Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with a Creamy Balsamic Dressing

red_cabbage_slaw_balsamic

I use to serve at a restaurant that had a side salad that was lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. I recently remembered how simple and good it was and started making it with a homemade balsamic dressing for a quick simple salad. Then one day I had no lettuce but I decided to still make it with the red cabbage and carrots. Voila! A new cole slaw was born that is refreshing and quick. And if you aren’t a fan of mayo, just substitute with sour cream and you have a mayo-free cole slaw that is friendly with everyone! (Half my family hates mayo so its always a concern when making family dinners….) Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 small head of red cabbage

4 carrots

balsamic sauce (recipe to follow)

Cut the cabbage in half through the core and then again through each half. Slice each quarter keeping the core intact and then cut off the ends off when done. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage. Place sliced cabbage in a bowl. With a vegetable peeler peel off the first layer of each carrot and then continue peeling into the bowl until you run out of carrots. Drizzle dressing and toss. Enjoy!

Balsamic Sauce Recipe:

1 clove garlic

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon mayo

1 tablespoon sugar

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Place garlic clove in the food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until minced. Add the rest of the ingredients except salt & pepper and pulse. Taste and season accordingly.

Caprese Panzanella Salad

You know when you’re eating dinner and the roll that is sitting on the side of your plate accidentally get’s a little sauce on it from your salad or entree and you take a bite and its like, “yum!?” Well, that’s why this salad rocks. Because we are putting bread in the salad on PURPOSE and its amazing. A succulent bite of crunchy ciabatta that has been soaking up a tangy balsamic dressing is quite delicious. And add some basil, tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and you are in heaven. Yes, heaven. I love this salad and hope you do too!

_07A9198

homemade_croutons

pre_tossed_panzanella_salad

dressing_drizzled_over_panzanella_salad

caprese_panzanella_salad

Panzanella Caprese Salad

1 small ciabatta loaf cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups)

olive oil

salt/pepper

½ red onion sliced

8 oz buffalo mozzarella (pearl size if possible)

½ cup basil julienned

3 tomatoes diced large

Dressing:

¾  cup olive oil

1/8   cup balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

In a large mixing bowl drizzle some olive oil over ciabatta bread and toss. Season with salt and pepper. On a baking sheet spread out bread and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until bread is crispy. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl mix together olive and balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper.

Combine toasted ciabatta, red onion, buffalo mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic mixture over the top and toss. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate to let the dressing soak up in the bread for an hour. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Corn, Heirloom Tomato and Pesto Salad

_MG_6037

This salad is a perfect quick side to almost any main course. This is a great salad to bring to a potluck, BBQ or just to eat on its own. This pesto recipe has both basil and cilantro which I think really mellows out the basil and makes its a well rounded option. One of my wedding clients gave me the idea and I wouldn’t make regular pesto again! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 ears of roasted corn cut off the cob

1 heirloom tomato diced

Pesto Recipe:

1 cup packed basil leaves

1 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoles)

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese

2/3 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a food processor pulse garlic cloves until finely minced. Add basil, cilantro, olive oil and pine nuts. Pulse until smooth. Salt & pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl mix together the corn and heirloom tomato. Stir in pesto a tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency. If there is leftover pesto you can freeze it for another use. Enjoy!

Grilled Sausage, Corn and Arugula Salad

_MG_9212

I love nothing more than a four ingredient recipe. This salad is hearty, delicious and randomly healthy. Isn’t it awesome when you realize you’re eating healthy accidentally? That’s pretty much how I cook all the time. I think of something that is going to be flavorful, satisfying and make me feel good afterward. Lo and behold its usually healthy! Its because the “feel good afterward” part usually only happens when you’re nice to your body and fill it with good stuff. Well, you might be asking, I see a sausage in the above photo. Its actually a chicken sausage that is around 160 calories. Not to0 bad. And if you don’t go crazy with the dressing it ends up being a 300 – 350 calorie meal. I don’t usually go on and on about calories because it tends to take the fun out of things. But if you are trying to watch your weight just remember that how you feel after you eat is a good indicator of health. Enjoy!

Recipe:

1 package (4 links) of chicken sausage (I get the Chicken Sausage Chardonnay from Trader Joes)

1 bag arugula

4 ears of corn (husk on)

1 bottle greek feta dressing (from Trader Joe’s) or any dressing you like

Directions:

Heat your gas grill to medium high heat. Place corn (husk on) directly onto grill. After 10 minutes or so flip them over. Add sausages to grill and cook on both sides until they get nice grill marks. Turn off grill and remove corn and sausages.

Remove the husks from the corn and cut it off the cobb. Slice sausages. Take arugula and place it in a salad bowl (or you can make individual plates). Top with corn and sausage. Drizzle your dressing over the top. If you like, crack some black pepper over the salad. Serve and enjoy.

Steak, Grilled Vegetable and Gorgonzola Salad

steak_gorgonzola_arugula_salad

I’m obsessed with grilling. Its the quickest way to develop some amazing flavor and its fun to be outside! For this salad I love the peppery arugula combined with succulent steak and that bite of gorgonzola. Yum. You can make this salad outright (as it is delicious) or make it after a night of grilling when you have some delicious steak and veggies leftover in the fridge. Two for the price of one always works for me!

Ingredients:

1 lbs sirloin steak

2 zucchini cut in thick strips

2 yellow squash cut in thick strips

1 bag arugula

8 oz crumbled gorgonzola

1 tomato diced

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat grill to medium high heat. Salt and pepper steak on both sides. Grill steak for 4-5 minutes on each side or until it reaches desired doneness. Set aside and rest. Meanwhile, brush each side of the zucchini and squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender with nice grill marks. Set aside and turn off grill.

Once the veggies and steak have cooled down enough to handle, cut into large bite size pieces. In a large mixing bowl combine arugula, steak, veggies and tomato. Top with gorgonzola. Serve with olive and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Grilled Peach and Haricot Vert Salad (Food Shoot)

Another fun photo shoot was just posted on the fabulous SB Chic! I had an amazing time capturing this delicious salad made by the talented Duo Catering and styled by the perfection of Kelly Oshiro. What is more delicious than a grilled peach? I’ll tell you…a grilled peach with brown sugar and paired with haricot vert salad! My husband was drooling when he saw these pictures and was immediately asking me when I was going to make this for him.

Sprinkled with brown sugar, tarragon, and then grilled, the peaches get even sweeter.

Paired with blanched haricot vert (green beans) this salad is a light and refreshing treat. Here’s how you can make it yourself:

Ingredients:

-2 Pounds Haricots Vert (may substitute blue lake beans, wax beans, etc.)

-3 each Peaches (Halved and Pitted)

-4 oz Red Rose Radish Sprouts (available at your local farmers market or specialty grocer)

-4 oz Chevre (Feta is a good substitute)

-¼ Preserved Lemon Rind (Salt Cured Lemon) – Rinsed and Minced

-3 Tbl. Plus 2 Tsp. Olive Oil

-½ tsp chopped tarragon

1 Tsp Maldon Sea Salt

Juice of ½ Lemon

2 Tbl Brown Sugar or Honey

Procedure:

  1. Clean Green Beans
  2. Blanch in a large pot of salted boiling water  until tender – roughly 1 minute (it should taste like the sea and maintain it’s boil when the beans are submerged)
  3. Remove beans from blanching water and submerge immediately in ice water, drain and set aside while you gather remaining ingredients.
  4. Combine 2tsp olive oil with brown sugar and brush peaches, allow to marinate while you heat a pan or grill (a cast iron grill pan works well for this purpose)
  5. Grill peaches until sugar has caramelized and the peach has softened somewhat
  6. Sprinkle with tarragon
  7. Toss Green Beans and Sprouts with remaining olive oil, Preserved Lemon and lemon juice.
  8. Divide between 6 plates, top with grilled peach, crumbled chevre and sea salt
  9. Enjoy! Serves 6.

 

Catering: Duo Events
Photographer: Me! (Anna Costa)

Roasted Corn, Bacon and Jalapeno Salad

There is a hilarious story that goes with this recipe. So we had some friends over for dinner and the husband was raving over the salad. He turned to his wife and said, “Honey, you should make this sometime!” and the wife (whose feelings were visibly hurt because she felt he was implying she wasn’t a good cook) replied huffily, “Its just corn!”  The husband promptly answered, “But it has bacon in it!” And then of course there was a 10 minute back pedaling conversation that proceeded where I tried to smooth it over by saying he was just trying to be polite to the hostess etc etc. It was a pretty classic “open mouth insert foot moment.” But this is a pretty delicious salad and its perfect for many occasions such as a picnic. bbq, side dish or just on its own. Make it for your next dinner party but be aware it might incite some heated table conversation!

Ingredients:

8 Ears of Corn Husks on

⅓ cup diced jalapeño (no seeds)

⅓ cup finely chopped chives

4 strips cooked thick applewood smoke bacon chopped

Vinaigrette:

1 tbs dijon mustard

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tsp salt

¾ tsp ground pepper

½ cup olive oil

Turn gas grill to medium high and place corn with the husk onto the grill. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and then turn. Grill for long enough so the corn kernels get some nice roasted color. (If you don’t have a grill, you can boil or bake your corn instead)

In the meantime mix together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Cut corn off the cobb and place corn in a large mixing bowl. Add jalapeños, chives and bacon. Drizzle vinaigrette on top and mix thoroughly. Serve!

Ceasar Salad with Homemade Croutons & Dressing


I’m kind of a salad fanatic. I LOVE salad. My husband is more of an obligatory salad eater. He always says things to me like, “Good job making a salad honey” like I was trying to be proactive about our health. Really, I just think salads are refreshing and yummy. Especially when making homemade salad dressing and croutons, I think it takes it over the top. This salad I was bringing to a potluck dinner and was running late so I didn’t have time to take the final shot of the put together product. So I grabbed my camera and took it to the house and was like, “Wait, I have to take a picture before we eat!” I think the hostess thought I was nuts because the next time we had a group dinner and I brought something she said, “What, your not going to take a picture first?” Sorry people, I know I’m weird. I’m sure it seemed very self important for me to stop everything to take this picture. I hope it was worth it and from now on let it be known that if your having dinner with me – I will be taking pictures. Done.

Ceasar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Ingredients:

2-3 heads romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

Dressing:

juice of one lemon

¾ teaspoon dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup fresh grated parmesan

2 anchovy filets

For Homemade Croutons:

1 loaf ciabatta bread cubed

olive oil

salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

To make the croutons, place the cubed bread into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using clean hands toss the bread until its evenly covered with the oil (but not soaked). Season with salt & pepper and toss one more time. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Turn bread with spatula once during baking to get all sides evenly browned. Set aside.

For dressing, put garlic clove into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds until minced. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined.

Place washed lettuce into a large salad bowl. Add croutons and dressing. Toss and serve!

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad

I have a blood orange tree that yields TONS of oranges. Its delicious for a nice tasty breakfast or to use for making orange marmalade. I came up with this recipe after finding Ina Garten’s Grapefruit and Avocado recipe and thought to just substitute with blood oranges. Thanks Ina! Enjoy.

Recipe:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbs spicy mustard

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground pepper

8 blood oranges peeled and cut into circles

4 avocados cut in wedges

Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Arrange oranges and avocado on a platter. Drizzle dressing on top. Serve.