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Autumn Kale Salad with Apples and Candied Pecans

kale salad thanksgiving

If your Thanksgiving menu is anything like mine, it’s filled with the traditional fare: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls, casseroles, pies, and more. All of these dishes are iconic, and I wouldn’t leave any of them out for anything. But honestly, it’s all so heavy. So when I’m brainstorming for vegetable or additional side dish ideas, I want something a little lighter to balance it all out. Something fresh. Something green.

Now I know kale has been the latest darling in the “healthy eating” industry. I’ve posted recipes with kale before. I love it, personally, and eat it because it tastes good to me. But lately kale is everyone’s favorite “detox” vegetable. I’m not a believer in detoxing – I have juiced and such in the past, and I enjoy the flavor. I sometimes even feel the green juices give me a boost of energy. I will admit, in the past I did have a touch of obsession with ensuring I got what was in reality a crazy amount of greens into my body on a daily basis, thinking I was healthier for doing so. (I wasn’t healthier…) I’ve since backed off and have listened to my body and just focus on whatever vegetables are fresh and sound good to me at the time. (And sometimes, that’s kale!) But I’ve never believed that squeezing juice out of fruits or vegetables somehow “detox” your body – that’s what your liver does, all on its own. It doesn’t mean that the vegetables, including kale, don’t have great vitamins and such – they do. They’re just not magical.

Anyway. I digress.

Thanksgiving. And this salad. It’s fresh. It’s easy. It can be made in advance. unlike lettuce-based salads, and can still hold its crunch. In fact, I find it’s tastier made a bit in advance of eating. It allows the lemon juice to really meld and mingle. With the sweetness of the apples and cranberries, and the candied pecans, it’s a lovely autumn salad. Most of all, it’s a great, refreshing addition to your Thanksgiving menu.

Print Recipe

Autumn Kale Salad with Apples and Candied Pecans (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

1 bunch kale, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

1 T olive oil

A couple pinches of kosher salt

1 carrot, julienned

2 stalks celery, sliced

1/4 c dried cranberries

1 crisp apple (such as Honeycrisp), cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/4 c flat-leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped

1-2 T lemon juice

Candied Pecans (recipe follows)

Drizzle the olive oil over the kale, and sprinkle with salt. Massage the oil evenly over all of the kale leaves. Add the carrot, celery, cranberries, apple, and parsley, and drizzle with a bit of lemon juice. Toss well and taste. Adjust salt and lemon juice as desired. Top with candied pecans and serve.

Serves 4-6.

Candied Pecans (gluten-free, vegan)

1 t coconut oil

1/2 c raw, shelled pecans

3 T brown rice syrup

A couple pinches of kosher salt

Dash of cinnamon

In a small skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the pecans, brown rice syrup, salt and cinnamon. Stir to coat completely. Keep stirring over heat until sugar bubbles and clings to pecans, pulling away from the pan and becoming “drier”. Once everything really seems to stick together in a “glob”, remove from heat and turn out to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading out the pecans as much as you can with the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely and break into small pieces.

Quinoa Tabbouleh, Texas Style

In keeping with my “Hey ya’ll, it’s SUMMER” theme around here as of late, I bring you a fresh, bright, delicious salad, full of quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, and basil, and a lovely slight heat of fresh jalapeno.

But before we get to that, I have something to confess.

Here it was, Sunday evening. Sunday dinner often revolves around roasting or preparing a whole chicken (usually spatchcocked – it’s easy and delicious that way.). We receive a monthly package from our local rancher, Rehoboth Ranch, which consists of whole chickens, ground beef, a roast, and breakfast sausage, so in an effort to utilize this delicious sum of meats, I try to implement this routine. It works well – we eat the chicken one night, and I use the rest of the meat to top a salad later in the week. (I also save the bones for stock, which, by the way, I am so behind in making…)

Well, this past Sunday, I opted instead to grill the chicken, as it was warm and I didn’t want to turn on the oven to roast it. I made a yummy rub of chipotle chiles, jalapeno, coconut oil and lime and rubbed it all over the chicken and under the skin. This is gonna be tasty, I thought to myself. I heated up the grill, placed the chicken over indirect heat (well, semi-indirect – I had the chicken over low heat, and the other burners on high), and went inside.

And proceeded to distract myself by making some ice cream, and forgot about the chicken. Was it for 15 minutes? 20? I don’t know. I realized it’d been far too long, and I ran outside to check. Too late. My chicken was blackened. Really blackened. Sigh. Operation grilled chipotle lime chicken: FAIL.

I managed to salvage some of the meat, as it wasn’t completely burnt and dry – just the skin was totally black. So much for the rub flavor. That was completely gone. (Guess I’ll have to try that again some other time.) It definitely wasn’t the best chicken I’d ever cooked, let me tell you. I offered up apologies to the hubby more than once. It looked like hell.

The moral of this story? Don’t try to do too much at once.

There was still a highlight to Sunday’s meal, however – this salad. I’d been craving a tabbouleh-like salad for a while, and started to gather ingredients for a traditional version of the dish, when I saw the jalapenos I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, and then eyed the limes. Immediately I made a bit of a detour from my original plan, and instead decided on a more Texas-style version. I’m sure I’m biased, but I believe my version might just be better than the traditional. The jalapeno doesn’t add a ton of heat – just a nice kick. And the lime really brightens, making it sing. And of course, now that it’s summer, I managed to grab all of these items (okay, save the lime) either from my garden or the farmer’s market, so they’re super-fresh. I think that makes such a difference in a salad – the fresher, the better! Even if you don’t have access to a garden or farmer’s market, chances are, the produce at even your local grocery is fresher this time of year, making this an ideal choice.

If you’re tasked with bringing a side salad to a dinner or barbecue this summer, this is a great option. It’s perfect to make ahead of time and will keep (and dare I say, improve) when refrigerated for a few hours before serving. Personally, I was just glad to have it to gobble up, instead of just my overly-blackened chicken. Gotta celebrate the successes when you can, right?

Print Recipe

Quinoa Tabbouleh, Texas-Style (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free)

1 c quinoa, rinsed

1 1/2 c water

1/2 t salt

2 T lime juice

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

2-3 T diced leeks (you can also substitute green onions/scallions)

1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 c chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa by placing it, the water, and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and remove to a bowl and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lime juice and olive oil. Toss the quinoa with this mixture. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss, combining everything well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 4-6.

 

Balsamic Lamb Heart Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette

Hold on, hold on…hear me out. I know that titling a blog post with “lamb heart” is likely to instill fear in many readers, or at the very least, cause them to leave and hope that more Ding Dong recipes come their way soon. I promise, I’ll be sure to share more desserts again shortly. I can’t stay away from them for long.

But for now, let’s talk about lamb heart.

Still with me?

Okay.

Heart, along with many other offal (organ) meats, are quite nutritious. Over at Mark’s Daily Apple, he discusses the benefits of eating all sorts of offal. Heart in particular is an excellent source of lean protein, thiamin, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10, and several B vitamins. I’m no stranger to offal, and I’ve posted about making barbacoa and liver and onions before. We eat liver and onions fairly often at our home, and it’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes. Lamb heart (or the more easy-to-find beef heart) is not as common, but after this salad, it very will could be.

As far as the flavor of heart is concerned, it’s definitely more approachable than many other cuts of offal. Many newbies to organ meats try it by grinding it along with ground beef and serving it in hamburgers, thus “disguising” it. I promise you, heart is so mild, if you wanted to start by taking that route (use a 1:4 ratio of heart to ground beef), you’d never notice you were eating it. To me, though, eating heart even in this salad isn’t too “weird”. Heart is tender when cooked quickly and left at a medium or medium-rare temperature, and nearly has the taste and texture of a super-lean steak. There is no “livery” taste or texture to it, which is what tends to turn people off to much offal. And when combined with some strongly flavored greens, spicy radishes, and a creamy vinaigrette, it’s simply heaven. This is the kind of thing I could eat every day – no joke.

I opted for lamb hearts because that was what was easy for me to obtain from my local farmer, and honestly, I find lamb heart and lamb liver to be milder in flavor when compared to beef. You could certainly substitute beef for the lamb in this recipe and it would be delicious as well.

The list of ingredients might seem a tad long on this recipe, as you’re making a marinade, a dressing, and a salad, but in all honesty, it doesn’t take long to come together. The marinade takes moments to make, as does the dressing and the salad. The last time I made this, it was on a weeknight and I served it with sweet potato and rosemary flatbread. It was an easy and delicious dinner. In fact, as we were starting to eat, my husband confided to me that he’d been looking forward to it ever since the previous time I’d made it. (He also mentioned that he preferred this vinaigrette over ranch dressing, which in my book is a definite WIN.) I think it’s time to order more lamb heart, so we can experience it one more time.

Print Recipe

Balsamic Lamb Heart Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, sugar-free)

For the lamb:

1 lb lamb hearts, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (can substitute beef heart)

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 t freshly picked thyme leaves

Combine all of the ingredients in a plastic zip-top bag and toss to coat evenly. Allow to marinate, refrigerated for at least 8 hours.

For the dressing:

1/2 c mayonnaise (I love to make my own using this recipe)

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 t honey

1 t sherry vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar)

1 1/2 t Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy.

For the salad:

1 head of green leaf lettuce

1 bunch watercress

1 c flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked

1 c celery leaves

A handful or two of alfalfa sprouts (or your favorite sprout)

1 bunch red radishes, sliced

Tear the lettuce leaves into small pieces and divide among 3-4 salad plates. Top each plate with watercress, parsley leaves, celery leaves, sprouts, and radishes.

When the dressing and salads are ready, remove the lamb from the marinade, lay it out on a plate, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and add a bit of coconut oil, rendered lard, or your favorite cooking oil and swirl about. Add the lamb, spreading out into a single layer, and allow to brown for a minute or two. Toss and allow to brown on the other sides for another minute, and then remove. Divide among the plated salads and drizzle with dressing. Serves 3-4.

Do you eat offal/organ meats? Chime in on this topic (and more) at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

Turnip “No Potato” Salad with Grainy Mustard, Bacon, and Pickled Red Onions

Potato salad is a staple side dish in just about any household. I’ve had many versions – salads heavy on the mayonnaise, versions with a ton of pickles and yellow mustard (like my Mom’s recipe), German-style potato salad, and I’ve even made a dill and caper salad for a Daring Cooks’ challenge. I imagine that there are as many recipes for potato salad as there are summer barbecues in the United States.

But what if you are trying to stay away from potatoes? Many people on gluten-free diets also steer clear of nightshades as well in order to keep inflammation down. Many people following a paleo diet also stay away from potatoes. In those cases, how do you satisfy that potato salad craving? If you’re like me and a) have several turnips lying around from your local box and b) are looking for a unique twist on this traditional comfort food, this might just be the answer to a “no potato/faux-tato” salad!

I’ve used turnips before as stand-ins for traditional potato dishes, like in this turnip-rutabaga mash. They’re a great budget-friendly root vegetable, and one that stands up to longer-term storage quite well. They’re tasty in pickles and are lovely roasted. But I do believe that this salad has become my new favorite way to enjoy them.

Of course, part of what makes this salad so bright and fresh (even when it’s still winter, and bright and fresh aren’t descriptors for much of our food this time of year) are the pickled red onions. Many times, I forget how a simple pickle can transform a creamy, heavier dish into something that really pops. The tart, sour taste of the pickle balances out the fat in a creamy sauce so perfectly. Such is the case with these simple pickled red onions. They’re not just good for this salad, though – I enjoyed them on top of some pork carnitas the other day, and I can imagine they’d be wonderful on a burger or to garnish a pot roast. The recipe makes plenty, so you’ll have some for enjoyment on all sorts of dishes.

But back to this salad. It’s a relatively simple mix of some of my favorites – a good, grainy mustard, homemade mayonnaise, bacon, and the red onions. You get a mouthful of creamy, salty, piquant, sweet and sour, all in one bite. Pair this with some barbecue, with roast beef, or with a good soup, and you have a delicious, simple comfort food. In fact, this is my contribution to this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! – Comfort Foods. (It’s not too late to join us, either! Just check out how to participate here.) This salad will definitely show up at a future barbecue around these parts, as I gear up for spring and break out my smoker!

Print Recipe

Turnip Salad with Grainy Mustard, Bacon and Pickled Red Onions (gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly)

4 c diced turnips

3 slices bacon, diced

¼ c mayonnaise (I used homemade, based on this recipe)

¼ c coarse/grainy mustard

½ t freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

3 T diced pickled red onions (recipe below)

¼ c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add turnips and reduce to medium-high heat. Boil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain turnips and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon, stirring every minute or so, until crisp. Remove and set on paper towels to drain.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and black pepper. Add the turnips and bacon and toss well to combine. Add salt if needed and toss again. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 2-3 hours.

Once chilled, add the pickled red onions and parsley and toss again. Serve.

Serves 4-6.

 

(This recipe makes a lot more pickled onions than are needed for this salad. Enjoy these onions on burgers, in other salads, on tacos, or as a garnish on top of rich, heavier dishes such as pot roast or chili.)

Pickled Red Onions (gluten-free, vegan)

¾ c apple cider vinegar

¼ c red wine vinegar

2 T lime juice

1 T natural cane sugar (for vegan) or honey

1 T kosher salt

1 bay leaf

½ t black peppercorns

½ t cumin seed

½ t coriander seeds

½ t whole allspice

1 large or 2 medium red onions, sliced thinly

Combine everything but the onions in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Add the onions and bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. (It’s okay if the onions aren’t covered by the liquid at first. They’ll cook down.) Reduce to low and partially cover. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft but not falling apart. Transfer the onions and liquid to a glass lidded container or a jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Beyond The Peel

It’s time for another rendition of Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger! This month is being hosted by Sunny of And Love It Too - and there’s still time to sign up – deadline is tomorrow, July 28th – so if you want to participate, leave Sunny a comment on her sign-up post and you’re in! If you are interested in signing up for August, check back here – I’ll be hosting!

This month I decided to adopt France and Joshua from Beyond The Peel. Their blog, videos, and book all focus on providing easy ways for you to fit delicious, healthy, whole foods meals into your life. If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m a big fan of delicious, healthy, and whole foods – and easy is always a goal! Needless to say, this is my kind of blog. While all of their recipes are not gluten-free, many are (you can check out the gluten-free selection here). And just as promised, many are easy and have short ingredient lists. (Like 5-minute 4-ingredient protein bars – how awesome is that?) Even more, they all look absolutely terrific.

I opted to make her Chipotle Corn and Zucchini Salad, since corn and zucchini are everywhere at the farmer’s market right now. And because chipotle is one of my most favorite ingredients ever. This salad is fresh-and-bright meets smoky-and-spicy, a.k.a. a southwestern party of flavors. Sweet corn, fresh mint, crunchy celery, tender zucchini, and lime juice brought a lovely summer flair, and that chipotle oil really sealed the deal with a touch of heat. (While I know I’m a bit of a chile-head, the heat level in this salad is mild enough for even the most timid.) I made it to accompany grilled chicken one night for dinner, and happily munched on leftovers throughout the next few days.

Also on my menu for this weekend – these pork and kale tacos with cherry-cilantro salsa. I just scored some organic cherries yesterday, and the photo was so enticing, I just knew this dish was in my future. I’m sure there will be very few leftovers on this one!

And if I need a sweet treat, I definitely think this almond butter banana fudge is on order. Anytime something healthy can satisfy my sweet tooth, it’s a win-win!

Beyond the Peel is another excellent resource for healthy, whole foods cooking, so definitely check it out!

 

Raw Summer Beet Slaw

I mentioned before that we’ve gotten quite a few beets in our CSA share – we get a bunch each week. I love beets, but I’ve been running out of ways to prepare them. I’ve made lacto-fermented beets, I’ve roasted them, I’ve thrown them in salads, I’ve made truffles with them, and I’m even trying to figure out how to bake with them. But still, there are more beets.

Did you know that beets are a wonderful powerhouse of nutrition? According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, beets are a great source of betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They also are a great source of folate, manganese, and fiber, as well as other vitamins. I personally love them for this, but more importantly, for their flavor.

I didn’t always enjoy beets though, and I know there are many out there in the “eww, beets” camp. My experiences with beets as a child were rare, but when I did encounter them, they were canned. Blah. When I became an adult, however, I tried them again, and found that fresh beets are sweet and bursting with flavor. They also taste much different when roasted vs. steamed, and again are entirely different raw. If you’ve been a beet-hater most of your life, I encourage you to try them again – you might find there is a way you can really enjoy these beautiful veggies.

This simple slaw is one unique way to try them again. I’m not sure if you can call this a “slaw” – the ingredient list is much shorter than traditional slaws, and the only resemblance to a slaw ultimately is the fact that the beets are shredded. But I’m calling it a slaw, so it’s a slaw.

Even though the ingredient list is short, the flavors are full, fresh, and bright. The lovely part about this slaw is that those other ingredients transform the beet flavor into something less “earthy” – an attribute some beet-aphobes dislike about beets. The beets are a bit sweet, the lime a bit tart, and the pepper brings a bit of heat. I personally love the cilantro, which really bumps that “ooh, it’s summer!” freshness factor. If you’re anti-cilantro, you could opt to replace it with parsley or maybe even some mint. Basil might even play nicely.

This little slaw is delicious on its own, but I personally enjoyed it on top of my salads throughout the week. It was easy to throw together and lasted for several days, making it a convenient way to get more nutritious raw veggies into my diet. I might just make it again, seeing as how there are still beets to be had in my refrigerator, and it’s getting too hot to turn the oven on!

Raw Summer Beet Slaw (gluten-free, vegan)

2-3 large beets, peeled and shredded

1/4 c thinly sliced red onion

2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced (can substitute other chiles, just be mindful of the heat if you use jalapenos or serranos)

1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

Salt to taste

Toss together all ingredients and season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

 

Have other ideas on how to keep the kitchen cool while making a healthy meal? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

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!

 

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.