Fruit Salad Slaw (not as weird as it sounds)

The Grill-Meister isn’t a big fan of most vegetables, but I’m on a lifelong mission to pull him over to the bright side.  One way I’ve been successful in this mission over the past few years has been with slaws.  I can throw together a quick slaw as a side dish, and he’ll usually eat it without grumbling (much).  But he came to love, love, love slaws after having the Mango Coleslaw at Peli Peli, an upscale Houston-area eatery that serves South African food with a twist. The twist being…”fusion”, including the use of marinades and spices that have Dutch, Asian and Portuguese roots, alongside big American meats and seafood. It works! I could go on and on about Peli Peli, one of my favorite restaurants, but this isn’t a restaurant review post, it’s a recipe post.

One of the best things about Peli Peli is that it moved the Grill-Meister from slaw-tolerant to slaw-loving. Adding those dried mangoes did it.

Of course, now that he is a slaw connoisseur, the Grill-Meister gets a little more involved in the slaw assembly, or would that be slaw-sembly? After tasting my latest, in which I dutifully added dried fruit and a little fresh fruit, too, he frowned, paused thoughtfully, and said, “Pretty good. Would be awesome if you added toasted pecans.”

So I did. And he was right. The recipe is below. I decided to call it Fruit Salad Slaw, because without a few of the ingredients, it would be a lovely fruit salad.

Ingredients

Salad

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit (see notes below)
  • 1 cup chopped tart green apple, cored and seeded but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans (click here for instructions)

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup orange juice (fresh if possible)
  • 2 tbsp high quality extra virgin olive oil (plain is ok, but if you have fruit-infused oil, it will be even better)
  • 2 tbsp high-quality balsamic vinegar (white balsamic would be prettier)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Cooking Instructions

Combine the slaw ingredients in a medium serving bowl and stir to distribute.  Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, then pour over the slaw ingredients, tossing to combine well.

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This is a half recipe, for the Grill-Meister and I are empty-nesters; see how vibrant the colors are before the dressing is added?
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The Fruit Salad Slaw was wonderful! But the dark balsamic vinegar gave it a bit of a dingy look

We served the Fruit Salad Slaw alongside Blackened Tilapia, and it was a perfect complement for the crisp, spicy fish. The other side is halved grape tomatoes, halved fresh mozzarella (cherry sized) and green onions, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I usually serve them as an appetizer.

Notes (Lots of Notes)

You’ll see in the quick pic above of the finished product that the balsamic vinegar – which tasted wonderful – gave the slaw a bit of a dingy look. I’m going to invest in a good-quality white balsamic this Saturday during my farmers market run and make it again.

Also, I had on had some blood orange-infused olive oil, and it really jazzed up the dressing. The Fruit Salad Slaw would still be good without it, but you might want to grate a bit of orange zest on it if you are using plain olive oil.

The dried fruit I used is from HEB (a wonderful grocer in Texas), and it is just “mixed dried fruit”, the mix being apricots, prunes, apples, peaches and pears. You could use any combination, or just one. Interestingly, the Grill-Meister didn’t notice that this mixture doesn’t include dried mangos, like his beloved Peli-Peli slaw.  

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Resources

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Confetti Shells Pasta Salad

I tinker with ingredients when I need a quick side and this recipe is one of the results. After tasting it, my Bonus Son said, “Whatever you did to make this salad, you need to write it down. It’s perfect.” 

Confetti Shells Pasta Salad

Cooking Time: About 30 Minutes; Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces small pasta shells or other small pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. finely diced yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 c. roasted red peppers in oil, chopped, oil reserved
  • 1/2 c. coursely chopped very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. petite frozen peas (they’ll thaw in the salad)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cheese (small cubes); mozzarella or gouda is quite nice

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp oil from roasted peppers
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Gather all ingredients, chopping, dicing and measuring as indicated.  Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package; drain. Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Then combine the rest of the ingredient in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it sit for a while for the flavors to “marry” and the peas to thaw.

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All the ingredients for this simple side
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This brightly-colored and easy (but sophisticated-tasting) salad is a great summer side dish
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We often pair the Confetti Shells Pasta Salad with Plank-Grilled Salmon, pictured above (find the recipe here).

Add grilled chicken breast slices to make this a main dish rather than a side salad.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Cool Off in the Hot Summer with Salmon Louie Salad

In the late summer when the heat is getting you down, it’s time for a gigantic salad for dinner.  The Grill-Meister is partial to Crab Louie (or is it Louis?) Salad but also loves when we have plank-grilled salmon for dinner, so one night we decided to combine the two ideas and make a Salmon Louie Salad. And we threw on some grilled shrimp, too. Yum!

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Doesn’t that just look like it will cool you down on these blistering August days?

This is a super-easy one-dish meal, although you could serve a crusty french bread with it.  There isn’t really a firm recipe or amounts for the salad part, but I’ll talk you through it. Leave out the shrimp if you want; it’s good but not necessary for the meal to be glorious.

Ingredients

  • Your favorite salad greens (we like a mix)
  • Enough boiled eggs so that you won’t be fighting over them
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
  • Sliced red onions
  • Croutons
  • Grilled shrimp (1 lb peeled and cleaned shrimp, 1 tbsp olive oil, seasoning mix)
  • Plank-grilled salmon (recipe here) – see ingredients list in that recipe, and don’t forget the plank!
  • Thousand Island dressing or your favorite (no need to stick with tradition here if there’s something you like better); I like this Remoulade
  • Salt and liberal amounts of freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Start with the plank-grilled salmon recipe, because you’ll have to soak the plank for at least 30 minutes, make the spice rub and apply it to the fish, and heat up the grill.

Salmon After Spice Rub
The spice rub assembles quickly and is just the right balance of sweet and spicy

Toss the shrimp with olive oil and about 2 tsp of your favorite Southwest or Cajun spice mix (we always use my Zippy Southwest); if you don’t have a spice mix on hand, try 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper).  Set aside with the fish.

Prepare the plates and start layering on the goodies, starting with a big fluffy base of greens and arranging the rest of the ingredients except the croutons all over each plate, leaving space in the middle for the salmon filet. Store the plated salads in the refrigerator until you’re ready for them.

If you’re making the remoulade, now’s the time.

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Remoulade before mixing; it goes really well with salmon

Grill the salmon according to the directions in the recipe.

Salmon in the Grill
I add a few sliced red onions and poblano peppers if there is room left on the cedar plank.

Throw the shrimp on the grill after you remove the salmon (tent foil over the salmon while it is resting and after adding the honey drizzle called for in the recipe).  The shrimp cook pretty quickly on a hot grill, about 2 minutes per side.

Add a salmon filet, some grilled shrimp and the croutons to each plate, then add a sprinkling of salt and generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Serve with the dressing of your choice; I like to serve it on the side.

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This salad goes really well with a crisp Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc, if you’re a wine drinker.

Enjoy! (And cool off.)

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Greek Chicken Salad

Check out this beautiful chicken salad recipe from the “Leen Cuisine” blog.

Leen (the blogger) says:

It’s a cool, refreshing take on chicken salad. You can eat it either in a pita, lettuce wrap, plain bread, or a whole wheat bun like I did here. I also like to throw in buckets of fresh dill because it’s my favorite herb and because it just makes everything taste so good.

I’m putting it on my “must make this summer” list, and so of course I had to share it in the Glover Gardens Cookbook.  I’m imagining this lovely salad in a picnic basket with Hawaiian rolls, perhaps a little hummus with pita chips, grapes or strawberries, and a cool, refreshing white wine.  Source: Greek Chicken Salad

My own chicken salad recipe has a Southwest flair; it’s Chipotle Chicken Salad.

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5 Flavors Kale and Nut Butter Salad with Pineapple, Almonds and Tomatoes

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5 flavors photo from The 5 Tastes & How to Cook with Them, by Mark Weinberg

The five basic flavors – bitter, salty, sour, sweet and umami – are supposed to make our taste buds celebrate like it’s New Year’s Eve in Vegas when they are appropriately combined.  The Five Tastes and How to Cook with Them provides a high-level overview of the five flavors.  I find that concept more and more intriguing, and am thinking about the five flavors now when I create new recipes.

Why am I talking about this?  I wanted to give it a try and had it in mind to make a kale salad with the (marvelous) nut butter and honey from our local farmers’ market.  One of my favorite vendors, Just Pure Flavors, makes all kinds of great nut butters (like Bacon Jalapeño Cashew), and I’ve been itching to create a recipe that features these interesting flavors and smooth texture.  So I looked up all kinds of variations of each of the five flavors to decide how to create my 5 Flavors Kale and Nut Butter Salad with Pineapple, Almonds and Tomatoes.  It was fun picking the representatives for each of the five flavors (and a little nerve-wracking – would they work together?):

  • Bitter:  the kale
  • Salty:  the nut butter, some salt, the almonds
  • Sour:  the lemon juice
  • Sweet:  the honey, the pineapple, the tomatoes
  • Umami:  the fish sauce

Some say the sixth important flavor is…fat.  I can go with that based on the pleasure of the unctuous feel of a fat-laden bite – think about the creaminess of avocado, or the velvety glide of a hollandaise, or the glorious silkiness of Alfredo sauce, or the guilty pleasure of the bronzed turkey skin with its undercoat of fat.

811bivp2bn1l-_sx522_And beyond the 5 flavors, I know that a recipe like this needs some crunch, and some onions and garlic.  Doesn’t everything need onions and garlic?  For the crunch, because I thought this would be special dish, I chose Marcona almonds. They are Spanish almonds which are blanched and then roasted in olive oil and tossed with salt. You MUST try these almonds, even though they are on the pricey side.  And in this salad, as an important part in the symphony of flavors … wow. The onion and garlic provided their own muted back-of-your-mouth bite, balancing the 5 flavors and the crunch of the almonds.

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Nice color contrasts between the tomatoes and kale

In addition to the grape tomatoes, which provide a lovely color contrast, I used pineapple for some of the sweetness because I had a fresh pineapple on hand, but I think that almost any fruit in season would work:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi or star fruit, apple, pear, apricots, cherries, mango or papaya. OR – and this would make it a holiday-appropriate dish – you could use dried cranberries, cherries, golden raisins or even chopped prunes.  This shouldn’t be a salad that is relegated to spring and summer meals, because it is a really refreshing side for a heavy soup, stew, or big ol’ grilled meats.  Or that Thanksgiving turkey.  I’ve just decided to put it on the Turkey and Gratitude Day menu this year.

The verdict for this recipe-in-the-mind transformed into a Glover Gardens kitchen reality? It turned out all right! I mean it was really, really good, so good that the vegetable and greens-averse Grill-Meister even liked it.  I felt like I just won Chopped.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • bacon-jalapeno-jam
    Just Pure Flavors makes great nut butters and jams which are front-seat ingredients in many of my recipes

    1/2 tsp. fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp. good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. local honey (from your farmers’ market!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. nut butter (I use Just Pure Flavors’ Bacon Jalapeño Cashew Butter)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 10 grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Several grinds of fresh pepper
  • 1 small bunch of kale, about 4 cups, chopped

Combine all ingredients except for the kale and stir until well mixed.  Put the kale in a medium bowl, add the dressing, and mix. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve.

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Gathering ingredients
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The “dressing” is chunky with the tomatoes, onions and almonds
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Chop the kale in in large bites before adding the dressing
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This salad is really, really tasty

Note:  Marcona almonds are expensive!  So if you are not in the mood to splurge, use cashews, or toasted pecans, or even peanuts.

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Warm and Yummy First Course: Toasted Goat Cheese Salad

We love fresh goat cheese (chèvre) here at Glover Gardens.  Its tangy, creamy, tart goodness compliments just about anything you can think of to pair it with, but it is good without much doctoring, too. And we love goats, too.  They are so friendly!  We found a marvelous goat cheese farm in Buena Vista, CO, that we like to visit when we travel to our cabin, Little House in the Rockies.  The goats’ milk at Jumpin’ Good Goats makes  incredibly good cheeses ranging from very soft Creme de la Chèvre to goat feta to goat cheddar.  We sampled like there was no tomorrow ever gonna come, and brought back a full ice chest of goat cheese to Glover Gardens.  Good times.

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The picture  (below) of this goat cheese salad that I created after looking at lots of other recipes was one of the first that I uploaded when I started the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog last year (on the About page), but I never shared the recipe.  It’s time now that the leaves are beginning to fall – doesn’t warm goat cheese in a savory Panko crust on a bed of greens dressed with very good olive oil and balsamic vinegar sound good?  So good you want to eat it right now??

Baked Goat Cheese Salad
Baked Goat Cheese Salad

I’ll admit it – there are other good recipes out there with warm, Panko- or something-crusted goat cheese on a salad, but most of them are more complex than this one (dip the goat cheese in egg before coating, marinate the goat cheese, make a creamy dressing, etc.).  I like this recipe because it is simple and jusssst right.  The goat cheese with its golden brown and savory crust is the star of the show, and greens don’t need nothin’ but high-class olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The first time we made it, this salad was the first course in advance of a lovely, garlic-studded pork tenderloin (I need to post that recipe, too!), and we were a little full by the time we got to the pork.  So beware…and maybe, if you’re serving a robust main course, just serve one goat cheese round per plate.  That would stretch this recipe to serve 8.  The goat cheese salad is also a really, really good luncheon dish, paired with a soup.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 celery stalk, sliced slanted / crosswise in 1/4 inch slices to form pretty slivers
  • 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 1/4 slices red onion, quartered
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup Panko or toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. dried, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 oz. goat cheese log, sliced into 8 rounds (put the goat cheese back in the refrigerator after you slice it if you’re not going to crust it right away)
  • High-quality balsamic vinegar

Cooking Instructions

Preheat over to 375. In a small bowl, combine Panko, oregano, red pepper, garlic, pepper and salt and stir to mix. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and stir until evenly distributed. This mixture will form the crust for the goat cheese.  Spread 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the goat cheese rounds, then use your hands to coat each one on all sides with the Panko mixture and arrange on the baking sheet. Put in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown (don’t be shy about turning on the broiler for a moment if you need to).

While the goat cheese is baking, arrange greens on four salad plates, then add celery, tomatoes and onions. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the salads. Remove goat cheese from oven and place two on each salad, then add freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with oregano leaves or a small amount of dried oregano.


And if you’re as into goat cheese as we are, here’s another really good goat cheese recipe:  Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread .  More to come, I promise…

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Lemony and Super-Quick Avocado, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

 

Sometimes, you just need a quick salad, something that’s bright and fresh but still lets the main course be the star of the meal.

This happens a lot on Sandwich Wednesday, the night when the Glover Gardens Grill-Meister becomes the Panini-Maker.  I highly recommend Sandwich Wednesday for every household; it makes the mid-week dinner something to look forward to.  Read all about our Sandwich Wednesday, including the appliance and cookbooks that power it.

I was motivated to make this salad because when I arrived home on a recent Wednesday, the Grill-Meister had all of the ingredients ready for a wonderful Steak and Bacon Panini (recipe later, I promise) and I was in the mood to play a supporting role in the kitchen.  Thus, the super-quick, lemony goodness that follows.  The recipe serves 8, and I usually half it because we are a small household – and getting smaller with the youngest heading to college next month.

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced (peel a few strips with a peeler to make it pretty if you like)
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large ripe avocado or two small ones, roughly chopped

Dressing

  • Juice of two small lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil or other fresh herb of your choice (oregano, mint, parsley, cilantro), or 1 tsp. dried basil or other herb
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk with a fork.  Pour over the salad and stir gently, being careful not to mash the avocado.  Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.


The Grill-Meister was very complimentary about this salad.  “There’s something about the rich combination of the avocado and the olive oil, balanced by the tartness of the lemon…”  And I agree with him, there’s definitely something about this combination.  It’s really important to use high-quality olive oil for any fresh salad dressing – it has a huge impact on the flavor.  I like to buy local and get my artisan olive oil for all our favorite dishes from Olivero Farms at our local farmer’s market.  

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The salad before the dressing is poured on; this is a half recipe for our small household
Avocado Salad
It looks beautiful in a white serving dish
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The perfect poolside accompaniment to the Grill-Meister’s Steak and Bacon Paninis