Posts tagged #salad

Kale and hearty (Apple and kale salad recipe)

It took some time for me to warm up to raw kale in a salad. It was always an eat-it-cuz-it’s-healthy winter staple, sautéed it in a little olive oil with garlic and some lemon or vinegar. In fact, kale’s rise in popularity mystifies me. Despite its healthful qualities, its bitterness is an acquired taste.

For some, kale’s rise in status has a downside. A mention of the vegetable elicits an eye-roll from my Brooklyn-living Ace Reporter son, always the contrarian.

Cliché or not, kale is here to stay, so I made a stab at coming up with a salad I would want to revisit time and again, especially now that it’s in all the farmers’ markets. One could argue that it is a beautiful leafy green that is hard to resist.

Cut into ribbons, sturdy kale can stand up to a strong, tangy dressing like this one, made with cream and lemon instead of oil and vinegar, and spiked with plenty of mustard. Toast some walnuts, throw in thirst-quenching apples, add spicy radishes to the mix, and you have an abundance of flavors that will awaken your taste buds. That long, cold winter is finally ancient history.

Chopped kale salad with apples and creamy mustard dressing (Serves 4)


1/2 cup heavy cream

2 to 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (to taste)

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, stir the cream, Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together.


1/2 cup walnuts

1 bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale

1/2 small head radicchio, cut into thin ribbons

1 Granny Smith apple, cut into bite-size matchsticks

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread the walnuts on a pie pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasty and fragrant. Cool.

3. Fold the kale leaves in half lengthwise, and with a knife, strip out the stems. Stack the leaves and cut them into thin ribbons.

4. In a bowl, combine the kale, radicchio, apples, radishes, and walnuts. Toss with the dressing and serve.

Posted on July 11, 2014 and filed under Salad, Salad Dressing.

Roasted beets, pears, and blue cheese holiday salad recipe

Cuz I love you. Cuz Christmas is around the corner. Cuz not everyone reads The Boston Globe where this was published last week. Cuz now I have to go back to last minute baking, shopping, wrapping, and you probably do too. 

May your days be sunny and bright

May your hearts be happy and light

Merry Christmas everyone!

(from Gene Autrey's album 

Merry Texas Christmas


Salad of roasted beets, pears, blue cheese and watercress

Serves 8

Crisp bosc pears in their russet skins hold their shape well when roasted, and pair beautifully with the sharp flavor of blue cheese.

Roast some beets while you are at it, add some dark green watercress, and you end with a colorful salad worthy of a holiday celebration.


4 tablespoons orange juice

5 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and black pepper, to taste

9 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


Oil for the baking sheet

4 bosc pears, halved, cored and cut into 3/8-inch thick slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red beets, tops and bottoms trimmed, and cut in half

2 orange beets, tops and bottoms trimmed, and cut in half

1 cup pecans

3 bunches of watercress, thick stems removed

4 ounces blue cheese, cut into thin slices

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Have on hand a pie pan.

2. With a pastry brush, brush one baking sheet with oil. Spread the pear slices on it in one layer. Brush the tops of the slices with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pear slices are lightly browned and tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Let cool.

3. On the second baking sheet, spread the beets. Pick up the edges of the foil to loosely enclose them in a package. Bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Open the foil and leave until cool enough to handle. Peel, and cut into wedges.

4. Decrease the oven heat to 350 degrees. On the pie pan, spread the pecans in one layer. Bake for 8 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted.

5. In a salad bowl or on a large platter, toss the watercress with half the dressing. Arrange the roasted beets and pears on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and top with pecans and blue cheese. 

Posted on December 22, 2013 and filed under Salad, Salad Dressing.

Eat across the color spectrum: A cheerful rainbow salad

On the phone last Friday, College Boy suggested I bake cupcakes. I made chicken stock. After all, his train from New York that morning had been cancelled, so he wouldn't be here to eat them. That left two of us—Man of The House and myself—two people who could not be trusted with a plateful of little frosted cakes for a nano-second.  Surely that would be dinner, along with a glass of Scotch (his poison) or red wine (mine.) Or maybe both. And plenty of it. I guess we can’t call out for pizza we joked reassuringly to each other, still uncertain when the lockdown would be lifted.

As it turned out, I could not summon enough focus to decide what to bake. So I cleaned out my freezer and made stock. Despite my best efforts to take breaks, my eyes and ears were glued to the television. Not even cooking—a favorite remedy of mine during times of stress—could offer refuge or distraction. At one point I snoozed on the couch, since I am one of the lucky ones who can sleep for twenty minutes any time, anywhere. I escaped into light slumber, lulled by the muted put-put of the helicopters through tightly closed windows, only waking to once again be riveted to the screen and the minute-to-minute updates. How very surreal to hear helicopters rushing to the scene, sirens wailing, and then, the unthinkable: gunshots--the final drama unfolding just three blocks down the hill from our calm and comfortable house.

There were no cupcakes for dinner. There was some good, soothing chicken soup, and plenty of the aforementioned poisons to wash it down. That was quite enough for one day.

The intensity of the past weeks demands lightness. In that vein, I offer you this colorful salad to bring you back into balance containing a wide color spectrum of foods, should you need that. With so few vegetables available to us Northerners in the in-between season, this salad fills in the gap. The salad goes nicely with some of those first grilled burgers or shrimp of the season, now that pleasant weather seems to have arrived.

Rainbow Salad

Serves 6


Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Pinch sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper together. Gradually whisk in the oil.


1 small celery root (12 ounces), cut into fine matchstick

1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, grated

1 Granny Smith apple, cut into small dice

6 radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, for garnish

1. In a salad bowl, combine celery root, cabbage, carrot, apple, radishes, pomegranate seeds, and parsley. Toss with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced avocado and pumpkin seeds.

Posted on May 2, 2013 and filed under Salad.

Lentil and arugula salad

It’s hard to know what to eat at the cusp of spring. In the upper reaches of the Northeast, bare brown branches scrape each other in the chilly wind against a murky sky, not quite blue, not quite gray.

A few robins appeared on the dingy lawn last week, a hopeful sign, but even they looked out of place. Their heads bobbed this way and that.

Where are the worms?

The earth beneath them—dead grass the color of old cement—was still awaiting rejuvenation from the first warm April rain. An imminent meal for the robins did not look very promising.

My brain is yearning for spring and thinking salad, but my appetite is stuck in winter—it wants warming foods, substance. Pale, soft lettuces, fresh bright peas, baby leeks—these are still in my future. I hope in a not too distant one. In the meantime, I am transitioning with lentils. I have been making lentil soup for weeks on end: lentils with curry, lentils with sausage, red lentils, green lentils, yellow lentils, thick stewed lentils enveloping a few handfuls of something green like kale, Swiss chard, watercress. Lentils topped with feta cheese or crusty pita toasts.

Yet my mind is overtaking the demands of my body;

I will have my salad

, it states with imperiousness. Young arugula, with its sharp, peppery edge matches my impatience for the new season’s arrival. A salad of its dark green leaves, fortified with hearty lentils, spring onions, and some pan-seared tomatoes, fits the bill, a truce in the mind/body conflict and a nod to both seasons as they merge and move more definitively toward spring.

Le Puy lentils

Ordinary brown lentils

The lentils I used in this salad are Le Puy lentils—small, green lentils from France. They hold their shape well in cooking, so they are ideal candidates for eating warm, cold, or, most preferably, at room temperature. Another small lentil choice comes from Italy: Umbrian lentils (

lenticchie di Castelluccio

.) Start by flavoring some olive oil with crushed coriander seeds in a skillet. (If you don’t have a mortar, enclose the coriander seeds in a zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.) Sear some cherry tomatoes, and let them cool on a plate, while you make the vinaigrette in the skillet to soak up all the coriander tomato goodness. To mitigate the strong flavor of onion that will overpower the salad if it sits untamed, stir them into the lentils while they are hot, and add a bit of the vinaigrette at the same time, another flavor-soaking exercise. Finally, dress the leaves with the remaining vinaigrette and top them all off with the lentils and satisfying salty crumbles of feta. A fine meal to savor while waiting for the daffodils to pop.

Lentil, arugula, and feta salad

Serves 4

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup small green lentils, such as Le Puy or Castelluccio

1/4 red onion or 1 small spring onion, thinly sliced,

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 bunches (6 cups) arugula

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil with the coriander seeds. Add the tomatoes, cut side down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly soft but still hold their shape. Remove the pan from the heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a plate to cool.

2. For the vinaigrette: Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Stir in the vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Leave to cool in the pan.

3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils. Simmer over medium-low heat for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are tender but still hold their shape.

4. Drain in a colander and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the onions and 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Let cool to warm room temperature. Stir in the cilantro and cherry tomatoes.

5. In a salad bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining vinaigrette. Pile the lentils on top, and sprinkle with the feta.

Posted on April 12, 2013 and filed under Salad, Beans and Grains.

End of summer salad with creamy basil dressing and a really neat corn trick

Keep those flip-flops by the back door, boys and girls. We still have ten days of summer left.

When you have a few odds and ends left in the fridge—you know—those green beans you didn’t use, a few odd cherry tomatoes, and some leftover corn, make this salad. It’s filling and frugal at the same time. I love the walnut-size potatoes that abound in markets right now, but you could also use larger ones; just cut them into bite-size pieces after you cook them. Toss everything together with a creamy basil dressing and you have a potato salad with a college education. Creamy, crunchy, sweet, and satisfying—you can have it all and feel smug about cleaning out the refrigerator in the bargain.  

This is really an anything goes (within reason) salad. I often cook more vegetables than I need, so I can put together something interesting with leftovers. The amounts here are merely guidelines.

Quick, before the frost, enjoy basil in as many dishes as possible. You will be happy with this creamy, herby dressing that pairs well with crunchy beans and softer potatoes. Cook the beans just until done—they can still be a little crunchy, but not squeaky. And though I usually start potatoes in cold water, I found that cooking them in the pot after the beans was both more convenient and without mishap.

End of summer salad with creamy basil dressing

Serves 4

1 pound mini potatoes (the size of walnuts, or even smaller)


1/2 pound green beans, wax beans, or your choice of beans, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

Kernels from 2 to 3 ears cooked corn

1/2 pint multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved


Creamy basil dressing (see recipe below)

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until barely tender. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and spread on a tray or baking sheet to cool. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain and spread on the baking sheet to cool. (Now you could cook some corn in the water, too, if you don’t have any leftover.)

2. Combine the beans, potatoes, corn kernels in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add dressing to taste (you will have some left over.)

Creamy basil dressing

Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup olive oil

1. Combine basil, parsley mayonnaise, yogurt, salt, pepper, and honey in a blender jar. Purée until smooth. (If using Greek yogurt, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.) Open the feed tube and gradually add the oil while the motor is running. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like.

And now ladies and gentlemen, for the stupendous, astounding, revolutionary, mind-blowing really neat corn trick (thank you Jeannie Klainer!) you have been waiting for.

Does your corn fly from here to kingdom come when you try to remove it from the cob?

Do you sometimes wish you had a dog when you are cutting corn from the cob?

If you have a dog, does she turn up her nose at or just flatly ignore the tiny kernels in every corner of your kitchen?

If the answer is yes, then you are ready for the absolutely free and revolutionary (I know, I already said that, but it’s exciting) corn trick. Pull out the Bundt pan you have in the basement (or borrow one, as I did). Steady the base of the cob on top of the hole in the center, and slide your knife under the kernels from top to bottom. Voila! The corn neatly falls into the pan.

I have to go now. I am going to cut more corn and freeze it for the winter….

p.s. Today commemorates the day our world changed (was it only eleven years ago?) I needed some levity, but my thoughts are with all those who lost a loved one.

Posted on September 11, 2012 and filed under Salad Dressing, How To, Salad.