Category Archives: Salads

Giveaway: Pure Alaska Salmon Company (Cilantro-Lime Salmon Salad in Avocado Cups)

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Pure Alaska Salmon Company’s products for free in exchange for a review. This in no way influenced my review.

This giveaway has ended! Congratulations to commenter #85, Kathleen Conner!

Salmon is a favorite in our home. We don’t eat it as often as we should, because honestly, it’s not inexpensive. We live in the landlocked Dallas area, far, far away from the Pacific Northwest, where healthy, nourishing salmon is abundant. So while I know we’re supposed to get a healthy dose of those fatty acids found in oily fish such as salmon, we generally only end up eating it about once or twice a month.

We do try to eat some other canned oily fish as well, namely tuna (the no-salt-added, soy-free varieties), and I am a fan of kippers and sardines. They make good last-minute sources of protein and pack well in a lunch. But until now, I’ve shunned canned salmon. I didn’t like the smell or the texture (and I’m definitely NOT a picky eater). So when Shirley of Pure Alaska Salmon Company contacted me about her canned salmon, I was up front with her about my opinions. She called me her “challenge”. I was willing to try the salmon out – after all, it was supposed to be a high-quality, straight-forward product. Nowadays, I’m limiting my reviews of products to only those I feel positive about, those that fit into our diet and healthier way of eating. Since the ingredients in Pure Alaska Salmon Company’s products are only salmon and salt (in the salt-added varieties), this fit the bill nicely. I was game. Of course, I arranged to get some samples to give to you as well, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Pure Alaska Salmon Company is owned by the Zuanich family, who resides in Alaska and has been in the fishing industry for generations. Their company is committed to bringing consumers sustainably harvested, healthy, delicious wild salmon. Wild salmon is preferred to farmed salmon because of its superior nutritional content and sustainable, eco-friendly harvesting practices. Also – did you know they dye farmed salmon pink with artificial coloring? Only wild salmon is naturally pink because of their diet. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and calcium, as well as a great source of protein. Mercury levels are also very low in wild Alaskan salmon, so it’s a safer choice.

I was delighted to see that the samples sent to me included a dozen cans of various types of wild Alaskan salmon, both “red” (sockeye) and “pink”. I couldn’t wait to try them out. Even though my previous experiences with canned salmon were less than ideal, I love trying new things!

Needless to say, my opinions have changed. The first can I opened was the ThinkPink salmon, which is a pink Alaskan salmon that has a milder taste and can be substituted for canned tuna in just about any recipe. The texture is excellent – there are large chunks and fillets in the can (not like the mushy, near-shredded texture I associate with canned salmon). I was happy just to take bites of salmon straight from the can.

But then, after eyeing the avocados that needed to be eaten, an idea struck me. What if I used the avocados as a cup for a salad? Then you could enjoy a creamy bite with the salmon salad, without a ton of mayonnaise or other heavy dressing so often found in traditional seafood salads. And just like that, as I pulled the rest of the ingredients from the refrigerator, this salad was born.

It’s a great, super-speedy appetizer salad, perfect for a first course or a light lunch. I opted to eat it along with a bunch of mixed salad greens for dinner the other night, and it was lovely, fresh and bright.

Cilantro-Lime Salmon Salad in Avocado Cups (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

1 7.5 oz can of Pure Alaska Salmon Co. salmon (I used their ThinkPink Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon)

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 t olive oil

1/2 green apple, diced

1 T green onion, minced

1 T cilantro, chopped

1/2 t fresh serrano pepper, minced

1/8 t ground cumin

Pinch or two of smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 avocados, sliced in half, pits removed

In a medium bowl, gently toss the salmon, lime juice, olive oil, apple, green onion, cilantro, serrano, cumin and paprika until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again.

Scoop salmon salad into the “cup” made by the removal of the pit in each avocado half. Serve with additional smoked paprika sprinkled on top, if desired.

Makes 4 appetizer-sized servings.

photo courtesy of Pure Alaska Salmon Company

Oh, yes, the giveaway. Don’t think I forgot about you. Pure Alaska Salmon Company has agreed to give one of my lucky readers a sampler pack, which includes a dozen cans of their Redhead and ThinkPink canned salmon. What a great way to stock your pantry with some healthy, easy, delicious options. How do you enter? Here’s how:

  • You get one entry by leaving me a comment below telling me what you’d like to make with canned salmon.

You can get additional entries by doing the following:

  • “Like” Pure Alaska Salmon Company on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so,
  • “Follow” Pure Alaska Salmon Company on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so,
  • “Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did  so,
  • “Follow” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so,
  • Post an update on Facebook or Tweet about this giveaway, tagging Pure Alaska Salmon Company and Tasty Eats At Home.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM CDT on Sunday, March 25, 2012, so act quickly! No purchase necessary – just your comments, and bonus likes and follows!

Best of luck to you!

 

Spicy Raw Greens with Raisins

Yes, it’s me again, with yet another recipe for greens. I adore greens, as evidenced by these collard greens with smoked sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms, this raw kale and grapefruit salad, and another spicy kale combo, this kale salad with tomatoes and chiles. I also throw them in smoothies all the time (spinach, blueberries and mint is only one of many endless combinations that end up in my blender). What can I say? I have a bit of a “greens” addiction. I figure there are worse things.

This easy little dish is light, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. With the sweet note of raisins and the hit from the crushed red pepper, these are certainly not an afterthought on your dinner plate. I enjoyed them alongside a version of this rutabaga soup (I threw in half rutabaga, half turnip) for dinner last night. It was light, fresh, and delicious.

Spicy Raw Greens with Raisins (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

1 clove garlic, minced

3 T apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 T olive oil

3/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 t kosher salt or to taste

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper or to taste

1/4 c raisins

1 bunch turnip or mustard greens, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add raisins and greens and toss well with your hands or a spoon.  Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Serves 2-4.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Raw Kale Grapefruit Salad

About 2 weeks ago, a large box arrived at my doorstep. I love when these things happen (even if it’s just because I’ve placed an order for something as mundane as almond flour) because it’s like there’s a little present waiting for me to open it. This time, however, the box really was more gift-like in nature. What did the box hold?

Why, six beautiful, highly fragrant Texas Rio Star Grapefruit.

It’s no secret that I love grapefruit. You already saw that I made a grapefruit and avocado salad a few weeks ago for Amy’s baby shower. Most of the time, though, I simply eat grapefruit out of hand. When it’s in season, ruby red grapefruit like this Rio Star is unbelievably sweet and is a perfect way to enjoy some sunny, delicious vitamin C, fiber, and lycopene. As I was eating each one of these babies, day after day, I thought I really should try to incorporate one into another actual recipe, and not just keep snacking on them at my desk at work.

And so with a few minutes to spare while I was waiting for other components of dinner to finish cooking, I grabbed some kale from my “garden” and got to work making this quick salad.

Why the quotes around garden? Well, right now, it’s not much of a garden. I anticipate revamping things, but for right now, I have a bunch of empty whiskey barrels. Except for one. You see, last spring, I planted some Red Russian kale seeds. They sprouted and grew, but not very well, and after watering them for months and watching them remain small baby kale leaves, I decided to scrap the kale plans and I pulled the baby plants and made one little salad. (I’m not an expert gardener by any stretch, so much of my gardening is trial and error) I planted some cilantro and dill in its place.

As the summer wore on, the cilantro and dill couldn’t withstand our never-ending 110 degree days with no rain. So eventually, I realized there was no keeping these herbs alive, and I pretty much ignored this barrel, instead tending to the few surviving plants in the other barrels in my garden (I did have some tomatoes, butternut squash, and plenty of sage, basil, rosemary and lemon thyme).

When fall arrived and the heat finally subsided, something started sprouting in the long-forgotten barrel. Turns out, it was more kale. I watered it once in a while, but once my tomato plants were finished for the season, I gradually began ignoring the whole garden project, aside from grabbing some rosemary every now and then for a recipe. We were finally getting enough rain by that time that it apparently stayed alive without my interference. Meanwhile, the kale grew. And grew.

Now, with my continued lack of attention, my Red Russian kale has thrived. I can go outside anytime I’d like and cut enough kale for a meal, and there’s still plenty to be had. It seems happy in that barrel. I imagine it won’t appreciate the heat when late spring comes, but until then, I’m happy to have it.

The moral to this story? Ignore your garden, and sometimes, good stuff will come out of it! (Okay, not really. I think it’s just that I’ve learned that kale is a cooler weather crop and in Texas, that means I should grow it in winter.)

Anyway, back to the salad. This salad was a perfect, healthy, light accompaniment to our meal that evening. I simply massaged the kale leaves with the dressing, and topped it with the grapefruit and sunflower seeds. It couldn’t have been easier. Come to think of it, I have more grapefruit (and obviously more kale!), so perhaps I should make some more for this evening!

A big thanks to TexaSweet for sharing some grapefruit with me. I definitely made good use of it, that’s for sure.

Raw Kale Grapefruit Salad (Gluten-free, Vegan, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)

1 grapefruit, sectioned (catch the juice as you section it in a bowl)

1 T olive oil

1 t coconut aminos

kosher salt to taste

1 bunch kale, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

2 T raw sunflower seeds

Whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, coconut aminos, and salt together in a bowl. Add to kale leaves and massage with your hands until all of the leaves are well-coated with the dressing. Add the grapefruit sections and sunflower seeds and gently toss to coat in dressing.

Serves 2-4.

It’s A Surprise Baby Shower! Grapefruit Salad with Avocado and Jicama

Today is a wonderful occasion! We are celebrating a soon-to-be new arrival – a lovely little bundle of joy coming any day now to the Green household! Amy Green is the founder of the blog Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, and the author of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make In 20 Minutes Or Less, and co-founder of The Balanced Platter, a new healthy living website that just launched in 2012. And those are just the highlights – Amy also is a co-founder of Nourished – a food blogger conference, has held countless cooking classes, has been an amazing mentor to many fellow food bloggers, and has touched many lives for the better through her dedication to healthier gluten-free, refined sugar-free living. She’s obviously a very busy, accomplished individual.

But personally, Amy is so much more than just these things. She’s a dear friend of mine. She has a huge heart and gives so much to so many of us. When we heard Amy and her husband Joe were expecting a baby boy, we knew we needed to take this opportunity to give back just a bit of the love Amy has shown for us…

…by having a virtual, surprise BABY SHOWER!

Of course, those of us throwing this shower are spread all over across North America, so it’s not exactly easy to get together for a party. So why not have a virtual shower? The added bonus, of course, is that you all can share in the fun!

Check out all of the amazing baby shower food being served at our Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free Surprise Shower:

Hallie at Daily Bites

Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake

Lexie at Lexie’s Kitchen

Kelly at The Spunky Coconut

Carol at Simply Gluten-Free

Cara at Cara’s Cravings

Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs

Alisa at Alisa Cooks

Kim at Cook It Allergy Free

Silvana at Silvana’s Kitchen

Jen at Gluten-Free Life

Cybele at Cybele Pascal

Helen at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Wow, going through that list makes me hungry! Personally, I opted to share a refreshing grapefruit salad with avocado and jicama. Texas grapefruit is in season right now, and is such a sunny, welcome treat when spring produce still seems so far off. With creamy avocado, crunchy jicama, refreshing mint, and a slightly savory dressing, the grapefruit really sings. It’s perfect for a baby shower, or any winter brunch or lunch. I’m already aware of Amy’s love for grapefruit, so it only seemed fitting to serve a salad such as this at their baby shower.

Help me wish Amy and Joe congratulations as they welcome their new baby boy!

Grapefruit Salad with Avocado and Jicama

2 large pink grapefruits

1 navel orange

1 jicama, peeled and cut into strips

1 avocado, diced

1-2 handfuls arugula

2 T mint leaves

1 t Dijon mustard

2-3 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Peel and section the grapefruits and oranges over a bowl so you can catch the juice. Squeeze the membranes to get as much juice as possible. Discard peels and membrane. Carefully remove the slices from the juice and place into a separate bowl.

On a large plate, place the handfuls of arugula and spread out. Lay the slices of grapefruit, orange, and jicama on top of the arugula. Scatter diced avocado over the top of the salad. Garnish with mint leaves.

Place the grapefruit and orange juice in a small bowl with the Dijon mustard. Whisk together, and drizzle the olive oil in and whisk constantly until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad and serve immediately.

 

 

Warm Eggplant and Summer Squash Salad

I love eggplant. This is a relatively new occurrence for me. I never hated it before, I just didn’t really “get” it. I love that they are these gorgeous purple orbs (okay, yes, eggplant comes in more colors than just purple, but my eye really focuses on the purple ones!). They beckon at the farmers market or in the grocery, saying “buy me! bring me home!”. But I would bring a large eggplant home, and over and over, I would end up with a flavorless, spongy, less-than-appetizing vegetable. Oh, sure, I’d try to grill it or saute it, but it never lived up to my expectations. I was nearly ready to give up on eggplant.

Then I discovered baba ganoush. Apparently, roasting eggplant turns it from spongy and flavorless to creamy, velvety, and delicious. I could seriously sit down to a bowl of baba ganoush and polish it off all by myself. It’s that good.

That baba ganoush launched an entirely new relationship with eggplant. I think my chief mistake prior to that point in time was that I was undercooking it. Since I learned how to make baba ganoush, I also have fallen in love with eggplant in dishes like moussaka and ratatouille. I’ve even since returned to the grill with eggplant, making this too-hot-to-turn-on-the-oven grilled ratatouille.

Now that it’s starting to get cooler and summer is coming to an end, I thought a warm salad would be a perfect way to enjoy the end of eggplant season. Since we are also nearing the end of the (over)abundance of summer squash, I thought it would be perfect to include it in the mix as well. Paired with some mint from my garden and a lovely tomato jam, this dish was a great way to say “farewell” to summer.

What, you don’t have tomato jam? Well, I’m sorry to say, I won’t share any of mine. It’s too delicious, and I’m going to be stingy. Stephanie over at Recipe Renovator was giving away some tomato jam a while back, as part of a huge blog event (hosted by Bloggers Without Borders) to raise money for Jennie, who unexpectedly lost her husband, and I bid on it. Well, I won, and not long after, a jar of delicious jam arrived at my doorstep. After I’d opened it and eaten a few spoonfuls, (it was good enough to eat by itself) I thought I ought to incorporate it into a meal. The jam really made this salad into something special. Stephanie does share her recipe here, so if you don’t have tomato jam, you can make your own! I haven’t tried it, but I bet that you could skip the canning part if you wish and simply freeze some of it. That is, if you don’t eat it all before then.

Warm Eggplant and Summer Squash Salad

1 large or 2 small purple eggplants, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

2 yellow summer squash, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1-2 T coconut oil, warmed enough for easy brushing

kosher salt

2-3 T tomato jam

1 T chopped fresh mint, plus a few additional mint leaves for garnish

ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler and line two baking sheets with foil. Spread out the eggplant and squash slices in a single layer on the foil. Brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt; flip and oil and salt the other sides. Place the baking sheets, one at a time, under the broiler for a minute or two, or until the vegetables are browned. Flip the vegetables and brown the other sides. (Be sure to stick around – walking away when something is under the broiler ensures that you burn it!) Remove the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Add tomato jam and mint to the bowl and gently toss to coat the vegetables. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt, if needed. Serve warm or near room temperature.

Serves 2-4.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Jicama Slaw

There are days, and sometimes weeks, when innovation in the kitchen eludes me. I try to prepare a meal plan every week (When they’re more organized, you see them posted here on the blog. This week was not one of those “more organized” weeks. There’s still a plan, but it’s rather basic.), but sometimes, I can’t think much beyond the same staples that reappear week after week – salad with grilled chicken, or meat+sweet potato+veggie. While I love the simplicity of those meals (I can do those on auto-pilot, which is wonderful after a long day at work), I don’t experience that joy in the kitchen that comes from freeing myself from the norm and really getting creative with ingredients. So last week, when I was working on the menu once again, I paused.

Must come up with something different.

Then I glanced at the grocery store ads, and saw that shrimp was on sale. Love shrimp. It’s fast, lean, and so tasty – perfect for a weeknight meal. But what to do with it?

We love lettuce wraps here in the Tasty Eats At Home household. Often I make a gluten-free version of these lettuce wraps (using gluten-free soy sauce and simply omitting the oyster sauce), and I use not only ground pork, but sometimes I’ll use ground turkey, chicken, beef, or even game meats, like ground antelope, to change things up a bit. But last week, I thought I should look at our lettuce wraps with fresh eyes. With shrimp, they would be something new. I also thought a summer-y, almost tropical flair would be a perfect change of pace. Hence, these wraps were born.

These wraps are light and bright, topped with a fresh slaw of jicama, carrots, and cabbage, but the hint of chipotle is enough to give the flavors balance, interest, and substance. Both my husband and I truly loved the coconut flakes, though. They really added that unique tropical flavor without being overwhelming. (It doesn’t hurt that we both love coconut – I’m a coconut fiend!) Surprisingly, with the slaw, shrimp, and lettuce stored in separate containers, these wraps were even pretty tasty for lunch the following day. These are definitely a new item to include in the regular menu rotation!

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Jicama Slaw

 1 T coconut oil

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

 2 T chopped green onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 t chipotle chile powder

salt and pepper to taste

Romaine lettuce leaves, separated

2 T toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

Jicama slaw (recipe below)

 Heat oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, toss shrimp with green onion, garlic, chipotle chile powder, salt, and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, add shrimp to pan and spread out in a single layer. Allow to brown for a minute or two, then stir to flip shrimp to the other side to finish browning, 3-4 minutes more, depending on the size of your shrimp. Shrimp will be cooked through when it turns pink. This happens fairly quickly, so don’t go too far! Remove from heat.

Fill lettuce leaves with shrimp, then top with a bit of coconut and jicama slaw. (This is also fun when you serve each component separately at the table, and allow your diners to build their own lettuce wraps.) Serves 3-4.

 

Jicama Slaw

2 c very thinly sliced red cabbage

1 1/2 c shredded jicama (I just used the shredder on my food processor)

3 carrots, peeled and shredded (I just used the shredder on my food processor)

2 T chopped green onion

2 T chopped fresh parsley (cilantro would also be good here)

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 orange

1 t chipotle chile powder

1 t honey

salt to taste

Add cabbage, jicama, carrots, green onion, and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime and orange juices, chipotle chile powder, honey, and a bit of salt. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss until everything is well-coated. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Can be made an hour or two in advance – chill until ready.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Easy Sardine Salad – The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen (Giveaway!)

A while back, Skyhorse Publishing contacted me about a book to review. The publicist told me that a great majority of the recipes in the book were naturally gluten-free, but were also approachable to any guest at the dinner table. Her recommendation and the title of the book drew me in. The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen – Glorious Meals Pure and Simple, by Levana Kirschenbaum. The majority of my cooking is 100% whole foods, so this sounded like a perfect addition to my cookbook collection (which currently has outgrown all available bookshelf space, and is now occupying some pantry shelf space, as well as space above my kitchen cabinets, and there are more without a home right now. I may have a problem…). I readily agreed to review the book, and asked for some additional copies to share with you all in a giveaway. Of course, they agreed!  

This book was just as was described to me. There are countless delicious, mouth-watering, healthy recipes made from real, whole food ingredients in this book. Homemade harissa? Curried apple kale soup? Moroccan turkey patties in lemon sauce? Just hearing those recipes makes me hungry. I currently have about a dozen recipes bookmarked in this book to make. But late one evening, when I was on my own for dinner, I decided to whip up a super-easy recipe for sardine salad.

Sardines, you ask? Aren’t those the gross little canned whole fishes? Okay, before you click away, hear me out. To many, sardines are a bit off-putting. I understand that. But they sure pack a nutritional punch. For people like me who can’t consume dairy, there aren’t many calcium-rich foods out there. But sardines are an exception. They pack nearly half of the daily requirement of calcium, thanks to those tiny edible bones. They’re also a great source of protein and omega-3s. For the price (a can of sardines costs about a dollar), they are one of those “must-have” budget foods in your pantry. If you’re skeptical about the taste, this salad is a great way to start. The tahini, lemon, and greens cut the “pungent” flavor of the fish, and when you’re mixing the ingredients together, you won’t see the skin and bones of the sardines. If you try it, you just might find these little fishes to be to your liking. While I’ve long adored sardines (particularly in another salad recipe I found over at City|Life|Eats), this recipe further established my love for them. It definitely was the perfect light meal.

Sardine Salad, from The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, reprinted with permission

2 cans sardines, skin and bones on, oil and all

1/4 c tahini (sesame paste)

4 scallions, sliced very thin

Juice of 2 lemons, or a little more to taste

Ground pepper to taste

Splash of bottled hot sauce

4 cups very finely chopped romaine, watercress, or sprouts, or a combination (I used spinach)

Mash the sardines with their oil and the tahini with a fork in a bowl. Add the scallions, lemon juice, pepper, and hot sauce and combine thoroughly. Fold in the greens and mix. Makes 8 servings. (of course, I ate more than 1 serving as a main meal…)

And now, the giveaway. I am giving away two copies of The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen by Levana Kirschenbaum, courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing. To enter, leave me a comment.

To gain additional entries, post about this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook, and come back and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

The giveaway will end Sunday, July 31, 2011.

Good luck!

Quinoa Tabbouleh and a Giveaway – Gluten-Free Made Simple

It seemed for a while there all I was blogging about was this gluten-free book and that gluten-free book, (and this one as well!) and giving away copies of them all. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped. Well, my dear readers, it’s time for another book review and giveaway! That’s right, St. Martin’s Press has graciously allowed me to review a copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom, as well as share a copy with one of my lucky readers!

When I received my copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple, my first impression was that it was a lovely, colorful book. There are photos for every recipe – something I know is a deal-maker for a lot of people. (When chatting with my sister-in-law a while back, she mentioned that is a key thing that sells her on cookbooks – she wants to see what it looks like, and that photo will help entice her to make the recipes!) This book definitely delivers beautiful photos. But what I noticed, as a gluten-free cook and baker, was how simple the recipes truly were. The ingredient lists were short, and most recipes could be made in a few quick steps. This book was written to not only appeal to me, but chiefly to appeal to a large audience of varying levels of kitchen expertise and time. Gluten-free cooking seems overwhelming to a lot of people (hence why Shirley has dedicated an entire blog to living gluten-free easily), especially those who have limited or no cooking skills. The transition from drive-thru to being comfortable with home-cooked meals is a difficult one for many. This book does an excellent job of assisting those new to gluten-free or looking for new gluten-free recipes make that transition.

There are many delicious recipes in this book I’m dying to try – from an easy meatloaf recipe, to cinnamon rolls (that you don’t have to roll out!), pineapple muffins, and strawberry pie. But as the temperatures have been creeping up around here lately, I opted for a simple, cool salad – the quinoa tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is traditionally a Lebanese bulgur salad with parsley, mint, tomato, cucumber, and spring onions, tossed in a simple lemon juice and oil dressing. However, bulgur is off-limits on a gluten-free diet. Quinoa makes a fine substitute (a superior one, in my opinion). It’s easy to make, and is something you can prepare ahead of time, making it a great side dish for company. It’s the perfect summer side dish (or even main dish!). I opted to use chives instead of the green onions in this recipe, vegetable broth instead of chicken, and I used some golden cherry tomatoes I picked up from Good Earth Organic Farm last weekend. This is one of those definite “go-to” recipes for this time of year.

Quinoa Tabbouleh, reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Made Simple

1/2 c quinoa

1 c gluten-free chicken broth such as Better Than Bouillon (I used vegetable broth)

3/4 c chopped fresh cucumber

1/2 c snipped fresh parsley

1/4 c thinly sliced green onions (I used chives)

1 T snipped fresh mint

1 recipe Tabbouleh Dressing (see below)

3/4 c chopped tomato

4 lettuce leaves (I didn’t use these)

Place quinoa in a colander and rinse with warm water for 2 minutes. (Note: quinoa must be rinsed very well to remove the bitterness on the grain.) (My note – Ancient Harvest quinoa is pre-rinsed.) In a saucepan, combine quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let cook until quinoa splits and absorbs most of the chicken broth, about 15 minutes. (The recipe doesn’t specify, but I covered my pan with a lid.) Drain and cool. (I needed no draining)

In a large bowl combine quinoa, cucumber, parsley, green onions and mint. Drizzle with Tabbouleh Dressing and toss to coat. (I didn’t use all of the dressing.) Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Stir tomato into quinoa mixture just before serving. Serve on lettuce leaves. Serves 4.

Tabbouleh Dressing

In a screw-top jar combine 3 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well.

Now, for the giveaway part!

I will be giving away 1 copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom. The giveaway will end at midnight, Saturday, June 25, 2011. I will chose a winner via random.org.

To enter:

- Leave me a comment telling me what dish you wish you could make gluten-free without a lot of fuss.

That’s it! Best of luck! And even if you don’t win, I encourage you to check out Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom on Amazon.com. It’s a great “go-to” book when you’re looking for easy gluten-free recipes.

Daring Cooks: Dill and Caper Red Potato Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

Of course, I’ve made potato salad before. My mom has a straightforward recipe that I love (and have blogged about before - scroll down towards the bottom to view the recipe). But for this challenge, I wanted to make a bit of a different potato salad. Immediately, capers came to mind. Their briny, piquant flavor would compliment the creamy potatoes well. Of course, I’d still want to add some creamy texture, so a nice high-end mayonnaise would be needed. In the interest of keeping the salad lower in calories, though, I tried to keep the amount modest. Some fresh dill, dijon mustard, and smoked paprika helped round out what became a full-flavored, potato salad – a perfect accompaniment to any backyard barbecue.

Dill and Caper Red Potato Salad

1 lb small red potatoes

Salt

1 T lemon juice

3 T diced red onion

3 T olive oil mayonnaise (such as Spectrum)

1 t dijon mustard

1 t honey

1 T capers

1 t fresh dill, chopped

1/4 t smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan with a generous amount of salt and enough water to cover. Boil for 15 minutes or until pierced easily with a fork. Drain and allow to cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and red onion. Stir to coat, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, and honey. Add capers, dill, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add in the potatoes and eggs and toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Serve chilled. Makes 4 servings.

Cucumber Herb Salad

Salads are an area where I tend to have a “kitchen sink” mentality. The more vegetables, the better – I tend to throw in anything and everything that looks fresh and tastes good. More than one type of greens? Check. Radishes? Check. Tomatoes? Check. Cucumbers? Why not? Sometimes, even squash, olives, pumpkin seeds, picked peppers, and pickled okra all show up in the salad. And with some source of protein, such as grilled chicken, steak, or beans, these are good salads for meals (I’m enjoying such a version today for lunch, in fact), but they’re not really composed. There’s something to be said for a lovely salad that is restrained and highlights just a few fresh ingredients.

That’s precisely what this salad does. It’s not fancy, and it takes practically no time. Just some fresh cucumber, chopped fresh herbs, a bit of vinegar and salt, and what arises is a refreshing, light accompaniment to a meal. I loved how bright it was (we enjoyed this alongside a creamy pasta dish with sausage, which was heavy), and it didn’t hurt that it was a very low-calorie way to add some interest. I definitely need to remind myself how enjoyable a salad like this can be, especially as the temperatures start rising in the next few months!

Cucumber Herb Salad

5-6 Kirby cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 T chopped fresh mint leaves

1 t chopped fresh tarragon

1 T rice wine vinegar

Pinch or two of salt

Toss the cucumber slices with the herbs, vinegar, and salt. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.