Greek Salad Superb

 

traditional greek salad

traditional greek salad

I’ve enjoyed Greek salads for years and thought I knew what they consisted of- a generous bed of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, green peppers, Kalamata olives, some feta cheese sprinkled on top, with lemon and olive oil dressing. Sounds good (and it is) but what’s wrong with this recipe? Nothing, but it’s not exactly the traditional way.

I recently had the good fortune to visit Greece and was even more fortunate to eat traditional Greek salads in lots of tavernas. Guess what? No or very little (a few leaves) of lettuce. Yes, lots of fresh, delicious tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and green peppers, sweet red or white onion and both green and black Kalamata olives with big flat slabs of feta cheese on top, usually sprinkled with dried oregano. No lemon, but good first press Greek olive oil and sometimes red wine vinegar. Fresh, tasty and of course, healthy- no carbs to speak of. In one (my only) high end restaurant the feta was soaked in olive oil and covered in toasted sesame seeds plus plump capers were added – a delicious variation.

This salad is best with fresh tomatoes and the other vegetables from your garden or farmer’s market. And please use only best quality extra virgin Greek olive oil!

Traditional Greek Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 2-3)

  • 1-2 ripe fresh tomatoes (depending on size), chopped into 1/2 ” pieces
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 peeled cucumber, sliced into thin rings or chunks
  • 1/2 red or sweet white onion slices
  • 1/2 cup green Greek or black Kalamata olives
  • 1/3 Lb. feta cheese in a flat slab
  • Oregano to sprinkle on top of the Feta
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Capers (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Greek olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

TO DO:

1. In a large bowl, put cucumbers on the bottom.

2. Add tomatoes, green pepper, onion.

3. Add olives (and capers if you like).

4. If you like, soak feta in olive oil and roll in toasted sesame seeds.

5. Put feta slab on top; pour olive oil and vinegar over the salad; sprinkle feta with oregano.

6. Enjoy! www.type2delicious.com

Advertisements

Best Shrimp Asparagus and Egg Salad

 

shrimp asparagus egg salad

shrimp asparagus egg salad

This salad is a major treat especially on a warm spring day when asparagus are in peak season!

At this time of year, it’s one of our favorite main dinner dishes. Of course, this also makes a delish special luncheon for your very best ladies who lunch. (<*

The ingredients are simple and the preparation pretty easy. The key ingredient is use the freshest you can find!

(If shellfish are a problem you can substitute tuna.)

Best Shrimp Asparagus and Egg Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 cups lettuce (your choice, but I suggest at least some Romaine for crunch. Also as you might know, best to tear off leaves and tear up with your hands rather than a knife, especially if not using a whole head. Somehow the knife use makes the remaining lettuce turn brown faster- not sure why–if someone knows the details please let me know.)
  • 1 avocado, chopped or sliced
  • 1/3 red onion, chopped ( not too fine)
  • 1/2 lb. Bay shrimp cooked, rinsed and cooled the little guys)- put in fridge at least 1 hr. Ahead of serving ( I buy them cooked and cooled, but still rinse as they can be salty)
  • 4-6 med Prawns, cooked, peeled and cooled
  • 1 egg, hard boiled and sliced
  • 1/2 lb. Green asparagus, cooked but still crisp, and cooled ( blanched is best– cook until crisp, then dunk right away in ice water to keep the color and crispness). Chop into 1″ pieces, leaving 4-6 spears whole for garnish.
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of I lemon ( you can use 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime if you like)
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  • Tarragon, savory and/or Herbs de Provence; salt free seasonings and pepper to taste

TO DO:

1. At least one hour in advance of serving time, boil the egg, let cool or place in fridge ( can be done a day in advance ), when prep time, slice or chop and set aside. ( leave 3-4 round pieces for garnish)

2. Wash, spin and tear lettuce into bite sized pieces, put into serving bowl.

3.  Prepare dressing; add garlic to oil, whisk in juice, mustard, spices and seasonings. ( can be made ahead and re-wisked)

4. Right before serving add Bay shrimp, chopped asparagus, chopped egg and chopped onion to lettuce.

At this point, dress and toss ( this is a trick I learned from a catering assistant, Maggie, my partner Rick’s daughter; dress the basic salad first, then add the toppings/garnishes, so they don’t all sink to the bottom.)

5. Add avocado pieces, whole Prawns, egg slices and asparagus spears for garnish- make it pretty! (see photo or use your own creativity!)

6. Serve with whole grain toast or crackers and cheese and a crisp, white wine if you like–we do!

Enjoy!

www.type2delicious.com

Green Beans with Garlic and Almonds

greenbeans

The delicious green bean combination.

I confess–I use frozen french green beans from Trader Joe’s for this dish. I’ve tried it with fresh Blue Lake green beans as well as other kinds of fresh and frozen green beans and have not found anything better than these. They are tender, tasty and easy to cook. Try them yourself and see what you think.

The ingredients are pretty basic, but as always, using really good olive oil, (such as the oil from the New Ben Lomond Olive Oil Company–cool bottle too), fresh garlic (not garlic powder or salt), and toasting the sliced almonds make the difference. My son-in-law Mike swears they’re the best green beans he’s ever had and requests them whenever we’re together for a home-cooked dinner.

These beans are a great complement to my grandmother’s meatloaf–coming soon!

Green Beans with Garlic and Sliced Almonds

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag frozen green beans (Trader Joe’s frozen french green beans)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1/3–to 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • lemon zest to taste
  • Optional: 1-2 slices chopped crisply fried bacon
  • Salt free seasoning/pepper to taste

TO DO:

1. Preheat large saute pan.

2. Add frozen green beans and water; bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until tender; approx. 8 minutes (eat a bean to test for doneness)

4. Remove beans from pan to a bowl. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil; add garlic and saute just until brown (don’t overcook or burn). Remove from pan and add to beans.

5. Heat remaining olive oil; add almonds and toast until light brown.

6. Add beans and garlic back into pan; toss and heat  Toss in bacon if you like.

(Of course, bacon is delicious, but makes this more a bacon-flavored dish.  I prefer it without.)

7. Add spices and seasonings to taste.

8. Enjoy!

tjsgreenbeans

Frozen french green beans from TJ’s

oliveoilgarlicalmalmonds

The good ingredients–olive oil, fresh garlic, sliced almonds

choppinggarlic

Chopping garlic–not my best skill. I hope to improve.

greenbeans

delicious green beans!

eatinggreenbean2

Testing for tenderness.

Eatinggreenbean1

Yes! They are delicious!

www.type2delicious.com

Vietnamese-Style Stir Fry

stirfry

 

This is a great way to combine a bounty of fresh in-season veggies, tofu for protein and lots of flavor. My version includes Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce which we love; (we visited Vietnam a few years ago and it remains a special place in my heart and mind).

Yes, there’s quite a bit of prep, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s worth it. This stir fry is very tasty, healthy and filled with lots of interesting flavors and colors. And with most everything cooked in the wok–at least doing the dishes isn’t too bad! (Ok, there’s one more pan for browning the tofu – I use a non-stick AllClad so it’s easy to clean), and another pot if you cook brown rice as we do to serve with this–again, Rick limits his serving to approx. 1/2 cup.

Tasty Vietnamese-Style Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 zucchinis, sliced into 1″ inch pieces (add 1-2 yellow squash if you like)
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped into flowerets
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced  into 1″ pieces
  • 2 red and/or yellow/orange peppers, sliced into 1″ pieces (add green if you like them–I don’t)
  • 1-2 large onions, chopped into med. size (not too finely chopped)
  • 1 cup mushrooms (we use Cremini), chopped into med. size pieces
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Safflower or other high heat oil
  • 1 large cube firm or extra firm tofu (slicing instructions in next section)
  • Optional: leftover cooked chicken, sliced into 1″ cubes
  • Sauce:
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fish sauce–Thai or Vietnamese
  • 1-2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese rice wine) or use any crisp white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2-3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt free seasoning/pepper to taste

TO DO: (note: one secret to successful stir frying is to have all pieces approx. the same size–so they cook evenly.)

1. Mix and reserve sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Cut the tofu cube into three or four sections–I cut them crosswise–so that each piece is square. Marinate the tofu sections in approx. 1/2 of the sauce mixture for 10 minutes.

3. Add 1 Tbsp. of oil to a frying pan; on medium high heat, brown the tofu sections for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; chop into 1″ pieces and reserve.

4. Heat the wok on high. When a drop of water sizzles, add remaining oil.

5. Add carrots, broccoli and peppers to the wok–stir fry (I use cooking chopsticks or a flat wooden spatula–sometimes both.) When somewhat tender–about 5-6 minutes–remove from the wok into a bowl.

6. Add onions, mushrooms, zucchinis to wok.  Stir fry these veggies for approx. 4 minutes.

7. Add tofu and garlic to mushrooms and zucchinis, (and cooked chicken if using). Stir fry, making sure not to burn the garlic (adjust the heat as needed).

8. Add back the carrots, peppers and broccoli; add sauce remaining in bowl as well as any used to marinate and saute the tofu. Stir fry 2-3 minutes on high ’til everything is well mixed and hot!

9. Serve with brown or wild mix rice; (we love Lundberg’s wild rice mixes*–there are several.)

*www.lundberg.com

Enjoy!

www.type2delicious.com