The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Salad’ category

Shaved Fennel Salad

 

Hope you all had fun last weekend! All I remember doing was jumping in a jumper with a bunch of little kids and hiking in the noon day sun WITHOUT sunscreen or hats. Real smart.

Here’s a tasty, simple little salad I made last Friday. I saw the fennel at the farmer’s market last Wednesday and at $1 a bulb it seemed a good deal.

You know who got me into fennel? My dad. He makes a really good salad.

Here’s what you need:

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed & shaved paper thin (or as thin as you can get them!)
2/3 c loosely chopped fresh dill
1/3 c fresh lemon juice (about 3 juicy lemons)
salt
4 or 5 generous handfuls of arugula
1/2 c pine nuts, toasted
1/3 c feta cheese, crumbled
OPTIONAL: Honey

1. Combine the fennel, zucchini and dill in a bowl.

Toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Just EXACTLY enough lemon juice, any extra carelessly spilled

Set aside and let marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

2. Just before serving salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. This is also from my garden – from last summer if you can believe it. It’s been producing since then. Wow!

3. Scoop all of the marinating veg on top of the arugula and pour as much of the lemon juice dressing as desired on top of that. Toss gently. Adjust dressing to your taste with more lemon juice, salt or pepper. If the lemon juice is too sour – add a bit of honey.

 

Not THIS!!!

4. Sprinkle pine nuts & feta on top & toss gently. Serve!

Shaved Fennel Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Light, tangy, crunchy salad!
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed & shaved paper thin (or as thin as you can get them!)
  • ⅔ c loosely chopped fresh dill
  • ⅓ c fresh lemon juice (about 3 juicy lemons)
  • salt
  • 4 or 5 generous handfuls of arugula
  • ½ c pine nuts, toasted
  • ⅓ c feta cheese, crumbled
  • OPTIONAL: Honey

Instructions
  1. Combine the fennel, zucchini and dill in a bowl. Toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, and ¼ tsp salt. Set aside and let marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
  2. Just before serving salad, put the arugula in a large bowl.
  3. Scoop all of the marinating veg on top of the arugula and pour as much of the lemon juice dressing as desired on top of that. Toss gently. Adjust dressing to your taste with more lemon juice, salt or pepper. If the lemon juice is too sour – add a bit of honey.
  4. Sprinkle pine nuts & feta on top & toss gently. Serve!

 

Source: Super Natural Every Day

Warm Ravioli Salad with Cilantro Pesto

If you drop two scoops of French vanilla ice cream, drizzled with hot fudge and fresh whipped cream atop a bed of mixed baby greens, does that make it a salad? OF COURSE it does!! Same with this ravioli “salad.” Nobody’s going to waste away during this salad month…

This recipe, although it has fresh pesto, is simpler than the Orzo Salad of the last posting. And the crazy vibrant green of the cilantro makes it extra gorgeous!!!

**WARNING: Cilantro haters – do NOT read on!!! This recipe is not for you! However, check back this weekend for something cilantro-free…**

I couldn’t help it – I got a MASSIVE bush of cilantro at the Farmer’s Market for $1.00

 

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 c toasted pine nuts
1 c lightly packed cilantro leaves & stems
1/3 c Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 TBSP lemon juice
2/3 c olive oil
sea salt
16 oz fresh or frozen ravioli
1/2 c oil-cured black olives, pitted and torn or chopped
OPTIONAL: thyme or chive flowers, to garnish

This was about 1/4th of the amount of cilantro I got!

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Toast pine nuts: Pre-heat oven to 400. Spread pine nuts evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for a few minutes.

Ugh!@!! Someone PLEASE clean out my toaster oven?

 

3 minutes would have been perfect. I did 4 and they got a little dark but still tasty.

2. Make cilantro pesto while water is heating. In a food processor or blender (I only have a blender) add cilantro, parmesan, salt, garlic, lemon juice and a generous splash of olive oil.


Blend until you have a gorgeous electric green sauce. Wow! Taste and add salt, lemon juice or olive oil to your taste.

How does SO much cilantro become so little sauce? Magic!

3. Salt boiling water & add ravioli. Boil until they float and are cooked through. (Follow package directions on this.) Drain immediately and, while still hot, add a large spoonful of pesto. Toss gently and let the pesto soak into the pasta.

Add most of the remaining pesto and olives and toss gently.

4. Gently pour onto a platter and drizzle remaining pesto, sprinkle remaining olives, pine nuts and (optional) flowers atop.

(I opted OUT of the flowers as I did not have them but they would be a pretty addition – especially if this were served at a special event.)

Maddie professed to loving this.

However, Maddie lied. (That was the only bite she took.)

 

A Word about my Adaptations:
I respect the original recipe and its ingredients very much but, sometimes I don’t have all the ingredients and I still want to make the dish. For this reason, I adapt the ingredients to make them less particular and hopefully more accessible. My adaptations involve using ingredients I have. For example, I didn’t have any pepitos (not only did I not have them but I’d never heard of them!) and wasn’t about to make a trip with 2 kids to Whole Foods or the CO-OP to find them. Also, if you have olive oil but not extra-virgin olive oil, that doesn’t mean you can’t make this dish. That said, I find that using the best ingredients I can get (and afford) makes a difference in the dish.

Do you think I used the word “dish” enough?

This is what I call a First World problem. Most of the people reading this blog (you two know who you are! HAHAHAAH!!!) have more than enough to eat. If we can be aware of where we are getting our food from to be more environmental/humane, than great. Otherwise, I don’t want to get caught up in “I can’t use regular olive oil, it has to be extra virgin.” to the point you drive yourself nuts.

 

Warm Ravioli Salad with Cilantro Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6
 

An visually stunning warm salad perfect for special occasions (showers, luncheons…) Can be served room temp or warm. But be careful not to serve to the cilantro-averse.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ c toasted pine nuts
  • 1 c lightly packed cilantro leaves & stems
  • ⅓ c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • ⅔ c olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 16 oz fresh or frozen ravioli
  • ½ c oil-cured black olives, pitted and torn or chopped
  • OPTIONAL: thyme or chive flowers, to garnish

Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Toast pine nuts: Pre-heat oven to 400. Spread pine nuts evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for a few minutes.
  2. Make cilantro pesto while water is heating. In a food processor or blender (I only have a blender) add cilantro, parmesan, salt, garlic, lemon juice and a generous splash of olive oil.
  3. Blend until you have a gorgeous electric green sauce. Wow! Taste and add salt, lemon juice or olive oil to your taste.
  4. Salt boiling water & add ravioli. Boil until they float and are cooked through. (Follow package directions on this.) Drain immediately and, while still hot, add a large spoonful of pesto. Toss gently and let the pesto soak into the pasta. Add most of the remaining pesto and olives and toss gently.
  5. Gently pour onto a platter and drizzle remaining pesto, sprinkle remaining olives, pine nuts and (optional) flowers atop.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature!

Slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day. (Can you tell I LOVE this cookbook??)

Orzo Salad with Broccoli Pesto

 

FINALLY!!! A recipe the kids like. M even professes to liking avocados again after this one.

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 c orzo (whole wheat if you can find it)
5 c raw broccoli cut intros small florets & stems
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 c pine nuts, toasted
1/3 c parmesan cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c creme fraiche
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced (do this at the last minute!)

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the orzo. Salt generously, add the orzo, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again.

2. Cook the broccoli. While we’re on the subject – you can use the flowers and the stems in this recipe. Just be sure to peel the skin off the thick stems and then you can slice small coin shaped pieces. They are really tasty and that way as little as possible goes to waste.

Bring 3/4 c water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for about 1 minute. Quickly drain in a strainer and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain & set aside.

3. Make the pesto. (Yum!) Combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the pine nuts, the Parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 TBSP lemon juice in a food processor. (I used my blender.) Drizzle in olive oil and creme fraiche and pulse until smooth. (I added those before I tried blending anything since I knew it wouldn’t work without some liquid.)

4. Just before serving, toss the orzo and remaining cooked broccoli with about 2/3rds of the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. (I totally forgot the zest but will do it next time!) Thin with a little warm water of you like, then taste and adjust the salt, lemon juice and/or pesto. Mine needed more pesto.

Two ways to serve:
For a group – fold in avocados, turn out in a bowl or platter and top with remaining pine nuts & lemon slices for drizzling.

For individual servings – serve in single serving bowls with sliced avocado & pine nuts on top as well as a small sprinkle of parmesan & a lemon slice.

Ooooooooooooooo

Ahhhhhhhhhh….avocado porn!

This is a delicious & pretty comfort food. Both my kids loved it which makes it a big hit and a small miracle.

NOTES: You can make the separate parts ahead of time and refrigerate. I made them the afternoon before as I had a couple of friends coming by the next day. I ran hot water over the orzo & broccoli to take the fridge chill out and then tossed with the pesto.

Orzo Salad with Broccoli Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

This is called a “salad” but I like to think of it as a yuppie’s macaroni & cheese. A tasty, healthy kid-friendly meal. In other words: a small miracle!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 c orzo (or any other small pasta)
  • 5 c raw broccoli cut into small florets & stems
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ⅔ c pine nuts, toasted (see NOTE for how to toast)
  • ⅓ c parmesan cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ¼ c creme fraiche
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced (do this just before serving!)

Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the orzo. Salt generously, add the orzo, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again.
  2. Cook the broccoli. Bring ¾ c water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for about 1 minute. Quickly drain in a strainer and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain & set aside.
  3. Make the pesto. Combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the pine nuts, the Parmesan, ¼ tsp salt, and 2 TBSP lemon juice in a food processor. (I used my blender.) Drizzle in olive oil and creme fraiche and pulse until smooth. (I added those before I tried blending anything since I knew it wouldn’t work without some liquid.)
  4. Just before serving, toss the orzo and remaining cooked broccoli with about ⅔rds of the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. Thin with a little warm water of you like, then taste and adjust by adding salt, lemon juice and/or pesto.

Notes
TOASTING PINE NUTS: Heat oven to 400. Spread pine nuts evenly on a cookie sheet. Toast a few minutes until golden brown. Do NOT walk away & forget the pine nuts! Two ways to serve: 1. For a group – fold in avocado slices, turn out in a bowl or platter and top with remaining pine nuts & lemon slices for drizzling. 2. For individual servings (and if you plan to have leftovers) – serve in single serving bowls with sliced avocado & pine nuts on top as well as a small sprinkle of parmesan & a lemon slice. (This way your whole salad will not turn brown overnight!)

Slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day.

 

Simple Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

 

Sunday dreads sneaking up on me…you’d think after all these years I’d have come up with a strategy to deal with Sunday night?

Part of what makes me so blue on Sunday night is the imaginary (and real) To DO list in my head that I don’t seem to chip away at. Which is why I challenged myself to a salad a day in March. Knowing I’ve done one healthy thing for myself every day is a pick-me-up in itself. Anyway, make this salad & take it to lunch tomorrow. (Keep the dressing & croutons separate. Hell, skip the croutons or use store bought if you have no time to make them! But try to make them next time!)

 

If you are a Caesar salad purist (or snob), keep walking. Nothing to see here! This is a Caesar salad for people without much time, without any anchovies and who don’t want to eat raw eggs. (Though I have eaten and REALLY, REALLY enjoyed that kind of salad myself!) This is a Monday morning salad. Brighten up your lunch salad. Do something nice for yourself salad. Even when you’re in a rush salad.

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 hearts of Romaine

For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
5 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP mayonaise
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 c parmesan cheese

For croutons:
2 c of firmly packed bread cut into 1/2″ cubes (a crusty loaf is ideal)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
large pinch of salt

1. Cut the ends off the romaine and separate leaves into a large bowl. I used my salad spinner as even my wooden salad bowl is too small for these leaves.

2. In a small bowl, add half the minced garlic.

Add lemon juice, mayonnaise (sorry G!), olive oil & Worcestershire sauce to garlic and whisk together.

Isn’t this lemon gorge?? I picked it up at the Farmer’s Market yesterday after running like hell from the Cat in the Hat visit at the library. Kill me now.

While we’re on the topic of lemons, that reminds me, I picked up some limes at Trader Joe’s to make margaritas with last weekend. Trying to get juice from them was like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Holy schmoley! I think we ended up drinking tequila & cointreau with a hint of lime.

3. Meanwhile, in another small bowl pour 1/4 c olive oil alone with the other half of the minced garlic. Let the garlic infuse the oil. Just push it aside and don’t give it another thought. That will be for your croutons.

4. Drizzle lettuce with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste and toss lightly. Use your hands if you have to and don’t have too many rings on which could be gnarly.

5. Drizzle some of the dressing (depending how much you like) over the lettuce and toss lightly again.

You can probably tell I added black pepper to the dressing but that’s b/c I like a lot of black pepper. Feel free to do that or not!

6. Sprinkle parmesan over lettuce and toss for the final time.

7. Back to the croutons. Are you with me? Drizzle remaining olive oil over bread cubes & toss with a large pinch of salt.

Spread out evenly on a baking sheet.

I baked them in my toaster oven since it was such a small amount. 375 for about 12 minutes. Taste one of the croutons after 12 minutes. If they are chewy, bake another 2 minutes. They should be crunchy.

8. Sprinkle croutons over lettuce. Serve!

Secret: The first time I made this I didn’t read the directions very closely and combined all the dressing ingredients at once: salt & pepper, olive oil, mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. I even threw in 1/4 c grated parmesan. It came out EXCELLENT!! Today I actually read the directions (except I did the croutons a different way that seemed less labor intensive to me) and it also came out excellent. In the printable recipe, I give you the fast way. After making it the second time, I think I prefer the way I made it the first time simply because it’s quicker.

Simple Caesar Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Simple, fresh Caesar salad to get your week started right! I sweet side salad for a luncheon or shower…
Ingredients
  • 3 hearts of Romaine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP mayonaise
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • ¼ c parmesan cheese
  • 2 c of firmly packed bread cut into ½” cubes (a crusty loaf is ideal)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • large pinch of salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375 (for croutons.)
  2. Chop ends off of Romaine hearts and separate leaves into a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 cloves minced garlic, lemon juice, 5 TBSP olive oil, 2 TBSP mayonaise, ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp salt and black pepper.
  4. Drizzle dressing over lettuce. Toss gently (can use your hands). Sprinkle parmesan cheese and toss again.
  5. Combine 2 cloves minced garlic to ¼ c olive oil and allow a few minutes for the garlic to infuse the oil. Drizzle over bread cubes and toss with a generous pinch of salt.
  6. Spread bread evenly on baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. Test one crouton. Should be crunchy, not chewy. If it’s chewy, bake for another 2 minutes and test.
  7. Sprinkle croutons over lettuce and serve immediately.

 

Adapted from The Other Pamela Anderson

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing

 

Everyone in the house is asleep. Even the dog.

The cat is outside fighting though. I just heard him. It’s 8:33PM.

Phew. I don’t know what to do with the PEACE. I guess I’ll just have a beer & unload the dishwasher. Which is like being at the SPA at this point!

Since we just did potato salad, I decided to post this broccoli slaw recipe I made back in December. Today I was out of the house all day and poor G is sick, sick, sick so I wasn’t able to make a new salad. But I’ve been meaning to post this one anyway since it was:

A. Easy

and

B. A success with the young-uns.

This is a great side dish. I served it with fried rice of all things (which was a weird paring but made sense since I wanted to use up my veg before leaving town). Not that you care about that…

This is really pretty, tasty & both my kids ate copious amounts of it which makes me love it.

Pardon the pictures. Not my best work. Taken at night. With my cell phone.

All ingredients are available at Trader Joe’s. Btw: this will go well with cabbage slaw too but Trader Joe’s happened to have the broccoli slaw ready to go.

Here’s all you need:

INGREDIENTS:
2 heads of broccoli OR 1 bag (undressed) broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s
1/3 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken (as usual, I had to MAKE buttermilk!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Chop broccoli into small pieces (or using food processor.) Mine was pre-cut from Trader Joe’s. I prefer cutting it myself if I have time but I don’t always! Toss broccoli with red onion in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients with salt & pepper to taste.

Pour over broccoli. (If you used 2 whole heads, the dressing amount should be right. If you use a bag of pre-cut slaw from Trader Joe’s – use a little at a time. You should have some left over.)

3. Toss to coat & season with salt & pepper to taste.

Yummy additions:
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 stalks chopped celery

Kids liked it and they probably wouldn’t appreciate the “yummy” additions.


These kids eat like wild animals. Or don’t eat at all.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Easy, fresh salad!
Ingredients
  • SALAD
  • 2 heads of broccoli OR 1 bag (undressed) broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s
  • ⅓ small red onion, finely chopped
  • BUTTERMILK DRESSING
  • ½ cup buttermilk, well-shaken
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

Instructions
  1. Chop broccoli into small pieces (or using food processor.) Mine was pre-cut from Trader Joe’s. I prefer cutting it myself if I have time but I don’t always! Toss broccoli with red onion in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Pour over broccoli. (If you used 2 whole heads, the dressing amount should be right. If you use a bag of pre-cut slaw from Trader Joe’s – use a little at a time. You should have some left over.)
  4. Toss to coat & season with salt & pepper to taste.

Notes
Yummy additions: ½ cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted ⅓ cup dried cranberries 2 stalks chopped celery

 



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