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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

While I was menu planning this week I pulled out my recipe notebook that I use to write down family or passed down recipes and to store recipes I’ve cut from magazines. I started this notebook right after college and haven’t really looked through it in a while.

I found this recipe that I cut from the May 2007 Cooking Light for Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad. I was in the mood for a lighter dinner and had fish in mind so this was perfect.

The original recipe calls for grilling the tuna and the onions but our gas grill is not working and Brandon didn’t want to fire up the Egg for a three minute tuna sear so I decided to prepare this inside. Although there are several elements to this dish, nothing is too complicated and it was easy to put together. Instead of grilling the onions, I cooked them in a cast iron skillet and let the edges get a little charred. I seared the tuna in a hot skillet for about 2 minutes per side.

I made several modifications  to the recipe. First, I doubled the marinade and only used two tuna steaks. I still made the full recipe for the white bean salad because I wanted to use the leftovers for lunch. Second, I omitted the parsley from the white bean salad and used a mixture of fresh rosemary and basil instead. And third, I omitted the capers because I detest them!

I was very pleased with how this dish turned out. The white bean salad was delicious and paired nicely with the tuna. I enjoyed plating the tuna and white bean salad over mixed greens but you could easily skip the mixed greens and just do a vegetable on the side.

Maybe I’ll have to turn to my recipe notebook for inspiration more often!

Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, May 2007)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TUNA
1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1  teaspoon  olive oil
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1  garlic clove, minced
4  (6-ounce) tuna steaks

FOR THE SALAD
1  medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1  garlic clove, minced
1/2  cup  chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4  cup  chopped flat-leaf parsley (I subbed basil and rosemary)
1  tablespoon  capers (omitted)
1  (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
6  cups  mixed salad greens

Directions:

FOR THE TUNA
Combine the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag or a shallow dish. Add tuna to bag or dish and seal or cover. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove tuna from bag and discard marinade. Prepare grill if cooking outside. Place tuna on grill rack coated with cooking spray and grill 2 minutes on each side for rare or until desired degree of doneness. Alternatively, cook in a skillet over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil for about two minutes per side.

FOR THE SALAD
Place onion slices on grill rack coated with cooking spray and grill 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Cool and chop. Alternatively, cook onions in a cast iron skillet over medium heat with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender and browned.

Combine vinegar and next five ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add onion, cucumber, parsley (or herbs), capers and beans to vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Arrange 1 1/2 cups salad greens on each of four plates. Top each serving with about 1/2 cup onion mixture and 1 tuna steak.

Yield: 4 servings

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In the past I’ve been pretty indifferent to pasta salads. I never feel like they really deliver on flavor. I’ve been lucky in the past couple months to try two outstanding pasta salads. First there was the Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Olives and last night my mother in law served this Orzo Salad as part of our joint birthday/Father’s Day celebration. (My birthday was last Wednesday and Brandon’s is this Tuesday.) I went back for seconds and took leftovers home for lunch. It is so full of flavor and I think it’s a very pretty and colorful pasta salad.

The ingredient list is a little long but the preparation is simple. I think it would be easy to cut down on the ingredients.  Although pretty, I don’t think it’s necessary to use three different colors of peppers and I also think you could get away with using one variety of olives instead of two. But I do recommend the recipe as is. I’m definitely keeping this one in my summer side dish lineup.

One Year Ago: Seared Tuna with Herbed Aioli

Orzo Salad
(Recipe source In Order to Serve: Christ Church Cooks II)

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (rehydrated in hot water if necessary)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Chill before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

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I saw a beautiful bunch of beets with the greens still attached at the farmer’s market this weekend. They were definitely coming home with me. I’ve been wanting to roast beets and experiment with beet greens for a while now. I’ve been so inspired  by everyone’s CSA boxes full of interesting ingredients!

I was searching for a recipe that used both the beets and the greens. I found this Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens from Bon Appetit on Epicurious and knew it was something I could work with. I made a few modifications to the recipe – I left out the garlic, caramelized the onions, reduced the amount of oil and vinegar in the dressing and added goat cheese. The results were fabulous. I loved this dish and all the flavors in it. The added plus was that it was pretty healthy – the beet greens are loaded with nutrients.

Unfortunately, my husband was not such a big fan. I will honestly say that he tried really hard to like it but he’s just not a fan of beets. Sad for me because I would love to make this again.

And now I have a ton of leftover roasted beets to use! Please let me know if you have any suggestions on favorite beet recipes.

One year ago: Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Beet Greens
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2004)

Ingredients:

6 medium beets with beet greens attached
1 large orange
1 small sweet onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
1/8 cup red wine vinegar (add more, up to 1/3 cup, to taste)
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more, up to 1/4 cup, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve. Wrap each beet in foil and place directly on oven rack. Roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes (mine smaller beets tool about an hour and the larger ones closer to 90 minutes). Cool and peel beets – you might want to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands. Cut each beet into eight wedges and place in a medium bowl.

Cook onions in a heavy skillet (I used cast iron) with olive oil, salt and pepper over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until golden and soft.

Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess water. Add greens to bowl with beets. Peel and remove white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil and orange peel in small bowl to blend and add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour (mine only stood for about 20 minutes). Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Yield: 4-6 first course/side dish servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 65

I haven’t had much luck with making pasta salad in the past. It always seemed to be lacking in flavor and pretty mediocre. We decided to grill kebabs last week and enjoy our first dinner out on our patio. I thought pasta salad sounded like the perfect side item.

I read through several recipes from Gourmet on Epicurious and this recipe for Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Olives sounded like a winner. We love Mediterranean flavors and I didn’t see how this could be boring with zucchini, olives, onions, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and feta.

I made a few modifications to the recipe. First, I made the pasta salad ahead of time (wanted to go to a late yoga class!) so I skipped grilling the zucchini in favor of a quick saute. Second, I just do not love the flavor of raw onions and garlic so I gave those a quick saute too (and subbed Vidalia’s for red onions because they were on hand).

The verdict? Awesome! The only complaint Brandon had was with the whole wheat pasta but that’s typical. He’s not a lover of the added chewiness. If you struggle with that too you may want to substitute white pasta for the wheat but keep in mind the added health benefits of using whole wheat pasta :)

I loved the flavors of this pasta salad and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next couple days. I cut the recipe in half and it still made a ton. This would be great for entertaining or to make for lunches for the week. I will most definitely be making this recipe again soon.

One Year Ago: Stuffed Chicken with Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Olives
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1994)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing  zucchini
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 pound whole-wheat penne or other tubular pasta
2/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
6 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups whole small or torn large fresh basil leaves

In a large bowl gently stir together tomatoes, onion, garlic paste, vinegar and olive oil. Set aside.

Brush one side of zucchini slices lightly with additional oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat until hot and grill zucchini, oiled sides down, in batches, brushing tops with more oil before turning, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just tender but not soft. Transfer to a small bowl.

In a pot of salted boiling water cook pasta until just tender (following package directions) and drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture and toss to combine. Cool pasta slightly and stir in zucchini, olives, cheese, basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings

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67 Days of Gourmet: Day 58

I’m really embarrassed to admit that tonight was the first time I’ve cooked with quinoa. Bad foodie, especially given my love for all things healthy, whole grain and nutrient packed. :( And I’ve had it from the hot bar at Whole Foods and Earth Fare, just haven’t cooked with it yet.

I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for the last couple months. Every time I made homemade Mexican this was on the menu but I kept bailing on it. Every time I went to Harris Teeter I was annoyed that they were charging $5 for a small bag of quinoa. I was picking up a few things at Earth Fare this weekend and was so excited to find awesome bulk prices on all kinds of grains. I stocked up on quinoa and rolled oats.

I can’t believe I waited so long to make this. Whether you’re a quinoa lover or someone who has never tried it, this is a must try recipe. The flavors are so well balanced with the quinoa, black beans, fresh corn, bell pepper and jalapenos and the lime/oil based dressing is the perfect finish. I’m so looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch this week topped with diced avocado and an extra squeeze of lime and know I’ll be making this many more times in the future.

BIG NEWS #1
YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REGISTERED FOR THE 35th MARINE CORPS MARATHON! I did it! I registered! I’m beyond excited. And even better news, my friend Meghan registered to run it too! This will be her first marathon. I can’t even put into words how happy I am that I won’t be running this race alone!

BIG NEWS #2
I’m launching a Healthy Living blog!!! Don’t worry, Bakin’ and Eggs isn’t going anywhere but I’ve really been conflicted over whether to continue discussing fitness/my life on this blog or whether I should start a new blog. In the end, I decided that the healthy living blog was the best way to go. The name has been selected, the domain has been registered and I’m in the process of getting it all set up. I promise that I’ll let you all know the second it goes live!

Please try this quinoa recipe and then let me know what you think!

One Year Ago: Fresh Strawberry Scones

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1994)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (I subbed a bit of ground coriander because the store did not have fresh)

FOR THE DRESSING
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve. (I attempted this step but my quinoa went right through my sieve so I skipped this step and just cooked it as is. Turned out totally fine.)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse with cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in pot occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, corn and coriander.

Let quinoa cool a bit then add to bean mixture and toss well.

FOR THE DRESSING
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt and cumin. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish

Note: I cut this recipe in half and it made plenty for 2 with lots of leftovers!

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 56

A dinner salad was a must on this week’s menu. The temperatures have been in the 80s and the days are getting longer and longer. A perfect reason to enjoy a cool, flavorful salad with grilled chicken. I browsed through the grilled chicken salad recipes from Gourmet on Epicurious and this salad was the standout.

It was super easy to prepare – the chicken only has to marinate for 15 minutes and while it’s grilling you can prepare the tomato mixture and plate the salad. This salad is a great healthy and quick option for a weeknight dinner.

Our Easter weekend was awesome! We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday (say happy birthday to Mema – she reads the blog!!!) and cooked up a storm. I baked my favorite Lady Strawberry Cake and the crowd pleasing Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. I can’t resist sharing this picture of Mema with her TWO birthday cakes!

I’m teaching FOUR BodyPump classes this week. I predict that I will be sore by the time Sunday rolls around. We’re teaching the new release and it’s really tough – the squats and lunges make me want to cry! And I have some news for you guys…I am going to register for the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow. I’m so nervous to commit to a race that is 6  months out but it’s a big goal of mine to run a big city marathon and I’ve heard great things about this race. I’ll start slowly building my base in the coming months and really ramp up my training in July. Ahh! I can’t believe I’m 100% committing to another marathon.

And now salad!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart (YUM!)

Grilled Chicken Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet, August 2005)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon mild honey
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup olive oil
6 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3 pounds total) – I used 2 boneless skinless breasts and halved the lime vinaigrette
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 medium shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)
8 ounces mesclun, thinly sliced (6 cups) – I used baby greens
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced – omitted because the store was out of basil – so disappointing :(
Sliced avocado (if desired – I added this)

Directions:

PREPARE THE CHICKEN AND SALAD
Whisk together lime juice, honey, red pepper flakes and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking.

Transfer chicken to a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag and add 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette, then seal bag. Marinate chicken at room temperature 15 minutes.

Transfer another 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette to a bowl, stir in tomatoes and shallots, and marinate until chicken is finished cooking. Transfer another 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette to a large bowl and set aside for cooked chicken.

Remove chicken from bag, discarding marinade, and sprinkle all over with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

TO COOK CHICKEN ON A CHARCOAL GRILL
Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney starter of charcoal briquettes (80 to 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of briquettes).

When charcoal turns grayish white (after 15 to 20 minutes) and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken breasts, starting with skin sides down, on a lightly oiled rack over coals, uncovered, turning once, until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes total.

Move browned chicken breasts to side of grill with no coals and cook, covered with lid, turning over occasionally, until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes more.

TO COOK CHICKEN USING A GAS GRLL
Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then adjust heat to medium high heat.

Sear chicken on lightly oiled grill rack, lid down, until well browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Turn off 1 burner (middle burner if there are 3) and arrange all seared chicken on rack above shut-off burner. Cook seared chicken, covered with lid, turning over once, until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Internal temperature should be 160 degrees.

TOSS GRILLED CHICKEN IN VINAIGRETTE
Transfer hot grilled chicken to large bowl with lime vinaigrette and turn to coat. Leave in bowl 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and loosely cover with foil.

ASSEMBLE SALAD
Toss together mesclun, basil, tomato mixture and salt to taste. Slice chicken and arrange over salad. Drizzle with some lime vinaigrette and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

*Note: I used 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut the lime vinaigrette in half.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 53

I didn’t get a great photo of this salad…it was late and dark and we were hungry…but it’s really delicious. I don’t think a salad can get any better than warm melty goat cheese atop a bed of baby greens with a simple vinaigrette. The warm goat cheese rounds are so easy to make and definitely worth the extra effort. This salad is an easy way to kick up a date night or company dinner another notch!

After our late night Sunday (we didn’t get home until 3:45 a.m.!), it’s taken a while to get caught up this week. I decided to take Monday as a rest day in an effort not to push my tired body too hard. I ran a quick 1.5 mile sprint on the treadmill and taught BodyPump on Tuesday. I went suuuppperrr heavy on my weights and as a result my lower body is really sore! Sometimes it just feels good to push it! This morning I went to a hot vinyasa yoga class before work and took Sullie for a 3 mile jog after work. The weather was beautiful. I think it was 75 degrees today. I can’t wait until this weather is here to stay. I am so much more motivated to run when the days are longer and the weather is nice.

Let’s talk quickly about early morning yoga classes. When I first started practicing, morning classes were a huge struggle. My balance was off and my focus just wasn’t there. Over time, I have become more accustomed to practicing in the morning and I can’t believe the difference in my energy level when I get a good class in before work. I don’t know if it’s the backbends or what but I feel so great and energetic for the rest of the day. And I can compare this to the mornings I teach BodyPump – completely different energy levels. So that’s my interesting tidbit for the day!

Also, just wanted to throw out to you guys that I am ALWAYS open to feedback and suggestions. Please let me know how you’re feeling about the new fitness spin in the posts. I’m still figuring out how I really want to blog about fitness and nutrition – I don’t know if it will be an evolution of this blog or a new blog? Let me know your thoughts!

And one more note…I have 12 recipes left to make for 68 Days of Gourmet and I’m looking for inspiration! Leave a comment or send me an email at bakinandeggs (at) gmail (dot) com if you have suggestions or something you’d like to see. It would be most appreciated :)

One Year Ago: Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers (still one of our favorites – we love this dinner!)

Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet January 2002)

Ingredients:

1 large egg white
2 teaspoon water
4-6 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds soft mild goat cheese, cut from a cold log (use dental floss for easy cutting)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (preferably Japanese panko)
2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups mesclun (mixed baby salad greens – about 2 ounces)

Directions:

Whisk together egg white and water. Dip cheese rounds in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Chill 15 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar and a pinch of pepper in a small salad bowl. Add 2 tablespoon oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté cheese until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Remove cheese rounds from pan.

Add greens to dressing and toss gently to coat. Top with warm goat cheese rounds.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 21

I have to admit that I had a mini-meltdown during menu planning this week. I was all over the place and couldn’t make a decision. Sometimes menu planning is so simple for me – it all just comes together. Other times – not so much.  I was just really over thinking it for some reason. While we were unpacking groceries, I was rambling off the menu selections for the week. Brandon seemed pretty pleased with his options so I guess I pulled it off.

We decided to keep it simple tonight with salad and a baked potato. But not just any salad…Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs. I flagged this one in The Gourmet Cookbook because a) Brandon loves bacon and b) he thinks pretty much any food is even more delicious topped with an egg. One of his recent favorites has been a fried egg on hamburgers. Extra protein?

I actually made several changes to this recipe but it still turned out fabulously. First, we don’t love frisee – we usually pick it out of the salad mix or its left uneaten on the plate. You can’t even buy it on its own at the grocery store  where we shop and I was not going to make  a special trip for it. I had some baby arugula mix in the fridge so decided to go with that. Second, I realized I was out of red wine vinegar so I used a splash of white wine vinegar and a splash of balsamic instead. And last, I opted to use my egg poacher rather than use the written method for poaching eggs.

I will definitely be making this salad again. How can you not love this combination? And the warm bacon dressing is amazing…although I had to put it in the back of my head that it was essentially bacon grease and vinegar. This is a great easy weeknight dinner paired with soup or a baked potato. It would also be an impressive first course for a dinner party.

Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, printed in Gourmet February 1999)
Printable Recipe: Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

1/2 pound frisée (French curly endive)
6 ounces slab bacon or thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 slices)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Tear frisee into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. If using slab bacon, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Then cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips (these are your lardons).

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat when bacon is golden and beginning to crisp. Set skillet aside.

In another skillet, place 1 inch of warm water and set aside. Fill up a 4-quart saucepan halfway with water and stir in white vinegar. Bring liquid to a simmer. Break each egg into a teacup one at a time and slide into simmering liquid. Immediately push white around yolk with a slotted spoon, working gently. Egg should be oval in shape and yolk should be completely covered by white. Using the same method, add the remaining 3 eggs. Simmer eggs for about 1 1/2 minutes for runny yolks up to about 3 minutes for firmer yolks. Immediately transfer eggs to skillet of warm water.

Reheat bacon in its skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add red wine vinegar and boil 5 seconds. Immediately pour hot dressing over frisée and toss with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide salad among 4 plates and top with drained poached eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

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caesarwithpancetta

This is a lightened and eggless variation of one of my favorite Caesar salads from Ina Garten. I love Ina’s Caesar salad for entertaining. It’s great with home made croutons. We had Italian night last Sunday and I wanted to make this salad but was looking for something lighter and without the raw egg. I decided to take my favorite elements from her salad (the cherry tomatoes and crispy pancetta) and pair it with a Caesar dressing I found on Cooking Light.

I will admit that the dressing definitely doesn’t live up to Ina’s but it’s very easy and much lighter. I prefer to make my own dressings and I think it adds so much to a salad. And when it’s this easy…you really don’t have an excuse not to!

Lightened Caesar Salad with Pancetta and Cherry Tomatoes
(Recipe inspired by Ina Garten, dressing source Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD
1-2 heads romaine lettuce (depending on size)
1/4 pound pancetta, sliced to a similar thickness to bacon
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

FOR THE DRESSING
1/3  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1  tablespoon  olive oil
2  teaspoons  red wine vinegar
2  teaspoons  Worcestershire sauce
1  teaspoon  anchovy paste
1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
1  garlic clove, minced

Directions:

Cut pancetta into cubes. Place in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until browned and crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Wash lettuce well and dry in a salad spinner. Cut into 1 1/2 inch slices. Place in a large bowl.

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad greens and toss to coat. Top with tomatoes and pancetta. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

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tommozzsalad

We’re back from the cruise! We enjoyed a fun and relaxing week in the Caribbean. We spent every day exploring the best beaches on the islands we visited and enjoyed lunch and rum punch at beach bars. I went on a bit of a “tour de fish sandwich.” I must say the tastiest one I had was in Barbados at a little place called Carib Cafe. We’re going to attempt to recreate it at  home soon so be on the lookout!

My parents so kindly offered to keep Sullie while we were gone. Our flight got in Sunday evening and my dad had dinner waiting for us when we picked her up. He made an amazing pasta dish from Cook’s Illustrated. He sent me home with a ton of leftover fresh basil. One of Brandon’s favorites is Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad so I decided to get all the ingredients for it on my weekly shopping trip. We’ve been able to enjoy it as an appetizer/salad this week. I thought I’d share this easy and flavorful dish.

Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

SALAD
Cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
Fresh mozzarella, diced
Sprig/bunch of fresh basil, julienned
Salt and pepper, to taste

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

You’ll notice I didn’t give quantities for the salad. You really can adjust the amounts to your hunger/taste. For example, I like a little more basil than Brandon and he probably likes more cheese (hey, he’s a man!).

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and balsamic vinegar. Once incorporated, slowly whisk in the olive oil.

To assemble the salad. Layer the tomatoes, cheese and basil in a small dish/plate. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle the balsamic vinagrette over it.

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