Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

I love salads.  The problem is that I quickly get bored with the same old thing.  Apple and blue cheese.  Cobb.  Caesar.  They are all good but I’ve eaten these salads a thousand times.   The farmers markets here are turning out all kinds of fresh lettuce and greens for good salad making.  This is a very simple recipe but it has a great balanced flavor.

I made this salad twice, once with toasted sunflower seeds and the next with pecans.  Both are delicious so use whatever seeds or nuts you have around.  Toasting them first helps provide more crunch and a nuttier flavor.  The grapes provide good antioxidants. 

Arugula, Grapes, and Pecan Salad

Adapted from Cooking Light May 2008


  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon stone-ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 7 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pecans
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine vinegar, honey, syrup, and mustard in a small bowl.  Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Combine arugula, grapes, and nuts in a large bowl.  Drizzle vinegar mixture over arugula; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss gently to coat.  



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In honor of this nice long Memorial Day weekend, I’m going to share my husband’s incredible Pulled Pork Barbeque recipe with you.  I don’t really do meats so if he is feeling a lack of animal protein, it’s up to him to grill up something up.  Last year, I gave him a stovetop smoker and he loves the combination of grilling and smoking.  Surprisingly this pork is neither grilled nor smoked, it’s cooked low and slow in the oven for about 3 – 4 hours.  So you do have to plan ahead but it’s also low maintenance.  Once you’ve applied the wet rub and have placed it in the oven, there’s nothing left to do once it comes out but just pull it apart with a fork and apply your favorite barbeque sauce.


After a 3 week road trip a few summers ago in which we ate the local barbeque in all the places we stayed, we have both grown to like our pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw in the sandwich.  I experimented for the first time and made my own coleslaw.  It was really easy and worth it for a bigger crowd.  I made the coleslaw about the time that Sean put the pork shoulder in the oven so that the flavors could marinate together before serving but it wasn’t long enough to get soggy. 

We served this sandwich with homemade potato chips, which were absolutely amazing.  I’ll post that recipe on Monday in case you are looking to clog your arteries a little more over the long weekend.

Sean’s Pulled Pork Barbeque

  • 1 pork shoulder  (about 4 to 4 ½ pounds)

Wet Rub

  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup of onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Scant 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Place the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, onions, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add extra-virgin olive oil until you have a nice paste. Rub all over the pork, being sure to get into the nooks so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture – this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert.
  4. Roast the pork for 3 1/2 hours, uncovered, until the outside is crispy-brown (it should look like mahogany).  Depending on the size, it might need to cook for longer.  Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing.

Homemade Coleslaw

To cheat and make the chopping go quicker, I used a bag of broccoli slaw and a bag of chopped purple cabbage in addition to the carrots I sliced on the mandoline.  The flavor and crunch were great.  But if you want to really slice and dice, use ½ head of savoy cabbage and ½ head of purple cabbage.   You can also add fresh parsley or green onions.  Adjust the recipe to your taste and what you have in your pantry or garden.

  • 1 ½ tablespoon whole-grain mustard or a good quality Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise 

  • 1/4 cup sour cream 

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced 

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

  • 2 teaspoons sugar 

  • 1 bag of broccoli slaw 

  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, finely sliced 

  • 2 carrots, sliced on mandoline or julienned
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine the mustard, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar and mix well. 
  2. Add the finely sliced cabbage, broccoli slaw, and carrots to the dressing.  Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the flavors to marinate.
  4. Serve when you are ready, cold or at room temperature.


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So it’s been a few days.  I’ve been traveling with my husband to celebrate his sister’s graduation from college.  It was a fun and joyous time but no laptop, wireless, or pots and pans.  But I’m back now and I have some great recipes to share. 

In the past week, I posted the recipes for Vietnamese summer rolls, pea & ricotta dumplings, and strawberry rhubarb crumble.  These recipes were all part of an Asian themed meal (except the strawberry rhubarb which really isn’t Asian at all) we created for a good friend.  But there is one recipe lacking and no meal is complete without a salad.  And this one is really irresistible.  

 It’s very simple – just watercress and avocado.  The dressing for it is amazing – balanced with a little sweetness.   I’ll use it on many other salads to come.  My watercress was too stemmy, I could have definitely cut off more of the stem, but it was still good.  Avocado is one of my favorite foods and this salad really made it’s taste and flavor stand out. 


Watercress & Avocado Salad

Adapted from Gourmet May 2008

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla (use large holes of a box grater)

  • 1/4 cup finely grated peeled Gala apple (use small holes of box grater)

  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 6 cups watercress (thin stems and leaves only; from 1 large bunch)

  • 1 firm-ripe avocado

1.  Stir together vinegar, onion, apple, soy sauce, and sugar until sugar has dissolved, then stir in oil.  Dressing can be made 2 days ahead, chilled, and covered (stir or shake well before using). 

2.  Just before serving, toss watercress with enough dressing to coat. Quarter, pit, and peel avocado, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Gently toss with watercress.  Enjoy!


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