Entries Tagged as 'salads'

Easy Peasy Caprese Salad

You know, living here in the Canaries has it’s advantages. (duh! lol)  I love the fresh local produce that abounds in the produce markets, and whatever the season, we’ve always got fresh oranges, lemons, avocados, pineapples, kiwis, tomatoes, zucchini, and a number of others.  One thing that hasn’t caught on so much here is the concept of fresh herbs (apart from parsley, cilantro and spearmint)…My neighborhood vendor normally has fresh basil and arugula (not so common around here!), but this week, the basil was looking a little sickly.  Bummer for me, because I have been seriously craving Caprese salad to accompany one of the many barbecues we’ve been having lately.  You see, my dear hubs is on vacation, and our regular schedule is a bit out of whack.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely awesome having him home instead of never seeing hide nor hair of him! lol  Just that we’ve been veering off of the beaten path of routine.  Alvaro *loves* grilling,  so we’ve been doing a lot of that while he’s home, and frankly, I haven’t pulled out the camera or food set-up stuff to share what’s been gracing our table very much.  Besides, Alvaro likes to hog the computer! LOL  ;)   So, anyway, back to the salad.  Yesterday we grilled some steaks and potatoes, and I was hell bent on having my Caprese salad.  I have to admit, the fresh basil is crucial.  It wasn’t as good with dried, even though I let it marinate for about an hour, but, even so, it was still good, so I’ll share it.  Vine ripened tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella really make the difference, too.  I’m thinking that the next time I make a Caprese, I’m going to really go wild and use vine ripened cherry tomatoes, and chop up the motz and shred some fresh basil…a wild and crazy chopped up Caprese.  Because that’s what this world needs.  Fo reelz.  Seriously, this is SUCH an easy salad for any meal, I wholly recommend it.  But get fresh basil.  I’m just sayin. ;)

caprese salad


1 large vine ripened tomato, sliced thick
1 small round of buffalo mozzarella (8 ounce/200 grams), sliced
cracked black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed is best)
red wine vinegar (I like tarragon flavor)
1 teaspoon dried basil (please, learn from my mistake and use fresh instead–I’d go with about 1 handful of basil leaves, sliced chiffonade or even just roughly chopped or torn)


Layer tomato and cheese slices on a plate (and fresh basil).
Season with remaining ingredients.
Allow to marinate for about 1 hour.
See? Easy Peasy. :)

Quinoa Tabouleh…Tabbouleh…Tabouli…Tabuli —look, spell it however you want to! :P lol

As you’ve probably realized from my posts, Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites. There is such a rich variety of dishes, and many of them are easily converted to a gluten free lifestyle (if they’re not already naturally so). Tabouleh salad is one of those easily converted dishes. By substituting Quinoa for the bulgur wheat, you have a delicious alternative. Quinoa when cooked properly has a very similar texture to bulgur, and tends to absorb the flavor of the dish it’s incorporated in, much like bulgur.

quinoa tabouleh


2/3 cup quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups chopped parsley
1 cup chopped mint
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
salt to taste


In a small saucepan, heat quinoa and water to boiling.
Boil 2-3 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to low.
Allow to cook about 12 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed, trying to avoid lifting the lid as much as possible.
Remove from heat and allow to rest untouched for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

Artichoke Pasta

I made this a while ago, but as you have probably realized, I haven’t been able to get on the computer much recently.  This pasta dish is a simple and elegant side for chicken or pork, and I think it would even work cold as a salad.

artichoke pasta


8 ounces (250grams) spiral (or other) pasta
1 can quartered artichokes (14 ounce 350 grams)
1 packet pine nuts (about 1/4 cup), toasted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, prepare artichoke sauce.
Toast pine nuts and reserve.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and sautee garlic until golden.
Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and artichokes, and toss to combine.
Add sauce to pasta (previously cooked and drained).
Add Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and toss to combine.
Adjust seasoning and serve warm or cold.

Crispy Fried Chicken, Parmesan Smashed Potatoes and Creamy Cucumber Salad

Now that’s a summer menu! :)   Fried chicken…one of the quintessential American summer foods…I like to make mine full of herbs and spices, and “double dipped” for extra crispness. The Parmesan smashed potatoes make a delicious addition to the chicken, and the salad…the salad is something my mom used to make all time during the summer months…cool, creamy, crunchy and simple….a nice alternative to coleslaw.

chicken and potatoes

Crispy Fried Chicken:


2 pounds (1 kilo) chicken parts (skin on, bone in)
1 quart buttermilk
sea salt
garlic powder
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion flakes
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1-2 teaspoons paprika
salt and pepper
oil for frying


Combine seasonings and buttermilk in a large bowl.
Place chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture.
Cover and refrigerate several hours.
Combine flour and remaining ingredients (except oil) in a deep plate.
Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, then buttermilk mixture, then again in the flour mixture.
Reserve on a plate and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
Heat enough oil (medium heat) in a deep, heavy bottomed skillet to come halfway up the chicken.
Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
Carefully add chicken pieces to hot oil (skin side down), taking care not to overcrowd.
Fry about 10 minutes per side, or until juices run clear (reducing heat if necessary).
Drain on paper towels, then place chicken on a baking sheet and place in the oven.


Parmesan Smashed Potatoes:


4-6 potatoes, skin on, well washed
1 container plain yogurt (6 ounce, 125 grams)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
roasted garlic to taste
onion flakes to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley


In a fairly large pot, bring potatoes to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook 45 minutes, or until the potato easily falls when a knife is inserted in the center.
Drain and add remaining ingredients.
Smash using a potato masher, breaking up the skin and combining the ingredients thoroughly.

cucumber salad

Creamy Cucumber Salad:

1-2 large cucumbers (to yield about 3 cups)
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons mayo or Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons dill
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper


Soak cucumbers (sliced) and onions (sliced) in salted water for 2 hours (this reduces bitterness).
In a large bowl, whisk together mayo/yogurt, milk and seasonings until smooth.
Add cucumbers and toss to combine.
Allow to rest in refrigerator at least 1 hour and serve.

Tuna, Tomato and Chevre Salad

Deliciously fresh and light, yet still packed with all kinds of good stuff.  I came up with this salad to accompany our steaks for lunch today…I think this one is going to be making a regular appearance around here…It would be good on its own, even, as a light lunch or dinner.



lettuce of choice
3 ripe tomatoes, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
1 can white tuna packed in olive oil, shredded
4 ounces (100 grams) chevre, crumbled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic
freshly grated pepper and salt


First, lay a bed of lettuce on your plates.
Layer tomatoes, tuna, onions, cheese and pepper/salt on each plate.
Whisk together oil, vinegar and pepper.
Just before serving, dress salad.

Strawberry Salad

Strawberries are at the their season’s peak…juicy, sweet…a sure sign that summer is on it’s way!  This salad can be a meal in itself…it’s got a little bit of everything…crunchy almonds, salty bacon, sweet juicy strawberries and just a hint of a bite from the red onions.  The bacon can easily be omitted to make this salad both vegetarian and gluten free.

strawberry salad


1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 pound (200 grams) bacon, sliced and browned
2 tablespoons sugar (about)
3 tablespoons water (about)
lettuce greens (this time I used red leaf, but spinach or romaine work well, too)
10 large strawberries, washed and sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds
salt and freshly cracked pepper


Heat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
Spread almonds on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with sugar and spritz with water.
Toast almonds in oven until golden (about 10 minutes or so).
Remove and cool.
Meanwhile brown bacon and drain on paper towels.
Toss together spinach, strawberries and onion.
Whisk together sugar, vinegar, olive oil, mayo, poppy seeds, salt and pepper.
Just before serving, drizzle salad with raspberry dressing and sprinkle with caramelized almonds and bacon.


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