A Bean Salad, A Potato Salad and A Watermelon Salsa

Summer is in full swing! The weather has been quite spectacular thus far. Days have been in the low 80’s and there hasn’t been that many ridiculously oppressive weather days. You know the ones I am talking about… the ones with the three dreaded H’s – Hazy, Hot & Humid. Fingers crossed it continues like this and August doesn’t rear its ugly head with horrific weather. Nonetheless, pleasant weather or not, it is the summer and one thing is for sure, heavy meals are just not what you want to eat. I know I personally don’t like to eat anything too heavy during the summer months. So today, I am brining you two salads and a salsa that I recently made for my 4th of July BBQ that got rave reviews.

Up first a Greek Chickpea Salad. The most time consuming part of this salad was chopping Persian cucumbers and halving cherry tomatoes. Hence, it was a cinch. What was really nice about this salad is that the leftovers kept well for a few days. There are some salads that just turn into a soggy or sour mess, but, not this once. That could be because the vinaigrette is freshly made as opposed to using something from a bottle.

Next, a Cucumber Potato Salad. It might sound like an odd combination and what might sound even more odd is that soy sauce is added to the mayonnaise, but, thanks to the addition of freshly squeezed lemon & lime juice that soy flavor is really toned down and the two veggies together really complement each other. The red potatoes have a nice creamy texture to them and the cucumbers give the salad a nice crunch.

And finally… A Watermelon Salsa. Yes, a watermelon salsa. My friends more or less had a bewildered or apprehensive look on their face when I told them what the salsa was made of, but, once they tried it their eyes widened in delight. It was supposed to have mango, but, since I didn’t have any on hand I opted to add in an extra cup of diced watermelon. Also, I made this salsa the day before to make sure all of the flavors – cilantro, red onion, basil, lime, etc. – really blended together and then on the day of, before serving it, I transferred it to another bowl and drained some of the juices out of it so it wouldn’t be a watery mess.

So, what salads have you been enjoying or wanting to try this summer?

 

Greek Chickpea Salad

Basic Vinaigrette:

1/4 red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk the vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot, oregano. 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of the pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is emulsified and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use and any leftovers.

Salad:

2 15 oz. cans of Chickpeas – drained and rinsed

2 cups Persian cucumber, chopped

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with 2/3 cup of the basic vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and refrigerate until serving.

 

Cucumber Potato Salad

Ingredients:

2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh juice

1/2 tsp. lime zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh juice

1/2 cup chopped chives

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/3 English cucumber, sliced into half moons

1 tbsp. finely diced scallions

black pepper

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain and spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and allow them to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, lime zest and lime juice, stir together. Add black pepper and the remaining salt. Add the cool potatoes along with the chives, celery, cucumber and shallots. Stir gently and refrigerate until serving, at least 20 minutes.

Recipe from Dale Talde

 

Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tsp. lime zest (about 1 lime)

1/4 fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

1 tablespoon sugar

Freshly ground pepper

3 cups seeded and finely diced watermelon*

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 mango, peeled and diced*

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minces

1 small red onion, finely chopped

8 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Tortilla chips for serving

*Instead of using a mango I used 4 cups of watermelon

Directions:

Stir together the lime zest, lime juice, sugar and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add the watermelon, cucumber, mango, jalapeno, onion and basil and toss gently. Chill the salsa until ready to serve. If you find the salsa is too watery before serving, drain some of the juices out. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe from Trisha Yearwood

 

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed With Caprese Salad

While browsing through my Instagram feed last week I came across a picture that made me stop and double-tap immediately! If you’re on Instagram and you’re not following Foodgawker you should definitely go check them out and start following them. They post amazing pictures of food that you can get the recipes to by visiting their website. And most of the recipes are ones that you can easily make in your home kitchen – which we can all agree is very important! If you love quick recipes, mushrooms, tomatoes and mozzarella this is the recipe for you! And if mushrooms are not your thing – I think it’s something that people either love or hate – but if you love Caprese salad, you may want to think about roasting the mozzarella and tomatoes next time you make it – it really enhances the flavors.

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I began by cleaning out the gills of the mushrooms and wiping them with a damp paper towel. To remove the gills I used a small spoon to scoop them out. Now, I know there are some people who opt not to clean out the gills, and I did a little research (a quick Google search) as to which is the proper way to eat Portobello’s and it really comes down to personal preference. For me, I prefer them gone because sand could be trapped within the gills and the sand is not going to come out when you cook them and I just think they look “cleaner” when the gills are gone.

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Next, I melted butter with two cloves of crushed garlic in the microwave and brushed the garlic butter on the bottom of each of the mushrooms.

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Once the mushrooms were prepped I sliced grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella into thin slices and placed them inside of the mushrooms.

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With the broil set to high I placed the mushrooms in the oven and broiled them for about ten minutes, until the cheese was melted and beginning to brown.

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While the mushrooms were in the oven I made a balsamic glaze to drizzle over them. I combined balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan and brought it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until it was reduced by half. Once the mushrooms were done I took them out of the oven and transferred them to a platter and top them with torn basil leaves and the balsamic glaze.

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These mushrooms were absolutely delicious!  Caprese Salad is delicious on its own, but once you roast the tomatoes and bring out some of their sweetness and the mozzarella is melted it’s just a whole other level of delectableness. And the heartiness of the mushroom to go along with it makes this a great main dish with other vegetable or as a quick side.

 

Caprese Stuffed Garlic Butter Portobellos

Ingredients:

Garlic Butter:

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mushrooms:

6 large Portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, wiped clean with a damp paper towel

1 cup grape tomatoes, each tomato sliced into thirds

Fresh mozzarella*, thinly sliced

Fresh basil, torn into pieces

Balsamic Glaze**:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsps. brown sugar

 

*I used about half of a 12oz. pre-sliced log, cutting each piece into strips

**You could also use store bought

 

Directions:

1. Arrange oven rack to middle of oven and preheat the oven to broil on the high setting.

2. Combine the garlic and butter and melt the butter in the microwave or in small saucepan on medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant. Brush the bottoms of the mushrooms and place them, buttered side down, on a rimmed cookie sheet.

3. Fill each mushroom with tomatoes and mozzarella and place them in the oven, broiling them until the cheese has melted and begun to brown (about 8 – 10 minutes.)

4. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving dish and top with the basil and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

To make the Balsamic Glaze:

Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat allowing the mixture to simmer until the mixture has thickened and reduced to a glaze, 5 – 8 minutes.

2 Salads & A Salsa

With summer in full swing you are probably heading to quite a few BBQ’s or hosting a few yourself. Today I would like to share with you two salads and a salsa recipe that are super easy & super quick to make for any BBQ you may be hosting or invited to or for those days that you just want to make something quick and easy for dinner that doesn’t involve much effort or thought. With all of these recipes I suggest making them a few hours in advance and refrigerating them so all of the flavors can marinate together.

Green Bean – Cucumber Salad

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 English cucumber, sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add green beans. Boil the green beans until they are tender – approximated 7 minutes – and then drain and rinse under cold water.

2.  In a large bowl toss the green beans along with the remaining ingredients and then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Black Bean – Corn Salad

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Ingredients:

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed

1 cup canned corn

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

Juice of 3 limes

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Whisk together the olive oil, honey and lime juice in a measuring cup.

2.  In a large bowl add the black beans, corn, pepper, scallions and cilantro. Add the olive oil mixture to the black bean mixture and toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the dice avocado. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup diced white onion

1 20 oz. can pineapple slices in juice*

2 tomatoes, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt

*Alternatively can use 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into rings.

Directions:

1. Soak the onion in cold water for 15 minutes then drain.

2. Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium heat and lightly oil the pan (you could also grill the pineapple on a grill.) Grill the pineapple rings until marked, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop.

3. Combine the pineapple, onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the lime juice and season with salt then toss. Serve with tortilla chips. This salsa also tastes great over salmon and grilled chicken.