew made it over to 21st Amendment Brewery for a very late lunch. Not sure I burned enough calories walking the 12K to justify indulging in the Buffalo Chicken Cobb and some of their Brew Free or Die IPA, but I’m not too worried about it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 14 Salad

This delicious, colorful take on an Italian chopped salad features romaine lettuce, diced salami, red bell pepper, English cucumber, garbanzo beans and a sprinkling of red wine vinegar.

May 13 Salad

This Friday special incorporates the tail end of some of the delicious salads I’ve had the past couple days — arugula, grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, grape tomatoes, English cucumber and blue cheese crumbles, tossed with the end of my first batch of homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 12 Salad

I came home from work wanting breakfast for dinner, and this is what I came up with. Over-easy egg, arugula, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a little dusting of pepper on top. While it was no biscuits and gravy, this salad was still quite tasty.

May 11 Salad

The Mustard Dill Vinaigrette I made for the May 6 salad also tastes delicious with some cooked shrimp and English cucumber atop Romaine lettuce.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10 Salad: Rocking the rocket

I bought a bag of arugula, otherwise known as rocket, at the store the other day. It’s got a sharp, peppery taste, and I love it. A bowl of arugula, grape tomatoes and parmesan shavings tasted great with a little bit of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top.

May 9 Salad

I fondly recall picking strawberries in my Nana Dollie’s backyard. We’d bring the berries into the house and after we washed them and she’d let us dip our harvest in powdered sugar. It was absolute heaven.

I’ve always been a fan of strawberries, and they’re showing up quite a bit in the produce department these days. So why not put them in a salad? This salad of baby spinach, sliced strawberries, goat cheese crumbles and grilled chicken with a touch of balsamic vinaigrette hit the spot. The most time-consuming element of this particular salad was allowing time for the chicken to marinade in a quick mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar before going on the grill.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8 Salad

Curry powder is becoming one of my go-to seasonings in the spice cabinet. A little bit goes a long way, and really, what doesn’t taste better with a little curry essence?

This salad is the end result of a week-long craving I’ve had for Indian food. This recipe makes enough chicken salad for four entrée-sized salads.

Curried Chicken Salad
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups cooked, diced chicken breast (this came from two boneless chicken breasts)
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumbers
1 cup red grapes, halved
Baby greens
Balsamic vinaigrette (See my May 5 post for the recipe)

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and curry powder in a medium bowl until blended. Stir in chicken and cucumbers and stir until coated. Start out each plate with a couple handfuls of baby greens drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. Add a spoonful or two of the curried chicken mixture and top with a handful of grapes. Serve with warm naan for an even better meal.

May 7 Salad

Chris and I enjoyed a sunny Saturday with some spring skiing at Squaw. I knew I’d be tired after a fun day in the slush, and we'd discussed taking our time getting home so we could enjoy some après-ski drinks and snacks, so I decided to eat salad for lunch because who knew if there’d be a need, or energy, to make a salad when we got home. My May 7 salad du jour came in the form of this pretty little ditty at the Poolside Café at High Camp — mixed greens with champagne vinaigrette served with citrus, goat cheese, carrots, sliced almonds and grilled chicken breast.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6 Salad

I based this whole salad around the dill that’s been chilling in my fridge for the past couple days. We had a royal potluck at work last week to celebrate Wills and Kate getting hitched. My contribution was a huge batch of tea sandwiches — dill rye, English cucumber, cream cheese and fresh dill. The only thing that would have made this potluck better would have been a visit from one or more of those adorable corgis from “The King’s Speech,” but I digress.

I had dill to spare after the potluck, and thought I’d use it to make the Mustard Dill Vinaigrette that goes along with an orzo salad recipe I absolutely love. I drizzled said dressing over a plate full of butter lettuce, grape tomatoes, English cucumber slices and grilled salmon. Yum.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5 Salads: Double trouble

I doubled down on salads today. I assembled a delicious hodgepodge for lunch in order to knock out some remnants from the past few days (baby greens, taco meat, cilantro dressing, beans, red bell pepper).

For dinner, I crafted a sort of Cobb with butter lettuce, hard-boiled egg, crispy turkey bacon, blue cheese crumbles, grape tomatoes and diced cucumber. I also whipped up a batch of balsamic dressing, enough for this and a few more salads. The wonderfully fresh lemon — a home-grown doozy from our neighbor’s gentleman caller — yielded enough juice to easily quadruple this dressing recipe. I reserved the remaining lemon juice for an upcoming salad.

All you need to make some delicious balsamic dressing
Balsamic dressing
(thanks to the Bon Appetit Cookbook for inspiration)
 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil

Whisk first three ingredients in a bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil.

Jolly good, indeed

May 4 Salad: Going Greek

I wanted a quick, zesty salad for dinner and so I went for a Greek-inspired number with romaine lettuce, garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), diced red bell pepper, peeled and diced cucumber, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, a splash of red wine vinegar and a pinch of dried oregano. Totally hit the spot.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 3 Salad: My first mango

Can you believe it took me 30 years before I purchased my very first fresh mango? Sure, I’ve eaten and enjoyed mangoes before, but someone else always did the work. Pretty ridiculous, eh?

Well, thankfully the weekly grocery ads inspired me to put a mango in my shopping basket, because this fruit was a key component of a pretty fantastic salad. This dinner-sized salad features a couple butter lettuce leaves (washed and patted dry), half of a diced mango, half an avocado (sliced), a dozen large cooked shrimp (give ‘em a quick squirt of fresh lime juice) and some cilantro vinaigrette from my May 1 salad. The end result was sweet, snappy, rich and refreshing all at once.

May 2 Salad

It’s not the most original, but taco salad is a favorite of mine. This one begins with baby greens upon which I heap all kinds of goodies like seasoned ground turkey, sharp cheddar, corn, red bell pepper and pinto beans. A toasted flour tortilla cut into quarters adds some more crunch. The salad’s ready to go after a quick drizzle of my absolute favorite store-bought salad dressing, Briannas Special Request Santa Fe Blend.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

31 days of salad

It’s time for a dietary overhaul of sorts.

The weather’s warming up and pretty soon it’ll be too hot in Sacramento to even look at the stove, let alone fire up the burners. After a long winter of slow cooking and plenty of gooey casseroles, I’m ready for a change. With that in mind, I’m declaring May One More Taste’s Salad Month.

Here are a handful of reasons why now is as good a time as any for me to ingest a whole lotta lettuce:

1. I entered the lottery for the Nike Women’s Marathon a few weeks ago and (very exciting!) recently found out that I got in. I hit the brakes pretty hard after finishing the California International Marathon in December, and can basically count my post-CIM runs on one hand. I have until October to get my body back into marathon shape.

2. I’m headed to Palm Springs for my good friend Katie’s bachelorette party next month. Best start planning for some serious pool time. Too bad salads don’t give you a tan too…

3. I’m totally over bottled salad dressing and want to start making my own.

4. The produce section of the supermarket is becoming more fun to visit thanks to all kinds of seasonal goodies.


5. Fresh fruits and veggies are delicious!

The self-imposed rules aren’t too strict — I aim to eat some sort of salad for one meal per day through the month of May. The majority of each salad’s ingredients must be vegetables and/or fruit. I will also make my own salad dressing as much as possible.

I’ll check in via blog post with notes, photos and recipes so readers can chart my progress throughout the month. I’d love some input too — tell me about your favorite salad dressings, which fresh produce you’re digging these days, and the like.

May 1 Salad

The goods:
Baby greens
Cooked shrimp (about eight shrimp per salad)
Diced red bell pepper
Corn kernels
Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

The dressing: Cilantro Vinaigrette (drizzled over ingredients to your liking)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ cup cleaned chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients in blender except olive oil. Puree ingredients and then, while blender is still on, slowly pour olive oil into blender.