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Posts Tagged ‘salad’

This past weekend I had the pleasure of co-hosting my sisters bridal shower.  The shower was to be held at my co-hostesses’ (also known as my Aunt Linda) house, where many family functions have been held before. 
 
I knew I wanted to keep things fresh and simple because who wants to eat a heavy meal in the middle of the summer?  After hatching a few ideas out with my mother (a true party throwing inspiration of mine) we decided a “build your own salad” bar would be a great way to provide a light, fresh lunch that met everyone’s dietary needs and restrictions!    Here is what the salad included
 

  • Spring mix
  • Red Onions
  • New Jersey Tomatoes (thanks Lesley!)
  • Cucumbers
  • Marinated Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Rolls
  • Creamy Dressing
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Since guests were expected to arrive fairly early Saturday and there was a decent amount of prep work that could only be done that morning, I wanted to make sure I got as much done as possible the night before.  Less stress=a more enjoyable party!

Here is what I did Friday Afternoon:

  • Wrap silverware in napkins and place in a basket: Guests will only have to pick up one additional item when filling their plates!
  • Wash and dry all vegetables: When it comes time to chop everything will be clean!
  • Label Service dishes and set up serving table: Knowing that everything already has a home makes set up easy.
  • Make Ice: Okay I didn’t do this but I should have!  We ended up buying a bag of ice at the store.
  • Fill balloons with helium: To be placed on the mailbox so guests will be sure to know where the party is.

Saturday Morning:

  • Fuel with a nice breakfast and a cup of coffee: You have a busy few hours ahead of you!
  • Brew tea and allow to chill for ice tea
  • Make lemonade
  • Chop vegetables/toppings: Place on the serving dishes and cover with plastic wrap
  • Fill salad bowls with spring mix: Purchasing the triple washes saves a lot of time.
  • Pick up rolls at Bakery (thanks Linda!)
  • Grill Salmon (thanks Joe!)
  • Roast Chicken breast (thanks Mom!)

Fresh Rolls

Perfectly Grilled Salmon

The Spread

When the guest arrived everyone mingled for a few minutes and snacked on a cheese and fruit plate as well as enjoyed a glass of ice tea or lemonade before we all dug in and ate! 
 
For dessert I made a slightly smaller version of the cake that I will be making for Catherine and Andrews wedding, but that is another post for another time.  Let’s just say I don’t think anyone was let down!  Modest of me, I know.
 

Sneak peak of the wedding cake

What is your favorite  bridal shower meal?

[Lizzie]

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There’s been a lot going on here at this half of WCWWC, which partially explains why I haven’t posted in well over a month. One thing that has been keeping me away from the blog is that Andrew and I recently purchased a condo. Between moving, unpacking, and getting settled, our meals at home have been pretty simple and not that interesting. But the tides are turning my friends. We’re (somewhat) settled, I’ve got a wonderful new kitchen, and I am ready to cook again.

This past weekend, my parents came down to check out our new digs. Since the  purpose of their visit was to see our place, we opted to have lunch at our house versus eating out. The weather forecast was hot and humid, so I knew the meal should be light, refreshing, and easy.

Menu

  • Grilled skirt steak
  • Salad with peas, scallions, feta, and lemon dressing
  • Grilled zucchini and summer squash

I’ll start with the steak.

Ingredients:

  • 1 skirt steak (approximately 1.25 lbs)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated
  • Drizzle sesame oil
  • Dash of red pepper flakes

Directions:

Combine the last 5 ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Score skirt steak in a criss-cross pattern with a knife. Combine steak and marinade in a gallon Ziploc bag for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally. Grill steak over high heat for five minutes on each side. Once you take the steak off the grill, let is rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve. You may be tempted to skip this last step. Don’t. No matter how hungry you are. Letting the steak rest will insure a tasty, juicy piece of beef.

Honestly, I’m not a huge steak person. But if I am going to eat it, I like it well-marinated and hot off the grill.

Now, on to the salad. First things first, this was not my brainchild. My friend and former coworker had Andrew and I over for dinner a few weeks ago and made this salad. It was unbelievable; light, refreshing, and summery.  Here’s my take:

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of butter lettuce
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 block feta cheese, crumbled
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Chop and wash lettuce. Combine lettuce in a large salad bowl with peas, scallions, and feta. In a smaller bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Drizzle dressing over lettuce mixture and toss.

Finally, the zucchini and squash. This is a favorite of ours and we make it at least once a week. Best part is, it is super easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Directions: slice zucchini and squash lengthwise into 1/2 centimeter slices. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and then add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Grill on medium high until the squash changes texture on top and has good grill marks on the bottom side. Flip the slices and grill for a few more minutes.

All together now!

Lizzie joined us for lunch and made an awesome dessert involving peaches and the grill. But that’s another post for another time…

This was a light and refreshing meal that we were all able to enjoy eating outside despite the hot and humid weather. It was very easy to put together and, if I do say so myself, had a touch of sophistication. Try this next time you need a light and tasty lunch or dinner for company.

{Catherine}

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I have been craving green beans like crazy recently.  This craving was so intence that I actually dreamed of  making a cold green bean salad with a bittersweet vinaigrette dressing.  As weird as this was, I knew I had to make this salad of my dreams! 

What you will need: 

  • 3 lbs of fresh green beans
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 2 shakes of pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • rice vinegar

Wash and trim the ends of your green beans.  This task was nothing short of boring and tedious.  Good think I had the Glee channel on Pandora playing in the background…. 

 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add your green beans.  Let the beans cook for 3-4 minutes.  Drain the beans and then “shock” them by  placing them  in a large bowl filled with ice water.  Your beans will continue to cook after you remove them from the hot water. Shocking them with the cold water will slow the cooking process and prevent a mushy final product.   

ice, ice baby

While the beans cool, drain and rinse the can of chick peas and thinly slice your onion.  I used my mandolin because I wanted to get the thinnest slices possible.  I really do not like the taste of raw onion so I sautéed the onions in a frying pans with a little bit of oil and rice vinegar.  I probably only cooked them for 1-2 mins just to take the edge off. 

For the dressing, combine the following: 

  •  1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • a little less than 1/4 cup of EVOO
  •  1 clove crushed garlic
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 2 shakes from the pepper shaker

As you know, we here at WCWWC are not the best at using exact measurements.  So do what feels right  and improvise with the above measurements.  . 

Once the dressing is complete, mix all the ingredients and allow the flavors to meld together for about 2 hours.  Much like the cous cous salad, you could make this a day in advance without issue.  The picture below does not do justice to how tasty this salad was.  I even ate the leftovers for three days and didn’t get sick of it! 

Don't judge a book by its cover

What is your favorite summer salad? 

Enjoy! 

[Lizzie]

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Israeli couscous is a wheat based pasta that is most commonly produced in a pearl shape–a bit larger than traditional couscous.  My cousin recently served a cold israeli couscous salad at her wedding, this coupled with my basil plant being in full bloom gave me the inspiration for this dish. 

Israeli Couscous Pesto Salad

  • Pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 box Israeli Couscous
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 red onion
  • Cherry tomatoes

I chose to make homemade pesto, since I had a large supply of basil in my own backyard as well as time on my hands–although making pesto is a fast process. I roasted 4 cloves of garlic and combined it with basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese in my Cuisinart and mixed until it reach the right consistency.  I added more olive oil until it was adequately “thinned” out. 

  • Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the box. 
  •  While the couscous is cookingm in a separate pot boil the ears of corn for about 10 mins.  Remove from water allowing to cool.  After the corn has cooled, take a knife and run it down the side of the corn removing all of the kernels.

  • Chop onion and cut the cherry tomatoes in half
  • Combine all ingredients and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.  I made this a day in advance so that all of the flavors could really melt together.  If you do this, I suggest not adding the tomatoes until a few hours before you serve so that they don’t get soggy.

Enjoy!

[Lizzie]

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One of my favorite things to get when I go to a Vietnamese  restaurant are fresh rolls. These rolls are light, refreshing, and usually come with peanut sauce for dipping. What else do you need?  A few nights ago, I decided to make some at home. They were tasty, but I’m not going to post about them.  Let’s just say my rolling skills could use a bit of work before I share them with the world.  

What I am going to post about it what I did with the leftovers. You see, one of the key ingredients of fresh rolls is bún, or rice vermicelli noodles.  

  

Lizzie stopped by as I was prepping this meal and we were catching up about her trip to NYC. I must have been distracted, because for some reason I cooked this entire bag of rice noodles, leaving me with about 9 more servings than I needed. Never one to waste good food, I knew I needed to come up with a delicious use for these leftover noodles.  

Deconstructed fresh roll salad with spicy peanut sesame dressing
  

This recipe is for one lunch portion.  

For the salad  

  • Handful arugula (could use any green, such as spinach or lettuce)
  • Handful cooked rice vermicelli
  • Handful cole slaw mix (could also use shredded cabbage)
  • 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

For the dressing  

  • 1 teaspoon peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (a.k.a. wheat-free soy sauce, you could also use regular soy sauce)
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Healthy squirt of Sriracha
  • Dash of garlic powder

To start, assemble your salad fixings.  

  

Next, make your dressing.  

  

A note about the sesame oil. There is no doubt that this is an expensive ingredient. That little bottle set me back a cool $5.99. That said, a little goes a long way. A few drops of sesame oil in this sauce gives it that extra something something. Consider it more of a seasoning than a cooking oil and your investment will pay off in dividends of flavor. 

Back to the instructions. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Do not be alarmed if the dressing starts to look a bit, well, curdled.  

Yuck!

 

I promise that if you keep whisking a bit longer, the dressing will come to a smooth, velvety consistency.  

Yum!

 

This will probably be a bit thick. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time and whisk to combine until the dressing has your desired consistency. Once you do this, simply drizzle it over your salad mixture and you are ready to enjoy a healthy, tasty, and unique lunch. Take that, turkey sandwich!  

{C}

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