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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Bucatini with Lemony Carbonara

My son said, “I may not be able to eat another type of pasta for the rest of my life.” If that wasn’t enough, he then added, “This is one of the best dinners I’ve ever eaten.” I’ll take that complement! 🙂

I must say that the bucatini noodles were wonderful. A perfect complement to this quick and luscious sauce. The added lemon zest and juice in this version of the classic dish balanced nicely with the richness. I also loved the hint of spice from the freshly cracked black pepper.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I served it with roasted asparagus on the side. Absolutely fabulous!

Yield: 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 to 8 ounces pancetta, cubed, or slab bacon, thinly sliced and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 16 ounces bucatini or other long-strand pasta
  • coarse salt
  • 2 ounces Parmesan or Grana Padano Parmesan, grated, divided, plus more for serving
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus thinly sliced zest for serving (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook pancetta, tossing often, until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add pepper and cook, stirring often, just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.
  5. Add pasta to skillet along with ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and 1 oz. Parmesan and toss to coat.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and add egg yolks. Toss again, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a smooth glossy sauce coats pasta.
  7. Add grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and another 1 oz. Parmesan. Toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed to loosen sauce. (I added a total of 1 cup pasta water.)
  8. Divide pasta among bowls; top with sliced lemon zest and more Parmesan, as desired.

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Weeknight Pork & Bean Soup with Cornbread Croutons

This rustic soup was described as a “delicious cross between baked beans and tomato soup.” It was quick to prepare and very flavorful. We ate it over rice, like a chili.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. I increased the onions and garlic and used freshly made cornbread instead of a corn muffin for the croutons. We ate it with green salad and warm cornbread on the side. Great.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 7 slices (9-10 ounces) thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 15-ounce cans pink beans with their liquid
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade Turkey Stock)
  • coarse salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces cornbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • chopped scallions, for garnish, optional
  • rice for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
  2. In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon strips over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer the crispy bacon to a plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the saucepan.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the fat in the saucepan and cook, stirring, until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and maple syrup and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until thick, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the beans and their liquid and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the stock and bacon strips, season lightly with salt and cayenne pepper and simmer the soup over moderate heat until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, spread the cornbread cubes on a small baking sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until they are golden and crisp. Let the croutons cool slightly.
  8. Ladle the soup into deep bowls, garnish with the cornbread croutons and chopped scallions, as desired, and serve. (Serve over rice, if desired.)

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Grilled Glazed Salmon & Bacon Sandwiches

More… Salmon! Easy and delicious. Grilled too. 🙂

This post is really belated. We ate these yummy sandwiches on Memorial Day… Thank goodness it’s still fabulous grilling weather! They were such a great alternative to standard holiday grilling menu items.

I served these sandwiches with German Potato Salad with Dill and Pasta Salad with Peas and Summer Beans on the side. For dessert, we enjoyed a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie (a family favorite!), Milk Bar Sugar Cookie-Cake Squares, and ice cream, of course! I almost forgot to mention our New York Soft Pretzel appetizer- yikes! It really was an All-American feast.

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Marcia Kiesel. I served the sandwiches on brioche rolls but would opt for potato rolls next time. Too much bread for me! 😉

Yield: Serves 4

For the Glaze & Salmon:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish, drained
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • canola oil, for rubbing
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Light a grill.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, horseradish and honey.
  3. Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the salmon over moderate heat, skinned side down, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn and grill for 3 minutes longer, until the salmon is almost cooked through.
  6. Turn the salmon again and spread each fillet with 1 tablespoon of the horseradish glaze.
  7. Turn and grill until glazed, about 30 seconds.
  8. Serve the remaining glaze on the sandwiches, below.

Note: As with any sweet glaze, brush the honey-horseradish-mustard sauce on the salmon in the last minutes of grilling, or else the sugars in it might burn.

For the Sandwiches:

  • 4 kaiser, brioche, challah, or potato rolls—split, toasted and buttered
  • 4 red lettuce leaves
  • 8 thick bacon slices, cooked until crisp, as below
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cut into 12 thin slices
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Place the bacon in a single layer, divided between 2- 9×13-inch pyrex dishes.
  3. Bake for 30 or 35 minutes, until crisp. Remove from pans and place on a paper towel-lined, rimmed baking sheet to drain.
  4. Spread the remaining horseradish glaze from the Grilled Glazed Salmon on the rolls.
  5. Place a lettuce leaf, 2 crispy bacon strips and 3 slices of Granny Smith apple on each buttered roll and set a salmon fillet on top.
  6. Close the sandwiches and serve.

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Orecchiette with Corn, Bacon, & Parmesan

My family has a tough time getting back into our school schedule after summer vacation. It’s such a struggle! :/ I have a few quick weeknight meals that are just perfect for those of us who are suddenly short on time.

I first made this dish to celebrate after receiving my first ever organic corn in my CSA share. I had used cavatappi noodles and was disappointed in my choice of pasta. I think that this dish was perfect the second time around with my farm stand corn and orecchiette. Yay!

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com. Quick and tasty comfort food.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 16 ounces dried orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 pound bacon, ideally thick-cut, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (I used 5 slices)
  • 3 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob (I used bi-color corn_
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes, optional, to taste
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino romano
  • a fistful of fresh basil and/or chives, chiffonade

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente, or 1 to 2 minutes before it is done. Reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and drain.
  2. Scatter bacon in a large sauté pan (4 quart) over medium-high heat, no need to heat the pan first. Cook, stirring, until evenly browned and crisp.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon bits to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from pan (reserve for other uses, like frying eggs) and add corn to it.
  4. Season corn with salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add a dash or two of red pepper flakes, if using.
  5. Add pasta and a couple splashes of the cooking water and half the parmesan and toss, toss, toss the pasta with the corn, seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed and adding more cooking water if it doesn’t feel loose enough.
  6. Add scallions and stir to warm. (I reserved a few for garnish.)
  7. Stir in bacon and transfer to a serving bowl. (I reserved a little bit for garnish.)
  8. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, fresh herbs, and reserved scallions and bacon. Serve.

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Creamy Corn Chowder

Wow. This was delicious. A real celebration of summer farmstand corn. My local farmstand happens to have absolutely wonderful bi-color corn which I used for this special chowder.

A fresh corn broth is made for the base of this soup. It incorporates the corn cobs, shiitake mushroom stems, herbs, as well as parmesan rinds. I think it really makes the finished dish extraordinary.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit, contributed by Rick Martinez. I lightened the recipe by using half and half instead of heavy cream. I also used home-grown jalapeños instead of Fresno chiles and parsley instead of marjoram. I doubled the garlic too, of course. 😉 Fabulous!!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 2 Parmesan rinds (about 4 ounces)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • coarse salt
  • 5 T unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces (I used 3 thick slices)
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces (I used 1 1/2 large potatoes)
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 2 Fresno chiles or jalapeños, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 T chopped marjoram or parsley, plus more for serving
  • oyster crackers, for serving, optional
  1. Cut kernels from cobs and place in a large bowl. Reserve cobs.
  2. Place cobs in a medium pot and add Parmesan rinds, if using, mushroom stems, thyme, bay leaf, 2 tsp. salt, and 8 cups water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth is fragrant and reduced by half, 40–50 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids and set broth aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 4 T butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high.
  5. Add corn kernels, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and juices have evaporated and browned on the bottom of the pot, 12–15 minutes. Reserve ½ cup corn for serving; transfer remaining corn to a medium bowl.
  6. Add wine to pot and cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Scrape into bowl with remaining corn.
  7. Heat remaining 1 T butter in same pot over medium and cook bacon until golden brown and fat has rendered, about 6 minutes.
  8. Add potatoes, shallots, leek, garlic, and chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but haven’t taken on any color, 12–15 minutes.
  9. Add chiles and cook until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes.
  10. Stir in flour and cook until nutty and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  11. Add reserved broth, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork-tender, 10–15 minutes.
  12. Add half and half (or cream) and corn mixture and cook, stirring, until chowder has thickened, 5–10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parley. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.
  13. Divide chowder among bowls. Top with additional parsley, oyster crackers, and reserved ½ cup corn; season with pepper.

Note: To make this vegetarian, omit the bacon and replace with more shiitake mushrooms; sauté them until they’re golden brown.

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Seared Scallops with Bacon-Braised Chard

More CSA chard! Just when my husband thought that he couldn’t eat any more greens, I cooked them with bacon and topped them with scallops. 🙂 I served this dish with corn muffins on the side too- just to be absolutely sure that he would be happy.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Top Chef Stephanie Izard. The scallops are first pan-seared and then basted with butter halfway through the cooking process over lower heat. Rich and delicious!

Yield: Serves 3 to 4

  • 2 thick slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 3/4 pounds rainbow chard—stems sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick, leaves cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 large sea scallops (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  1. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, 4 minutes. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir until tender but not browned, 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato and cook until it begins to break down, 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chard stems and cook until crisp-tender, 4 minutes.
  6. Add the chard leaves and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until wilted, 5 minutes; drain off any liquid.
  7. Add the soy sauce and cook until the leaves are tender, 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  8. Dry the scallops and season with salt and pepper.
  9. In another large skillet, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the scallops and cook over high heat for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  10. Turn the scallops and add the butter. Cook, spooning the butter on the scallops, until just white throughout, about 3 minutes.
  11. Spoon the chard onto plates, top with the scallops and serve.

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