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

Pepper Jelly Slaw

I have a peculiar hobby – I compulsively buy fancy / fun / funky condiments.  And then I have to make up recipes to use them with.  I am a complete sucker for the condiments on offer at the local farmer’s market and love the challenge of creating new dishes or spicing up old ones with the treasures I pick up.

Weird Condiments
A few of my compulsive condiment finds; I have a whole shelf reserved for them in the Glover Gardens pantry

My Pepper Jelly Slaw came into being because I had some Inferno Sauce (like red pepper jelly) from one of my favorite vendors at the Tomball Farmers’ Market, Just Pure Flavors, and I wanted to use it for a spicy slaw.  I love throwing together a quick slaw, especially for a quick summer side dish, and seldom do it the same way twice.  But writing a cookbook requires a little more consistency, so today I’m capturing the Inferno Sauce / pepper jelly version of my throw-down slaw.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped multi-colored peppers (bell, banana, whatever you’ve got, even jalapeño if you like it spicy)
  • 1/4 finely chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 red pepper jelly, jalapeño jelly or my favorite the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, red onion and peppers.  In a small bowl, whisk together the pepper jelly, cider vinegar, salt and pepper, then add the cilantro and whisk again.  Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss, then refrigerate for a half hour.  Toss again before serving.

Serving tip:  this slaw is a fantastic side dish with grilled meat or fish.  

Peppers
I used a mix of peppers from our garden
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Red or white cabbage works for this slaw
Slaw Makings
The bright mix of colors and flavors makes this a great side dish for grilled meats
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The finished product is as pretty as it is tasty

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook.

Throw-Down Side: Quick and Easy Black Bean Salad

Sometimes we need a super-quick, super-easy side dish.  Here’s one you can make in 5 minutes, if you have Pico de Gallo on hand.  I make it when I’m serving a meal that already requires the brightness of fresh Pico.  The Grill-Meister says that Pico de Gallo is one of my signature dishes, and you know, I have to agree with him.  It makes this side salad.  We served it alongside our Faux-Fajitas and it rocked.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans; I always use Bush Brothers (they are the BEST beans); click here for info
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • Tabasco to taste (I use ten shakes)
  • 1/4 cup already-prepared Pico de Gallo (use store-bought or make your own using my recipe)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese

Cooking Instructions

Drain and rinse the black beans, then put them in a bowl and add the salt, cumin and Tabasco.  Stir to mix.  Add the Pico de Gallo and stir again, then add the shredded cheese and stir a final time.

Serve as a side for grilled meats, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, or as part of a vegetarian meal.  You can also serve it as a condiment or dip with tortilla chips.

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I always use Bush’s beans – they’re the best, and I know people who run their learning and knowledge management department – like I said, they’re the best
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Add the salt, cumin and Tabasco to the rinsed and drained beans
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Add the Pico de Gallo and stir
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Add the cheese and stir a final time
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This quick and easy salad is a great side for fajitas or tacos

Found Recipe: Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad

Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad from Lexi's Clean Kitchen (their photo)
Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (their photo)

Recipes arrive in my inbox by the droves.  The Glover Gardens Grill-Meister and I email the really good-looking ones to each other during the work week to savor the possibilities in advance of the weekend.  A few weeks ago, we made the Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad recipe from a blog post that Pinterest thought I’d like to see.  There was a run on fresh pineapple at my local grocery store that weekend, so Pinterest might have thoughtfully sent that recipe to a few more folks than just me.  The post was from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.

Today's harvest brought multi-colored peppers in varying degrees of heat.
Today’s harvest brought multi-colored peppers in varying degrees of heat.

We liked the results and wanted to share them with you.  We followed Lexi’s recipe fairly closely, but added grilled peppers to the mix, because our summer pepper crop has come in nicely.  I also whipped up a quick creamy avocado dressing to complement the lime dressing in the recipe (click here; be sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil if you make this dressing).

This salad is a natural for summer grilling.
This salad is a natural for summer grilling.
The salad is beautiful after individual plating.  Each person assembles their own masterpiece.
The salad is beautiful after individual plating. Each person assembles their own masterpiece.

Click here for the recipe.