summer salads

Niçoise Salad

It is Bastille Day today (National French Day).  Presenting a refreshing salad for the occasion.  Traditionally made with local olives, tuna and anchovies, this protein rich salad from Nice has become a staple all over France.  I absolutely love this salad, not only is it flavorful and appetizing, it is deliciously light yet quite satisfying on a  hot summer’s day.  I ought not to complain though, as this summer has been relatively bearable, so what’s a few days when temperatures feel like 100 degrees F?  On days like these, who needs to be slaving over a hot stove anyway?  So this salad was created.

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Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad

The garden is producing an abundant supply of tomatoes, eggplants and a variety of peppers.  It has been pretty rewarding and I’d say our first attempt at these raised vegetable beds have proved successful.  The okra and corn should be ready in a couple of weeks.  I think we’ve had our fill of baby bok choy, and swiss chard.  The squash, beans, and cucumbers have been semi-devoured by the deer, but I do believe we will be getting some leftovers soon :).  I’ve had a fun time trying out various manual settings with my camera, aren’t the colors so vibrant?  (more…)

Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Medley

Just as the weather is finally turning warmer, thoughts of salads, barbeques and lighter fare spring to mind.  I promised myself that we would barbeque more often this summer.  I do enjoy firing up the grill outdoors, and sipping on cool cocktails, but I don’t do it as much as I’d like to.  The very thought of heating up the kitchen when temperatures are soaring in the 90’s should be incentive enough to take the cooking outdoors.

We are finally warming up on the East Coast of the USA, the birds are merrily chirping, daffodils, crocuses and other spring bulbs are vying for attention.  This has got to be one of my favorite times of the year.  After the long, cold and snowy winter, the garden in it’s dormant stage is now slowly waking up, there’s nothing more exciting than digging in the dirt and being surrounded by a sea of color all around.  Based on today’s weather, I thought I’d present a gorgeous, colorful salad, chock full of deliciousness all around.  It is packed with vitamins, fiber, and iron.  The sweetness of the mango and the zesty lime and spicy cumin just enhances it all.  It keeps well in the refrigerator and tastes even better the following day.  I’ve paired it with some grilled salmon and fresh avocado for tonight’s dinner.  I’ve adapted this salad from the website of skinnytaste.com.  A wonderful blog full of flavorful dishes, with half the fat.

Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Medley

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 40 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (according to package directions)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mango
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (I used 2 thin hot Indian/Thai chillies)
  • juice from 1 medium lemon or lime
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used less)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground tumeric

Directions

  1. Mix together the beans, quinoa, corn,  bell pepper, mango, onion, cilantro and jalapeno in a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chipotle powder and tumeric in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle over the mixture and toss.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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I paired the hearty quinoa salad with a Salmon Bake and Pecan-Crunch Coating.  At first, I sprinkled lemon pepper seasoning to flavor the salmon steak.  I then made a mix of dijon mustard, butter, ginger, honey and brushed it over the salmon. I then combined breadcrumbs, chopped pecans and dill and spooned it over evenly across the top of the salmon.  I baked it for a few minutes till the fish flaked easily when tested with a fork.  Oh and the purple you see are leftover purple onions that I grilled with the fish.  This was indeed a taste of things to come, it screams summer and lighter fare don’t you think?

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IMG_3118Hopping on to Fiesta Friday #62 hosted by the amazing Angie and her co-hosts, Jess@ Cooking is my sport and Prudy@ Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs.  Thanks everyone, and a very Happy Easter to all.