Better Caprese Salad

Caprese salad is usually just a layered little dilly-ma-bob with mozzarella, tomato, basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic, and maybe some fresh-ground pepper and sea salt if you’re lucky.  While it’s okay, the format doesn’t allow for the flavors to properly mingle and marinate.  Thus, making it like you’ll learn in this post is unquestionably superior…

Ingredients:

  • Diced water-packed mozzarella
  • Roughly-chopped basil
  • Several ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 2T extra virgin olive oil
  • Lots of fresh-ground black pepper
  • Plenty of salt
  • 1-2T of balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients and let sit for several minutes to half hour to let the salt and vinegar start to draw the liquid out of the tomatoes.

Optional ingredients – Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, diced salami, greens – particularly arrugula

And, if I failed to entertain you in the video and description above, you may prefer to try Coolio’s recipe.  He’s seems pretty excited about it (and he keeps his money spice between breasts, which I should try sometime to see if it enhances the flavor).  I wouldn’t let your kids watch this one.  Yeah, I know he’s just making a salad, but…  I clearly need to get a couple of “Sauce Girls” in my videos (Jenny?  Deb?).  Someday when I moves on up yo.  BTW, this is actually one of the funniest videos on the entire internet if you “axe” me.  Shaka Zulu!

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Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm  Comments (5)  
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Homemade Ranch Dressing for Salad, Salmon, and More

Nothing beats this little homemade dressing.  There is no better salad dressing, dip, or base to mix in with canned salmon, chicken, or even potato salads.  In the following video, I show how to prepare the dressing and also how it can be used to make a quick batch of salmon salad and a side salad as well.  This is a must-item to make a large batch of and keep on hand.  It tastes amazing, is highly versatile, and keeps well for weeks and beyond. 

Homemade Ranch Ingredients:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups sour cream/creme fraiche
  • 1-2T chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions/green onions
  • Lots of black pepper
  • Money Spice to taste

Feel free to embellish with other herbs such as chives, dill, fresh garlic, etc. 

Salmon Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 can pink salmon
  • Big blob of homemade ranch dressing
  • 1 stalk finely-diced celery

This is great with leftover chopped chicken, boiled and diced potatoes, tuna, and so on instead of the salmon.

Easy Tossed Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Romaine heart – chopped
  • Big blob of homemade ranch dressing

Toss and add whatever ingredients you like, from warm, chopped bacon to big hunks of cheese to hard-boiled eggs.

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad

Over at the 180 Blog, it’s timely that someone just commented on the goitrogenic properties of raw crucifers – cabbage in particular.  And here we go, with some raw cabbage!  I do discuss the fallacy that the goitrogenic property of cabbage is a big deal in the video for this easy-to-make and tasty side salad. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot shredded (julienned red bell pepper is even betta)
  • 1/2 serrano pepper – thinly sliced
  • Hanful of roughly-chopped cilantro
  • Splash of fish sauce or soy sauce (plain old salt is okay too)
  • 1-2 T rice wine vinegar, lime juice, or a combination of the two
Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 9:08 am  Comments (2)  
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Real Potato Salad

No personal vendettas against potato salad, but the stuff, all things considered, is pasty goo that I have never been fond of. 

What I am fond of, are very hearty salads with hot and delicious stuff added to them.  Some of the best salads I’ve ever made or have been served contained hot ingredients – from spinach salads with hot currants, duck confit, and andouille sausage to salads filled with fried gnocchi and mushrooms.  The hot-cold combination is amazing, and for some reason, as spring is springing, Aurora and I have been eating this salad like it’s going out of style. 

In a sense, it is going out of style.  Aurora’s jaw surgery is less than 2 weeks away – wired shut for 12 weeks.  I’ll be joining her by doing an old-school “milk diet” for the first month or so.  No salads for us.   

Anyway, we’ve made this salad a half dozen ways over the past month.  In the video, I keep saying that hard-boiled eggs will be added, but in the end Aurora got the eggs and I opted to have my salad without them.  They are part of the “official” salad.  We’ve also made the salad with grilled beef (amazing), beef carpaccio (excellent), and so on.  But no matter how you choose to get down with this full-throttle “dinner salad,” the fried potatoes are a must. 

When done correctly, there is no better salad on earth, or in the words of Mr. Miyagi:

“When do right, no can defense.” 

Here is the REAL potato salad…

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 diced Yukon Gold potatoes fried in coconut oil, beef tallow, lard, or a combination
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, still warm
  • 3 ounces of your favorite cheese grated or crumbled
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • 2 chopped Romaine “hearts” 
  • A little arugula or field greens
  • Fresh-picked herbs (optional) 

Prepare as shown in the video, adding your hot ingredients at the very end so the lettuce stays fairly crisp. 

Simplify by making it with just potatoes and cheese and/or a little shopped salami.  Olives would make a nice addition I would imagine.  I also think it’s easier to bake the bacon in the oven on a large sheet pan (with sides), 1-2 packs at a time so you can make this salad several times but only cook the bacon once.