Italian Green Salad

Ingredients:
8 cups Mesclun Greens
1 cup fresh Basil, leaves only
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Kirby Cucumber, sliced
12-16 large Green Olives (stuffed is a plus)
1 small Red Onion, chopped
2-4 oz Prosciutto
2 Tbsp fresh Oregano
4-6 bocconcini Mozzarella, quartered
1/2 cup Pistachios, shelled
1 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare all items as listed above. For the Prosciutto, tear the slices into bite-size pieces. For the Onion, you can be artistic and thinly slice the pieces so that they are long and thin.
  • Mix all the ingredients together, except the Vinaigrette. I recommend mixing 2/3 of everything together, and then using the final 1/3 of the ingredients to decorate the top and make it look nice. This also ensure that when you toss the salad, everything does not end up on the bottom.
  • Serve in a large bowl with the Vinaigrette on the side.

Makes: 4 Servings.

NOTES: They say a good salad is a sign of a good chef. I dunno if I qualify or not, but here is my ideal salad. It is light and fresh, and you can tweak it to your guests tastes and needs. I find this salad is bright and cheerful and full of colors–and tastes like Spring. For the Olives, I recommend getting some stuffed with Garlic or Anchovies–adds a depth of flavor. If you are going to stuff them yourself, do it a few days a head of time, and let them soak in the brine.

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Céleri Rémoulade – Celeriac Salad

Céleri Rémoulade

Ingredients:
1 Celeriac Bulb, cleaned
1 Carrot, cleaned
1 small Cucumber, seeded and Julianne cut.
3 Shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 cup Walnuts, crushed
1 cup Greek-Style Yoghurt
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Almond Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp fresh Mint, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, minced
2 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

  • Clean the Celeriac root by removing any scraggly roots and outer surface. Cut into pieces small enough to be easy to grate. I prefer to use my Food Processor’s food grater, so I make the pieces big enough to fit through the feeder. If you shred by hand, you may want them a good size for holding. Do the same thing with the Carrot.
  • Shred both the Celeriac and Carrot.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Celeriac, Carrot, Shallots, Cucumber, and Walnuts, and toss with your hands to mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together into a dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the dry ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: Celeriac is one of those under-used vegetables in my opinion. Honestly, I don’t know why–its not too difficult to prepare, and you can eat it raw or cooked in any way imaginable that most root vegetables are cooked. Now regarding the Rémoulade itself. Traditionally, this would be made with Mayonnaise, and would not have Ginger and maybe a different set of spices. I found that a little bland and had to add some kick to it, but not overpower the fresh-taste of the Celeriac itself. The Rémoulade can be served as a side dish, or in a similar fashion to Cole Slaw–though it is not as strong. Many folks serve it as a side to fish. I prefer to eat it by itself as a side salad.

Tabbouleh – تبولة

Ingredients:
1 cup Bulgur Wheat
2 cups Boiling Water
3 Plum Tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 Cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 Green Onions, diced fine
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh Mint, chopped
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
2/3 cup Olive Oil

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, soak the Bulgur Wheat and Boiling Water for 30 minutes.
  • Using a cheese cloth, squeeze out any excess liquid from the Bulgur Wheat.
  • Return to a bowl and combine all ingredients. Mix well.

NOTES: Tabbouleh was another New York discovery for me – not having ever experienced it in Georgia or Ohio. I fell in love with it. It is light and fluffy and highly flavorful. Thanks to my love Michael for introducing it to me.

Smoked Salmon Canapés

Ingredients:
4 oz Smoked Salmon, pre-sliced, cold
1 English Cucumber
Fresh Dill
1 cup Crème Fraîche
Fresh Chives

Directions:

  • Slice the Cucumber into thin rounds, about 1/4-1/2 cm thick, and arrange on tray.
  • Review the slices of Salmon. You will want to see how consistent the slices are. Cut the slices into 2″ x 1″ pieces, approximately.
  • Clip small pieces of Dill and place on the Cucumber Rounds.
  • Top with the Salmon pieces. Fold the piece in half forming a 1″ x 1″ size piece.
  • Using a teaspoon or Pastry Bag, top the Salmon with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.
  • Clip pieces of Chives over the Crème Fraîche.

Makes 20-30 pieces, depending on the size of the cucumber.

NOTES: These are probably one of the simplest Canapés you can make, yet they are also elegant and tasty. If you do not have Crème Fraîche, you can use Sour Cream or Greek-Style Yogurt. Do not make this too far ahead of time or the cucumbers will sweat.

Variations:
Smoked Salmon Croutes
Preheat an oven to 300ºF. Take 10 slices White Bread, and using a 2″ Pastry Cutter, cut out the desired amount of rounds. Toast on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes. Arrange on a tray. Top with the Cucumber, Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Herbs in the same manner as above.

Herbed Egg Salad

Ingredients:
6 Eggs, hardboiled and diced
1 small Red Onion, minced
1 large Sweet Gherkin, minced
1 tsp Capers, minced
2-3 Tbsp Greek-style Yogurt
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Basil, chopped fine
1 tsp Parsley, chopped fine
1/2 tsp Chives, chopped fine
Dash of Paprika

Directions:

  • Mix everything but the Yogurt together.
  • Slowly incorporate the Yogurt to the desired consistency.

NOTES: Egg Salad is an American dish that is commonly served as a sandwich or on on a bed of lettuce. This recipe uses Greek Yogurt rather than Mayonnaise, however if you prefer you can substitute Mayo for the Yogurt. Greek Yogurt is denser and less runny than other Yogurts.

Cucumber and Watercress Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced (skinned or stripped is fine)
3 cups fresh Watercress, cleaned
1 cup fresh Chives
1 1/2 cups Cream Cheese
24 slices of white Bread

Directions:

  • In a medium size bowl, incorporate the Chives into the Cream Cheese.
  • Spread a thin layer of Cream Cheese on one side of each piece of Bread.
  • On 12 slices of bread, add Cucumber slices to the cheese-covered side.
  • On the remaining 12 slices add the Watercress, evenly divided to the cheese-covered side.
  • Combine one Watercress slice to one Cucumber slice. It is easiest to make the Cucumber the bottom slice.
  • With a serrated knife, carefully remove the crusts from the sandwiches, and slice diagonally.

NOTES: The cucumbers may sweat liquid, and if prepared too far in advance, become wilted and/or make the bread soggy.

Variations:
Curry Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Tzatziki – Τζατζίκι

Ingredients:Vegetarian
2 cups Yogurt, Greek-style
8 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Cucumber, de-seeded and diced (Mediterranean or English cucumbers preferred)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp fresh Dill, chopped finely

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, fold the Yogurt into the Lemon and Olive Oil.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix completely.

Village Greek Salad

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 small Cucumber, sliced in coins
2 small Tomatoes, sliced in wedges
1 small Onion, sliced in wedges
1 Bell Pepper, de-seeded, sliced in bite size pieces
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives
1 Tbsp Capers
1/2 tsp Oregano, dried
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup Feta Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup Olive Oil

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, and Olives.
  • Cover in Capers, Oregano, and Pepper.
  • Top with Feta Cheese
  • Drizzle the Olive Oil over the salad.

Variations:
Add sliced Grilled Chicken or Gyro Meat to the top.