Black-Eyed Pea and Arugula Salad

August 28th, 2015

Black-Eyed Pea and Arugula Salad 1

What a bowl full of goodness!  It is hard to see all of it because much of it is hiding in the arugula.  How does brandy soaked cranberries sound to you?  Or that Southern classic, black-eyed peas?  Are you a fan of Asian pears?  In there, all of them.  Succulent Jumbo shrimp are not afraid to show themselves . But the diced red bell pepper, onion and cucumber hunker down in the background.  Everything plays well with a light citrus vinaigrette and we were very happy to dig in. Not a morsel got away from us.

Black-Eyed Pea and Arugula Salad 3

We are very busy right now.  David is doing a lot of the cooking because I have been busy with another project.  He always seems to find the best recipes on the internet.  This recipe was on a feature of Extra Virgin on the Cooking Chanel.  We are watching that show often because of the Italy connection.  We leave for Italy on September 16th.

David has frozen jumbo cooked shrimp in the freezer and is always looking for an excuse to use them.  In addition, he is always looking for healthy recipes. This turned out to be not only healthy, but delicious.  He is keeping us on track this month.

Black-Eyed Pea and Arugula Salad 2

If you are looking for a delicious luncheon or dinner salad, this is a winner.


Citrus Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3/4 cup unsweetened orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

2 cups canned black-eyed peas, drained
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
5 cups arugula
1 cup sliced seedless cucumber
1 small onion, minced
1 Asian pear, cut into large chunks
1/2 cup dried black currants or dried cranberries, soaked in brandy
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 pound cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, parsley and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the salad: Simmer the black-eyed peas in the chicken broth for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, toss together the black-eyed peas, arugula, cucumbers, onions, pear, currants and red peppers. Toss with half of the citrus vinaigrette. In a separate bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining dressing. Add the shrimp to the salad. Serve immediately.

Printable Recipe

Pearl Barley Salad with Harrisa Chicken

August 5th, 2015

Pearl Barley Salad 1

When the weather gets too steamy, dinner inside becomes a haven of cool comfort.  But I still like to putter in the kitchen and a multiple step salad is the perfect solution.  All of the ingredients in this dish need your separate attention.  The broccoli needs to be blanched and put on ice.  The zucchini is sliced in long strips, cooked on a grill pan and then diced. The pearl barley needs to simmer until done.  The chicken needs to marinate a while in the fridge before placing on the grill pan to cook.  The almonds are best browned in a pan.  The rest of the work is just chopping and mixing.  But the end product is worth the effort.  Put on a little music, gaze at the hummingbird feeder outside your window occasionally, and enjoy the time spent.

Pearl Barley Salad 2

In my effort to try grains other than white rice, I found that pearl barley is a nutritious substitute.  It is rich in fiber and essential minerals.  I’m sure this salad would have been even better if I had the called for harrisa pasta in which to marinate the chicken.  Harrisa is a Moroccan paste made from hot peppers and spices. I plan to make this again when I can make it to a Middle Eastern market or my friendly Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  Since it only called for 1 teaspoon, I felt safe in leaving it out this time.  I did add spices to my marinade to give the chicken some extra flavor.

Pearl Barley Salad 3 Close

This is a colorful salad with lots of flavor.  It is perfect for a quiet summer evening at home when you have time to chill out in the kitchen.

PEARL BARLEY SALAD WITH HARISSA-SPICED CHICKEN (Adapted from What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies )

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillet, cut into thirds lengthways
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 cup pearl barley
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head broccoli, broken into florets
1 zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthways into then strips
3 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
large handful arugula or other greens to scatter over top

Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon store-bought harissa paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch sea salt

To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Put the chicken into a shallow container and pour the marinade over, making sure the chicken is well coated.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place almonds in a small saute pan and cook over medium heat shaking occasionally until almonds are browned.  Set aside.

Place the pearl barley in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 35 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water, then set aside in a bowl to cool slightly.  Place the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and some black pepper in a small bowl and whisk together, the pour this mixture over the pearl barley, stir to coat and set aside.

Cook the broccoli in a saucepan of simmering water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and plunge immediately into a bowl of iced water.  Drain again and set aside.

Brush each side of the zucchini strips with a little olive oil.  Heat a skillet or grill pan and cook the zucchini strips on both sides until light golden-brown.  Leave to cool slightly before dicing finely.

In the same grill pan over medium high heat cook the chicken with its excess marinade for 10 to 12 minutes or until the chicken is caramelized on the outside and cooked through and the marinade is bubbling.  Remove the chicken and juces an set aside, covered, to rest for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken strip very thinly.

Place the chicken, almonds, pearl barley, broccoli, zucchini, scallions, and tomatoes into a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Scatter with arugula leaves and serve.

Printable Recipe

Watermelon Blueberry Salsa

July 7th, 2015


Watermelon Blueberry Salsa 3

Our 4th of July celebration was another event to file away in the memory archives, especially for the children.  It is my hope that the Grandchildren and their cousins will always remember the fun, food and the joys of life on the lake.

The food front was well covered.  Everyone contributed something wonderful.  My DIL Kristen made this watermelon blueberry salsa that was out of this world delicious.  She found the watermelon recipe on a blog called Love and Olive Oil.    It is refreshing because of the fruit, a little hot from the jalepeno peppers, complex from the tomato and onion rough puree and brightened by the cilantro.  I couldn’t stop eating it with “scoop” shaped tortillas chips.  Kristen has many creative recipes.  And the good news is that she has recently launched her own blog called MENUbility where she offers practical tips, recipes and family-friendly ideas for dinner.  I have been downloading her free and practical blank grocery shopping list every week.

4th of July 2015 dinner on the porch

Our meals included the typical holiday selections of pulled pork, grilled ribs, hamburgers, chicken and lots of interesting sides.  Our evening gatherings on the porch were a special part of our days.

Wine tasting 2015 We also held our annual wine tasting.  This year’s wines were Viognier white wines. Viognier is a white wine grape variety originating in the Rhone Valley in France.  It is now produced in many parts of the U.S.  The winner was a 2012 K Vintners from Columbia Valley in Walla Walla, Washington.  On the right of the table are 4 juices for the kids’ tasting.  Thanks Dave A. for choosing and bringing the wine like you do every year.  Great job.

Grandkids juice tasting 2015 I guess you can tell that Cameron was not too fond of the carrot juice.  The winner turned out to be a tie between the strawberry and pomegranate juice.

Kristen and Keenan 2015

Kristen enjoyed teaching her niece Keenan how to make great Macaroni and Cheese.  Keenan has a great interest in cooking since we seem to be a family almost obsessed with it.  Kristen’s recipe is on her blog.

Watermelon Blueberry Salsa 2

I know you will love this Watermelon Blueberry Salsa recipe also.  Thank you to Love and Olive Oil.  Thank you also to Darla for taking many of the pictures.



  • 4 small Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (discard seeds for a milder salsa)
  • 1 cup diced watermelon
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno in the bowl of a food processor; pulse briefly or until finely chopped (do not fully liquefy). If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the ingredients by hand.
  2. Transfer tomato mixture to a medium bowl; stir in watermelon, blueberries, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Printable Recipe

Farro Salad: Insalata di Farro

June 24th, 2015

Farro Salad 1

I have been researching Italian recipes for our trip there in the Fall.  I have found several recipes using farro.  Farro is an ancient grain in the wheat family that is very easy to digest.  It has a nutty flavor and has healthy benefits.  Farro is grown in the Garfagnana region of eastern Tuscany.  It is also known as spelt and can be used as a grain or ground into flour for bread or pasta.

Farro Salad 3

I found two recipes for farro salad in my search and adapted them to my taste.  In the summertime there is nothing better than a cool salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, radishes and basil.  The farro pulls everything together and the lemon zest, juice and olive oil dress it to perfection.  As a luncheon dish it is paired with hard boiled eggs.  For dinner I served it with chicken piccata.  We loved the nutty flavor and the cool accompaniments.

Farro Salad 4V

We are looking forward to a happy 4th of July with our family.  We will be entertaining at least 14 family members.  It has become a tradition on Lake Lure.  I relish the memories that our 2 Grands and their 3 cousins are storing up; swimming, skiing, tubing, hiking, eating, wine tastings (Adults, LOL), crickets, porch lights, sleeping bags, cookies, s’mores, fireworks and love.  Will try to keep up here.

Farro Salad: Insalata di Farro

1 cup farro
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
4-6 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into narrow strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

In a bowl, combine the farro with water to cover.  Let soak for 2 hours.  Drain and pour into a large pot with the 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until very soft, about 40 minutes.  (Cooking time may vary as much as 10-20 minutes.)

Drain and pour into a large bowl.  Add the radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, basil, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss well.  Place on a serving platter.  Arrange the egg quarters around the edge of the platter.  Chill and serve.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice

June 16th, 2015

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 1

Most evenings we eat on the screened porch overlooking the lake.  It has been pleasant most of the summer, but last week the heat hit us with a vengeance.  I didn’t want to give up our seats with a view, so I made this cooling chicken salad to keep us comfortable in the waning heat of the day.  This salad has it all; tanginess, crunchiness , beauty and taste.Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 3V

The wild rice adds an interesting twist to the ingredients of chicken, celery, dried cranberries, oranges and pecans.  The mayonnaise dressing is lightened with a bit of orange juice concentrate.  For some reason I have an aversion to heavy, gloppy mayonnaise dressings.  With this dressing I tasted a brightness to the chicken salad that is sometimes missing in your usual chicken salad.

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 2

Hope you give it a try.

We will be traveling at the end of the week to Florida to honor the memory of one of our dear friends.  John Spangler Goodling died in late December and his wife Georgia will have a farewell ceremony for him at Atlantic Beach where he grew up.

John Spangler Goodling

He was a distinguished Professor of Engineering at Auburn University.  He and David were in Graduate school together and we have remained friends with John and Georgia throughout the years.  Oh, the memories.
Atlantic Beach


Godspeed dear John.  Your light may have been dimmed, but a flicker of your soul will remain with us always.

Talking about this recipe seems irrelevant now.  But I have to tell you a story.  When the guys were in graduate school, they would work hard all morning and then around noon John would say “Jeet jet?” David would say “No, Dju?”. John would say “No, squeet”.  And they would.  So let’s eat.  He would approve.


1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken ( 1 1b.)
1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 orange, segments removed and chopped
1 large celery rib, cut into small dice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup wild rice
1 cup water
Lettuce leaves for serving

Whisk together mayonnaise and orange juice concentrate in a large bowl.  Add chicken, nuts, cranberries, orange,celery, salt and pepper and mix well.  Chill, covered, at least 1 hour.

Rinse rice in a fine sieve under running cold water, then drain.  Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan and stir in rice.  Simmer, covered, until rice is tender but not all grains have split, 40 to 50 minutes.  Drain rice and cool, then stir into chicken salad and serve over greens.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.