Middle East Salad

I know salads are good for you.  I know I should eat them more.  I just hate the work that goes into them.  It seems you wash, and chop, and slice forever.   Especially here in Mexico, where you need to wash your vegetables and fruits very carefully.  The stores sell disinfectant drops here that most people use: dilute in water and then let your veggies soak for about a half hour then air dry.  It can be time consuming.  And patience is not one of my best qualities.

This salad doesn’t require a lot of cleaning or chopping and I love it.  I love it even more the next day.  My loves-to-cook childhood friend gave me this recipe.  At the top of it she typed “I just finished making this and remembered that I mentioned it to you before”.  I must have hounded asked her a few times for it.   I’m grateful she’s patient with me and likes to share.  Fun fact, she also still will organize my house when she visits to make it more efficient.  My clothing gets color-coordinated in my closet and my kitchen may get straightened up.  There’s no way I take offense to this, she’s good and it and loves to do it.  I won’t stop that kind of passion.

Sometimes I feel guilty when something that is so simple tastes so great.  I need to stop that.  I came home today and made this in about ten minutes.  My teenage son, who was making himself bacon and cheese quesadillas, looked over at my salad and said “well that looks good, can I have some of that?”  Score for vegetables!

What’s best is it tastes even better the next day.  Make extra for lunch and you’ll be saving money and eating right.  Maybe just keep those raw onions out, unless you enjoy working alone!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 TAB olive oil
  • 2 TAB red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can chickpeas or lentils (lentils tend to go mushy overnight, I prefer the chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced or whole
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS:

Combine first five ingredients for salad dressing and whisk well.  In a large bowl, add chickpeas, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Pour dressing and toss.  Add onion, dill, and feta and salt to taste if necessary.  Toss, refrigerate, and cover if not inhaling right away.

Classic Coleslaw

Classic Coleslaw

I am sure most of you are still in pumpkin and squash, baking stages right now.  After all, it’s November and people are craving their comfort food. If I still lived up in the great white north, I am sure I’d be right there with all of you.  But instead, because we live in constant summer, this past weekend, we had a good ole fashioned BBQ.

My husband is babysitting a smoker for a little while so while some special friends of ours were in town, we were begged by them to provide any smoked meat possible and since the husband is from Tennessee, any southern side dish too please and thank you  thought we would try out the new addition ad have a good old fashioned BBQ. In our house, when we do BBQ, my husband purchases, preps, and cooks all the meat, and I do all the sides.  I will outwardly admit, I leave all BBQ to him, because frankly, he’s awesome at it (and it’s less work for me).

Every good picnic needs a good coleslaw and I think this one is the winner.  I’ve made many a coleslaw in my life but somehow, the simplicity of this one is a winner, hands down.  Bonus: make it early in the day or day before and let those flavors bind together in the fridge.

And then you’ll feel somewhat good about yourself as you eat ribs, and steak, and mac and cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes because you’ve got some green veggies on your plate.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 small head green cabbage
  • 1/2 small head red cabbage
  • 3/4 – 1 cup coarsely grated carrot
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 1 1/2 TAB white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TAB lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Slice or chop cabbage to your liking.  (I prefer slicing thinly and the very coarsely chopping).  Add to a large bowl.  Add grated carrots.

In food processor, combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT FOR onions.  Process until smooth.  Add onions and pulse for a few times.

Pour dressing over vegetables and combine well.  Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight before servings.  Season to taste.

Oma’s German Potato Salad

I grew up in a west-end neighborhood of Toronto.  A family that we were very close to lived next door up until I was in 10th grade.  The family had a girl my age, and she had a younger brother and sister.   I was very happy about this, as my sister is 14 years older and had moved out by the time I was six years old.

Those were the days that your mom stood on the front porch and yelled for you to come home even though she couldn’t see you.   We usually were a few blocks away playing whatever game we decided on when we faintly heared the holler of one of our mom’s calling.  We would stop play, wondering if we heard something, hear it again, and run back home (or else).   Our houses were so close we even played the telephone game using cans and string, stretching it from one house to the next.   I should try and tell the electronic generation of today that and see the eye rolls that come with it.

We used to play hide-and-seek on our street.  Since we had such great neighbors, they allowed us to use their backyards to play.  We gave ourselves boundaries of about five houses.  Usually though, when my girlfriend’s youngest sibling was the one who was counting, we ran across the street and hid, while we watched her march up and down, calling our names, hands on hip, knowing full well we weren’t within the boundaries but wanting to play with us so she let us do it to her again and again.  Or, we’d hide in my parents cherry tree, which was big enough to really be able to hide in it. Her only clue that we may be in there? We threw cherry pits at her.  “I know you’re up there!” But our rule was you had to SEE the person to call it in.

Ahh good times.  Not sure the youngest one will have such fond memories though.

We are Ukrainian and they are German and being stay at home moms, the would swap recipes often.   I grew up eating this potato salad in my house, but what I didn’t know, is that it’s was the recipe of my girlfriend’s German Oma (grand-mother).  I recall going to a picnic and seeing other potato salads on the table and thinking “Why do they look funny?”, as they were nothing like what I was used to, and (sorry everyone but) none of them compared.

Please use good mayonnaise, not the kinds of brands that are actually called salad dressing.  I am a Hellman’s girl, and no, I’m not getting paid to say that.  The other dressings are sweeter and that’s not the taste you want in here.

This is a very loose recipe, by that I mean, the amounts aren’t exact, so feel free to adjust to your taste.  There are a few other things you can do also, my mom recently added pickle juice and even 1/3 cup of sour cream which I thought tasted great. Oh, and don’t expect this to help you lose weight, there’s bacon fat right in the dressing.

I’m going to type it out straight from my girlfriends hand-writing.  Because I’m loyal to this potato salad recipe.  And her. And I bet after you try it, you will be too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lbs potatoes
  • about 1/3 cup rice or herb vinegar
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 1 large onion
  • about 3/4 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot of lightly salted water, boil potatoes.  Drain, cool, peel, and cube.  Drizzle vinegar over potatoes and toss.  Refrigerate overnight.

Fry bacon, let drain but pour off bacon fat and keep aside.  Fry onions in a little bit of the bacon fat.  Hard-boil the eggs, drain, cool, peel, and chop. Add bacon, onions, and eggs to potatoes.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, dijon, and however much bacon fat you’d like (depending on how much fat your bacon produced).

Add the dressing to the potatoes and combine well.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

(Can keep refrigerated, but I prefer it right after it’s made).