Category Archives: salad

I invited a few ladies over for lunch and then proceeded to rack my brain for a week and a half on what to cook, until I came across this recipe for a chickpea salad, which then provided the catalyst for the rest of our Mediterranean lunch with lamb-raisin-pine-nut pies.

Chickpea Salad with Toasted Cumin Seeds

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
3/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
Small handful fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 pound English cucumber
sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is nice) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until the seeds are toasted. The cumin will turn slightly darker in color, and smell toasty.

Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook, stirringly frequently, for about three minutes or until the garlic is turning golden. Do not let it scorch or turn brown.

Add the drained chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are warmed through and are shiny with oil. Turn off the heat.

Strip any remaining stems away from the Italian parsley. Finely mince the parsley and the mint and toss this with the chickpeas. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the chickpeas.

Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out (and discard) the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes. Toss the cucumber with the chickpeas. Taste for salt. If necessary, add flaky sea salt to taste.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating. This salad is best after it has had a chance to sit overnight in the fridge, letting its spices and juices soak together into more than the sum of its parts. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Really good at any temperature, actually.

Lamb Pies with Raisins and Pine Nuts

  • 1lb  ground lamb
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend

Sauté lamb in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up meat with fork, about 7 minutes. Transfer lamb to plate using a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté until; tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Return lamb to skillet. Add tomatoes, raisins and allspice and simmer until juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out 1 puff pastry sheet on floured work surface to 14-inch square. Cut into four 7 inch squares. Repeat with second puff pastry sheet. Beginning at 1 corner of each pastry square , place 1/8 of lamb mixture on the half of square, forming triangle. Brush pastry edges with egg. Fold pastry over filling, forming triangle. Press edges to seal. Brush pastries with egg. Place pies on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake until pies are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.


I’m not entirely sure,  but I think the tomatoes we received this week are HEIRLOOM tomatoes! For lunch yesterday I made a Panzanella salad and I combined 3 different recipes I found off of epicurious and allrecipes. Panzanella salad is an Italian salad where instead of greens, there is crispy, seasoned pieces of Italian bread. I first had it when my principal made it for one of our lunch meetings and it was pret-ty amazing.

I walked over to Chelsea Market and laid down $4.75 for an organic rustic Italian loaf, but I think a regular ciabatta loaf or baguette would work just fine too. But, that bread was really yummy! This salad was a bit more work than a regular salad, since you grill (or in my case brown in a pan) the squash and bake the bread pieces, but it was so tasty, it was worth waiting until 4 PM to eat my lunch! I also quickly sauteed some chicken in the blackened squash pan and added it to the salad for some extra protein in my lunch.

2 medium summer squash, sliced into 1.5 inch strips
1/2 walla walla onion, sliced
3 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 sweet peppers, sliced
1 rustic Italian loaf or Ciabatta loaf, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Drizzle squash strips with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on each side. Set aside on paper-toweled plate.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl,  toss bread pieces with 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Lay bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. Cut grilled squash strips into 1 inch pieces. Toss onions, tomatoes and peppers together in bowl. Add the grilled squash pieces and the bread pieces.*

4. Mix the 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette.

*If you aren’t going to eat the entire salad right away, I would keep the grilled squash and bread pieces separate until just before serving, and also wait to dress the salad.

Sauteed shrimp and snowpeas were placed on a bed of endive and watercress.

My best friend Angela is visiting this week and today we stopped at Chelsea Market for groceries and then made a home-cooked family dinner. The following is reposted from her blog:

our last stop of the day was at chelsea market to pick up some fresh fish + veggies to cook dinner at home. peter and i picked out some tilefish and pollock (2 kinds of white fish we have never had before) for noah and cathy to cook for all of us. =) we put together a salad, and cathy also made some amazing roasted potatoes! we’ve been drinking a lot of lemon + mint water to keep cool. now it’s time to play scrabble!

our salad: lettuce + arugula + avocados + grapefruit + onions + mushrooms + grape tomatoes

I’ve been craving a cold Asian chicken noodle salad for about a week now, so finally today I caved. I think next time I will halve the peanut butter and brown sugar and add more ginger and perhaps sesame oil. Also used lime juice instead of chicken broth, which I think was a great substitution!

Yesterday after a day of trekking to Flushing, eating excellent food in Flushing and biking home, we made salmon burgers. We pretty much followed the recipe to a T, except we used real salmon instead. I’m not sure if the recipe called for it, but next time I would add some salt to the patties (we forgot). We bought some sesame & black sesame sandwich rolls from Amy’s bread and topped our burgers with pepperoncinis, raw onions, tomatoes, swiss & sauteed mushrooms. All were excellent, but we found there was too much going on. Next time, we’ll remember to keep it simple. But still a good burger. Oh, and then I made an arugula salad on the side with red onions, radish, & tomatoes; topped with home-made  lime vinaigrette. (lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper)

What a delightful meal! I’ve been getting bored of our usual baked or fried fish recipes, so I tried something new today, and was pleasantly surprised! I found a baked honey mustard salmon breaded with chopped pecans recipe and now have something new to add to our stock of meals. I used 2 tbsp of yellow mustard and 1 of dijon mustard. Also, I think you could substitute other nuts (almonds or walnuts) for the pecans.

I also made some roasted potatoes (mix the potatoes with olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and a little balsamic vinegar and bake at 450 for 30 mins, and finally broil for another 5). We also found that the potatoes are really good with a bit of green onion sprinkled on top. And, to finish off the rest of our vegetables, another Mad Hatter Salad. This time, I chopped the cabbage bigger, which made for prettier colors, but created a good salad of unproportional vegetable sizes. The carrots were too finely shredded, the cabbage chunks too big, and the sunflower seeds somehow got lost in the mix.