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Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Asparagus Salad with a Preserved lemon Garlic Salad dressing mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

Asparagus – what a glorious vegetable!!  Of all the spring vegetables, I have to say it’s my favorite.  Last year, I shared Simply Asparagus,  which is just that – steamed asparagus tossed with a touch of fat and seasoned with salt, pepper and an herb.  This year, I’m sharing my Lemon Garlic Asparagus which makes a delicious cold salad, hot side, or party platter.  As with many asparagus recipes, you can whip this one up in less than 20 minutes.

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Green Chile Salad Dressing with an Apple Salad

Apple, celery, and radish salad with a Green chile dressing. mjskitchen.com

 

Before we talk about this Green Chile Salad Dressing and the Apple Salad, let’s talk about homemade salad dressing.  Salad dressings are the easiest things to make from scratch and dressings made at home are so much better than what you pay $5 a bottle for at the grocer, plus you can control what goes in them.  All you need in your pantry are a few different types of vinegars, a couple of good oils, some herbs and spices.  Other possible ingredients include mustard, mayonnaise, horseradish, buttermilk, yogurt, and my favorites – lemon and lime juice.  In Kitchen Notes you’ll find the “rules” I follow for making salad dressings.

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Apple, Carrot, and Pecan Slaw with Curry Dressing

Slaw with apples, cabbage, carrots, toasted pecans seasoned with masala spice. mjskitchen.com

 

Whenever I buy a head a cabbage, I can usually get 2 to 3 meals from it, making a head of cabbage a very economical little vegetable.  Last week’s cabbage was used for my Sausage with Cabbage and Onion and two different side salads, one of the salads being this Apple, Carrot, and Pecan Slaw with a light dressing seasoned with a curry spice blend.  It’s a nice side for a pork or chicken entree or alone as a light lunch.  It has just a few ingredients and comes together in less than 20 minutes.

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Antipasto Style Hors d’oeuvres

An easy antipasto can be made using a lot of what you already have in the pantry and refrigerator. mjskitchen.com

 

The other day I was going through the first recipe book that I started back in the 80′s and found this recipe for an antipasto type hors d’oeuvre.  I remembered making it all of the time for dinner parties and summer backyard parties and it was always a big hit; therefore, I decided to bring it back.  These Antipasto Style Hors d’oeuvres can be served as an antipasto (the first course of a formal meal) or as hors d’oeuvres for a stand-up party.  It has a lot of delicious little bites that can be enjoyed by meat eaters, vegetarians and even vegans.  Just keep the meat and the cheese out of the marinated vegetables and off to the side or even on another plate. That way every one can enjoy them.

What makes this dish special is the dressing. It’s pack with herb deliciousness!  If you have tarragon vinegar, this is a great use for it.  At the house that we lived in during the 80′s I had an tarragon bed with plants 4 feet tall!  Needless to say, I made A LOT of herb vinegar. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some this summer if my tarragon does well.  If you don’t have tarragon vinegar, white wine vinegar is a nice substitute.
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Orange and Cabbage Slaw

A quick and easy slaw made with oranges, cabbage and a simple vinaigrette mjskitchen.com

 

Quality citrus is abundant right now, so time for another delightful citrus salad.  In previous years I have brought you a Sweet and Spicy Citrus Salad and a Citrus Salad with Toasted Seeds and Maple Dressing. This year I’m serving up this Cabbage and Orange Slaw, a easy little salad that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes and served as a side to just about any entree’. It’s especially good with spicy dishes.  We’ve been eating it as a side to Red Chile Chicken Tamales and Red Chile Enchiladas.  The oranges serve as a sweet, cooling mechanism for the spicy chile.  It works much better than the standard New Mexico side of lettuce and tomatoes.

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Gazpacho Salad

Turn your gazpacho into a salad

 

Don’t you just hate it when you forget a major ingredient when serving a dish to dinner guests?  That’s what I did the other night with this Gazpacho Salad.  The moment I started eating it, I knew something was missing, but I just couldn’t come up with what it was – until the next morning.  I looked at my list of “last minute things to do” (which I had obviously failed to look at) and saw “add cheese to salad”. Bummer!  Oh well, everyone still enjoyed it, and it was a great complement to the chorizo burgers.

This Gazpacho Salad was developed using my Chunky Gazpacho recipe that I posted last summer.  The two recipes are very close to being the same, but the salad uses bigger pieces of vegetables, a touch of feta or fresh mozzarella cheese, and the best heirloom tomatoes you can find.  When I saw these beautiful heirlooms last week at the growers’ market I knew this salad had to be made.

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Not My Mama’s Potato Salad at Food Writer Friday

Potato salad made with a mix of roasted potatoes

 

My mother and my aunt use to make the BEST sweet pickles. They were perfectly sweet, thick slices of cucumbers with a crispness that everyone in the room heard when you bit into them. The process of making them was long and involved, and something  I should have taken the time to learn over the years, but didn’t.  Aside from just eating the pickles right out of the jar, I loved making mayo and sweet pickle sandwiches, and then there was my mama’s potato salad.  Those sweet pickles made it! They added a sweetness and crunchiness that I’ve never been able to duplicate in a potato salad. Therefore, several years ago I gave up on trying to make my mama’s salad and started working on one that would be just as good, but different. I’ve tried to use many of the same ingredients, but threw in a twist with a mix of roasted potatoes. I roast two to three different types of potatoes which provide a depth of flavor, making the potatoes the star of the salad instead of the pickles.  It still has sweet pickles, just not my mama’s sweet pickles. :)

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A Festival of Strawberry Salad Recipes

Strawberries_Web

It is well into strawberry season here and really warming up. What better time to start throwing in a few refreshing strawberries to sweeten up those summer salads. I’ve shared a couple of strawberry salads with you in the past, but thought you might like some more. After a little time searching through blogs and Pinterest,  I found several other people that like strawberry salads as much as I do. However, I was surprised that I didn’t find more.  Maybe we can start something here. :) Below are several delicious strawberry salads and I believe the inspiration for many more.

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Avocado, Orange and Cucumber Salad

Cara Cara Orange, Avocado, and Cucumber

 

I don’t remember when I discovered that a dinner salad could be more than iceberg lettuce and bottled dressing, but WHEW- I’m so glad I finally did!  Of course I do have to say that there was a time when iceberg lettuce was the only lettuce you could find at the grocer, thus its past popularity.  But now let’s ponder this question.  Does a dinner salad really have to have lettuce at all? Actually – No.

A dinner salad can be just about anything you want it to be. It can be made with just a few ingredients or a whole host of ingredients, none of which are lettuce. The main thing I enjoy about making a salad is incorporating different textures and flavors, and – in my opinion – the fewer the better. This salad is representative of the type of salad that Bobby and I love to eat. It only has three main ingredients – avocado, orange, and cucumber, and the dressing (if you can call it that) is a little lime juice, some sea salt and a dusting of red chile powder.  It’s a refreshing little salad that makes a great brunch, lunch or side at dinnertime.

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