Tag Archives: salad

Delicious Field Greens & Strawberry Salad

Field Green Salad, Rotisserie Chicken, Sourdough bread

Field Greens Salad, Rotisserie Chicken, Sourdough bread

imageNo one wants to cook during the hot days of summer. For this reason, I like to create different salads and pair them with a protein. Today, I picked up a rotisserie chicken and some sourdough baguette to go with my delicious salad. It’s easy and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. Recently, I started using a nice wooden bowl.  I prepare the dressing right in it, and then, I toss the salad. This way, you avoid more cleaning and save time.   Follow me in the kitchen and watch me whip a quick meal.

 

Warning: If you are allergic to nuts  or any type of seeds, omit the pumpkin seeds.

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish
Level of difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1  – 5-oz bag of mixed field greens
  •  1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  •  1 tsp. honey
  •  1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1 handful of pumpkin seeds
  • 4.5 oz. garlic and herbs goat cheese, broken into pieces

Preparation:  
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar. Slowly, pour the olive oil and continue whisking until it emulsifies. Drop the greens, strawberries, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese. Toss well.

I served it with 2 store-bought rotisserie chicken, (only 1 in picture)  and some sourdough bread.  My family smeared the goat cheese on the bread and it was divine.

Cook’s note: You can substitute pumpkin seeds for pecans or walnuts.  If you don’t like goat cheese, use another soft cheese of your choice.

Happy Tossing from My Kitchen to Yours!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad, Thanksgiving Edition

I noticed these beautiful Bosc pears at the grocery store, and decided to make a colorful, and festive salad with them. We have no fall here in South Florida, but I wanted to get in the spirit of autumn. This salad is perfect for Thanksgiving, and has all the luscious colors of the season.

Serves 6 – 8 as a side  –  Level of difficulty: Easy
You can easily double up on the recipe for a larger group

Ingredients:  

  • 5 oz. bag, assorted field greens, pre-washed
  • 1 Bosc pear, cut lengthwise
  • 3 walnuts, unshelled, broken into medium-sized pieces *
  • 1 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Place the field greens in a large bowl, arrange the pears, sprinkle the walnuts, cranberries, and the blue cheese on top of the salad.

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  •  Salt, to taste

Whisk in vinegar, oil, honey and salt, until it’s mixed well. You can also shake all the ingredients in a jar. Taste and adjust if necessary. Pour over the salad just before serving.

Tips: 1) You can also use 1/4 cup candied pecans instead of the walnuts.

2) Add grilled chicken, and make it a meal for a special evening.

Wine “pearing”: A crisp white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or any wine of your choice.

Bosc pear

Bosc pear, photo by Foodiewinelover

Eat, Drink and put all your troubles aside for at least one day! Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Gina,

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Delectable Greek Salad

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Acropolis, Athens

Acropolis, Athens

 

I love Greek cuisine, and one of the easiest dishes to make, is a classic Delectable Greek Salad. When I make it here in the US, I usually use Romaine or iceberg lettuce along with the other ingredients. Surprisingly, when I was in Greece, I found out, their authentic salad did not call for any lettuce. Back in 2008, taking pictures of food wasn’t popular like today. I don’t have any to share with you because Instagram was non-existent then. However, I will share some of my personal photos taken while visiting some of the famous and breathtaking Greek islands, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Athens.

Serves 2-4 as a side – Add Grilled Chicken or Salmon, and make it a meal for 2.  Difficulty, super easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tomato, cut up in wedges
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut up in wedges
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  •  A handful of Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 3-4 oz. of Feta cheese, crumbled, and a square for garnish
  • Red wine vinegar, lots of drizzle to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to your heart’s content
  • Himalayan sea salt, or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon oregano

Preparation:

Place the tomatoes, Feta cheese, cucumbers, onions, olives, peppers in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinegar, and a generous amount of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well. Garnish with a nice piece of Feta. Voila! You got yourself a lovely and refreshing Greek salad.

Tips #1)  Always use more olive oil than vinegar. In general, the ratio is 2-3 parts oil for 1 part vinegar.

Tip #2) You can eye-ball the measurements, use a jar with a spout, it gives you more control. Most of all, as a homecook, you should always taste your food. If you like it, the chances are, your loved ones will too.

I hope you will make this delicious salad, and bring it to a picnic!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Kali Orexi!

Delectable Greek Salad

Greek Salad

 

Greek Salad

Mykonos

Mykonos

 

Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes

Cinco De Mayo Avocado Salad

Avocado Salad

Avocados

It’s Cinco de Mayo,  time to celebrate Mexico’s independence. There are a varieties of food and drinks associated with Mexico. Tacos, Tamales, Tostadas, Guacamole, Margaritas, Tequila, and more. Avocados are widely used in Mexico to make guacamole, a delectable avocado dip. However, today, I am sharing with you a simple, and yummy Cinco de Mayo Avocado Salad. If you’ve never had avocados, you are missing out on some yumminess. They are delicious and very healthy for you. They contain good fat, the one that doesn’t clog up your arteries. However, keep in mind, eating too much of it will make you gain weight.

I spent my childhood in the West Indies, Haiti, where my parents owned a business. We had 2 large avocado trees, needless to say, I grew up on avocados. Those varieties were the big ones, and very tasty. It is also a big staple in the Caribbean culture, and part of their daily diet.

There are many ways to prepare avocados, you can make guacamole, or stuff them with shrimp salad. I often make a lovely salad that’s easy to prepare, and adds beautiful color to a plate.

When choosing avocados, make sure they give a little to the touch, if they are hard, it simply means they are not ripe yet. You can buy them to make at a later time, but don’t wait too long as they ripen quickly. There are many varieties, but the most common one is Hass, sometimes marketed as Haas Avocado. Here is a link from Tasty Kitchen showing you how to safely open and peel an avocado:

http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2010/02/how-to-open-an-avocado-and-keep-all-10-fingers/

Servings: 3-4       Level of Difficulty:   Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 Haas Avocado (From California), cut up in pieces, or diced
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Preparation: 

1.) Follow instructions how to open the avocados safely. Next, cut them lengthwise, then chop them in small pieces, or dice in equal sizes. They don’t need to be perfect (unless you’re a perfectionist)

2) Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well. Chill for at least an hour.

Serve as a delicious side dish.

Tip: You can substitute the vinegar with lime juice for a different take. It will come out equally delicious.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! Ole!

Buen Provecho y Salud!

 

Caprese Salad

CapreseSaladFoodiewinelover
In 2007, my family and I embarked on an amazing Italian trip, and one of the itineraries was Capri. It is a breathtaking island, and we took a ferry from the bay of Naples to get there.  We visited the famous Blue Grotto, ate some regional cuisine, and took a tour of the island. I must admit, I was very scared going up the mountains on the tour bus, but it  was a travel experience that I will never forget. Today, I am sharing with you an easy and delicious dish, the Caprese Salad.

It’s been in the 90’s already in South Florida, and I couldn’t think of a more refreshing salad, called Insalata Caprese, in Italian.  It literally means Capri Salad because it originated in that magnificent island. In Italy, it is usually served as an antipasto, and made with fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil. The colors represent the Italian flag. My son recently brought me home a basil plant, and I already had some beefsteak tomatoes, and leftover Mozzarella that I recently used in my Chicken Parmigiana. I always have extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar readily available. I was on the go, and needed a quick-lunch, and this salad hit the spot. It was a great way to reminisce about our trip. (We were there again in 2008, but that’s another blogpost.)

Serves: 2 as a meal – Super easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 Beefsteak Tomato, sliced
  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  • Basil leaves, for garnish
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar, of Modena
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Arrange the tomatoes and Mozzarella on a serving plate, lightly season with salt & pepper, liberally drizzle with olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar. Garnish with basil leaves.

Voila, the salad is ready to be served! It is such a beautiful culinary creation, and so easy to prepare. Make it for your guests, and I assure you, they will love it.

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen To Yours!

Gina

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Capri, Italy, June 2007 – Hubby and me

 

 

 

Pasta Salad

pasta salad

veggies

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In my house, we love our pasta in all shapes and forms. Most of the time, I make it as a hot dish, but with summer upon us, (at least for us, South Floridians), I decided to make a killer Pasta Salad. I normally use the elbow shape just for cold pasta salads, since it’s the perfect size to blend well with all the chopped ingredients. You will never see me use this shape with any kind of red sauce, except for macaroni & cheese. LOL! I know, it’s an American thing!  This time, I served it as an accompaniment to some grilled New York strips. My family went crazy over it, and ate, and ate, and ate to their heart’s content.

This recipe will yield a very large bowl of pasta salad, but it can easily be divided in half.

Serves: 10 – 15 as a side dish
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
Prepping time from start to finish: 1 hour
Chilling time: Minimum of 4 hours in the fridge

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 lb. pasta, elbow shape, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb. of bacon, crumbled
  • 4 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 cup  mayo*
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Mrs. Dash, Italian Medley, no sodium
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lots of extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Preparation:

1) Cook bacon, crumble it and set aside.

2) Chop up all your veggies.

3) Get all your ingredients, condiments, and spices ready.

4) Boil eggs, chop them up set aside.

5) Boil salted water for pasta, and cook according to package directions.

6) Drain pasta well, and pour it in a very large mixing bowl.

7) Add all the ingredients and mix well.

8) Drizzle with olive oil. Mix again, cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. The colder the salad, the tastier it will be. This will allow the flavors to infuse nicely.

Right before serving, remove from the fridge, and drizzle more olive oil to moisten the salad.

* Notice that my salad is not saturated with mayonnaise, however if you don’t like mayonnaise at all, just substitute it with more olive oil, and add some red wine vinegar. It will be similar to a vinaigrette dressing. Taste, and adjust the spices as needed.

My son Matthew is a very picky eater, and he said, he’s never had such a good pasta salad before. The compliments were pouring in, as I sat and watch the bowl of pasta salad slowly disappearing before my eyes.  This was a good sign that I had prepared a wonderful culinary creation. My job was done in the kitchen, and I was happy with the results.

I hope the next time you get invited to a picnic, you will offer to make this very refreshing pasta salad.

Happy Cooking From My Kitchen To Yours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bites, Bubbly & Blogs

Since I am still fairly new at blogging, I decided to have a little get together in my kitchen with a couple of fellow (beginner) bloggers. We brainstormed and exchanged notes and ideas to help each other out. Angela will be blogging about food and wine and Barbara will be blogging about her amazing photography skills. I learned a lot from Angela’s organizational skills and computer knowledge, and Barbara taught me how to give my photographs some character and make them pop.  Their sites will be up and running soon, and I could not be more excited for them. From what I am seeing, bloggers help one another and are very supportive of each other.  That in itself is a big inspiration and motivates me to bring out my creative side.

GinaAngBarb

Needless to say, we had fun in my “Gina’s Kitchen” with small bites and bubbly to celebrate our new ventures. Of course, we spent nearly two hours, on and off trying to get some great food shots. Thank goodness, Barbara was there to guide us and give us some useful tips in food photography. This takes practice, and one can only get better with time and lots of experience. I made a lovely lump crab meat salad “sans mayo” since Angela does not care for it. I know some of you are frowning but not all of us are created equal and that’s what makes life so interesting.

It is a very simple recipe that anyone can whip up in no time

  • 1 – 8 ounce jar lump crab meat
    you can also use imitation crab meat which works
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 TBS olive oil

Degree of difficulty: Very easy
Serves 4-6

Preparation:

Lightly break up lump crab meat, if you are using imitation crab, you can shred it with your hands for a nice presentation. Combine all the ingredients at once and chilled for at least one hour. For added richness, you can add some mayonnaise and whatever spice you like.

lumpcrabmeat

I also served some delicious smoked salmon with sliced cucumbers. They were light and tasty but most of all, they paired beautifully with the bubbly.

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Simple, yet sophisticated

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Barbara brought some delicious hummus with veggies and Angela made a very healthy and scrumptious salad with field greens, avocados, corn, cherry tomatoes and sunflower sprouts.

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It was a fun and productive day, especially in the company of two friends that I care for. I admire both for their lovely qualities and  generous hearts.

Stay tuned for more exciting blogs on food, wine and travels. Until next time, happy blogging from Gina’s Kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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