Panzanella Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

Hold up!  Summer is not over yet.  Is it? Well even if it is this Panzanella Salad with grilled veggies and a beautiful grilled lemon-basil dressing is a hit year round.  It's a hearty salad, more of a side dish than just a salad, and it won't wilt in the summer heat so it's perfect for a picnic or barbeque if you are lucky enough to squeeze one last one in this Labor Day weekend.  Panzanella is a Tuscan inspired 'bread' salad with fresh vegetables where the day-old bread soaks up the ... Continue Reading

Tuna fish three ways

There is nothing more fun than taking a simple dish - like tuna fish - and finding new ways to present it and eat it.  It's all about options with this tuna trio.  I came up with these ideas as part of my cooking segment for KCRA3 on what college kids can make in their dorm room kitchens.  Unless things have changed dramatically since I went to college, which is possible, it's all about cheap, quick and easy.  Also, tuna fish is a very healthy option for college kids who may be concerned ... Continue Reading

Wedge Salad with Crispy Chorizo

A crisp wedge salad with a creamy buttermilk dressing and blue cheese and tomatoes is a delicious classic that usually comes topped with crumbled bacon.  This is a dish you'll find on the menu at most steak houses across America and one that I know many of my friends enjoy, too.  While I can't argue with a classic I thought that by adding a smoky element of chorizo sausage, instead of the bacon, would be a great way to update this salad and give it an interesting twist.  An Internati... Continue Reading

Heirloom Carrot and Purple Cabbage Coleslaw

I make this coleslaw year round and use regular carrots when I can't find the heirloom variety.  It's such a light and refreshing side dish that comes together in mere minutes and pairs especially well with my pulled pork tacos with fried plantains!  But really it goes with any picnic or BBQ as an easy crowd pleasing side dish.  Even the kids love coleslaw, right?  The heirloom variety of carrots are nice because they add some additional color to the dish which makes for a vibrant ... Continue Reading

Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad

I know I'm going out on a limb here calling this the 'perfect picnic pasta salad' but I am standing by it!  And I'm one who doesn't typically love pasta salad because it's often too goopy for my taste.  And bland.  Dreadfully bland.  But not to worry this pasta salad is neither goopy or bland.  In fact the pasta has a ton of flavor to it and it's all thanks to few tricks.  Here's the play by play. Make sure you have the mayonnaise, mustard and cheese mixture whisked together and ready ... Continue Reading

Browned Artichoke Pasta Salad

  Spring is here! And that means fresh artichokes everywhere I go from the grocery store to the farmer's markets.  The best fresh artichoke is one that is young and tender and a lighter green color versus the darker green with the larges outer leaves.  And the good news with those is there is less of a prickly center to remove, too. But get what you can find and this pasta recipe will help you deliver all the best flavor through blanching and then sautéing the artichoke hearts in ... Continue Reading

Spinach & Beet Salad with Port Reduction & Crispy Shallots

Spinach  and roasted beet salad is a delicious and classic combination.  And here's my little take on how to amp it up a bit and make it even more delicious; by adding in a sweet reduction of port wine and a crunch from crispy fried shallots. The best part is you can make several steps ahead of time and have them on hand and ready for when you want to assemble and serve this salad; which makes it perfect for entertaining with ease.  I start with the port reduction because that can keep in ... Continue Reading

Fresh Fruit Salad with Lemon-Honey Dressing

This fruit salad is especially scrumptious during berry season but I make all year round and is from my cookbook, The Savory Gourmet. I adjust the amount of honey and lemon I use based on the natural sweetness of the fruit available to me.  So a little more honey in the winter and a little less in the summer.  But what I really love about this dish is how colorful it is and how just those little extra touches of the crème fraiche with the tangy sweetness of the dressing really makes this ... Continue Reading

Butter Leaf Salad with Citrus Dressing

This salad is the perfect winter salad because it combines citrus with the delicate, buttery winter lettuce named after it's smooth texture.  Butter leaf lettuce can often be found in a plastic case in the salad section with the leaves still attached to the root.  Other grocery stores sell it by the head in the same section as red leaf and green leaf lettuce heads.  I thought of this salad as part of a Valentine's Day menu that men can make for their special someone because it's super easy ... Continue Reading

Crab Stuffed Endive with Citrus Habanero Oil

One thing I love to serve during the holidays is crab.  Crab cakes are a real favorite around our house.  But with all the rich food that will be part of our holiday gathering I thought it would be fun to try to create a recipe that would lighten up the menu.  This would work great as a small bite before dinner or even as the salad to a sit down dinner.  Simply double or triple the recipe for more guests. I first tried Citrus Habanero oil in a little trio of olive oil set I bought at ... Continue Reading