Tuna and Pinto Bean Salad: Spring

April 19th, 2016

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 1

We have been enjoying warmer weather this week.  David has been working on the boat, getting it cleaned of cobwebs, and checking the engine.  The lake is glistening and quiet.  There is not much boat traffic this early in the season.  I took our kayak out for the first time.  I was sure that I would capsize it, but found my balance quickly.  The alternative would be a dunking in frigid water.  It was relaxing paddling by lakefront houses seeing the improvements that neighbors have made to their properties over the winter.  The Ellis’s have finished their party dock and lakeside cabin. There is a new house going up a few doors down.  Hanging baskets adorn many docks and the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom.

This was a day calling for a special lunch.  I found a can of pinto beans and Italian tuna packed in olive oil in the pantry.  From the fridge I pulled a jar of peperoncini, lemons, cherry tomatoes, celery and red onion.  The recipe was inspired by one made by Kalyn’s Kitchen; one of my favorite healthy bloggers.  We polished off the whole thing.  David said we should eat lunch like this every day.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 2V

The dressing for the salad includes some of the peperoncini juice, lemon juice, olive oil, taco seasoning and a hit of hot pepper sauce.

LL Living Room with tulips 2

While shopping at Trader Joe’s last week, I picked up a small pot of tulips still in the bud stage.  Look at them now in my sunny living room.  Not a bad investment for $3.99.

LL Living room with tulips 1

I love how such a small pot of flowers can make me smile.  Something else that makes me smile is the Spring ritual that my friend Penny and I have formed.  Each Spring when I return from Florida, we get together in Asheville for antiquing and lunch at our favorite bistro, Fig.

Penny and Penny

It was a little cool last week, but we ate at our favorite table anyway.

Fig Lunch 2

Penny had the PEI Mussels with Pommes Frites.  I had Chicken Schnitzel with white beans, andouille sausage and a piquillo pepper coulis.  It was delicious and it was fun catching up after a dreary winter.  . . . But back to this week’s lunch.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad Close

I think this is a great recipe.  Thanks to Kalyn for the inspiration.

TUNA AND PINTO BEAN SALAD

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T peperoncini juice (brine from the bottle of peppers)
1/2 tsp. Tabasco Sauce, more or less depending on how spicy you like it
1 tsp. Taco seasoning
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 large peperoncini peppers, stem and seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup chopped tomato, drained if the tomatoes are very juicy (I used cherry tomatoes cut in fourths)
4 or 5 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 can (5-7 oz) Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Add rinsed and drained pinto beans to a medium size bowl.  Mix together the lemon juice, peperoncini juice, tabasco, taco seasoning, salt and pepper and olive oil. Whisk until combined.  Add rest of the ingredients except basil to the pinto beans.  Pour dressing over and stir to combine.  Sprinkle basil over the top and serve.

Printable Recipe

Broccoli Salad

March 15th, 2016

Brocolli Salad 1

I know all of you have had a raw broccoli salad.  But I have to say that this particular recipe is a little different and, in my opinion, a real winner.  It comes from blogger Kathleen at Gonna Want Seconds.  What makes it so special is the addition of orange zest and juice to the dressing.  It also incorporates grapes into the mix.  It is beautiful to look at and even more refreshing when you taste it.

Broccoli Salad 2

We have had company for the past week.  Our good friends were here for bike week.  David made ribs on the grill for the first night they arrived. Instead of the usual coleslaw, I made this broccoli salad to rave reviews.  This is something you need to add to your Summer repertoire.

Jackie and Barbara

 

I admire Jackie and Barbara for swimming in our frigid pool.  It is not heated and usually swimmable only after April.  We had spent the previous day at the beach and, as you can tell by the picture, Barbara overdid the sun.  I did also.

So with this preview of summer, I hope you enjoy the salad.  Thank you Kathleen for a great recipe.

BROCCOLI SALAD

  1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, orange zest, Dijon, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy.
  2. In a large salad bowl, toss together the broccoli, grapes, pecans, red onions, bacon, cheese, and dates. Toss the salad with half the dressing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper and dressing as needed. Serve.  (I used all of the dressing)

Printable Recipe

Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad

November 9th, 2015

IMG_6656

Here is another great idea for Thanksgiving.  Salads are not usually a big part of the holiday feast, but why not?  With the heavy stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and green beans slathered in cream of mushroom soup and french onion rings, something a little lighter should be a welcomed addition.

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The components of this salad are all about Fall; apples, oranges, pecans, baby spinach and dried cranberries.  The pasta is just a small addition that gives the salad body.  I even amped the flavor up by making my sweet Bourbon pecans. This is a refreshing salad for the holidays.  The citrus dressing is light and delightful.

I saw this recipe on Facebook.  It was posted by my DIL’s Mom, Darla.  Since we will all be together for Thanksgiving I think this would be a great dish for our shared table.  Thanksgiving will be at Michael (Our Son) and Kristen’s (Our DIL) home.  They just moved into a new and bigger home that will accommodate all of the family.  We are looking forward to it.  The original recipe, and a much better picture can be found here.

 

Florence skyscape

A few more pictures of Italy.  We spent four days in Tuscany with a much too short trip into Florence.  But there is so much to do in the region that we were happy with our short trip into this historic city on the Arno River.

DAY 12 - San gimignagno 071

We stopped in San Gimignano, the epitome of a Tuscan hill town.  It still has 14 medieval towers standing out of the original 72.  Family towers were important in the 13th century.  The feuding noble families ran the hill towns and expressed their power by how tall their towers were.  Not much has changed over the years has it?  Although we enjoyed visiting the town, it was a tourist trap.

DAY 12 - San gimignagno 030

Our intrepid tour guide groveled to a new low to please us with a good picture. (although the picture is a little crooked). Notice all of the people eating Gelato around us!

Laurent oh my

But Laurent got his shot of us.  It was just one of many of his professional studies.  We were lucky to have this dear friend as our guide through Italy.  Thank you Laurent and Carole for starting your touring company and allowing us to be your test guests.  You are the best.  If you are interested in traveling in France or Italy by motorcycle or scotters, they will treat you so well. Here is the link.  Ride in Tours is the real thing.

 

AUTUMN CRUNCH PASTA SALAD

  • 5 ounces fresh spinach (half a 10 ounce bag)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry small pasta
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges
  • 1 large Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • Optional: Feta cheese
Dressing
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon each: paprika, onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a food processor or blender combine the oil (the vegetable oil yields a richer and in my opinion better taste, but the olive oil is healthier and still tastes great), apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, sugar, (adjust — more or less to personal preference, we like a less sweet dressing and use about 2 tablespoons) paprika, and onion powder. Pulse or blend for about 10 seconds. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  3. Drain the pasta once it’s cooked through and immediately toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the pasta. This helps the pasta soak in the dressing and the flavor.
  4. Chill the dressed pasta in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the (washed and de-stemmed) spinach with the chopped celery in a large bowl. Add in the cranberries and a can of drained mandarine oranges.
  6. If desired peel the apple (We like to leave on the peel!) and then slice into thin slices. Toss with lemon juice and then add to the salad.
  7. Pour dressing over the salad and toss. Add in the completely cooled pasta and toss with the rest of the salad.
  8. If you want to toast the pecans, place them in a single layer in a dry saucepan (don’t add anything) over medium heat. Stir constantly until the nuts are barely fragrant — just a couple of minutes. Watch carefully as the nuts are VERY easily scorched/burned.
  9. Alternatively, you can candy the pecans if desired. Check the link in the last paragraph of the blog text for how to candy pecans.
  10. Top the salad with the pecans and feta cheese.
  11. Enjoy immediately.
NOTES
This salad (like most) aren’t very great leftover. If you aren’t eating this immediately, keep the ingredients separate from the dressing and only toss with the dressing right before eating. Top with pecans and feta after dressing the salad.

 

 

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.

BLACK-EYED PEA AND ARUGULA SALAD

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

Salad:
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

Marinade:
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

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