The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Salad’ category

Red Potato & Green Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette


I know, it’s wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too early in the year to start making potato salad. Hold on a minute? Says WHO? I felt like making this salad in March and so I did.

Lord knows, G will gag and possibly need to be hospitalized if he so much as smells mayonnaise. Also, although I love almost ANY kind of potato salad, I wanted to try a brighter, lighter version. This one is AMAZING and can be eaten room temp, warm or cold.

This salad has NO mayo.

All you need is:


and these:
IMG_0906 Please excuse that basket of junk in the back.

Here’s a gratuitous shot of the parsley from my garden:

8 oz green beans, trimmed & cut into 1-1/2″ pieces
3 lbs small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, halved (if yours are medium-sized, then quarter them)
2 TBSP dry vermouth
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 large shallot, chopped
1 TBSP coarse-grained Dijon mustard
2/3 c olive oil
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

1. Boil beans in large pot of salted water until crisp/tender, about 4 minutes.


Drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain. Pat dry with a towel. (Or let drip dry, like I did!)

2. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl (I put them back in the pot to save dishes!) Sprinkle vermouth over hot potatoes. **NOTE: I had medium sized potatoes so I ended up cutting them into quarters. I think I overcooked them a tad but they were still excellent.**


Toss gently and let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallot, and mustard. Gradually whisk in oil.

IMG_0914 Uh, YUM!

4. Pour over potatoes and toss gently to coat.
IMG_0921 Obviously, pre “tossing to coat.”

Cool completely. Mix in green beans and parsley. Season with salt & pepper to taste.


I love this salad!! It’s a little more “refined” maybe? Fresher & definitely lighter than the mayo based potato salad we all know and still love. (Except for those of us who gag and throw themselves on the floor at the sight or even thought of mayo ((Christina Lynch & George, you know I’m talking to you…))) Wow, those parenthesis are blinding me!


Red Potato & Green Bean Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

Not your mama’s potato salad! You’ll find NO MAYO in the ingredients either! A refined, clean, bright salad with sticking power.
  • 8 oz green beans, trimmed & cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 lbs small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, halved
  • 2 TBSP dry vermouth
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 TBSP coarse grained Dijon mustard
  • ⅔ c olive oil
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Boil beans in large saucepan of salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water. Drain. Pat dry with towel.
  2. Boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water until just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle vermouth over hot potatoes. Toss gently & let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallot, and mustard. Gradually whisk in the oil. Pour over the potatoes & toss gently to coat.
  5. Cool potatoes completely. Add green beans & parsley & stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover & refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Hello Spring & Lettuce Salad

Normally, February is the darkest, most dread-filled, dreadful, month of the year for me. It comes after the holiday re-coup month (January) and it can feel like there’s nothing to look forward to. What am I rambling about? I’ve always despised holidays. And I absolutely HATE seeing all the Halloween merchandise at Ralph’s starting in August (that we all know was lovingly made in China and is heading straight for our landfills). But I digress, anyway, despite Bah Humbugging from October through January, I still got the post holiday blues every year. Things were different this year. January & February flew by this year. No dark depression. No sense of isolation, due to conversing mainly with very small people who sometimes remind me of a lunatic and a drunk. (No offense any lunatics or drunks reading this.) In fact, this year, we attended an impressive number of aptly named Happy Hours.

Cheers, Nana!

Besides the Happy Hours, what was the difference this year? This year G’s parents stayed on after Christmas in a cozy little apartment just off of Main Street. We were able to zip back and forth between our place and theirs and did, often. Maddie had a few sleepovers there, she had Fridays alone with Nana & Papa (which meant I had Fridays alone with mySELF!!) and we attended every Happy Hour we could find! Our favorite “kid friendly” ones were at M Street Kitchen and The Victorian. G and I got a few mountain bike rides in and even got away for one night while Jack & Patsy babysat. Amazing!

Basking in the sun outside Anthropologie. Nice!

Having family nearby for two solid months was so special in so many ways. Not only did we get a bit of time away from the kids, but the girls got special time WITH their grandparents. They got to hear “Yes” instead of “No.” and “NO. Wait, what did you ask me? Oh, NO.” And we also got to spend time with G’s parents. His sister and her new husband, Chris came out in January for a few days adding even more reason to be merry.

Sadly, February has finally come to an end despite Leap Year’s helping hand and G’s parents have returned to their home. There was a sense of emptiness coming home from LAX after we dropped them off. Still, the bad month has passed, holding the February dreads at bay for another year.


After Jack & Patsy left, I thought I ought to have a healthy goal for this month. Something to keep me occupied. Since I knew it wouldn’t involve exercise, I decided to do a salad a day for the month of March (and hopefully share the noteworthy ones on the blog.) One of my favorite Christmas gifts from my in-laws was “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi.


The gorgeous pictures and mouthwatering recipes are truly enrapturing until it comes down to trying to actually gather some of the rather exotic ingredients. Fortunately one of the simplest recipes is for “Lettuce Salad.”

You all, I know I tend to describe my recipes as “yummy” and “tasty.” But all those yummy & tasty recipes make me sick now that I’ve tasted this salad. I am NOT kidding (except about the recipes making me sick)! This salad is unlike any salad I’ve had!!


It’s easy to make, (especially when you fudge some of the ingredients – dear Yotam, with all due respect, I was in the Ralph’s on Lincoln in Venice this AM. It’s not the nicest Ralph’s and they did not carry sun dried tomatoes, never mind sun KISSED. So I had to use the sun dried ones I had from Trader Joe’s. I know you, dear Yotam, do not like the “harsh flavor & texture” of sun dried tomatoes but I LOVED them in this salad! My palate is obviously not refined enough to know the difference. And that’s why I shopped at Ralph’s on Lincoln. Also, because I happened to be at the hardware store across the street beforehand.

Ralph’s on Lincoln: the proletariat market!!!

Anyway, of course this salad would be best with veg from the Farmer’s Market but since I was unable to get myself there this week, I had to make do. I’m happy to report, the results were amazing.

Use this recipe when you have guests over and are serving something rich. The beauty, brightness and complex flavors are sure to impress…

Here’s what you’ll need:

(all lettuces need to be rinsed & dried – dried being very important so the dressing can cling)
1 head of butter lettuce, leaves separated
1 head of radicchio, leaves separated & torn
1/2 head of curly lettuce (I used green lettuce), leaves separated
3 green onions, sliced thinly on a sharp angle
20 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 c sun dried tomatoes (or slow-roasted if you can find/make them)
2 TBSP capers, whole if small or very roughly chopped

Toss all that into a large salad or mixing bowl. Now make the dressing.

1 garlic clove, crushed
1-1/2 TBSP lemon juice
1-1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP grape seed oil (I didn’t have any so used more olive oil)
salt & black pepper

Whisk those ingredients together & add salt & pepper to taste. Pour salad dressing over the salad and toss gently. Transfter to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle capers over the top. AMAZING!!!!

After pronouncing it “DELICIOUS!” and eating 3 bites, she left it unattended. Three year olds!


Lettuce Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

Beautiful, bright salad full of complex flavors. Ready in minutes!
  • 1 head of butter leaves (wash, dry & tear leaves of all lettuces)
  • ½ head of curly lettuce (or whatever is available – red lettuce would be good)
  • 1 head of radicchio
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly and on an angle
  • 20 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 c slow-roasted or sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP capers (chopped coarsely if they are large)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-1/2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP grape seed oil
  • salt & black pepper

  1. Combine the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together the ingredients and adding salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Being sure your lettuce leaves are all dry, drizzle the dressing over the salad & toss gently. Sprinkle capers over the top & serve.

Stay tuned for the salad-a-day challenge in March…

Carmageddon Hijinks – Earth Wind & Fire Salad


Two weekends ago I made three things and had high hopes of posting all three recipes BUT was unable because of CARMAGEDDON!!!!!!! Well, actually, Beamageddon. Bea started crawling. I’m blaming her for problems with the recipes. And the pictures. Anyway, these were all good hot weather dishes.

Here’s one of our favorites given to me by Joy Armagost who is not only an excellent cook but also an outstanding FARMER. Earth, Wind & Fire Salad is a hearty, fresh & tasty salad. Every time I take it to a cookout or serve it at home I get a lot of compliments.


You’ll need these ingredients for the salad. The only ones you might have trouble finding are the wheat berries. I get them at Whole Foods but they don’t have them at the Ralph’s near our house.

Salad ingredients:
1/2 c wheat berries
1 c wild rice
2 green onions (what we call scallions)
1, 2 or 3 peppers (I used 1 red, 1 yellow & 1 orange for looks!)
1 c edamame (Fresh is best but I had these frozen ones so I used ‘em – boiled in microwave with salt!)

The time-consuming part is making the rice & wheat berries. I simmer them according to package directions on the stove for 45-60 minutes – just keep checking them after 45 mins. I think Joy used a rice cooker which is probably a lot more efficient but I wanted to cook them both at the same time. Also, she is a lot more organized than I am. Btw: you can do this a day before and store in fridge b/c you’ll want them cold for the salad anyway.

Chop up those peppers.

What is that haunting specter? Oh, water on the lens.

There it is AGAIN!! I thought I got it.

Here is one way to cut peppers. I am only slightly embarrassed to admit I learned this from the BEST SOURCE OF EDUCATION IN THE WORLD! – TV. Yes, I saw it on Top Chef. Cut the top off first. It will look like this.
(Who left the flash on??)

After removing the stem I give the tops to Maddie who thinks they are edible flowers. I definitely don’t like to waste the tops no matter what the folks at Top Chef tell me.

Then scoop out the inside.
Dang that flash!

Now chop in relatively thin strips. I like to get rid of all the “white stuff.” And dice.
Check this out.


Which looks better? You know the answer.

How pretty!

Chop scallions any old way!

Add peppers to a large bowl (preferably a salad bowl if you have one handy) and toss with the chilled rice & wheat berries. Keep green onions/scallions separate. They can get slimey! (Yes, I know, I combined them but don’t be like me!)

This is where my photography goes wayyyyyyy downhill. Things got hectic in the kitchen so it’s all downhill from here.

Dressing Ingredients

1 tbsp red chili paste (I believe you could substitute that red rooster sauce if you have it – “Sriracha”)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c sesame seed oil
2 tbsp sherry
1-2 tsp rice vinegar
1/3 c low salt soy sauce

Wisk these ingredients together & taste! Adjust anything you like (i.e. if you like it spicier add more chili paste!)

Omit the chili paste/rooster sauce if you don’t want it spicy.

At the last minute, combine everything! Mmmmmm this is so good!

Between missed photo ops & flash malfunctions, I hope what I DID post inspires you to try this salad! It gets easier & easier to make. Somehow, I neglected to take a pic of the final product.

I DID get this shot though:

If you try this please let us know about any improvements you made in the comment section below! (On blog, not on Facebook so Zuckerberg won’t own it!) Thank you & enjoy!

Earth Wind & Fire Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

Spicy, colorful, fresh & wholesome salad that will fill you up & wow your guests!
  • ½ c wheatberries
  • 1 c wild rice
  • 2 green onions
  • 1, 2 or 3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow – not green)
  • 1 c edamame
  • 1 tbsp red chili paste (adjust to taste – can also substitute Rooster (Sriracha) sauce)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ c sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1-2 tsp rice vinegar
  • ⅓ c soy sauce

  1. Chop peppers & scallions.
  2. Cook rice & wheat berries according to package instructions. (These can even be cooked a day ahead & stored in fridge.)
  3. Combine chopped peppers, green onions, rice, wheat berries & edamame in a large bowl.
  4. Combine chili paste, brown sugar, sesame seed oil, sherry, rice vinegar & soy sauce in a small bowl. (This is your dressing!)
  5. Toss salad with as little or as much dressing as you like! If you won’t serve it for a while – hold the green onions out until the last minute.
  6. Enjoy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...