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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

Monday, April 4, 2011 @ 05:04 PM

034I love salads…, salads of all kinds; and although I know to most people that sounds utterly boring, to me it is a way to mix things up.  I find that salads offer so many opportunities to put together a lot of fun combinations to create one complete meal or side dish.  Now, sure, I have to admit that I’ve never been very fond of those “salads” that you often find in the deli section of your local grocery store…you know the ones I mean…., the mayonnaise heavy potato, pasta, or egg varieties. It’s just I find them to be tasteless and pointless calories.  That being said, I know potato salad is often present at many a summer cook-out, so I am always on the lookout for varieties I can try that are a bit more adventurous. 

So I happened to be looking through one of my trusty Food Network Magazines one day to discover a new take on potato salad, and I came upon one from none other than the queen of butter herself, Paula Deen.  At first glance I would have never thought that this recipe came from her, because…well, let’s face it…, the ingredient list is all pretty healthy. I was even more excited that the dressing was not mayo based, but rather more of a mustard-vinaigrette.  Needless to say, I quickly cut it out and knew I was going to be making this recipe soon!

Red Potato Salad With Bacon

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen for Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
15 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cubed red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 2 ounces bacon (2 or 3 strips)
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color or a combination)
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions (about 2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Put the potatoes in a large pot; add water just to cover and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to aboil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels and finely chop.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, chopped bacon, bell pepper, onion and scallions.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

Source

 

I decided to try this recipe out on a night when we were getting together with Adam’s nanny, Gloria (more affectionately known as "Momma Glo") and her nephew for dinner. She was teaching me how to make REAL southern fried chicken, so I figured this would be the perfect recipe to go alongside. 

One great thing about this recipe is that it does not lie in the fact that it only takes about 15 minutes to put together. It took me maybe a 1/2 hour, only because I had to cook the bacon and potatoes before assembling the whole salad together.  But, you can prep all the other ingredients while those two items are cooking.  Then, all you have to do is toss it all together and let it sit until you are ready to eat it. It can be served warm or chilled. 

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Momma Glo absolutely loved this potato salad…, so much so she asked for the leftovers for lunch the next day. That meant a lot from someone who has cooked for a profession for the better part of 50 years and has them down home southern roots. I too enjoyed it, with all the different flavors from the peppers to the onion to the bacon that gave every bite a little zip; and even better, I loved that this dressing had a tang, rather than the bland flat taste that heavy mayonnaise based salads typically do.  Sadly, Adam wasn’t a huge fan…, he said it was good, but he is one of those store bought potato salad types.  Still, I loved the dressing so much I have continued to use it on a variety of other things like broccoli and spinach, because it just whips up so fast!

TASTE: Personally I thought it was delicious and Momma Glo agreed; and although my husband wasn’t a big fan, I know if made for a crowd, it would definitely please.  Also, it makes you feel much less guilty, since it is not slathered in a bunch of mayonnaise.

EASE OF PREPARATION: This was possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve taken on yet. It is just so simple to put together I don’t know why I would ever use the excuse of needing to buy one at the store.  This was just a matter of chopping and assembling a variety of things and then pouring the dressing over top and tossing.

COST: This dish is very cost effective, especially since it requires very little ingredients, and the ones it does require we either have on hand regularly or were easy enough to pick up.  It would even be more cost effective the more of it you made.

COMPLEXITY: As I mentioned above, this dish is so far from complicated, rather if you can cook some bacon and potatoes all while chopping up the veggies, you are good to go!

PORTION SIZE: The serving size is definitely accurate, seeing that it fed the four of us a great portion and left enough for someone to eat the next day.  Obviously if you were cooking it for a larger crowd, you may want to double or even triple the recipe.

Even if you like the store bought variety of salad, I beg you to give this one a try just once.  I am not trying to change your mind completely, just allowing you to introduce some uniqueness and variety into your cook out this summer. clip_image002 I think you’ll enjoy this 5 ‘Little Piggy’ recipe!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 @ 11:05 AM

007I have mentioned before how I rarely follow recipes when I cook; and especially when it comes to salads, I tend to just buy the bagged stuff (gasp, I know the horror!) or throw a variety of ingredients together and hope for the best.  However, lately I have found that as summer approaches and I crave more and more fresh items, it is fun to try some new things and expand my palette; and although I am familiar with most ingredients, I am often at a loss for what specific things go well together, especially in salad form.  I would say at this point in my life I know that fruit and sweeter dressings pair well with spinach or romaine, caesar and parmesan are a match made in Heaven, and ranch goes good on ANYTHING…I bet it’s even good on a sock :).  However, outside of the basics, I am clueless, which is how I came across this month’s recipe.

My mom’s birthday was a few weeks back, and like we do for so many family occasions, we decided to all get together and cook to celebrate. My dad was in the head chef for this particular evening (he made ribs…yum!), and he asked me if I would put together a couple fun salads to go along with his dishes, which I was more than happy to do. However, this time, I knew my “throw in the bowl” method just wouldn’t cut it. I mean…come on, it’s my mother’s birthday, and you need to step it up for such an occasion. Still, remember…me clueless at a time like this, so I did what any person living in 2010 would do….Google!

Type in “salad recipes” in Google and you come up with 7,680,000 results; and just going onto Food Network’s website alone and searching “salad,” it will give you 5414 options to choose from…wowzers!  Well, Food Network’s website had the solution; and I was able to find a couple of wonderful choices from some famous chefs, one of which really stood out…Guy Fieri’s ‘Green Bean, Walnut, and Feta Salad.’

Green Bean, Walnut and Feta Salad

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
5 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season with a large pinch of salt. Add the green beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender but still crisp. Transfer to a boil of iced water to cool and then drain and pat dry.

Add the green beans, onions, and walnuts to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the green beans, onions, and walnuts and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with crumbled feta and freshly cracked black pepper.

Source

My mom said this recipe stood out to her because of its ingredients. I knew the walnuts would especially draw her in, and I had to admit the combo sounded awesome.  I think I was especially intrigued that it required no lettuce, but rather the beans make the base.  This recipe was very simple to create, and the only real tedious part was preparing the green beans and red onion, and all that required was chopping a load of red onion and cooking the beans until tender. Like I said…pretty simple.  However, I will say this now. Do NOT overcook the green beans (til mushy), because there is no way they will withstand the acidity of the dressing. This didn’t happen to us, but I’m sure what you’ll end up with is green bean mush…yuk! What you want is a nice crisp bean, that has the texture and room for the dressing to set in…yum!

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While the beans were simmering I was toasting my walnuts in the oven.  We decided to by unsalted walnuts, so I wanted to crisp them up a bit and add that little salty bite against the sweetness of the vinaigrette.  The beans were ready in mere moments, so I took them off and let them sit and cool while I prepared the vinaigrette dressing.  Lastly, it was time to toss the beans, onions, and walnuts together with that vinaigrette and sprinkle a generous amount of feta and crushed black pepper over the top.  The final result is simple and delicious!

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EASE OF PREPERATION: Overall, this dish was super easy to prepare and accurate as far as the time needed for preparation.  The recipe calls for a 30 minutes, and although it may have taken me a bit longer, I do tend to chat a lot when I cook, I didn’t know the recipe by heart, and was enjoying a glass of wine. 🙂

COST: The cost was relatively cheap since I believe my parents had all the vinaigrette ingredients in the house already and the only purchases were green beans, walnuts, and red onion.  And as I mentioned, it was very easy to toast the walnuts myself.

COMPLEXITY: With only 4 dry ingredients and the dressing, I’d say this was pretty straight forward as far as salads go.

PORTION SIZE: The recipe says it yields 5-6 servings and with 6 of us dining we had plenty for everyone and leftovers remaining.  Now we had also made two salads and had tons of other food, so I think if this was a main side dish it would probably feed just 5 or 6 perfectly.

TASTE:  We all agreed this dish was delicious and one to add to our regular repertoire (including my vegetable phobic husband! ;)).  It was a great alternative to boring old green beans and had a wonderful zing from the vinaigrette that paired extremely well with the saltiness of the feta. Also, the walnuts added a wonderful crunch and nuttiness.  Perhaps what made this dish taste so good was how the beans were able to soak up so much flavor from the dressing. With every bite there was an explosion of all the flavors from the ingredients in your mouth…and it was D-E-LICIOUS!!!

I think the topper to this recipe was that it was such a pretty dish, as well, and it could easily be a great dish to entertain with.  In fact, my mom even re-made the dish for guests the following week, which I think says a lot.  In the end, I was a huge fan of this tasty simple summer side and I look forward to making it again.  I give Guy Fieri’s Green Bean, Walnut, and Feta Salad 5 Little Piggies!

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