So, this is my recreation of a salad I’ve never eaten, from a restaurant I have never been to, but have talked about going to a lot. Blue Barn is a deli in San Francisco that has a creative menu with a local and organic focus. I think every time I have gone to visit my friends in San Francisco we have discussed going there and even attempted to go twice, but every single time something thwarts our plans. Since so many attempts have been made to get to this restaurant I have looked over their menu many times and every time this salad stood out to me.
After my last trip to San Francisco and another failed visit to the restaurant, I decided to attempt my own version. I have absolutely no idea how close or accurate an interpretation this is of the Blue Barn original, but damned if I can, it was absolutely delicious!
I did make a couple minor changes. Instead of sun-dried tomatoes, I used oven roasted roma tomatoes and instead of grilled balsamic onions, I again used oven roasted balsamic onions (I used this recipe, minus the sugar). For the crispy chickpeas, I made garlic and paprika roasted chickpeas (using this recipe). They were delicious and the leftovers made for a great snack later in the week.
Now, I will admit, there are a lot of parts to this salad and most of them have to be prepared individually ahead of time, which is kind of a major pain, but since I knew I would like all the ingredients in the salad, I didn’t mind taking the extra time and effort to prepare everything. Plus, you’ll have a lot of leftovers of the individual ingredients, so they are perfect for other salads during the week, adding to other meals (the roasted tomatoes and balsamic onions were heavenly with a turkey burger), or as snacks.
This salad is sweet, tangy and delicious. I originally read a similar recipe in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I was intrigued because I lovelove pineapple, but it had cucumber in it, which I absolutely abhor! Cumber is one of the four foods in the world that turn me into a picky eater toddler throwing a tantrum at the dinner table. I will not eat them. I do not like them touching my food and I will sit and pout if they are near my plate (bananas, celery and eggplant would be the others). I have been using a lot of jicama this summer and thought that it would make a great substitute for cucumber. It has the same kind of crunchy texture.
I served this salad with a side of chips for a super chunky chips and salsa kind of thing. You could also serve it over a bed of mixed greens or it would also go great with some grilled shrimp or tequila lime chicken as well.
This salad has it all; sweet, salty, cheesy, and all delicious. Mango, blue cheese and broccoli are some of my favorite foods, but never in a million years would I think of combining them. Ever. But somehow, it totally works. The flavor combinations definitely make for a very unique meal.
I definitely plan on making this salad again, but next time I think I might add a couple of other things to make it even better. Adding some toasted cashews or almonds would add a great crunch to the salad. I could also imagine substituting the chicken for shrimp (maybe even coconut shrimp for more of a tropical twist).
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Season to taste and set aside.
For the Salad:
On a serving platter place romaine lettuce. Top with blueberries and mango; set aside.
Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in 1 tablespoon of the butter with minced garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Transfer to a cutting board; slice. Allow to cool slight and arrange atop salad.
In the same skillet cook broccoli in the remaining tablespoon garlic butter over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes until tender. Place atop salad. Drizzle salad with blue cheese vinaigrette. If desired, sprinkle with blue cheese.
I’ve been on a bit of a halloumi kick lately. Normally I would feel bad about sharing recipes with ‘exotic’ ingredients in them, like halloumi, but now that Trader Joe’s now sells this amazing cheese, I would hardly count it as exotic anymore. This salad is not only quick and easy to make, it is delicious too. The snap peas and tomatoes around here are absolutely delicious at the moment. Their sweetness combined with the salty halloumi help makes every bite delicious. The dressing is light and flavorful. It really adds to the salad and helps all the delicious flavors come together.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
For the Salad:
In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add halloumi and cooked until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Place cooked halloumi on paper towels to drain excess oil.
In a large bowl, combine greens, snap peas and tomatoes and about half the dressing. Toss to mix all the ingredients.
Divide between 4 serving bowls. Top with about 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa and 2-3 slices of the halloumi and serve.
So, I briefly mentioned yesterday, I am moving to the other side of the country in 27 oh, so short days. I’ve been hell bent on getting in as many of my favorite summer things, California things, and summery California as possible. I have lists of food, shops, cities, friends, beaches, parks, drinks and many more random things.
A couple of weekends ago I got to cross a whole bunch of things off my list with a trip up to San Francisco. There were friends and food and shopping and pugs and crafts and it was glorious. Apart from the fact that many of my best friends live in San Francisco now, it’s always been one of my favorite cities. There is so much to do and see and, most importantly, eat! This salad is inspired by one I had at Delica many, many trips ago. Delica is a great Japanese deli and sushi bar in the Ferry Building. And while a Japanese deli might seem like the last place you would find an amazing potato salad, trust me they definitely know what they are doing.
I will admit, I have met very few potatoes I haven’t liked (I am 100% Irish, it’s pure genetics), but potato salads wade into a tricky gray area. A great potato salad is a thing of delicious beauty, but it is so, so easy for a potato salad to go horribly wrong very easily. Delica’s potato salad is so different than any other potato salad. First, the wasabi! I love wasabi and even though I have added I have used horseradish in potato salads before, I never thought of using wasabi. It’s a great flavorful addition. I might be strange in the fact that I always mix my summer barbecue side salads together. That potato salad and green salad will soon become one on my plate, so I absolutely love that Delica’s potato salad already has romaine lettuce and snap peas and other traditional green salad staples in the potato salad itself. If you are looking for a totally different and delicious potato salad recipe, I suggest you start here!
It’s that time of year again… Fiesta! I haven’t blogged for a couple months, but I’m now in my final stretch living in California (for a while at least), so I figure I might as well enjoy and share as much of the Golden State as I can! Fiesta is a truly unique Santa Barbara tradition. Officially 90 years strong as of this Wednesday. It’s a unique blend of culture, history, food, music, dance and booze. Basically the world’s best combination in my opinion. This week I’m going to share some of my favorite, both new and old, Mexican inspired recipes.
I love this salad! It’s fast and easy. Light and fresh. And it makes a perfect alternative side dish to a Mexican meal instead of traditional black or pinto bean dishes. I had originally planned on serving this as a side dish with tequila lime chicken, but I was so hungry for lunch that I decided to skip the rest of the meal and just dig in. Excellent decision. If you wanted to add some more bulk to the salad, some chopped romaine would be great. If I had some cilantro on hand (my plants have refused to last longer than 5 days this summer!) or corn kernels (I can’t eat whole corn, but if you can), I know both would have made the best addition .
My wonderful friend Andrea introduced me to this meal when I was visiting her and her husband in DC last summer. It was love at first bite. She also introduced me to my first food blog (Smitten Kitchen), so I really have a lot to thank her for. This recipe also happens to be from Smitten Kitchen (did everything just come full circle?).
This meal is one of my all-time favorite summer time dishes. The ingredient list and instructions might look a bit long and daunting, but once all the chopping and slicing is finished, it’s pretty easy to get together. I will be quite honest and admit there are a few things in here that I would never be caught eating by themselves (I’m looking at you cucumbers!), but put them all together with some peanut sauce, cilantro, and lime, it’s hard not to like everything in this meal.
Despite my reservations about cucumbers (and bell peppers too), I left the recipe nearly all the same, except for using chicken breasts and all gluten-free ingredients. I also used more cilantro than mint and basil, but that’s just because I love cilantro (I’m lukewarm on basil and barely acquaintances with mint). Luckily, just about everything in this recipe can be adjusted to every individual taste. When you serve this delicious meal up, it’s kind of like a noodle-taco bar scenario. Everything is prepared separately and you get to pick and choose what you do and don’t like, which makes it good for a small crowd. And I am happy to report that this meal is one that gets better with age. The leftovers are even better than the original meal!
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
Additional vegetables, as suggested above
Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
4 or more scallions, slivered
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (to serve)
Make the dipping sauce:
Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
Make the peanut dressing:
In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
Marinate the chicken:
Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
Cook the chicken:
Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish.
Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.
I have a tendency to buy things in bulk. It’s next to impossible to say no to three pounds of baby spinach at Costco for under 4 bucks. The only downside is three pounds of baby spinach is a lot of baby spinach. So in another effort to clean out the fridge, I have attempted to add spinach to everything. This isn’t a recipe so much as it is an idea of flavor combinations and the possibilities are really endless.
I really love this dressing, especially when paired with the sweet mandarins. It was a great combination. I also found this salad to be surprisingly filling. It made for a great lunch. I think the addition of grilled chicken or shrimp would easily make it into a wonderful dinner. If I was to make this salad again, I think adding crumbled feta and dried cranberries would be delicious. Strawberries, granny smith apples, or pecans would also be good substitutes (or additions too).