Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Basil

Caprese Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Caprese salad is made with only four main ingredients, so it is important that you use the best ingredients possible.  I like to use mozzarella di bufala (mozzarella made with buffalo milk). You can find an imported Italian brand in most warehouse clubs. Otherwise buy the best fresh mozzarella you can find from an Italian cheese store. I have been craving this salad since my recent trip to Italy. I went with my sister, niece and cousins. We had a great trip, but the one thing that my niece, Jasmine, had to have every day was Insalata Caprese. We visited Capri where this salad originates. The tomatoes were at their peak, and the mozzarella di bufala was the best we ever had. So, with this traditional Caprese recipe, I am reliving my trip to Italy.

Ingredients:
1 – lb. ripe Campari or vine ripened tomatoes
10 – oz. mozzarella di bufala
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 – fresh basil leaves
1/4 – tsp. dried oregano
Salt

Directions:
Slice tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange them on a plate in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and oregano, then drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes.

Campari tomatoes

Slice the mozzarella in 1/4 inch thick slices, and arrange them on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little salt and a pinch of oregano. Taste the mozzarella before you add salt to determine how much is needed. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese and top with pieces of basil. Tear the basil with your hands; do not cut it with a knife.

Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil

Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!
Caprese, Salad, Tomatoes, Mozzarella




Frisée Lardon Salad

Frisée Salad, Bacon, Egg

Frisée Lardon Salad

Serves: 4

Frisée Lardon salad is a popular item in French Bistros and one of my favorite salads. This is a recipe from Petit Trois, Los Angeles, California that I found on the website “Bon Appétit”. It is easy to make, and delicious. If you are a fan of this salad, you will agree that it is the real deal.

Ingredients:
2 – tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 – oz. slab bacon
1/3 – cup diced shallot
1/2 – cup red wine vinegar
4 – eggs
1 – tbls. distilled white vinegar
2 – large heads of frisée salad
Salt
White ground pepper

Directions:
Put a small pot of water on the stove to boil and add the white vinegar. In the meantime, wash the salad, cut to desired sized pieced, and let dry off.

Slice the bacon into 1/2″ strips.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet. Add the bacon and cook it on high until it is crisp on the outside, but be careful not to burn it or to let it dry out. When the bacon is almost done, turn down the heat to medium and add the diced shallot.

Sauté about 2 minutes, stirring often. Turn the heat off when ready.

Now it is time to poach the eggs. I use a little trick to poach the eggs. Place a 3″ high stainless round mold into the boiling water. It should stick out above the water. Carefully add one egg into the mold, being careful not to break the yolk.

Use a slotted spoon to gather the egg white to help to form the poached egg. Let cook about 2 minutes and carefully remove the egg with the slotted spoon and place it on a plate and set aside. Continue and cook the other 3 eggs in the same manner

When the last egg is being poached return the bacon and shallots to the heat. When the temperature of the mixture starts to come up, deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar. Add a little salt and white pepper to taste. Reduce the heat and cook about three minutes to reduce the vinegar by half. Turn off the flame and add the frisée and stir to coat all the leaves with the bacon and vinegar dressing.

Remove promptly to serving plates. Top each with a poached egg and serve immediately.

Enjoy!




Farro and Tuna Salad

Farro, Tuna, Tomatoes, Capers

Farro and Tuna Salad
This is a great any time meal that is healthy, hearty, and delicious. This recipe is easy to make and packs a lot of nutrition. Farro is my favorite whole grain. It has a nutty flavor with a nice bite to it. Not only is it delicious, but it is also high in fiber and protein and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup farro
6 oz. can Italian tuna in olive oil
1/3 cup diced shallot
1/3 cup diced celery
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 tbls. capers
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tbls. fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
salt
ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons of salt, and cook the farro according to package directions. Do not over cook. It should be al dente. In the meantime, dice the shallot, celery and set aside. Chop the parsley and thyme, and slice the tomatoes in half.

When the farro is ready, drain it and place it in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and set aside to cool for about 15-20 minutes.

When the farro is cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and another 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Taste it to see if it needs salt. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Buon appetito!

Farro, Tuna, Salad, Capers, Tomatoes




Italian Potato Salad

When I was growing up my mother would make Italian Potato Salad during the summer months. This potato salad is lighter and healthier than traditional potato salad with mayonnaise, and you don’t have to worry about the mayo going bad in the heat.

This dish reminds me of July 4th celebrations during my childhood. I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. The town was built around a steel mill that extended the length of the town, which is about 1 1/2 miles long. We lived on the Main Street of town, and on July 4th the parade was held there. People came from all over Beaver Valley and even from parts of Ohio to watch the parade. Everyone lined up along the Main Street to watch as the floats and marching bands went by, and the children waited anxiously to grab the candy and treats that were thrown into the crowd by the fire trucks.

Our prime location for the parade route turned our house into the place to be. Family and friends came from all over to celebrate the holiday with us. Mom put on a big spread and the celebration lasted from morning until after the fireworks that night. It was a special day.

Make your celebration special, and try this recipe.

Ingredients:
28 – oz. baby red potatoes
1 – cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1/3 – cup diced red onion
1 – cup grape tomatoes
1 – tsp. chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 – cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 – cup red wine vinegar
4 – fresh basil leaves
1/2 – tsp. dried oregano
1/2 – tsp. garlic powder

Directions:
Clean the potatoes in cold water. Bring a pot of water to a boil then add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the potatoes and boil them whole for about 10 minutes until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and let cool until you can handle them.

Dice the onion, slice the tomatoes in half, and cut the pepper into thin slices. Add the vegetables to a large bowl.

 

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme.

Now slice the potatoes in half or in quarters if they are a little bigger.  Add the potatoes to the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and mix well.  Roughly chop the basil leaves and toss in to the potato salad.

Let stand about one hour before serving.
For the best flavor serve at room temperature.

Buon appetito!




Quinoa and Baby Kale Salad

Kale, Quinoa, Avocado, Salad

It is not always easy to eat healthy, especially with our busy schedules. Luckily for us, there are several ancient grains, including quinoa that have become popular over the last several years that offer us great health benefits. Quinoa is considered a super food because it is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and it is also gluten free. It is one of the most versatile ancient grains. It can be used in both hot and cold recipes such as, pancakes, cookies, stuffing, meatballs, and salads.

The nutty flavor of the quinoa is a delicious and hearty addition to this simple salad. I used baby kale, but you can use spinach, arugula, or mixed greens if you prefer.

Ingredients for Dressing:
4 – tbls. olive oil
2 – tbls. orange juice
2 – tbls. red wine vinegar
1/4 – tsp. cumin
1 – tsp. honey
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/8 – tsp, ground black pepper

Ingredients for Salad:
3/4 – cup quinoa
1 – can black beans
1/2 – cup red bell pepper
1/3 – cup red onion diced
5 – oz. baby kale
1/3 – cup walnuts
1 – avocado
Feta cheese

Directions:
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Be sure to add salt to the water.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Next prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain and rinse the black beans and place them in a large bowl. Dice the red onion and pepper, and rough chop the walnuts. Add them to the beans.

When the quinoa is ready, drain it thoroughly and add it to the bean mixture. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix thoroughly. Next add the kale and mix. Top off with slices of avocado and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings