Tag Archive | "salad"

Cucumbers with Sour Cream Dressing

The tea room was once a staple of the Atlanta dining scene. Now, there is only Mary Mac’s Tea Room, where comfort foot reigns supreme. In addition to pouring gallons of sweet tea, you can get everything from Country Ham with Redeye Gravy to Creamed Fresh Corn. The recipes have all be collected in the new cookbook, “Mary Mac’s Tea Room” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $27.99) by John Ferrell.

One of the tea room’s hit side dishes is its cucumber salad. This version is definitely a Southern creation with all its sugar. But it’s not necessary, unless you absolutely want it.

Cucumbers with Sour Cream Dressing

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings and separated
¼ cup sugar, divided use
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons whole milk

Place the cucumbers in a large bowl. Add the onion. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the salt, and pepper and toss to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the vinegar and milk. Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture and toss to coat. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Mary Mac’s Tea Room” by John Ferrell

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Enjoy Cauliflower Two New Ways


During the winter, I’m always looking for fresh new ways of preparing vegetables, and cauliflower is an old favorite, whether it’s served raw or cooked. The following two recipes are from a recent hunt.

One is a soup from Dean Fearing’s 1987 “The Mansion on Turtle Creek Cookbook,” which I felt fortunate enough to find on a clearance rack. It draws a little kick from Creole mustard as well as some Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces added near the end of cooking. Fearing also offers a make-ahead tip in case you want to serve this at a dinner party.

The second is a salad recipe that comes from the recent “Eating Well: 500 Calorie Dinners” cookbook. It goes together quickly and gains a pleasant sweet-tart flavor, not to mention color, from the addition of chopped red apple.

Cauliflower Creole Mustard Soup with Green Onions

[amazon-product]B000VYVXC4[/amazon-product]1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 cups raw cauliflower florets, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white port wine
1/2 cup sherry
1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 sachet of 1 bay leaf, 5 sprigs fresh time and 1 tablespoon white peppercorns tied in a cheesecloth bag
1/4 cup Creole mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion, celery, garlic, shallots and cauliflower in oil for about 5 minutes or until onion is transparent.

Stir in port and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Add sherry and cook for about 3 minutes or until liquor bouquet dissipates.

Add stock and sachet, bring to a boil, then simmer fro about 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove sahet.

Pour soup into a blender and bend until very smooth. Strain through a fine sieve and return to heat. Stir in mustard. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, pepper and Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.

Whisk in cream and heat through, but do not allow to boil. Pour equal portions into warm serving bowls. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve immediately.

Tip: Without the final addition of heavy cream, soup may be made up to 2 days in advance, tightly covered and refrigerated. Reheat and stir in heavy cream just before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Adapted from “The Mansion on Turtle Creek Cookbook” by Dean Fearing

Creamy Chopped Cauliflower Salad

[amazon-product]0881508462[/amazon-product]5 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups chopped cauliflower forets (about 1/2 large head)
2 cups chopped hearts of romaine
1 tart-sweet red apple, chopped

Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, shallots, caraway seeds and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add cauliflower, romaine and apple. toss to coat.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Eating Well: 500 Calorie Dinners”

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Carrot Pepper Salad with Tex-Mex Ranch Dressing

Carrot Pepper Salad

“This brightly colored garlicky slaw tastes great with grilled chicken and pork,” writes Robb Walsh in “The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbarcoa Cookbook.”

The dressing makes all the difference. “Homemade ranch dressing is vastly superior to — and a whole lot cheaper than — the stuff they sell in bottles at the grocery store,” Walsh writes. “I make this stuff in a plastic quarter container and keep it in the refrigerator. My kids slather it all over everything.”

Carrot Pepper Salad

4 cups grated carrots
2 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup Tex-Mex Ranch Dressing (recipe follows)
3 gloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Put the grated carrots and the chopped bell pepper in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing and the garlic, and mix well. toss the vegetables with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or more. toss well and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Makes about 6 cups.

From “The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbarcoa Cookbook” by Robb Walsh

Tex-Mex Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup best-quality buttermilk
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
1/4 jalapeño, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt, to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, red onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, jalapeño and green onions. Salt to taste. Cover and chill. The dressing will keep for about a week.

Note: Seed the jalapeño if you want to cut the heat.

Makes about 3 cups.

From “The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbarcoa Cookbook” by Robb Walsh

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Spinach Salad with Warm Onions and Crispy Salami

Crispy SalamiBacon isn’t the only pork product that’s good in a spinach salad.

Spinach Salad with Warm Onions and Crispy Salami

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1/4 pound hard salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 red onion, sliced into rounds
2 bunches spinach, thick stems removed (about 8 cups)
4 hard-cooked eggs (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the salami and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, the remaining oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to the skillet with the drippings. Whisk to combine.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the salami.

Divide the spinach among plates and spoon the onion and salami over the top. Serve with the eggs, if using.

Total time: 15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: “Real Simple: Easy, Delicious Recipes,” edited by Lygeia Grace and Kate Merker

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Mango-Jícama Chopped Salad

“The succulent essence of mango was once used as a topical application to the genitals in Hindu erotica to stimulate desire,” Diane Brown writes in “The Seduction Cookbook.” “Match that reputation with the nutty crunch of jícama, which like all roots is rumored to restore virility. Top all that lascivious action with the potent pumpkin seed, and you’ll be climbing the walls.”

Mango-Jícama Chopped Salad

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup peeled, chopped jícama
1/2 fresh mango, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 small seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons toasted and salted pumpkin seeds


With a wire whisk, combine lime juice, honey and vinegar. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss together jícama, mango, cucumber and romaine lettuce with dressing. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of salad. Serve.

Makes 2 servings.

From “The Seduction Cookbook: Culinary Creations for Lovers” by Diane Brown

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Seduce Your Partner With a Super Supper

Recipe: Steak au Poivre With Pink Peppercorns

Are you planning an intimate dinner for two this Valentine’s Day? Then SavorSA has a few ideas for you.

We’ve assembled a menu that includes a number of aphrodisiacs to help you set the scene for some fun to continue after the meal.

Do aphrodisiacs work? There’s little in science to verify this, but the mind works in mysterious ways. You don’t need a degree to realize that people can react strongly to the swirl of aromas coming from a dish of pears poached in a syrup the mingles cardamon and honey in white wine.

People are also stimulated by the shapes of foods, which is why foods such as mushrooms, asparagus and, again, pears are considered in this category.

Long before Casanova, who reportedly ate 50 oysters a day to boost his libido, stars of the sea have been considered sources of potency. Think of Venus rising from the sea on her shell.

So, we suggest starting your meal with a crab cake or oysters on the half shell (make sure your fishmonger is reliable,  if you’re worried about the latter).

Steak by itself may not carry any aphrodisiacal  food, but it is a favorite. Dress it up with pink peppercorns in a sauce that’s guaranteed to make him or her swoon. Serve a mango-jícama salad on the side and your choice of vegetables.

For dessert, a poached pear earns points for its sensual texture as well as its aroma and visual appeal.

All of these dishes are easy to prepare, which is also a plus, because your mind is likely to be on other matters.

Enjoy your evening.

Recipe: Classic Crab Cakes

Recipe: Mango-Jícama Chopped Salad

Recipe: Poached Pears in Cardamon Syrup

Jansen, Svend wrote:

Hey John. Thanks for getting back to me. Hope all is well. I wanted to let you know about the Science Behind the Cocktail event coming to San Antonio in March. It's a very fun, entertaining event hosted at the McNay Art Museum. The press release is below. If you are interested in speaking to Tim Laird, our Chief Entertaining Officer and Steve Hughes, Master Blender/Spirits Scientist, I'd be glad to set that up for you. I have attached their bios along with an image of them. Or if you'd like to come out and do a story about the event and tour, I'd be glad to get you a few tickets. Just let me know. Look forward to hearing from you. -Svend

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Contact: Svend Jansen
(502) 774-7825

After-hours event at McNay Art Museum features hands-on demos, food and drink

Ever wonder if shaken or stirred is the best way to make a drink? Why bartenders always pour the alcohol in first and then the mixer? Does a garnish really influence the taste of your cocktail?

Mistology: The Science Behind the Cocktail, an after hours event hosted at McNay Art Museum, will explore the entertaining and educational side of cocktail creation.  The event, brought to you by Canadian Mist Whisky, begins at 6 p.m. with an interactive presentation from Canadian Mist's Chief Entertaining Officer (CEO) Tim Laird and Spirits Scientist Steve Hughes. 

Tim is the master at mixing cocktails while Steve, a member of Mist's Research and Development team, spends his day dissecting cocktails in a lab. Together, they will answer any and all of your bartending and science related questions. Not only the how, but also the why. 

After the presentation, attendees can apply what they learned with hands-on demos. If you prefer to kick back and let others do the work, there will be a bar staff on-site and plenty of appetizers to enjoy. The event is open to anyone 21 years of age and older with admission $8 per person for museum members and $10 per person for non-members. All proceeds will benefit McNay Art Museum.

Tim Laird - Chief Entertaining Officer (CEO) for Brown-Forman Corp., a global marketer and producer of wine and spirits, including Canadian Mist. Tim is known for his making entertaining easy and has appeared on hundreds of television and radio interviews across the U.S.

Steve Hughes - Spirits Scientist for Brown-Forman Corp. Steve has been behind the development of several of Brown-Forman's award winning whiskies, including Canadian Mist, a Gold-Medal winning whisky made in Collingwood, Ontario.

Thursday, March 11, 2010
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

McNay Art Museum
6000 North New Braunfels
San Antonio, TX 78209

Tickets for the event are $8 for McNay Art Museum members and $10 for non-members. It is open to anyone 21 years of age and older.

Space is limited. RSVP by calling (210) 805-1763 or email 

For more information about the event, visit 

About Canadian Mist
Canadian Mist is an award-winning whisky distilled in Collingwood, Ontario with water from the pure Georgian Bay. Brown-Forman Corporation is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist, Southern Comfort, Old Forester, Early Times, Finlandia Vodka, Fetzer Wines and Korbel California Champagnes.

Enjoy Life. Drink Mist Responsibly.
Imported and Bottled by Brown-Forman Beverages, Canadian Whisky, A Blend, 40% Alc. by Volume, Louisville, KY
(c)2010 CANADIAN MIST is a registered trademark.

Svend Jansen
PR Manager - Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist, Early Times & Old Forester
850 Dixie Highway
Louisville, KY 40210
Office, (502) 774-7825
Mobile, (502) 744-0462

-----Original Message-----
From: John Griffin []
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:58 PM
To: Jansen, Svend
Subject: Good to hear from you

My e-mail is Looking forward to hearing what you're
bringing to San Antonio.

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Warm Feta With Tomato, Olive and Pepper Salad

“This super-easy and fast dish is a play on saganaki, a typical tavern dish where you melt cheese by grilling, broiling or pan-frying,” says Michael Psilakis in “How to Roast a Lamb: New Classic Greek Cooking.” Omit the optional sardines and it’s purely vegetarian.

Warm Feta With Tomato, Olive and Pepper Salad

1 small Spanish or sweet onion, thickly sliced
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
9 caperberries, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons capers
9 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
9 cracked green olives, pitted and torn
9 Kalamata olives, pitted and torn
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
2 fire-roasted red bell peppers, home-roasted or store-bought, roughly chopped
9 Greek sardines or white anchovies, diced (optional)
9 small, picked sprigs dill
9 small, picked sprigs parsley
9 leaves fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry Greek oregano
12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 warmed or toasted pita breads, cut into wedges

Brush the onion slices with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. On a hot grill pan or in a cast-iron skillet, grill the onion until tender and slightly char-marked. Separate into rings.

In a large bowl, combine the grilled onion, caperberries, capers, tomatoes, olives, red onion, roasted peppers, sardines or anchovies (if using), dill, parsley and basil. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, season with kosher salt and pepper, sprinkle with oregano and toss the salad until evenly coated.

[amazon-product]0316041211[/amazon-product]Scatter the feta evently over the base of an ovenproof baking dish or gratin. Warm the feta until slightly softened, 30 seconds in a microwave or under a broiler for 3 minutes. Top with the salad and serve with pita wedges. Scoop feta and salad onto a wedge with a knife and eat out of hand.


  • Grill a couple of sirloin steaks and after resting, scatter with some crumbled feta. Then make the salad as above and pile it on top of the steak.
  • Grill a pounded, seasoned chicken breast and top it with feta, broil to soften – but not melt – the feta, and top with this salad.

Makes 10 to 12 servings as a meze, or appetizer.

Adapted from “How to Roast a Lamb: New Classic Greek Cooking,” by Michael Psilakis

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Julian’s New York Pizza Warming Up Appetites

Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza

This smallish restaurant, perched next to a short street that slopes down into the Embassy Oaks Shopping Center, is housed in what was formerly West Avenue Kitchen and before that, for quite some time, Magnolia Pancake Haus.

I like what they’ve done with the place. Where Magnolia was country-homey, Julian’s has dressed up in red-and-white-checked table coverings and opened up the kitchen. A big walk-up ordering bar is backed by a huge blackboard menu, crowded with offerings to titillate any appetite that demands Italian.

We liked some of Julian’s food enough that we’ll definitely be back for more.  One of the first things you should know before going, though, is that Julian’s pizza slices are enormous.  I’d say one slice equals two generous slices from most other pizzerias.

Food: 3.5
Service: 3.0
Value: 4.0

Rating scale:
5: Extraordinary
4: Excellent
3: Good
2: Fair
1: Poor

What I liked about the pizza was the crunchy bottom of the crust, the tanginess of the sauce, the just-right-amount of cheese. Less impressive were the canned mushrooms used on the toppings – though, I’d add,  I have eaten plenty of pizza in New York City that used them.

I ordered a two-meat pizza slice and it came out medium-warm, but it was obvious that the slice had begun life as a pepperoni pizza, and the crumbled sausage had been tossed on later.  So, the sausage wasn’t embedded into the cheese and seemed almost like an afterthought.  Surely there is a way to handle this differently.

Spinach Salad

We really liked the artichoke and caper pizza (these generally always come from cans and jars).   Julian’s specialty pizza, the Tutto (with everything on it) was good, though we should mention canned mushrooms again. By and large the flavors were good, and the fennel in the Italian sausage, especially, shone through.

Two salads were average but could easily be bumped up a notch. The spinach salad’s balsamic vinaigrette was well-balanced, but there was far too much of it. The tomatoes were limp and appeared to be a day old, while the bacon crumbles were soft rather than crisp. The Caesar needed a lot more oomph, which could be said of plenty of other salads these days. More anchovy and garlic, some Worcestershire sauce, crunchier croutons – all needed to punch up the flavors and and textures to make this salad worthy of its name. I did appreciate the generous amount of fresh greens on both salads.

Italian Sub Sandwich

There’s lotsa pasta on the menu, and I’ll go back to try it out. While I can’t report on its quality, I like Julian’s enough to have faith these dishes will be good, too.

The Italian sub sandwich soared above average, with a good Italian dressing and plenty of cold cuts, fresh lettuce and tomatoes.  I also applauded the nice effect of dusting the sandwich with Parmesan cheese (maybe this was an accident, but it sure worked) and the pickle.

While the sub was a fine sandwich indeed, the Chicago dog was only average.  No poppy-seed bun, and the bun was also gummy.  Not a nice thing to wrap around a foot-long Vienna Beef dog.  “Real” Chicago dogs have neon green relish (as my friend who ordered this dog told me) and the requisite sport peppers lacked heat.

Julian’s gets better-than-average marks from me, based on its pizza crust and sausage, the good, strong, house-brewed tea, the really good Italian sub and a warm, cozy atmosphere.  I just wish it was closer to my house.

Julian’s New York Style Pizza
13444 West Ave.
(210) 496-3500‎
Open daily for lunch and dinner

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‘Expensive’ Christmas Salad Something Different for the Table

Expensive Christmas SaladDon’t let the name discourage you: This salad is one my sister and I devised years ago, when were were students and had no money. That meant purchasing such delicacies as artichoke hearts and hearts of palm put this in expensive territory for us. (If you really wanted to make it expensive, I guess you could add some cooked, cold lobster.)

I added the “Christmas” to the name because just adding the grape tomatoes to the salad gives it a festive red-and-green color. It’s simply dressed with lemon juice and really good olive oil, and people almost always like it.

Expensive Christmas Salad

1 clove garlic
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 (8.8 -ounce) can hearts of palm
1 large avocado, ripe but not mushy
2 long ribs celery, with green part
1/2 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
12-15 fresh grape tomatoes
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Small bunch parsley, for garnish, optional

Mash the clove of garlic and rub it around the inside of a medium-large bowl. Set garlic aside for another use, or add to the salad, diced up, if you like a lot of garlic.

Drain and lightly squeeze the artichoke hearts to get some of the canning liquid out. Cut them in half, or if they’re large, cut into quarters and put in bowl. If any of the outside leaves seem tough, take them off and discard. Slice the hearts of palm on the diagonal, about 3/4-inch long and put in bowl. Dice the avocado and slice the celery, on the diagonal. Add to bowl. Dice the cheese and put in bowl with the tomatoes. Cut lemon in half and squeeze in juice of one of the halves, being careful not to get seeds into the salad. Pour over the oil, salt and pepper, then very gently mix. If you like,  garnish with the parsley.

Serves 7-8.

From Bonnie Walker

(Photo by Bonnie Walker)

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Celery Root and Apple Salad (Insalata di Mele)

Lydia1 (1)The flavor of the tender celery root mingles well with the crisp texture and light sweetness of the apples. A tart dressing with olive oil and mustard,  and garnish of chives, finished the salad off.  It paired well with the Bastianich Friulano 2007.  You can find the Bastianich wines at Central Market.

Celery Root and Apple Salad (Insalata di Mele)

1 (2-pound) whole celery root, rinsed well but not peeled
1 pound firm, crisp apples (such as Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonathan, Gala or Fuji)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon German-style mustard (coarse ground)
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Note: Recommended equipment: A large bowl for dressing, tossing and serving.

Put celery root into a large saucepan with cold water to cover, and heat to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and simmer celery root for about an hour or so until cooked through and tender. As it cooks, keep the root weighted down with a plate or pot lid. When you can easily pierce it with a skewer, drain it in a colander and cool.

When it is cool, peel the celery root by scraping off the skin with the dull side of a paring knife. Cut out the bits of skin in the folds and knobby parts. Cut celery root in half, and slice each half into thin half-moons; put these in a large bowl. (If the celery root is a bit fibrous, cut slices into thin matchsticks.)

Rinse apples well, but do not peel them. Slice them in half, through the stem and bottom ends and cut out seeds and cores. Slice halves crosswise into half-moons, about 1/8-inch thick, add to the bowl, and gently toss the celery root and apple slices together.

[amazon-product]0307267512[/amazon-product]For dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil gradually, until smooth and emulsified. Pour dressing over the celery root and apples, sprinkle the chives on top and tumble to coat all the slices with dressing. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Note: Lidia Bastianich suggests adding thinly sliced prosciutto to the plate to make this salad a more substantial antipasto, as she did for the KLRN Chef Series, Nov. 1.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes”by Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

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