Archive for category Salad

Braised Pear and Wild Rocket Arugula Salad

Arugula-RocketThis salad borders on the decadent. I mean, the variety of flavors, from sweet to savory, is incredible. Arugula (also known as Rocket) is an amazing green. I’m not one to eat iceberg lettuce anyway. I generally use Boston lettuce, romaine, red leaf or green leaf for my salads…anything but iceberg. And I always add arugula.

My Good Karma partner in crime, Bill, gave me this recipe. This is one of those recipes I received with absolutely no measurements. I laughed when I saw it. So, I played with it a bit and came up with this recipe. This recipe should serve three or more.


3 Asian or Bosque pears (Asian preferred, but sometimes hard to find)

Wild rocket (baby) arugula

Honeyed Chevre goat cheese log

Walnuts or Pecans

1 Sweet Maui or Vidalia onion

White Balsamic vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh-ground black pepper

4 tbsp light brown sugar

4 tbsp unsalted butter


Thinly slice the pears and braise in the butter; add the brown sugar at the end and be sure that the pears are coated. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Add arugula to a salad bowl.

Slice the onion super thin in whole circles. Break apart and scatter over the arugula.

Add generous dollops of the honeyed chevre over the arugula and onions.

Scatter the braised pears and the nuts over the top of the salad.

Prior to serving, add the fresh-ground black pepper, and drizzle olive oil and white balsamic over the top. Toss gently to mix.



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Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Black-RiceChinese Forbidden Black Rice is awesome. It’s short-grain, so the consistency is perfect for this salad. However, I have to tell you that it is not easily found in a supermarket. I buy mine at an all-natural grocer. It costs about $6 for a pound, but it’s well worth the investment. There is no substitute for this, so do not use the Black Japonica Rice that you can find at the supermarket. This rice truly is “black,” not purplish.

The recipe calls for roasted, diced butternut squash. The one thing you do not want to do is cook this until it is mush. You want to put it in the oven in a single layer, making sure to turn it and brown it on each side. Taste test it to be sure it will hold up when you toss the salad.

The rice isn’t the only thing that makes the salad great. The very simple dressing is just plain delicious. No additional spices are needed.


2 cups forbidden rice

3.5 cups water

pinch of salt

1 lb roasted, diced butternut squash

1.5 cups snow peas, blanched and cooled

1/2 cup diced red pepper

1/2 cup diced yellow pepper

1/2 cup diced orange pepper

6 scallions, sliced

6 tbsp Tamari

9 tbsp sesame oil (or 6 tbsp sesame oil and 3 tbsp hot chili sesame oil if you like a little heat)

sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste


Bring rice, water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, bake the butternut squash (see note above), and allow to cool. Bring another pot of water to a boil, toss in the snow peas for no more than a minute or two, drain and rinse under cold water. The idea here is to make them a bit “pliable” if you will.

When the rice is done, drain it and put it into your serving bowl. Whisk together the Tamari and sesame oil. Add it to the rice while it is still a bit warm.

After the rice has cooled, add the peppers, snow peas, scallions, and butternut squash. Mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it’s a pretty attractive salad as well!




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Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

greek-pasta-salad-orzo-350This is one sweet pasta salad. It is absolutely delicious, and it gets better when you refrigerate it and eat it as leftovers. It’s great for cookouts, for sure. However, I make it all year long as a side dish. There’s nothing like it. It incorporates Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, tomatoes, and dill for starters. You almost cannot go wrong from there. It doesn’t matter when I make it  (and it’s always a bit different when I DO make it) it’s always a favorite of the people I’m feeding at any given time (except the children who will not try anything that might be remotely creative).

Orzo is one of those pastas that I grew up with. My mother and grandmother used it in chicken soup. They also used it when they made us macaroni (which is what we called pasta as kids) and butter, or macaroni and cheese. It’s also used in rice pilaf. It’s just one of those comfort foods for we Italians. And, apparently, for the Greeks as well.


1 lb (16 oz) of Orzo pasta

1.5 cups cucumbers, quartered (I like to use the European “seedless” cukes for this recipe)

1.5 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved (Get creative here; they don’t have to be red because the sweet yellow tomatoes are awesome in this pasta salad)

1 cup red onion, chopped (We used to call these Bermuda onions when I was young; maybe some people still do)

1 cup Kalamata olives, halved

1 16-oz packae crumbled Feta cheese (Some recipes call for less, but I say the more the merrier)

4 tbsp dried dill

1 cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes in oil (You can buy them this way)

Greek Dressing (recipe below)


The first thing you want to do is boil a large pan of water and some salt. Add the Orzo and boil until done. That takes about 12-15 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Don’t be afraid to get your hands in there. Allow the Orzo to drain completely.

Transfer the Orzo to a bowl large enough for you to mix in the ingredients. Throw in the cucumbers, tomatoes, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, red onion, dried dill, Feta cheese and Greek dressing. Toss to mix well.

Greek Dressing

This is where the Good Seasons Cruet comes in very handy. I just posted this on the Kitchen Essentials page. If you use this, you cannot go wrong. Trust me.

White Balsamic or Pinot Grigio vinegar

Canola oil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp dried lemon thyme

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning (McCormick makes a great product)

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Fill the cruet with vinegar to the water line (I never use water to cut the vinegar; I just ignore that line). Add the lemon juice, oregano, lemon thyme, lemon pepper seasoning, and salt. Add the canola oil to the “oil” line. Cap the cruet and shake well.

Add it to the pasta salad and mix well.

Refrigerate the pasta salad until it’s ready to be served. There’s a lot of pasta salad here, but no matter. It gets better as it gets older. I’ve made this for weekend cookouts and have eaten it the entire week after until it’s gone.

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