Salad-Topped Hummus Platter

The culmination of my daughter’s summer theatre camp involves days of dress rehearsals followed by matinĂ©e and evening performances. She absolutely loves it all and it is worth every second, but it was also difficult to prepare and eat dinner during this time. That’s show business, right? 😉

This genius quick, healthy, and filling appetizer turned dinner saved the day the evening of her final performance. The recipe was adapted from Ina Garten via Smitten Kitchen.com. I made my favorite hummus, added arugula, used a peeled CSA cucumber, and substituted red wine vinegar for lemon juice in the dressing. I could eat it all summer long!

  • 2 cups prepared hummus
  • 2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces or 225 grams) grape tomatoes, quartered, plus more to taste
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, or multiple small cucumbers, unpeeled, chopped
  • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped small, optional
  • 1 T red wine vinegar or juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp sumac
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, or a mix of parsley, mint, and chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large handfuls baby arugula, to taste
  • warm naan or pita, for serving
  1. Prepare hummus in a food processor.
  2. Spread hummus on a large plate with the back of a spoon, creating swirls and cavities. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, just to freshen it up.
  3. Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, red wine vinegar/lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons olive oil, sumac, plus salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  4. Stir in herbs.
  5. Top hummus with arugula. Heap salad on top of the arugula. Finish with additional sumac and/or fresh herbs.
  6. Serve with warm naan or pita wedges.

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Creamy Buttermilk Dressing

This recipe uses a combination of full-fat cottage cheese pureed with buttermilk to get its creaminess instead of using mayonnaise. It was fresh and tasty. This dressing would work well with one of my favorite quick and light summertime meals of grilled chicken sliced over a cold salad. I made it when I was receiving an exorbitant amount of lettuce varieties in my CSA share. 😉

The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by chef Eli Dahlin of Dame in Portland, Oregon. I used fresh CSA parsley instead of tarragon. I also increased the amount of minced shallots.

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot
, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon or parsley
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium head of red leaf lettuce, torn
  • 2 heads of Boston lettuce, torn (or any other combination of lettuce)
  • sliced or cut tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, avocado, or other vegetables, for topping, as desired
  • crumbled feta cheese, for topping, optional
  1. In a blender, puree the buttermilk with the cottage cheese, vinegar, Dijon and ‹shallot until smooth.
  2. Scrape the dressing into a small bowl or jar and stir (or shake) in the chopped herbs; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a serving bowl, toss the lettuces with some of the dressing and assorted toppings.

Note: The dressing can be refrigerated overnight.

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Iceberg Wedge Salad with Green Goddess Ranch Dressing

This post is belated because I’m still recovering from my husband’s extravagant birthday feast. Recovering from preparing it… and from eating it (for many, many days!). 😉 I must say that it was well worth every minute AND every bite.

His special celebratory feast usually involves fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and his favorite Vanilla Bean Birthday Cheesecake for dessert. I have made Caesar salad as our “vegetable” in the past, but this year he requested a wedge salad. Yay! I love a change.

This recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via Martha Stewart Living. I used 4 tablespoons of buttermilk to adjust the consistency of the dressing. I also adapted the way the iceberg lettuce was sliced to modify the serving size and simplify the eating process. We all LOVED it!

For the Green Goddess Ranch Salad Dressing:

Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives and/or scallions, plus more for garnish, optional
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mild vinegar, such as white-wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • buttermilk or milk (optional)
  1. In a large bowl or blender, whisk or blend all the ingredients except the buttermilk.
  2. Add just enough buttermilk to thin to the desired consistency, if needed. (I used 4 tablespoons.)
  3. Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to combine. Shake well before using.

Note: Dressing will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To Complete the Salad:

Yield: 4 Servings

  • Green Goddess Ranch Dressing (recipe above)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into thick slices or wedges
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy
  • English cucumber, cut into slices
  1. Prepare Green Goddess dressing and set aside.
  2. In a 9 x 13-inch pyrex baking dish, bake bacon at 350 degrees for 20 to 3o minutes, until crispy.
  3. Place 1 iceberg lettuce slice/wedge and 4 to 6 cucumber wedges on each plate.
  4. Pour some dressing over top with crumbled bacon and minced chives over each serving, as desired.

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Arugula Salad with Corn & Burrata

I am in love with burrata. My blog friend, Johanne @ French Gardener Dishes, just posted a fabulous (anonymous) quote about the subject, “Burrata improves the flavor of summer and the flavor of life!” Apparently, I share my fondness of the creamy cheese. 🙂

The creamy burrata added a wonderful richness to this lovely summer vegetable salad. I served it to friends for lunch along with Grilled Garlicky Eggplant Sandwiches with Basil & Feta. We -along with all of our kids- also enjoyed Back to School Blondies with an ice cream terrine inspired by Nancy @ Feasting with Friends Blog for dessert. It was quite a feast for lunch!

The salad recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Chef Brian Clevenger of Raccolto in Seattle. I substituted edamame for the fava beans, increased the tomatoes, and omitted the mint. It was a crowd pleaser.

I’m bringing this lovely vegetable-loaded dish to share with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #136 this week hosted by Judi @ Cooking with Aunt Juju. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 cup frozen shelled, pre-cooked edamame, thawed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ears of corn (preferably white), shucked and kernels cut off the cobs (3 1/2 cups)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T sherry vinegar
  • 4 ounces baby arugula (6 cups lightly packed)
  • 10 ounces mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint, optional
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil
  • 8 ounces burrata cheese

  1. Place the frozen edamame on a plate or rimmed cookie sheet to thaw.
  2. Once the edamame is thawed, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet.
  3. Add the corn and edamame and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, just until the corn is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
  5. Add the arugula, tomatoes, mint (if using), basil and the corn mixture and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Toss to coat, then spoon onto plates. Scoop or tear the burrata into pieces and gently spoon it onto the plates.
  7. Season with pepper and serve.

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Watermelon Salads

My kids and I love summer watermelon. We usually just chomp on slices of it at the beach, but I recently incorporated it into two refreshing summer side salads.

The first was an adaptation of the classic Middle Eastern Tabouli Salad substituting watermelon for tomatoes. What a great idea! 🙂 The second was another classic Middle Eastern way of serving watermelon- with feta and basil. I made it for a party and was unable to capture it in a photo. You can (will have to!) imagine how pretty it looked. I had been unaware of how wonderful watermelon pairs with feta cheese- so simple and tasty.

The tabbouleh recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living and the watermelon-feta salad recipe was adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. Fresh, seasonal and delicious.

Tabbouleh with Watermelon

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat (I used coarse red bulgur)
  • 1 1/2 to 3+ cups peeled and coarsely chopped watermelon
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces soft goat or feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Bring water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in bulgur, and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and let stand, uncovered, until cooled, 15 to 30 minutes. (I spread the cooked bulgur out on a rimmed baking sheet to speed the cooling process.)
  2. Transfer bulgur to a bowl, and toss with watermelon, parsley, scallions, oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Gently fold in cheese. Serve.

Watermelon, Basil & Feta Salad

Yield: Serves 4

  • 10 oz block feta (preferable sheep’s milk)
  • 4 to 5 cups of large-dice watermelon cubes
  • 3/4 cups basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Slice the feta into large but thin pieces, or just break it by hand into rough chunks.
  2. Arrange all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, on a platter or bowl, mixing them up a little.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top and serve immediately.

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German Potato Salad with Dill

I make potato salad just for my husband who would love to eat potatoes in some form on a daily basis. I often say that I really could give or take a potato… but… I’ll have to admit that this potato salad was quite tasty! The dressing was really delicious. It’s a perfect summer side.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alison Roman. I used baby Yukon gold potatoes and cut them after cooking so that they would take on less water. We ate it with Pasta Salad with Peas and Summer Beans and Grilled Salmon and Bacon Sandwiches for our Memorial Day cookout. Delicious.

IMG_4441

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 pounds small waxy potatoes, scrubbed clean (I used baby Yukon golds)
  • ÂŒ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Âœ yellow onion, chopped
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ÂŒ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 scallions, white and green sections, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted (directions below)
  1. Cover potatoes with cold salted water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender (about 10-12 minutes); drain, cut in half, and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mix in vinegar.
  4. Add to potatoes along with scallions, and dill, and toss, crushing potatoes slightly; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the caraway seeds to the remaining dressing in the pan. Heat gently until fragrant and add to the potato mixture. Mix gently.
  6. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled, as desired.

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Pasta Salad with Peas & Summer Beans

This dish is going to be the beginning of an appetizer and side dish extravaganza of belated posts I have been wanting to share. Perfect timing (I’d say!) right before the Fourth of July and the peak of cookout season. 🙂

I especially loved this pasta salad because it had an equal ratio of vegetables to pasta. It was super garlicky, without even modifying the original recipe, and fresh. I loved the use of whole wheat penne too.  This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the peas and green beans and omitted the wax beans. We ate it with grilled salmon sandwiches but it would also pair well with grilled chicken or tuna. Nice!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 7 ounces frozen peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 minutes.
  2. Add beans; cook until pasta and beans are al dente, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  3. Add peas and immediately drain. Run cold water over pasta and vegetables until completely cool; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat; stir in lime zest and juice (it may splatter).
  6. Add dressing and 3/4 teaspoon salt to pasta bowl; season with pepper. Toss with cilantro.
  7. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, to taste.
  8. Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 day.

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