Hello friends!! It has been way too long since I update, I know. But, I am back today with some seriously yummy stuff. One of the best meals I have had in a very long time was a meal we made a few weeks ago with a good friend of ours. It was a Thai cookout and it was FANTASTIC. Ren and I are both huge fans of Thai food and everything in this meal was just perfect. We had Chicken Satay with Peanut sauce (recipe on this blog), grilled shrimp, Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts and the best fresh Summer Rolls ever. Oh yeah, and if that wasn’t enough gorging to keep us on the Spin bike for the next year, we also had homemade brownie sundaes. Damn. Just damn. This cucumber salad was so incredibly good and fresh that it would be perfect for any time when you are grilling out or, if you have a potluck to go to and want to bring something totally different, this would be awesome.
Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts
from Bon Appetit August 2001
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)* Don’t be scared of this, it tastes good. Just don’t smell it.
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chili (about 1 large) I used 2 large
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 English hothouse cucumbers, halved, seeded, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts
Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Place cucumbers, onion, and mint in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.
*Available at Asian markets and in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets.
This recipe is completely and totally awesome. I know I say that about many of the recipes on here, but this one is. Really. It has so many delicious things in it!! Sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, fresh basil and pine nuts. Oh how I love pine nuts. I love them so much that our friend Matt commented that I must have put $30 worth of pine nuts in this salad because it had so many in it. I buy my pine nuts for a deal at Costco so I might go a tad overboard with them. If you don’t want to mortgage your house by putting in so many pine nuts, don’t sweat it. Just put the amount called for. But, please, please don’t leave them out. This also has radicchio in it which is not a veggie I normally use. But, it made this salad taste great. It is pleasantly bitter and added a nice little bite. If the weather is nice for you this weekend, throw some chicken on the grill and make this pasta salad. Your family will love you for it.
Orzo with Everything
from Cook’s Country August 2007
1 TBS salt
1 pound orzo
½ C. sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed, patted dry, and minced
½ C. pitted Kalmata olives , halved
1 head radicchio, cored and chopped fine
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
½ C. pine nuts, toasted
½ C. chopped fresh basil
¼ C. Balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves , minced
5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. For the salad: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add salt and orzo to boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain pasta and let cool to room temperature. Combine cooled orzo, tomatoes, olives, radicchio, Parmesan, pine nuts, and basil in large bowl.
2. For the dressing: Combine vinegar and minced garlic in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
There is a bar and grill in Little Five Points (in Atlanta) called the Vortex. The Vortex is well-known around here for having an atmosphere that is a bit rough around the edges as well as having the best burger in town. Not only do they have great burgers, but their potato salad is rockin’. I clipped this recipe out of the AJC a long time ago and have been making this potato salad ever since. It is quite peppery, but we like it like that. I also really like that it has more sour cream that mayo in it. If you are lookin’ for a change of pace from your family’s tried and true potato salad recipe with yellow mustard and hard-boiled eggs, give this a try. It sure isn’t granny’s potato salad.
Vortex Potato Salad
4 lbs medium red skinned potatoes
1 small red onion, finely diced
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1 heaping TBS ground black pepper (This is a lot, but it is so good. If your family is sensitive to heat or you just don’t like it, reduce the amount).
1 ¼ TBS Lawry’s seasoning salt
2 tsp. salt (I don’t use this extra salt)
1 ¼ C. sour cream
½ C. mayonnaise
¼ C. red wine vinegar
- Cook the potatoes with skins on at a slow boil for about an hour. Cool potatoes in cold water before cutting into eighths.
- In a separate container, put onions and celery. Add black pepper, seasoning salt, sour cream, mayo and red wine vinegar. Mix well.
- Add the potatoes to the dressing and mix well. Chill before serving.
There is a funny little story to go along with this slaw. The original recipe that I was going to use for this called for Broccoli Slaw. Sounds good, doesn’t it?? Well, my sweet husband went to the store for me Monday and brought home a bag of broccoli and a bag of angel hair slaw. Um, that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but that’s ok. I improvised and used the angel hair slaw anyway and it was fantastic. I wouldn’t make it any other way now!!! I know that the Ramen noodles have one million calories and were put on The Worst Foods in the History of Mankind List, but I don’t care. They are crunchy, delicious and really make this salad super tasty. If you don’t want to eat that low brow sort of thing, just leave them out. The salad will still be good, just not as good as this one. 🙂
Adapted from Crisco.com
1 package angel hair slaw
4 green onions sliced, green part only
3 carrots, shredded (or about 20 baby carrots shredded)
¼ C. Canola Oil, plus 2 TBS
1 TBS sesame seeds or more, if desired
1 (3 oz) package ramen noodles crushed (packet discarded)
¼ C. sugar
¼ C. cider vinegar
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp dark sesame oil
½ C. cashews
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used more)
- Heat 2 TBS oil in medium skillet over medium low heat. Add ramen noodles and sesame seeds. Cook and stir until noodles begin to get lightly browned. Set aside.
- Whisk together sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ¼ cup of oil in small bowl. Set aside.
- Mix slaw, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Stir in the cashews and ramen mixture. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and toss until coated. Serve immediately.
I am a crappy blogger. I just can’t get my stuff together enough to post very often. Oh well. That just makes it all the more special when I do. 🙂 I made this salad this past weekend to go with grilled chicken. My dear friend Amy LOVES black beans and avocados, so I made this for her. It is the perfect warm weather salad and we eat it all summer long. It is also super yummy with tortilla chips. I had to keep the boys from eating it all with chips before we ate so we would have some to go with our lunch. I really wanted to make homemade tortilla chips to go with it but my crew shot me down with “Get off the crazy train woman”. Maybe next time.
Black Bean Salad
Adapted from Myrecipes.com
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 cup of corn, frozen or canned
3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 small purple onion, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I used 2)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Whisk together lime juice and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add corn, black beans, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.
Well, you can’t eat hummus without tabbouleh. I’m not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to make 2 time-consuming dishes on a weeknight, but I guess I had a bug up my butt. Either way, I wanted some tabbouleh with my hummus. This is one of the best tabbouleh recipes I have ever made and I have tried quite a few. It is an Ina Garten recipe and it is pretty perfect. I love watching Ina’s show on the Food Network but I don’t think I have ever actually made one of her recipes. One of the reasons I love her show is that her laugh super irritates Ren. He gets so annoyed by it which is strange because he is so laid back. It just makes me giggle. Anywho, this is a great recipe and it won’t be the last Ina recipe I try.
from Barefoot Contessa Parties!
- 1 cup bulghur wheat
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (I only used 4 scallions)
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
- 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I just used regular tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
2. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.
Unfortunately, I can’t think of one clever thing to say about this orzo, so suffice it to say, this is, quite possibly, one of the yummiest side dishes ever. I love it because it is quick, delicious and you can kill two birds with one stone because it has your starch and veggie all rolled into one side dish. Perfect. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe since it only serves 2.
Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts
from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
2 TBS pine nuts
1 clove garlic, minced (I used more)
1 TBS butter, melted
1 ¾ C. water
¾ C. uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
¼ tsp. salt
1 C. tightly packed chopped fresh spinach
¼ C. grated Parmesan cheese
½ C. crumbled Feta cheese (optional, but awesome)
- Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Set aside.
- Sauté garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in spinach, cheeses, and pine nuts. Serve hot.