Salad

The Best Lemon Vinaigrette

the-best-lemon-vinaigrette

Lemon vinaigrette is something that didn’t even slightly appeal to me until about two years ago. I just couldn’t get on the lemon bandwagon except for the sliver that they put in my cosmopolitan.  Then I went to Eatzi’s one day for a heavy dose of sampling (SW pepper dip and cinnamon roll, mainly), and I went crazy and got the lemon dressing on my salad. I was immediately obsessed. So much so that I called Eatzi’s later that day and asked what ingredients they put in it (which I’m sure was a much appreciated phone call for a place that is bustling with customers morning, noon, and night). To my surprise though, the guy couldn’t have been nicer and actually told me what was in it. He didn’t have the measurements, but this was certainly a good start. So now I make my own and we douse our salads in it. It doesn’t taste EXACTLY like Eatzi’s, but it’s darn close. And that’s how I officially stepped on the lemon bandwagon. Except lemon cake. I will never be a fan of lemon cake. Cake should never include fresh/healthy produce, IMO.

Recipe

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large)
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 minced garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, whisk or shake hard to combine and thicken, and serve it on everything! PS this would probably be a great summer chicken marinade.

Grilled Caprese Salad

grilled-caprese-salad

I’m feeling very uninspired in the world of fashion lately. Anyone else? Denim in particular. I mean WTF. Wide leg, cropped, high-waisted, frayed…basically all the styles that look good on no one all rolled into one jean. So apparently if you don’t know what type of new denim you should get for the summer/fall, just go to the store and find the pair that looks the absolute worst on you – and get those. I also heard that pinch rolling is coming back, and skinnies are out. It literally took me years to get into the skinny trend because it just didn’t suit my body type…now I’m firmly on board and have a closet full of skinnies and they’re out. Well forget it, Fashion 2017, I’m skipping you entirely this year and maybe I’ll check back in the spring. Of course, who am I kidding? When do I wear regular clothes anyway? I’m definitely pushing the boundaries of appropriate “athleisure” on a daily basis.

Onto food. I love the caprese combination. It’s perfect to me, and I like it in nearly every form: sandwich, pizza, flatbread, cold salad…and now, hot salad. I put it on the grill last weekend and I looooved the melty cheesy touch and the sweet, cooked down tomatoes.

Recipe

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • ~1/2 ball fresh mozzarella
  • olive oil & salt
  • ~2-3 tablespoons fresh basil
  • balsamic glaze (store bought)

Cut the tomato into thick slices, remove the seedy/watery part, place them on a paper towel and blot to remove excess moisture.  Season with salt.  Place the tomatoes on a thick piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray and brush with just a touch of oil. Grill on medium for about 3-4 minutes (on the foil). Slice the mozzarella into thick pieces, and place a piece on half of the tomatoes. Cover each tomato with another tomato slice and cover grill just for a minute or two to melt. Remove from grill. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

my-favorite-healthy-egg-salad

I feel like one of the hardest parts of working full time is coming up with lunch solutions. Pack a lunch? Eat out every day? Skip it altogether? Tough answers to some tough questions. As a side note – I’ve always had a strange admiration for people who say ‘I forgot to eat lunch today.’  I mean. How? How did you forget? Weren’t you starving? Weren’t you counting down the hours/minutes/seconds until you got to eat something good? Isn’t lunch the highlight of an otherwise mundane day? I don’t get it, you guys, and I’m intrigued.

But the reason lunch is important during the week is two-fold: 1) obvious nutrition requirements and 2) it gives you something to look forward to. If I didn’t have lunch I might just simply quit my day after breakfast.

This egg salad is one of my ultimate go-to’s for lunch. It’s healthy, it’s easy to make, and you can make it in larger batches to have all week. You can put it on toast, you can put it on crackers, or you can just eat it with a fork like I do most days. It’s delicious.

Recipe (1)

  • 4 eggs (will be using 1 whole egg, and 3 egg whites)
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickle
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ~1/8 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt, more to taste
  • pepper

Hard boil the eggs. I do mine by placing them in a pot and covering with water, bringing them to a boil, then turning off the heat and covering for 10 minutes. I then drain the water and replace with ice water. The ice bath for a minute or two ensures the yolks stay yellow.

Peel the eggs and slice one whole egg, and 3 egg whites into a bowl. Discard the remaining yolks. Mash the egg and egg whites with a fork. Mix in the mayo, pickle, pickle juice, mustard, S&P. Serve warm or refrigerate to cool down.

Corn with Basil & Feta

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We’re getting a babysitter in 2 hours and 56 minutes. 55 minutes. Not like I’m dying to leave our baby boys, but I kind of am. They are so fun and cute and busy but the day is just about 6.5 hours too long. And also, does anyone have any tips for re-implementing a 3rd nap into the day? Besides ambien?


Actually, I think I don’t feel quite as trapped as a lot of new moms do. I have lots of places to walk to for lunch or other things, and I think my threshold for being home/not in a social setting is higher than most. That is probably the engineer in me coming out…someone that could sit in their cubicle and write code all day and be perfectly content. Or maybe that’s why I chose engineering.  It actually makes me think about an interview I had when I was trying to get out of engineering and into sales..when they asked me why I wanted to leave Lockheed Martin I said that I needed much more social interaction. What? No I don’t. I’m a terrible fit for sales.


All of that being said, I do in fact truly enjoy social events on a sporadic and reasonable basis, and tonight I am thrilled to be getting out. I also love to have people over for dinner, and that was the inspiration for this side dish. Picking the main part is easy…what to go with it is really the age old question.  This is perfect because it is fast, easy, and pretty. All the things you need when entertaining.


Recipe

  • 4 ears corn
  • ~2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • S&P

Start by cutting the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.  Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan, then add the corn.  Cook through, stirring frequently, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, season with S&P, and throw in the feta and basil. That’s it! 

The Best Italian Chopped Salad

the-best-italian-chopped-salad

Once in a while I have a craving for something so strong that I have to make it. Usually it’s something like peanut butter M&M butterscotch marshmallow treat ice cream sandwiches, but last weekend it was salad (yay! I’m growing up). I envisioned a chopped salad with salami, artichokes, avocado, cucumber, tomato, kale and Parmesan with a red wine vinaigrette. Those ingredients – nothing more, nothing less. Though if you liked olives and onions I could appreciate adding those too (but I don’t).

The dressing was killer. One we will make again and again.

Recipe (about 4 side salads)

  • Small head butter lettuce
  • ½ bunch kale (more to taste…I had to make sure my husband ate it)
  • 5-6 slices salami
  • 1 jar artichokes, drained
  • 1 pint grape Tomatoes (I used about ¾)
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper

First step is KEY. Chop all ingredients into little bitty pieces. That way, you can get a bite of everything in just one forkful.  Chop everything, throw it into a large salad bowl, then top with a fistful or two of cheese (I had Parmesan and mozzarella on hand). Season with fresh ground pepper.

The dressing mixes the best in a food processor, but sometimes taking out that big ol’ thing seems like too much work.  Either way, mix together all the ingredients except the oil.  If using the food processor, keep the machine running and slowly add the oil until combined.  If not using the food processor, whisk aggressively while adding the oil. I did it this way and everything turned out just fine. Toss the salad, and serve!

kale-salad-with-creamy-poppyseed

People got on the kale bandwagon a long time ago.  In fact so long ago I think they have moved on to something else.  Well, I’m late to the game but HOLY $%#@ I LOVE KALE. THIS SALAD WAS SO GOOD. Like so good I never want another salad again.  I dressed the salad a couple hours before serving to help relieve a little bit
of bitterness and crunch from the kale – and I think that was the secret to
liking it so much.  The super sweet dressing pairs perfectly
with the bitter crunch, and after a few hours of marinading the kale turned into a perfect little bowl of deliciousness.  You can actually even dress the
salad several hours or the night before serving, making this a super easy make ahead dish.

Recipe
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Handful (or two) Craisins
  • Handful (or two) Slivered Almonds
  • 1-2 Avocados
  • 3/4 cup light mayo
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Pinch salt
Mix the kale, craisins, and almonds in a large bowl.  Make the salad dressing of mayo, milk, sugar,
vinegar, poppy seeds, and salt.  Toss the
salad with about half of the dressing.  Before
serving, add the avocado to the salad and toss with the remaining dressing (or less to taste).  I ate this the next day and it was sooooo good leftover (with grilled salmon on top!).
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