The Great Nicoise Debate

There seems to be some debate over what comprises a Nicoise Salad (Salade Niçoise.)

Julia Child’s version touts tinned tuna, anchovies, blanched green beans and boiled potatoes.   David Lebovitz adds cooked fava beans (and mentions bell peppers), but advises using either anchovies or tuna (but never both in the same salad.)  A few other adventurous souls have taken liberties with seared tuna.  Traditionalists say no cooked vegetables whatsoever.  Some folks even add Feta or goat cheese, leftover from their Greek Salad… :)

Salad Niçoise’s origins are thought to begin with famed choreographer, Balanchine, who was married to world-renowned ballerina Maria Tallchief , who was originally from Oklahoma.  (You knew I’d get back to the lake somehow!)

Getting back to the salad… whether it’s assembled with cooked veggies or without, tinned tuna or seared, anchovies or not, or even the oddball addition of goat cheese or Feta, there’s no debate:  Salade Niçoise dances on your palate and your plate!

Niçoise Salad

Chunk light tuna (preferrably water-packed)

Lettuce leaves

Hard boiled eggs, peeled & sliced

Cucumbers, thinly sliced

Niçoise-style olives

Cherry tomatoes

Feta or goat cheese (another Oklahoma original…)

Extra virgin olive oil, or your favorite vinaigrette

The steps are as easy as 1-2-3 (cha, cha, cha):

1)  Assemble  ingredients on a pretty plate.

2)  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (or vinaigrette), followed by a twist or two of the pepper mill.

3)  Enjoy!

No need to debate… just dance.

Enjoying foodie freedom of expression,

~ Kim

It’s Greek To Me…

I generally don’t publish back-to-back posts for the simple reason that “a little lunch” was created to be a tidbit, rather than a full-course-meal.

However, some things are SOOOO good, it would be a disservice not to share.

Greek Salad

1 cucumber, peeled & sliced (I do the decorative peel thing…)

Salt, to taste

2 tomatoes, seeded & chopped (I used cherry tomatoes, quartered)

1/2 an onion, finely chopped

1 head of lettuce, washed, drained & torn

Olives (I used Kalamata, but a combo of black & green also works well)

8 oz. crumbled Feta or goat cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Greek seasoning (I used Konriko, but Cavender’s is also yummy)

Combine cucumber slices and salt; let sit 30 minutes, then drain.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and olives; toss lightly.

In a small measuring cup, combine equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice; add Greek seasoning to taste.  Drizzle over salad and toss again.

Add cheese (I prefer it sprinkled over the top); serve immediately.

The mysteries of the universe may elude me (yet), but it helps to ponder them over a tasty salad.

Enjoying life — whatever the translation may be,

~ Kim

Taco Salad 2011

Taco Salad has been around the block a time or two, but I still love it.  Back in the 80’s, it was a combo of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ground beef, grated cheese, kidney beans, crushed taco chips and dressing (usually Catalina), tossed together in one very large bowl — a big hit at potlucks and parties, since it served a multitude of people.

In the 90’s, Taco Salad became “restaurantized,” with variations of the above spilling out of dinner-plate-sized, deep-fried taco shell “bowls” (remember those?), topped with giant dollops of sour cream and guacamole — and that was considered one serving!

Now that I’m eating lighter and healthier (most of the time…), :) I decided to revamp an old favorite.

Taco Salad

Thin tortilla chips (the thinner, the better)

1/2 head of lettuce, torn into bite-sized bits

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 green onions (including tops), thinly sliced

4 oz. shredded Mexican “4-cheese” blend

4 oz. lean ground chuck, browned & flavored with taco seasoning (I used leftover “taco meat”)

Salsa of your choice (fresh is best!)

Layer the above ingredients on individual salad plates.  (This particular recipe serves 2.)  Enjoy!

Huge portions are out.  Huge flavor is in!

Enjoying life one serving at a time,

~ Kim

P.S.  If you’re visiting for the first time, or here from the Hop …welcome, y’all!

For more light & delicious summer recipes, click here!

I’ll Take Words That Begin With The Letter B, Alex

Before I begin, I beg you to bear with me.  After a lifetime of expressing my thoughts on paper, blogging is a whole new ballgame.  Take those “blue letters,” for instance (or burgundy on my blog) that link you to other websites with the click of a button.  I’m so behind the times it took me until now to figure out “how to!”  Better late than never…

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce.  The minute I saw this recipe on Belle of the Kitchen, I knew it was only a matter of time before I broke down and tried it.  As I mentioned before, my Blogroll buddies offer a bounty of ideas and their beautiful food photography will inspire you to cook, take pictures, and EAT (or at least that’s the routine at our abode since I began blogging.)

By the way, my Bourbon Sauce turned out “brighter yellow” than Belle’s (blame it on farm fresh eggs), but the flavor was mind-blowing!

Next up… my rendition of “Balsamic Reduction For The Well Read,” courtesy of Isabelle At Home.  I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.  (As in, Cecil B. DeMille…)

This balsamic beauty ended up on one of my “Blue Plate Specials” drizzled over pork tenderloin medallions and served with a crisp Romaine salad, warm-from-the-oven French bread, and Pass The Potatoes, Please, which I also posted on Tasty Kitchen.  (You may have to log on to TK after you click on the link, but it’s worth going through the “sign in” process to have access to the thousands of recipes posted on Ree Drummond’s off-shoot website.)  Be prepared for a recipe extravaganza!

The term Blue Plate Special reminded me of my first job “back in the day,” when I worked at The Blue Goose.  It was a small diner (by some other name), but because the building was painted bright blue, the nickname stuck.  Between flipping burgers and busing tables, I learned a thing or two about making coleslaw, too.  Basically, it’s a balance of sweet and tart — just like life.

The Best Coleslaw Dressing

Marshmallow Creme

Miracle Whip

White vinegar

NOTE:  Before your skepticism gets the best of you, bear in mind that I would never put my beloved readers in jeopardy by posting a bogus recipe.  Believe me, I cook from scratch 99% of the time and I’ve tried every coleslaw recipe under the sun using mayonnaise, heavy cream, half & half, you name it.  But when I make a batch of this, my hubby eats it for breakfast!  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and all that…

Measure equal parts of marshmallow creme and Miracle Whip into a bowl or big measuring cup.  (I use 1/2 cup of each in a 2 cup glass measuring cup.)  Blend together with a fork.  (Use an electric mixer if you want.)  Thin to desired consistency (and tartness) with vinegar.  Pour over 1 bag of shredded cabbage in a large bowl; toss to coat.  Refrigerate until serving.  (It becomes “juicier” as it chills.) 

Best regards to you and Alex Trebek,

Kim

Spring Salad

There has to be a reason for Thursday afternoon lethargy.  Insert James T. Kirk monologue here:  “Must…overCOME…this strange…senSAtion!”  (Bear with me, I’m getting to the recipe…)   

“Captain!  I dunno how much longer the dilithium crystals are gonna hold out — we could lose our gravitational field at any moment!”  (Thrash about in mock dramatic moves here, if desired.)

Yup.  No “Bones” about it — the only cure is to cook something, quickly.  All I could think of was pasta salad…

By my calculations (and Spock’s), this will “energize” you faster than you can fire a phaser.  (Profuse apologies to any non-Star Trek fans… )  When intergalactic equilibrium is at stake, pasta salad is the answer.

Spring Salad

8 oz. pasta shells

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c. green onions (including tops), thinly sliced

1/2 c. celery, diced

1/2 c. toasted pecans

1/4 c. dried cranberries

Dressing

1 clove garlic

1/2 t. Kosher salt

1/2 lemon, squeezed

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 to 2 T. sugar

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 to 1/2 c. Miracle Whip (ordinarily I’d use mayonnaise, but I was humoring the hubby…)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Dash of curry powder

Cook pasta according to package directions until “al dente;” drain, then transfer to a large bowl.  Toss with 1 T. olive oil and stir in remaining salad ingredients.

To prepare the dressing, measure the salt onto a cutting board.  Mince the garlic with the salt until it’s very fine (almost paste-like); transfer it to a 2 cup glass measuring cup.  Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and sugar.  Give it a good stir (I use a fork), then slowly drizzle in the olive oil (while stirring) until it forms an emulsion.  Mix in the Miracle Whip and season with freshly ground pepper and curry powder to taste.

Combine dressing with salad ingredients; toss to coat.  Chill until ready to serve.

This salad is “out of this world.”  Beam me up.

Enjoying life at warp speed,

Kim

Psalm 148:13

P.S.  My quirky sense of humor will emerge on this blog now and then.  To reassure you that I’m still “down to earth,” here’s a recent photo from our corner of the galaxy.

Spring At The Lake (photo courtesy of Miracle Whip Man)