Nicoise Inspired Winter Salad

A Hearty, Fragrant, and Delicious Winter Salad.

Typically this Nicoise Salad (pronounced neez-wahz) is served in summer in France, but we love the flavors so much that we use it as a winter salad too. We love that you can build a hearty salad that satisfies the need for more filling food in Winter while offering lots of vegetables and protein without meat. If you look in the fridge and pantry you’ll typically find most of the ingredients on hand, so why not give it a try. We’re having it for our Sunday supper along side some crunchy breaded shrimp. This salad normally includes canned tuna but we don’t always follow the rules ūüôā

Salad nicoise

The TwoFoodNuts version of Nicoise Salad:

Serves 2-3 as a main dish or 6 as a sidedish

The Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup Olive oil
  • Grated peel of 1 Lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp white Balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 minced or grated garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup finely minced flat leaf Italian parsley or Basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into a small mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate. The mustard will help thicken the dressing.  Set aside.

The Salad:

  • 12-14 Baby potatoes halved
  • 12 Kalamata Olives or olives of your choice
  • 12 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 6 Gerkins or baby dill pickles
  • 1/4 sweet onion, thinly slices and added to tomatoes
  • 20 green beans, stem end removed
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped and fried till crisp (optional for vegetarian versions)
  • 4 eggs soft boiled
  • drain 1 can of oil packed Tuna if you wish to keep the salad traditional
  • a few lettuce leaves to place the ingredients on at plating.

Begin by setting all the ingredients into separate bowls. This will help when you’re ready to dress the components to assemble the finished salad.¬†¬†

nicoise ingredients

Preparing the cooked ingredients:

  • To cook the potatoes and green beans, use a steamer.
  • Steam them individually until just tender.¬†Steaming keeps them from becoming water-logged.
  • Fry the bacon till crisp and drain on paper towel.
  • Boil the eggs by covering them with cold water, bring to a boil, cover and turn off heat for 5 minutes.

As soon as the potatoes are tender, place them in their bowl and spoon over a few tablespoons of the dressing to coat the potatoes well. Do the same with the beans. Dressing them when they are hot helps them absorb the delicious dressing! Dress the tomatoes and onions the same way. Just a bit of dressing on the ingredients flavors without making them soggy.

Salad nicoise

Get out a pretty platter and begin adding everything so it looks appetizing. You can mix it all up or place the ingredients into their own section.  We  like to use lettuce leaves as a base and build the salad from there. Serve with crusty bread and a side dish as we did or simply use the tuna for a full meal.

salad nicoise plate

Cook’s Tip: Make this salad your own by changing up the potatoes to little red ones, or using white kidney beans in place of green beans, serve with a piece of grilled salmon and try chunks of Feta with the dressing.¬† You name it, you can substitute it and still get a fabulous winter salad.

 

 

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Roasted Beet an Orange Salad

A Winter Salad Dedicated To Trudy.

Our sister-in-law Trudy currently works and lives in Macau. We stay in touch each week by Skype and sometimes the topic turns to food, especially when we’ve just posted about something that isn’t easily available in Macau.¬† Trudy has decided that when we can send a sample of our cooking via Skype we will have reached the height of technology.¬† We agree!¬† Macau is formerly a Portuguese colony on the southern coast of China so you know there would be a few “good eats” that Trudy could Skype back to us as well!

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

This salad is a new rendition of an old favorite.¬† Here we’ve added oranges, raspberries and we substituted Feta instead of Goat cheese.¬† We think beets taste best when slow roasted and the sharp salty taste of the Feta cheese adds to the vibrant flavors in this winter salad.¬† When the weather turns cold we need robust salads that include sturdy greens, healthy toppings and high flavor dressings. This Roasted Beet and Orange Salad delivers on all counts.

Lets get started. The best way to get the most out of the beets is to peel and roast them slowly with a splash of olive oil and some sea salt.  Then marinate the beets overnight for the deepest taste.

TwoFoodNuts Roaste Beet and Orange Salad:

Serves 6 to 8

For the Roasted Beets

  • 3 or 4 medium size beets peeled and sliced in 8ths
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 pinch Herb de Provence
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Wrap the beets in foil or place into a small roasting pot.  Bake in a low oven (300 F) for an hour or until the beets are tender.

Roasting beets

For the marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic or Raspberry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Pour over the beets and place in the fridge overnight

Balsamic Marinade

For the Salad:

  • Greens of¬† your choice.¬† (We used a mix of Arugula and Baby Spinach) Watercress would be wonderful here.
  • Sliced navel orange pieces, a few fresh raspberries
  • Crumbled Feta cheese
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • The roasted beets

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Raspberry Balsamic plus 1 Tbsp Red Wine vinegar
  • Or¬† 3 Tbsp plain Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp¬† white sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

Today we served the Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Heddy’s Ham and Cheese Croissant¬†¬† A roasted chicken breast and this salad would also make a great dinner!¬† No more boring winter salads!

Beet and Orange salad

 

 

 

Korean Vermicelli Salad

You Won’t Know This Is So Good For You!

When I was still working, a Pho restaurant opened across the road from Harry’s office. My business partner David and I found ourselves eating there almost once a week.¬† While Harry is not a great friend of Pho, he does love when I make the Vermicelli Noodle Salad. It just happens that it’s very warm today so guess what?¬† I’m making us the salad for lunch.

Korean vermicelli SaladKorean Vermicelli Salad as with much Asian food is very healthy.¬† We just love that we are eating well and enjoying such fabulous tasting food at the same time.¬† This dish relies heavily on fresh produce and today we used what we have on hand.¬† That’s one of the best things about this style of cooking.¬† It can be different each time you make it depending on the veggies or protein that you use. Today we used leftover shrimp.¬† There is no right or wrong!

Two Food Nuts Vermicelli Salad:

This recipe is for two hungry people

The Vermicelli Salad

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 3 green onions finely sliced
  • 20 Basil leaves sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or chopped salted Cashews if you have a peanut allergy.
  • We had 6 leftover cooked shrimp from our Garlic Shrimp Dinner, so in they go!

salad veggiesSwitch it up with other vegetables like: sweet peppers, bean sprouts, snow peas or cucumber.  Use whatever you have on hand be creative!

Place all the prepared veggies into a mixing bowl.  Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions for the brand that you buy.  They are not boiled like regular pasta.   Rice noodles do not expand like pasta noodles either so you need to start out with approx the amount you intend to add to your salad. When cooked we use 1 cup per person.

Cook’s Tip: Buy a medium sized rice noodle also known as vermicelli for this recipe. The very thin ones do not hold up to all the veggies, the very thick ones overwhelm them.

Dressing for the salad:

  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (use 1/2 tsp if you only have dried ginger)
  • 1 medium garlic clove grated or minced
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar¬† (use Palm sugar if you have it on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a fresh lime
  • 1/2 minced red chili pepper (optional) we like the heat it provides.

Pour the dressing over the veggies and noodles, toss well and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts or cashews.  Al meokkesseumnid!    Korean for Bon Appetite!

Korean vermicelli SaladDon’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family via Facebook or twitter!

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

Hail Caesar!  No! Wait a minute! Hail Harry!

When Harry first began his culinary adventures he asked me to show him how to make my Caesar Salad.¬† I gave him the recipe that I had used for decades and he makes it better than I ever did!¬† I haven’t made it since.

Party Caesar SaladWe use the dressing to create two different serving styles. One is for regular dinners and the other for parties.  The ingredients are classic but I think that Harry really takes his time when he assembles the ingredients, making the dressing a soft thick mousse that clings to the lettuce.  All our friends swoon over it.  Hold your applause please.

Caesar dressingWhen we do parties, Harry places the Caesar dressing into the bottom of a Champagne glass.¬† He makes crouton sticks from puff pasty, and to make it extra special he adds long strips of crisp bacon. The result is beautiful and the taste…. Let’s just say is memorable.¬† Guests dip the trio of lettuce, crouton and bacon into the dressing and you will hear nothing but the inevitable Mmmmmm sounds.

Party Caesar SaladParty or dinner the great taste is worth the extra effort.

Caesar SaladWhen Harry serves the salad for lunch or dinner, he splits the head of Romaine into long pieces by cutting it from the top of the leaf to the stem.  One head of Romaine should yield at least 4 servings, more if it is extra large. Then he lays it on the serving plate, drizzles the dressing over it, shaves some quality Parmesan on top and finishes with our homemade croutons.

By serving the salad with the dressing drizzled on top rather than mixed into small pieces of lettuce you assure that the salad stays crisp to the last bite!

Two Food Nuts Caesar Salad Dressing:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard¬† (please do not use yellow mustard in this recipe)
  • 2 Anchovy fillets or 1 tsp Anchovy paste
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed or grated
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup canola or sunflower oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a small deep mixing bowl (about 6 inches in diameter) add all the ingredients except the oil, lemon and Parmesan cheese.  Whisk  together to incorporate well. Pour the oil into a 1 cup measure with a spout.  Drizzle the oil almost drop by drop while whisking it into the eggs. The slow incorporation of the oil at the beginning insures emulsification (thickening) of the sauce. Once you have about 1/3 of the oil blended into the egg mixture, you can add a few tablespoons of oil at a time and whisk briskly after each addition.

Once all the oil is incorporated, add the lemon, Parmesan and salt and pepper. This dressing lasts in the fridge for a full week if covered.  The recipe serves 8.

The more time you spend whisking the oil into the eggs the thicker and richer the final result will be.  You are trying to get a sauce that will mound on a spoon.

Caesar dressingCook’s Tip: Place a damp towel on the counter. This helps steady the mixing bowl while you stir in the oil.

cook's tipSo there you are,  our Caesar Salad dressing!

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Hot Day, Refreshing Cool Salad

Bean Medley, one of summer’s tasty delights.

How often do you turn to vegetables like beans to make a salad?  Most of us think lettuce first. At our home this Bean Medley is a perennial favorite when new crop beans are available at the market. There is a special crisp, sweet character early in the summer, so the very first time you see them, try out this easy dish.

We especially love that the dressing is stable and can be taken to a BBQ or picnic without the worry of spoilage. Mayo based dressings are always risky when the temperature climbs, but this oil and vinegar dressing is safe even at room temperature.

Three bean salad

The Two Food Nuts Recipe.

  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 pound Mixed¬†yellow and green beans trimmed and cut to 1 1/2 inch pieces( I grab two good handfuls of each) when shopping
  • 1 small sweet onion minced finely
  • 1 tsp salt

Place the yellow and green beans in gently boiling salted water and cook until just fork tender. Drain well and place into a large bowl. Add the kidney beans and finely chopped onion. You’ll find that the onion will loose all its sharpness once the dressing is allowed to fully marinate the salad.

For the Dressing

1/4 cup each:

  • Canola oil
  • ¬†Rice wine vinegar
  • ¬†White sugar.

Then add just enough salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Whisk together and add to the beans and onions while the yellow and green beans are still warm. This really helps the veggies absorb the dressing.

If you like a salad with attitude you can add a bit of fresh chili (with or without the seeds depending on how brave you are).

Red chili peppers

Now the temptation is to serve it up right away, but honestly the salad is best when made the day before and allowed to marinate.

Be the hit of your next summer supper or pot luck with is Bean a Medley Salad. ¬†Let us know how you enjoyed it!¬† Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends on Facebook.

Three bean salad