30 May 2012

three salads and a soup

It's hot. What does one crave in steamy weather? Well this one craves salad. In its many forms.  

Pasta salad // crostini
The trick with pasta salads is that you have to let them marinate - the longer the better. Topping al dente pasta salad with crunchy and rich crostini makes a carby but delicious meal.

1/2 lb penne and 1/b rotini
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves 
1/2 cup chopped zuchinni
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper
2/3 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 small bunch of asparagus

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
dried oregano, basil
1 and 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

a good hard bread (like ciabatta) slice cut into half-inch slices
extra virgin olive oil drizzled over bread
toppings (fresh mozarella and basil, tomatoes, smoked salmon and dill)

toast bread in a preheated 350-degree oven for 3 minutes on both sides. 

Chicken salad
I just made this salad for the second time. Like the pasta salad, this simple chicken salad is even better on days two and three. Try on some of that ciabatta or straight up.

1 lb poached chicken breast*
1 pint halved grapes
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 heaping tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
cumin, salt and paper to taste
1 tsp paprika 

*I used dried basil, oregano, parsley, bay, garlic powder and thyme. I also used 2 and 1/2 cups of water. 

Mixed greens and strawberries // vegetable soup
When I found this recipe for a mixed green and strawberries, I knew I had to try it. Balsamic is perhaps a surprising coupling for a berry, but they compliment each other quite nicely indeed.  Homemade pepper-bacon bits sprinkled over the top added the perfect smokiness to the balance the tangy vinegar.

The soup I made was based with the broth leftover from the poached chicken from above. Waste not, want not, right?

3 cups of homemade chicken broth
1/2 shallot
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
dried oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper
1 and 1/2 cups of farfalline pasta
assorted frozen veggies: peas, green beans, corn

Up next: potato salad, and more with greens, nuts and fruits. I'm thinking something with peaches, pecans and kale. mmm.
It's a gonna be a good summer. 

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