Archive for the ‘Dressing’ Category

One of Rice Kernel’s favorite things is my mother-in-law’s strawberry kiwi sorbet, which is the inspiration for this simple fruit salad.

Strawberry Kiwi Salad

1 (16 ounce) container strawberries, quartered (about 3 cups)
5 medium kiwis, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves


  1. Place all of the fruit into a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the honey, lime juice, zest, and mint. Right before serving, pour the dressing over the fruit and toss gently to combine.

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Okay, it’s technically not summer anymore.  But you wouldn’t know it by looking out the window or looking at the garden.  This pasta has an unexpected tang from the roasted red bell peppers.  Although your eyes will see red and think “tomato,” your taste buds will experience the depth of flavor and sweetness that only red bell peppers have.  Feel free to mix in vegetables of your choosing and any other proteins you enjoy.  

Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad, inspired by Smitten Kitchen

1 pound of small pasta
1/2 pound fresh summer peas, which yielded about 1 cup once shelled
3/4 to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Nuts, sausage, or bits of mozarella, pecorino, or ricotta cheeses (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a small ice water bath.  Cook the peas for about 10 minutes (once again, this will be al dente, you can cook them longer if you prefer them softer), scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water bath as well. Drain.
  2. Add the pasta into the boiling water and cook it according to package instructions.  Drain and let cool, then toss in a large bowl with peas and Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette, seasoning to taste.
  3. Add cooked sausage, nuts, or cheese, if desired.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette, adapted from Rachel Ray

2 roasted red bell peppers, drained well, chopped
Salt and pepper
2-3 small cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
A drizzle of honey


  1. Place roasted red bell peppers in food processor bowl. Season them up with salt and pepper. Add garlic and vinegar to food processor. Turn processor on and stream in extra-virgin olive oil and some honey. When dressing is smooth and combined, stop and adjust seasonings.

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We really enjoyed this recipe.  Perfect for a light supper or a special brunch, the salad can be prepared just before serving or the components can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.  While the vinaigrette is wonderfully savory and herbaceous, in a pinch you can use any store-bought dressing, tapenade or pesto.  

Salmon, Red Potato, and Green Bean Salad, adapted from Williams Sonoma


1 lb. salmon fillet, skin removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. small, round red-skinned potatoes, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
3/4 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
Mixed greens or baby spinach, optional

Ingredients for Vinaigrette

4 dry-packed sun-dried tomato halves
Boiling water as needed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Cook salmon in a pan or on the grill.  Transfer the salmon to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick. Set aside on a large plate to cool completely.
  3. Cut beans into 1-inch lengths. Place in boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.   Pat dry and arrange next to the potatoes on the plate.
  4. When the salmon is cool, cut it into 1-inch chunks.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, put the sun-dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and cut into 1/4-inch dice. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, dill, orange zest, garlic, 2 Tbs. water, salt and a grind of pepper until blended.
  6. Sppon vinaigrette over the green beans, potatoes and salmon. Using a large, flat spoon or spatula, gently coat the ingredients evenly with the dressing.  Serve at room temperature.  Add additional mixed greens or spinach, if desired.

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We made a last-minute decision to spend the weekend in Lake Tahoe.  With some leftover vegetables and grilled chicken to get through, I picked cilantro from the garden to tossed together a quick (warm or cold) pasta salad.  

Cilantro is an ideal springtime superfood.  Its remarkable components have shown the potential to help promote detoxification, reduce high blood sugar, and lower levels of cholesterol.  Health benefits aside, this light and tangy vinaigrette is delicious paired with a salad and versatile enough to use as a marinade or a sauce for pasta, poultry, steak, shrimp, firm fish (like tuna), eggs, or roasted/steamed vegetables.  (Really, anything.)  For a quick dinner, we placed raw spinach, tomatoes, chopped carrots, bell peppers, corn, and grilled chicken in a bowl, topped it with hot gemelli, and tossed everything with the vinaigrette.  The heat from the pasta will wilt the vegetables and soak up the dressing. 

I know there are legions of cilantro haters.  I’ve heard it called the “most loathsome garnish of our time.”  Dramatic, I think, because I adore the herb.  Even if you don’t enjoy cilantro as much as I do, I hope you’ll give this a try.  You will be surprised how refreshing this flavorful, slightly sweet dressing tastes.  It’s springtime in a bowl!

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Vegetable Gemelli dressed with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Simply mix the following ingredients:

    2 tbsp fresh lime juice
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/2 tsp agave nectar or honey
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2 jalapeno, diced and seeded (optional)

Leftover dressing will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

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