Kickin’ Melon Cucumber Salad

Melon, agave, and a tiny hint of cayenne take this ordinary tomato and cucumber salad to extraordinary with a burst of flavor. It’s sweet, spicy, and refreshing. Surprise your friends with this unique summer salad at the next barbeque.

Whatever it is that makes pregnant women crave weird things, I’m pretty sure I have it all the time. As I’m trying to eat everything in my refrigerator before vacation (this is counteracting my plan to get in shape for the beach, by the way), I keep finding myself pairing the oddest things.

Oreo cookies, cream filling removed and replaced with peanut butter and banana.

A baked sweet potato doused in hot sauce for breakfast.

Crackers dipped in tomato paste and hummus.

Sometimes I question my authority to co-write a food blog. I mean seriously, how can you trust the palate of someone who removes the filling from their Oreos?

However, sometimes my weird cravings create something truly delicious. When I took a bite of this salad with crisp cucumbers, bright tomatoes, sweet cantaloupe, red onion, and an agave and cayenne vinaigrette, I was in love. It’s an odd combination of fruits and veggies, of spicy and sweet, but it works I tell ya, it really works.

It would brighten up and bring a perfect balance of acidity and flavor to grilled tofu or chicken for a healthy summer dinner. It would also be a great side dish for Fourth of July parties, no refrigeration needed for at least a few hours.

Just be prepared to answer the questions, “How did you come up with this combination? Are you pregnant?”

Rachel’s Kickin’ Melon Cucumber Salad

Serves 6-8 side portions

Ingredients

2 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 c. cucumber, chopped
1 . red onion, diced
2 c. canteloupe or other melon (watermelon and honeydew would both work), chopped

Vinaigrette
3 T. rice vinegar
3 T. agave
3 t. salt
3 t. crushed black pepper
1 t. cayenne

Directions

Mix vinaigrette ingredients and toss with chopped fruit and veggies. Serve.

It’s that easy!

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Kickin’ Melon Cucumber Salad
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-rI
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Avocado Mango Jicama “Cocktail” Salad

What would you do if given the gift of one uninterrupted day, a day where your kids, your husband, your friends and your boss gave your their blessing to walk away and create your own perfect 12 hours?  A day to refill your soul?

Some seasons of my life are busier than others and the last two months has been filled to overflowing with people, appointments and a list of “to-dos” that seemed endless.  Seeing his wife was in a state of overwhelm,  Greg hugged me on Friday night and said, “Honey, tomorrow I want you to take the whole Saturday  just do anything you want at any given minute, all day long. Don’t worry about a thing.  I’ll even make my own meals.”

It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard anyone say.  (True to his word, Greg made his own lunch: two pieces of leftover corn on the cob, a piece of leftover blueberry pie and some leftover salad.  Yes, he missed the protein food group, but it was a great improvement over his usual “bachelor diet” when I am away: potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and cereal.)

Saturday dawned with the song “Saturday in the Park” playing in my mind, and the line, “I’ve been waiting such a long time, for Sat-ur-day” echoing again and again.  The feeling of unencumbered space stretched out for the next 12 hours left me near euphoric.

I spent the day writing on our new book in uninterrupted bliss at Denver’s famous Tattered Cover Bookstore, then lunched and wrote some more at The Corner Bakery, over-looking a gorgeous outline of the Rocky Mountains.  When I walked in the house that evening there was a vase of sunny yellow flowers and a loving card from Greg, “Just because.”  I wrote in my Facebook status:  I feel like a wilted flower that has been put in the fresh water of creative work, healing solitude, and the benevolent blessing of a good man who wants little in this life but for me to be happy.  I may yet live!

After I opened the card, Greg and I went to the back porch for our Summertime Happy Hour, a ritual we started in early June to make sure we have a little time to connect before dinner.  One of the things that centenarians the world over have in common is “joyful rituals.” This has become one of our favorites.  I made us clementine mojitos using the mint from my herb garden,  perfectly refreshing.

The day of rest and writing left me infused with creative energy as I cooked supper a little later.   I grabbed a crisp jicama, a vine-ripe tomato, an avocado and a mango out of the crisper.  In my mind’s eye I saw this recipe appear: a pretty salad of orange, green and red nestled in a bed of white grated jicama, drizzled with a fresh lime dressing and served in margarita glasses.  It would be  our “salad course.”   Let me tell you, it  was every bit as tasty as it is beautiful! So cold and refreshing after a 100 degree summer day.

I am delighted to share this recipe  with you,  along with encouragement to take time out for “Fill the Well Day” for your body, mind and soul as soon as you can!

Becky’s Avocado Mango Jicima “Cocktail” Salad

Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups peeled, grated fresh jicama

1 avocado

1 fresh tomato

1 fresh mango

1 T. chopped cilantro or parsley or mint

2 T. chopped green onion

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 t. salt

4 t. honey

4 T. crushed corn or tortilla chips

Cajun seasoning or Tajin chili-lime seasoning to sprinkle on top

Lime slices for garnish

Tajin seasoning: a delightful blend of lime, salt, and chili pepper. Wonderful on this dish!

The flavors of jicama, tomato, mango, green onion and lime blend beautifully

Directions:

Place 1/2 cup grated jicama in each of 4 margarita glasses or pretty glass bowls to create a white “nest.”   Mix avocado, tomato, mango, herb of your choice and green onion together in a bowl and gently toss.  Place this mixture on top of the grated jicama, dividing evenly in to the four glasses.  In a small bowl mix the dressing of lime juice, salt and honey.  Drizzle evenly over each of the salads.  Top each salad with 1 T. crushed chips and a nice sprinkling of Cajun or Tajin seasoning.  Serve with long teaspoons if you have them and put a slice of lime on each rim.  Have guests stir and toss their salads once they are served to make sure everything gets coated with the lime dressing.


Confetti Rice Pilaf Stuffed Avocados (with Feta, Cranberry, Walnuts)

One of my prized possessions is a postcard with a handwritten note from the late marvelous, hilarious, one-and-only Erma Bombeck.  I wrote her a fan letter, telling her I was praying for her health. To my shock and surprise she took time out of her day (and dialysis) to send this encouraging note to me right after I got my first book contract.

One of my favorite columns by Erma was called “The Leftover Food Syndrome.”  It began, “I have never known a woman who can look at a mound of leftover food….and throw it away –the first time around.”  Erma then describes the leftover ritual known (genetically) to all women. After you wrap the left over in a container of your choice (“no leftover is too small to occupy shelf space”), you put it in the fridge and then over the week, each member of the family takes turns opening up the container asking, “What IS this?”

The object of this game is to never throw away the leftover as long as you can still recognize it. “It is not thrown away until it recognizes you,” Erma quipped.

What I love about this recipe below is that it uses up all those little bits of leftovers before they recognize you!  The savory, sweet, nutty, colorful rice makes a great side dish, or with the addition of extra nuts and cheese or little bits of ham or chicken — a wonderful light lunch or dinner.

Confetti Rice Pilaf Stuffed Avocados

Confetti Rice Pilaf Stuffed Avocados

Serves Six

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Olive

1 Tablespoon Butter (or Earth Balance for vegans)

2 cups cooked rice, any combination you like or have leftover (I had brown, jasmine and wild rice on hand)

1/4 cup dried cranberries (raisins or other chopped dried fruit can work as well)

1/2 cup chopped cooked veggies, any combo, whatever you have leftover (I had carrots and edamame today)

1/4 cup toasted nuts (walnuts were on tap for this recipe)

2 T. crumbled feta or goat cheese  (skip this or use a vegan cheese substitute if you are vegan)

3 avocados, cut in half, seed removed

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt butter and oil. Toss in rest of the ingredients until warm and heated through.  Salt and pepper if needed.  Just before serving toss in cheese and stir.  Fill avocado halves with mixture, letting some of the rice fall around the avocado on the plate as well.  One avocado makes a nice side dish, two make a meal in itself!

Variation:  Use leftover grains instead of rice, such a quinoa or bulgur

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com

The Title: Confetti Rice Pilaf Stuffed Avocados

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-nA

© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Vegan Ranch Dressing

Vegan Ranch Dressing, great as a dip or on a salad.

(Rachel)

This weekend I cleaned out my refrigerator door and overflowed the trash can with expired bottled salad dressings and corn syrup-filled marinades. It dawned on me that I haven’t eaten bottled dressing in years. Once you start making your own fresh dressing, it’s hard to go back.

Usually I make a simple vinaigrette or something like my mom’s Lemon Drop Dressing, but sometimes Jared and I crave the creamy classic, Ranch Dressing.

When Jackson was just a few weeks old, Jared got a hankering for a salad with ranch dressing, but I was nursing the baby and couldn’t get up to help him. So from the rocking chair in the living room, I walked him through the steps of washing, drying and chopping the parsley, mixing it with vegan mayo, salt, pepper, minced onions, and garlic powder, and thinning it out with a little unsweetened milk.

Unsure if he got the seasoning right, he brought the bowl to me so I could taste it. Just as he stepped onto the carpet, our cat Marvin, jetted in front of him, tripping Jared and sending the bowl into the air. Like a scene out of a Steve Martin comedy, the bowl came down landing right on the cat. In a panic, Marvin took off, shaking frantically throughout the living room sending ranch flying in every direction, coating us, baby included, the furniture, the walls, and the carpet.

The house (and the cat) smelled of onion and parsley for days.

If you can chop parsley and dodge schizo cats, you can make this dressing. It’s a great base for other creative combinations, too, like Avocado Goddess Dressing or Roasted Pepper Ranch. You can use dried parsley in this recipe too, but the fresh parsley really pops.

Easy, fresh, and so much better than bottled ranch dressing.

Rachel’s Vegan Ranch Dressing

Makes 1 cup of dressing

Ingredients

1 c. vegan mayo (We like the Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise)
1/8 c. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 t. dried minced onion
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. freshed cracked pepper
2 T. unsweetened non-dairy milk (add a little more for a thinner consistency or less for a thicker dip)

Directions

Combine ingredients and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Let sit for a couple of hours before using if possible. It should keep for about three days.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Vegan Ranch Dressing
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/05/24/vegan-ranch-dressing/
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


BLT/Avocado Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing

Becky’s BLT/Avocado Salad with Roasted Pepper Ranch Dressing

(Becky)

When my daughter Rachel was a little girl, I asked her, “What would you rather be when you grow up, a doctor or a nurse?”  I wanted her to know she would not be bound by gender rules, that she could be anything she wanted to be as an adult.

She pondered it for a minute then answered, thoughtfully.  “I’m not sure. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see which outfit looks better on me.”

Though her reasoning may be dubious from a career-choosing standpoint, I must admit that I adopt her philosophy a lot when it comes to cooking.   “What’s for dinner?” my husband will ask.  “I don’t know yet,” I’ll say as I rummage through the fridge.  “It depends on what jumps out at me, sounds good and looks pretty in a picture for the food blog.”

Rachel and I laugh that the way to get food re-pinned on Pinterest is to put a slice of avocado on it.  We’ve debated about putting a piece of avocado on everything we make, from desserts to cocktails, as our “signature garnish.”  Because, let me tell you,  people love the sight of a green, ripe avocado in food pictures!

Thus, using those guidelines,  this salad was born.  At the end of groceries I had one meat protein left in the fridge: natural, nitrate-free bacon.  (Though I’m shifting toward vegetarianism, my husband is staying put in the land of meat for now, so I try to buy the least processed, organic varieties.)   I thought about a BLT sandwich, but our waistlines are calling for more vegies and less bread.  Ah-ha!  A BLT salad! Then  I spied some of those little sweet red and yellow peppers in the crisper. With a roasted pepper dressing! Yes!  I pulled out a little of the leftover cornbread in the back of the fridge, spread with butter and broiled until crispy, like a giant cornbread crouton.  Ta-dah.   Dinner done.

Needless to say, it worked.  We WILL be having this salad again.

Vegetarians and Vegans:  There are lots of bacon bits that are great for vegans and vegetarians. McCormicks makes a tasty brand and is easy to find at most any grocery store.

Becky’s BLT/Avocado Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing

BLT/Avocado Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing

Makes two meal-sized salads

Ingredients

Nitrate Free Uncured Bacon (8 slices, cut in one inch pieces with kitchen scissors before cooking. It is okay if they stick together in little bundles.  They will separate in the skillet as the fat melts.)

(Vegans: use 1/4 cup vegan “bacon bits” in place of bacon, such as McCormick’s brand. Or make your own vegan coconut bacon.)

2 cups mixed salad greens (I used spinach and romaine)

2 small to medium tomatoes, diced

1 avocado,  peeled and diced

1 red pepper or 4  small sweet peppers, roasted (See pics below) (You can also used jarred roast peppers if you have them on hand.)

1/2 cup your favorite Ranch Dressing (There are plenty of good vegan varieties! Also, to cut calories, you may want to use 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt for 1/4 cup of the Ranch Dressing.)

Directions:

Cook the cut up bacon over medium high heat in a skillet until the pieces are golden crisp and brown.  Drain on paper towels.   While bacon is cooking, roast the peppers over a gas flame or under the broiler. Put them in a plastic bag when they have a good char all around so the steam will loosen the skin.  Wipe the charred pepper skin off with a paper towel.

Tiny red peppers roasting on an open fire… 🙂

Red peppers in a sandwich baggy, steaming and loosening the charred skin

Wiping away the charred skin with paper towel. Don’t worry about getting all char off of the peppers. Some of it adds flavor.

Into each of two large salad bowls (I like big pasta bowls for this), put one cup of mixed salad greens.  Sprinkle each salad with half the tomatoes and avocados.  Top with crispy bacon or bacon bits.

Put Ranch Dressing and roasted pepper into a food processor or blender.  Blend to desired consistency.  I left the peppers a little bit chunky.

Ladle dressing down the middle of the salads and serve.  A few turns of  fresh pepper are nice.  This is especially good with cornbread on the side.

Variations: Additional yummy add-ins could be thinly sliced red onion or chopped green onion, corn, beans, or a diced boiled egg.

BLT/Avocado Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: BLT/Avocado Salad wth Roasted Pepper Dressing
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Crunchy Asian Cucumber & Tomatoes

Becky’s Crunchy Asian Cucumbers and Tomatoes

My husband Greg and I often travel together for business and fun; and this often yields a good bit of comic material.  On a recent trip home,  we were hauling around enough luggage to outfit the entire cast of Glee for a week, plus golf clubs.  (“Learning to pack light,” is on my To Do List.) As is often the case,  when we are in a hurry trying to catch a plane,  Greg exits the elevator with his suitcase and golf clubs, unaware that I am scrambling to get my suitcases turned around and facing the right direction — when the door closes and takes me to some strange floor, not of my choosing.  I always get tickled when this happens. Greg is patient, but doesn’t see as much humor in it as I do.

Last summer he was about to walk off the elevator in Arizona, and in some uncanny feat of timing, both of his lens popped out of his only pair of glasses and one lens rolled, then disappeared down a small crack near the elevator door.  Greg stood looking stunned, his eyes wide through his lens-less spectacles. I found this hysterical, could hardly stand up straight I was laughing so hard — but Greg… not so much. (He did however smile when he found a maintenance guy who was able to help him retrieve the lost lens from the basement.)

Last week we were on a plane together, but had to sit in separate seats. Upon descent, a rogue lap top computer went zipping down the aisle.  The limber and alert flight attendent expertly caught it right before it hit the cockpit door.   Guess who’s lap top it was?  The look on Greg’s face as his wife’s computer went whizzing by his seat, then looked over at me, was priceless.

Traveling is not only great for gathering funny material, but it affords me the opportunity to try new foods in new cities that I often try to duplicate at home. On a trip to California, we went out for sushi, and the restaurant served the tastiest crunchy cucumbers as appetizers before the meal. They were small cukes, but sliced thick, peel left on, which gave them a great crunch. This is my version of those yummy Asian cucumbers, with the addition of red tomatoes.  It would also be fabulous with thinly sliced red onions if you are a fan of onions. (I am, but alas, Greg is not.)

It makes a nice alternative to green salads, especially for picnics or potlocks.

Becky’s Crunchy Asian Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

I got the small cucumbers at Sprouts, but have also seen them at Whole Foods and Sam’s Club. There’s only a small amount of sesame oil, but it really packs a punch of flavor.

4 small cucumbers sliced thick, peel on

2 Roma tomatoes, cut in chunky slices

1 T. fresh dill or 1 t. dried dill

1/4 c. rice or other light vinegar

1 t. sesame oil

1 T. water

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1 T. sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

Place chopped cucumbers and tomatoes in a bowl.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in another small bowl and whisk.  Pour dressing over cukes and tomatoes  Let set for about 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.  Keeps well in a Tupperware-like container for at least one more day.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Crunchy Asian Cucumber and Tomatoes
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/05/03/crispy-oriental-cucumber-tomato-salad


Bacon Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Dressing

Becky's Bacon Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Dressing

Here is my Facebook status from last night, which drew a crowd of friends volunteering  to join the experiment:

“I really do think I could live the vacation life all year long. Sleep late, coffee & toast, to pool to read and swim, lunch, check email, etc., more pool reading and swimming. Happy Hour. Cook dinner or go out to eat. Relax some more. Bedtime. Repeat. Why aren’t we all on this schedule all the time? The world would be such a happy place if it were. I think it might even wipe out PMS.”

I’m on the sixth day of this schedule and I can tell you the world seems brighter, my heart seems happier and people, in general, of all shapes and sizes and ages seem especially adorable.  I think I may have discovered the cure for world peace.  Yesterday at the pool, with some sort of soft jazz playing in the background I looked up into a blue cloudless sky and, I kid you not,  someone was  sky-writing,  “God loves you. Jesus forgives you.”  I started wondering if perhaps I had stepped into the Christian version of the Truman Show.  But I’m going with it.

I have come to the conlusion that the cure for World Peace is for all of us to be on perpetual vacation. Well, that, and bacon.

I cooked up a mess of bacon from the remaining contents of our condo fridge this morning.  Bacon alone makes my normally laid-back husband want to dance me around the kitchen.  But I needed to make something lunch-worthy out of it.  I spied an apple. Lettuce.  Italian Dressing. Brown Sugar. Voila!  Bacon Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Dressing. Seriously,  how could this not be amazing?  Let me assure you it is!

And in keeping with keeping me out of the kitchen and at the swimming pool, it is also easy.  Enjoy it and visualize, “World Peace. God loves you. Jesus forgives you. Bacon is good stuff.”

Becky's Bacon Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Dressing

Becky’s Bacon Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Dressing

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 small head of lettuce or spinach, chopped (1 to 1 1/2 cups per person)

1 large apple, cored and sliced thin

6 pieces of bacon, cut in small pieces and “stir-fried”

1 t. bacon drippings

1/3 c. your favorite Italian Dressing

1 T. brown sugar

Directions

Divide lettuce into two salad bowls. Arrange apple slices over each.  Top with crumbled bacon, dividing evenly.  In small skillet put 1 t. bacon drippings,  Italian dressing and 1 T. brown sugar. Warm just until brown sugar melts, cool slightly then drizzle desired amount over each salad.

Variations: Try this vegan version of baconmade with wide pieces of coconut, liquid smoke, and soy sauce.  Add avocados, dried fruit or use crisp pears instead.

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We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

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The Title: Bacon Apple Salad with Brown Sugar Dressing

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-eS


Cranberry Orange Kale Salad

The Condiment Queen, that’s what I call my mom. At any given moment she has no less than 100 condiments lining the door of her refrigerator. Growing up, we always had at least ten varieties of mustard, ample obscure relishes, and enough barbeque sauce to smother 50 pigs … yet (due to raising four teenagers & a revolving door of their hungry friends) we were almost always out of milk, bread, and other essentials.

She loves her condiments so much, she even travels with them. Last week I peeked into the back of my refrigerator to see a jar of orange marmalade. I didn’t buy that, I thought. My mom always has orange marmalade in her refrigerator though. She must have traveled all the way from Denver to Dallas with it the last time she visited, in fear, I’m sure, that there might be a shortage of condiments in my fridge.

In honor of my Condiment Queen mama and her beloved orange marmalade, I used the remainder of the jar to dress the salad at our Easter lunch. The sweet dressing went perfectly with the slightly bitter massaged kale greens, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. It would be great on spinach or mixed greens too if we haven’t sold you on the delicious wonders of one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet yet (at least according to the Whole Foods Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.)

Cranberry Orange Kale Salad

Serves ~ 6

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale, washed & dried

2 T. orange marmalade

3 T. olive oil

1 T. apple cider vinegar (or white wine or regular vinegar)

2 T. orange juice (I used one clementine)

Salt & pepper to taste

A handful of slivered almonds

A handful of dried cranberries

Directions

First, take your clean and dry kale and massage it with your hands for a few minutes until it looks like it has been lightly sauteed. It will significantly reduce in size and soften up quite a bit. Think deep tissue massage. Kale is tough and can take a nice firm touch.

(As is, kale is very fiberous and takes a long time to chew, but massaging kale breaks down the fibers and makes it nice and soft like sauteed kale with all the benefits of eating raw greens.)

Next, mix the marmalade, olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, and salt and pepper together. Taste for seasoning. Toss the kale with the dressing. Top with slivered almonds and dried cranberries.

Make this a main dish for 2-3 people by serving it on a bed of quinoa, or topping with grilled tofu, chicken (or vegan chick’n strips).

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Cranberry Orange Kale Salad
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/12/cranberry-orange-kale-salad

Three Pea Salad

We had the most wonderful, relaxing Easter this year. Jared’s parents and brother came over to our house and we enjoyed a beautiful spread of food for vegans and omnivores alike.

Easter Lunch

Rhonda, my wonderful mother-in-law, brought ham, and homemade macaroni and cheese, delicious roasted corn, and an apple pie. Jared and I weren’t short on choices though! I made zucchini basil risotto, balsamic roasted veggies, cranberry orange kale salad, cashew queso in a bread bowl, and three pea salad. We washed it all down with peach iced tea and Bogle Chardonnay. It was quite a feast for the five of us.

We meandered through lunch, then headed out for Jackson’s first Easter egg hunt before heading to the evening church service.

I could have just eaten him up in his little Easter duds. Lucky for him, I was pretty full from lunch.

(Jared and I just got Iphones so I can now do fun things like this with my phone pictures. I’ll try not to share a nostalgic shaded picture of my baby in every post. But know, each time I don’t, it took major restraint. Jared, on the other hand promptly dropped his phone in the toilet and ruined the camera. Thanks to Apple Care, a new one is on the way.)

I’ll share most of the recipes I made on upcoming posts, but I’m starting off with the one I finished off first, the Three Pea Salad. I was trying to come up with a vegan version of the old classic Spring Pea Salad with mayonaise and cubes of cheese, but I was afraid Jared wouldn’t go for just peas in a salad, so I veered off of that path pretty far. What I ended up with was a filling, tangy, spicy side dish. It’s one of those salads that gets better the longer it sits. I ate a bowl for dinner last night and then finished it off for lunch today.

Sweet Peas, Chick"peas," and Black Eyed Peas in a creamy tangy dressing.

Rachel’s
Three “Pea” Salad

Ingredients

1 16 oz can of Chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 16 oz can of Black Eyed Peas, drained & rinsed
1 1/2 cups of Frozen Peas, cooked & cooled (put in ice water to quickly cool off)
3 T. Sweet Onion, minced
1/4 c. Vegenaise (or mayo of choice)
1 T. Rice Vinegar (any vinegar would be fine)
2 t. Frank’s hot sauce
A few splashes of Tabasco (optional for extra heat)
1 t. Salt
1/2 t. Pepper
1 t. Garlic Powder (or one minced garlic clove)
1/4 c. Parsley, chopped

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Check for seasoning. Serve cold.

Although this dressing uses mayo, it doesn’t call for very much and results in a nice light coating of dressing (the way I  prefer). If you want a thick creamy dressing, you may want to add more mayo and seasonings.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Three Pea Salad
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/10/three-pea-salad

Sesame-Pecan Salmon with “Avocado Goddess” Salad

If I were to find out this morning that I had to host a dozen execs for lunch today, this is the recipe to which I’d turn. It makes a beautiful and amazing-tasting one-bowl dish. Served with some warm crusty bread, it is all you need to impress your guests.

I invented this recipe when I married my husband eight years ago.  Greg is from the great Northwest and adores salmon. I grew up in Texas cattle country with a mother who thought all fish tasted like cat food. Needless to say, I never developed a fondness for food with fins. If I were served fish sticks as a kid at school,  I’d peel the breading off, eat that, leaving the meat for the disposal. Sad, I know.

It was for the love of Greg, and Greg only,  that I determined to figure out how to cook, eat, and hopefully, love fish.  This is the recipe that started my love affair with salmon. I served it to my pastor, Hugh Halter,  and he scraped his plate cleaning, calling it “praline fish.” The coating isn’t quite like candy, but it is just as hard to resist. Truly this recipe was my gateway drug to the pleasures of fish, and as I continue to blog my favorite recipes, you’ll discover this landlubber has come to embrace the fruit of the sea with gusto.

The salad is easy, too, with a dressing that just adds 3 ingredients (avocado, fresh lime juice, pepper) to your favorite Ranch salad dressing.

Becky's Sesame-Pecan Salad with "Avocado Goddess" Dressing

Becky’s Sesame-Pecan Salmon

Serves 2

2 pieces fresh salmon, skin removed

1/2 c. thick teriyaki sauce  (teriyaki sauce often has soy sauce in it that is made from wheat. Gluten free folks may want to make their own. Here’s one gluten free recipe.)

2 T. sweet Thai chili sauce

1/4 c.  toasted sesame seeds (these are cheaper and come in larger containers on the Asian aisles of most grocery stores)

1/4 c. pecans,  chopped to about the consistency of Grapenuts in food processor or blender

1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In one shallow wide bowl mix teriyaki and Thai chili sauce.  In other similar bowl, mix sesame seeds and ground pecans.  Coat both pieces of fish with sauce on all sides, then do the same with the seed-nut mixture.  Carefully lay in a square glass baking pan that has been generously coated with olive oil. Pour any left over sauce and nut-seeds over all.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is done.  (I prefer mine slightly opaque and moist in the middle.)  I also like to broil the fish (watching carefully) for just few seconds to give the topping additional thickness and crunch.

Avocado Goddess Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 avocado, peeled and cut into thirds

1/2 c. Ranch dressing, any kind you like

1 T. fresh lime juice

1 t. pepper

Directions:

Put about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped Romaine into each of two large salad bowls.  (I use big wide pasta bowls.)

Take 2/3 of avocado and cut into slices, arranging evenly on top of the two salads.

Mash the other 1/3 avocado in a small bowl.  Add Ranch dressing, lime juice and pepper to this and stir.

Avocado Goddess Dressing

Using a wide spatula, carefully lay one piece of the cooked salmon on top of each salad. Drizzle “Avocado Goddess” dressing over all.

Vegan Options: You could easily make sesame-pecan tofu with slices of pressed tofu marinated in the teriyaki Thai Chili sauce mixture instead of fish and simply substitute vegan ranch dressing to make the Avocado Goddess dressing. This is a great dish for serving both vegans and non-vegans since it wouldn’t take much extra work at all to make both versions.

Chicken Option:  You can use this same technique with chicken tenders if you prefer.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Sesame-Pecan Salmon with “Avocado Goddess” Salad
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/03/30/sesame-pecan-salmon-with-avocado-goddess-salad
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