Summer, my favorite season, is here. of the year. I love the beach, I love the ocean, I love the easy living, and I love cooking LESS!
Yes, true confession — I can’t wait for summertime so I can throw together a salad, grill something or make a smoothie for dinner.
It’s also a great time to “shop local.” I am a big proponent of the “eating local” philosophy. Mostly, I like to eat very locally — from my own back yard! Some issues resulting from a back injury may impede my gardening this summer, but I will still get a few tomato plants and zucchini plants in the ground and I have already harvested some herbs and lots of rhubarb.
Make the best of summer in the kitchen with fresh, delicious produce from local farmers. They will appreciate your support and you will reap delicious benefits!
Arugula Salad with Salmon and Grilled Goat Cheese Croutons (Dairy)
This is a composed salad that is easy to make and makes a family or company-worthy meal.
Poached or grilled salmon, served hot or cold, allow 3 to 6 oz. per person as desired
8 slices French bread or baguette, each slice about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Other seasonings and herbs as you like, onion powder, paprika, oregano, etc.
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. freshly snipped chives
1 very small shallot, finely minced
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
Tiny pinch sugar, or non-sugar sweetener, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 oz. arugula
4 oz. frisee
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
1/4 to 1/2 finely shredded purple cabbage
1/2 to 1 cup grape tomatoes
2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 Tbsp. low sugar or regular apricot jam
3 Tbsp. white wine
1/2 tsp. Dijon style mustard, more to taste
8 oz. goat cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely minced
CROUTONS: Mix the olive oil and the canola oil. Add the garlic and any other herbs or spices you may like. Mix well. Generously brush one side of the bread with half the oil mixture. Place a large skillet or grill pan (leaves nice grill marks) over medium heat and add the bread slices, oiled side down. Cook until golden brown. While they are cooking, brush the top sides with the remaining oil. Turn each slice and cook briefly until just barely golden. Turn off the heat, remove the croutons to a plate, and set aside.
DRESSING: Place all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Cover and set aside.
APRICOT SAUCE: Place the apricot jam, wine and mustard in a small, microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Heat just until warm and well-blended. Set aside.
GOAT CHEESE: Preheat the broiler to high. Slice the goat cheese into 8 slices. Place one slice on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Place the bread on a broiler proof pan and place in the broiler for 2 to 4 minutes. Watch carefully and do not burn. Remove from the broiler, drizzle a bit of the apricot sauce over each cheesy crouton, and let cool for about 2 minutes.
COMPOSE THE SALAD: Place the arugula and frisee on 4 plates. Sprinkle the carrots over the greens. Add some tomatoes and the cucumbers. Add the salmon, drizzle the dressing over the salmon, and place two croutons on each plate. Serves 4.
NOTE: Feel free to add any veggies you like to this salad. I love some sweet red or Vidalia onion with it and some spicy radishes.
Roasted Red Pepper Salad (Dairy or Pareve)
Make the peppers when you grill. They will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.
4 large red bell peppers
1 cup olives (your choice)
1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
Baby Field Greens
OPTIONAL: Fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, or parmesan, if dairy;m1 can drained and rinsed white beans or chickpeas; Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Garlic Lemon Dressing:
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 to 3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp. oregano. Top taste
1 to 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Grill the peppers over a high flame until they are black and blistered over most of the surface area. Place each pepper in a paper bag and close the top of the bag. Set aside for about 20 minutes or until cool.
Remove the peppers from the bag and carefully scrape off the charred skin. Cut the pepper into strips. Remove and discard the seeds and white membrane inside.
Place pepper strips on a platter and place the olives over and around the peppers. Rinse and drain the capers and sprinkle over the peppers.
Place about 1 large handful of greens on each plate. Add some peppers and olives or allow people to take their own. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small cup and whisk to emulsify. Drizzle over the salads. Serves 6 to 10.
Not-So Traditional Israeli Salad with Cheese Chips (Dairy)
Israeli salad is made with lots of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. and is usually dressed with a lemon dressing. This salad builds on that.
3 cucumbers, peeled and chopped (seeded, if you like)
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
6 large tomatoes, chopped (seeded, if you like)
1 bunch green onions (scallions), chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups baby field greens or other greens such as arugula
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup good quality grated parmesan cheese
1 cup flour
Tiny pinch salt
Cheese Chips: Mix all ingredients together in a food processor. Form into a log, about 2 inches thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 90 minutes or overnight. Slice into 1/4 inch thin rounds, using a very sharp knife. Place about 4 inches apart on a non-stick pan or on a sil-pat (silicone baking sheet) or on parchment. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Makes about 25 to 35 rounds.
ASSEMBLY: Wash and dry the greens and set aside. Mix all the chopped vegetables together in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl and pour as much as desired over the chopped vegetables. Mix well. Place some greens on each plate and top with a scoop of the dressed chopped vegetables. Drizzle extra dressing over the greens if desired. Serve with the cheese chips. Serves 6 to 8.
Avocado, Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad (Dairy)
6 oz. bow tie pasta or other bit sized pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Fresh finely minced parsley or chives
4 to 6 large ripe tomatoes
8 to 10 oz. mozzarella cheese or other sliced cheese if you like
1 large, ripe avocado, use two if you like
10 to 12 large fresh basil leaves
2 to 3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts or other nuts (pistachios are really good)
4 to 6 cups baby field greens
7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 1 tsp. whole grain mustard, to taste
1 tsp. minced fresh chives or other herb such as thyme or oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta as directed until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Slice the tomatoes into rounds. Do the same with the mozzarella cheese or whatever cheese you are using.
Place the field greens on a large platter. Alternate layering the cheese and tomatoes in a circle around the greens at the edge of the platter. Cover and set aside.
Toast the pine nuts by placing them in a dry skillet and heating over high heat constantly moving the skillet.
Heat just until fragrant - about 1 minute. Pour onto a plate to cool.
Place the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Tear the basil leaves off the stems and set aside. Halve the avocado. Remove the pit and peel the skin. Carefully slice the avocado halves and place slices among the tomatoes and the cheese.
Toss the pasta with about 1/3 to 1/2 of the dressing. Place the pasta in a mound in the center of the platter. Scatter the basil leaves and the pine nuts over the salad and pasta, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.