Spinach and Endives Salad with Blue Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Spinach and Endives Salad with Blue Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I keep asking myself, on a daily basis, if I will ever be able to complete this “one year, 300 salads” challenge.

I believe that the key to doing it is by keeping it simple, and by preparing bigger quantities than I actually need for one day’s salad, so I can use them in the next day’s salad. When I say preparing, I am referring to picking and washing greens, slicing veggies and fruits, boiling pasta or asparagus, roasting vegetables, etc…

Like for example, when I prepared the Caramelized Tomatoes and Pomegranate Salad, I did use some leftover caramelized tomatoes and the dressing from my previous salad, Caramelized Cherry Tomato and Broccoli Salad .

For today’s salad, I wanted to prepare a light yet filling salad, as I am having it next to a small main portion.

I lately had a delicious salad in a bar, and I wanted to recreate it, but in a lighter version, as the blue cheese was too strong in it. Its main ingredients were baby spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, blue cheese and caramelized walnuts, and it was decorated with a couple of endives leaves (chicory).

Here’s my version:

Spinach and Endives Salad with Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes picture

I removed the crumbled blue cheese and only used a blue cheese dressing (home-made, of course). I also added sliced endives to the spinach, substituted regular walnuts for caramelized walnuts and added some apple slices for a hint of sweetness, to balance the bitterness of the endives.

I do confess that I missed the caramelized nuts, but it was still very good. Here’s the recipe

 

Spinach and Endives Salad with Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes image

Spinach and Endives Salad with Blue Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups baby spinach
  • 4 Belgian endives leaves, sliced
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes cut into thin slices
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 small granny smith apple, cut into thin slices

To prepare the dressing:

  • 25 g blue cheese
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

 

Method:

  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. To prepare the dressing: crumble the blue cheese with a fork. Add the lemon juice and mix until well until crumbs disappear, then add the olive oil and mix again. Season the salad with salt and white pepper to taste. If you think the dressing is too thick, you can thin it with some water. Pour dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
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Caramelized Tomatoes and Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Caramelized Tomatoes and Pomegranate Salad Recipe

The third salad for my newest challenge looks a bit modest compared to what I usually prepare. But I believe that if I need to continue with it, I should be doing all sorts of salads, including very simple ones for when serving them as sides.

I still had some caramelized cherry tomatoes from my Caramelized Cherry Tomato and Broccoli Salad, and I wanted to use them.

I started with a bed of spinach leaves, threw some of the tomatoes on them, and finally added pomegranate seeds and walnuts. You don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to prepare a delicious salad. Most of the times, they can be a mixture of what you already have in your fridge or pantry.

Toasting nuts before using them is optional, but it usually improves their texture, making them crispier, and increase the intensity of their flavor. I always toast my nuts for salads and before baking.

If you want a more filling salad, you can add some cheese (fresh mozzarella, goat cheese or blue cheese), or even some grilled chicken breasts.

Enjoy, and let me know if you prepare it!

Caramelized Tomatoes and Pomegranate Salad image

Caramelized Tomatoes and Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 12- 15 caramelized cherry tomatoes (Recipe here)
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds

To prepare the dressing:

  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

  1. Toast the walnuts for 10 minutes in a 180C preheated oven. Leave aside to cool.
  2. Arrange the spinach leaves on your serving dish and top with the tomatoes, pomegranate and walnuts.
  3. To prepare the honey balsamic dressing: mix honey mustard with balsamic vinegar and add olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and black pepper. You can also use Dijon mustard and honey instead of honey mustard. Adjust to taste.
Caramelized Cherry Tomato and Broccoli Salad Recipe

Caramelized Cherry Tomato and Broccoli Salad Recipe

A few days ago, I had hosted a fondue night, and I had some leftover boiled broccoli that I had prepared to dip in the cheese.

I also had a lot of cherry tomatoes that were a bit over ripe, so I needed to find a way to use them. The easiest solution was to roast them.

roasted tomatoes picture

And what works best with this combination? It’s cheese of course. I opted for fresh mozzarella as it was close to its expiry date. My second salad for this “1 year 360 salads” challenge was ready.

It is a lot similar to the Broccoli goat cheese salad recipe that I had shared more than 2 years ago, but caramelizing the tomatoes definitely takes the salad to a whole new level. In addition, the sweetness of the honey mustard is an interesting addition to it.

If you plan on preparing this salad, you probably won’t need more than a handful of cherry tomatoes, but it’s a good idea to prepare more than you actually need and add them to your pastas, on top of your pizzas or in your sandwiches. Try them with Philly cheese sandwiches, with some arugula or baby spinach leaves. Yum!

 

broccoli cherry tomato salad picture

Caramelized Cherry Tomato and Broccoli Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

To roast the tomatoes:

  • 1 cherry tomato punnet
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ – 1 tsp Italian herbs
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the salad:

  • 1 ½ cups fresh broccoli florets
  • Around 20 roasted cherry tomatoes
  • 50-100 g fresh mozzarella

To prepare the dressing:

  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

  1. To roast the tomatoes: put cherry tomatoes in an oven pan. If they’re too big, cut them in half, lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle Italian herbs, powdered garlic, salt, brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper on top. Bake at 160 C for an hour, until cherry tomatoes are caramelized. Leave aside to cool.
  2. To prepare the salad: boil broccoli florets for 3-4 minutes. They should stay firm. Drain and arrange in a serving dish. Top with oven-roasted tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella slices (the one we bought was very runny, so it looked more like crumbs than slices).
  3. To prepare the honey balsamic dressing: mix honey mustard with balsamic vinegar and add olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and black pepper. You can also use Dijon mustard and honey instead of honey mustard. Adjust to taste.
Smoked Herring and Potato Salad Recipe

Smoked Herring and Potato Salad Recipe

Happy New Year!

A few years back, I started this blog with big plans.

Today, it makes me feel a little guilty; guilty of not updating it with the many recipes that I am preparing – and I’ve been cooking a lot lately, but most importantly, guilty of never achieving anything I start.

And then a sneak peak at the stats makes me realize that a lot of people are still visiting it. For this, I decided to try once again.

 

One year, 300 salads

I am kicking off 2018 with a new challenge: this year, I am going to prepare a minimum of 300 salads.

The main objective is to start living healthier of course, and I remember my last #30days30salads challenge was fun, so I said why not. I am giving myself a buffer, as I am not cooking every day, and I don’t want to put much stress on myself, especially that I am learning Spanish twice a week and planning to start gym, in addition to my long working hours.

The first day of the challenge was December 30th. I had bought some smoked herring (clearance sale) and I had no idea how to use them. After a small research, I decided to go for this recipe from Marmiton. I just adapted it to the ingredients I had at home.

Note that for the dressings, measurements are not very precise, as I kind of stopped following the rules lately. No more ingredients measuring in cooking (not baking and desserts though) for me – I just follow my heart, and some logic too, of course.

For the salads dressings, I just mix the ingredients until I get a consistency that I like, and then, I taste it and adjust.

Enjoy this recipe; I’ll be posting the next one soon!

 

potato and smoked herring salad picture

Smoked Herring and Potato Salad Recipe

Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into medium cubes
  • 100 g smoked herrings cut into thin strips lengthwise
  • A few cornichons, sliced
  • A handful of black olives
  • 2 cups mixed greens (I used iceberg, lollo rosso)
  • 1 small onion cut into circles
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Cooking cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

  1. To prepare the dressing, whisk mustard and white wine together. Add vinegar, cooking cream and olive oil, whisking together after each addition. Season the dressing with salt and black pepper. Adjust to taste.
  2. Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle with some salt and black pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

30 things to do in the kitchen before I turn 30

I turn 30 next October, so I thought it would be fun if I challenge myself into 30 things to do before my birthday.

 

I’ll work on 2 separate lists, because I need a cooking to-do-list to make my regular non-cooking list even more challenging (this one will obviously have items such as losing weight, reducing my cholesterol & triglycerides levels, etc).

 

Today, I am sharing my food list.

 

Eggs Benedict Picture

Eggs Benedict just like these (Le Pain Quotidien – Dubai)

 

  1. Prepare a Hollandaise sauce

On top of some eggs Benedict, bacon (or salmon) and a muffin. Because why not?

 

  1. Prepare Puff pastry at home

The cheat one (keeping the challenge realistic!).

 

  1. Pickle something

Maybe some Lebanese cucumbers. Or almonds. I love pickled almonds. Have you ever tried them?

 

  1. Prepare Jam

Strawberries for sure, once they are a bit cheaper.

 

  1. Prepare Chicken Madghout

Chicken Madghout is a Khaliji dish, very similar to Kabsa, but prepared in a pressure cooker.

 

  1. Prepare pancakes

Never made these at home (I prepared them at work though)… I always intend to prepare pancakes but change my mind at the last minute and opt for thinner crepes.

 

  1. Cook Boeuf Bourguignon

Following Julia Child’s recipe. Of course!

 

  1. Cook Pork Cassoulet

I already cooked Wild Duck Cassoulet once, but I so want to try the pork version, especially that I have a cast iron pot now.

 

  1. Cook Roast beef

It’s already in my freezer…

 

  1. Prepare a Thai curry

I fell in love with Thai cuisine during my last trips to Dubai, so I brought back with me all the spices I need to cook some delicious curries from scratch at home.

 

  1. Cook a Gigot D’Agneau Pleureur

Seriously. How beautiful is this recipe?

 

  1. Prepare a Blood orange cake

I should be doing this very soon, now that it’s the season.

 

  1. Try Oysters

I never did. I confess I always told everyone that I am not a big fan, to avoid trying them.

 

  1. Use Lavender in a recipe

Maybe in a milk pudding? Any other suggestions?

 

  1. Prepare 20 recipes using Moulinex Companion

I got it as a wedding gift and I used it today for the first time to prepare a Poulet Basquaise. Very practical for busy moms. And guess what? It’s dishwasher safe! I’ll be telling you all about it in upcoming posts.

 

  1. Prepare Kibbeh b Laban from scratch

I have to use all the kibbeh (that I did not prepare) that’s in my freezer first…

 

  1. Try a wine & chocolate cake recipe

I love wine and I love chocolate, so let’s combine them in one cake and see what we get!

 

  1. Cook One pot pasta

I really need to know how these taste. And why would anyone do this to pasta…

 

  1. Prepare a Lemon Meringue tart

For my pride.
 

  1. Prepare a Kodrat Kader cake

And succeed in taking it out of the mold. For more pride.

 

  1. Host a pizza night at home

One night. A vegetarian. A pepperoni. A four cheese. A Margherita. A Quattro Staggione. Heaven!

 

  1. Try rabbit

I’ve heard it’s pretty good…

 

  1. Reduce food waste

I’ve been throwing a lot of food lately. I think I can reduce it a lot by planning my meals more carefully, and more importantly, by buying less.

 

  1. Cook a Stuffed Turkey Breast

Stuffed the American way. Or even “à l’Orientale”.

 

  1. Bake a Brioche

With chocolate chips inside…

 

  1. Try Zucchini Flowers

Never knew these were edible until very recently!

 

  1. Bake cinnamon rolls

With extra cinnamon. And drizzle them with cream cheese frosting of course!

 

  1. Go for a new #30Days30Salads Challenge

Because I should get back to clean eating… and because we’re not eating much vegetables. I think spring is the best season for such a challenge.

 

  1. Watch all the food movies I downloaded

The list includes Babette’s Feast, La Grande Bouffe, The Lunchbox…

 

  1. Cook & Eat healthier

This might not mean a lot after all the above, but seriously, I should try. Reduce the amounts of oil and cream. Avoid butter and Ghee (and that clarified butter that’s in my fridge!). Maybe cook healthy for the whole week and have a cheat day. Avoid ready-made sauces. And fast food of course!

 
So, anything you think I should add to my list?