Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Salad Luncheon

Had a friend over for lunch yesterday.  White wine and salads.

It's hot, so I sliced up some orange, lemon, and cucumber to sit in a pitcher of cold water in the refrigerator to drink.  It was so nice.  I could sip on that all summer.

I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite of the two salads I made, one having meat and the other not.  This  Crunchy Oriental Chicken Salad was easy to whip up and had great texture with lots of crunchy goodies in it.  I followed the recipe with minor alterations.  I used broccoli slaw mix instead of cabbage slaw, and I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds, soy and small peanuts (the ramen season packet is plenty salty, so the nuts are all unsalted) from a trail mix I had here at the house.  Use what you have, right?  Anyway, I made everything up in advance, but after mixing the dressing with the slaw and chicken, I kept the nuts and ramen separate to add at the last minute so they would keep their crunch.  I'll save this recipe for our Friday Luncheons at work (maybe adding 1/8 tsp of red pepper flake to the dressing).

I finally got the recipe just the way I like it for my Quinoa Salad with lots of fresh vegetables.  It might just be my favorite go-to salad.  I used 1/2 cup (uncooked measurement) of quinoa cooked and cooled mixed with lots of fresh vegetables.  I cook by color, so I started with halved red and orange tomatoes, yellow corn, green bell peppers, green onions and crumbled feta cheese, but adjusted the amounts until it "looked" balanced.  Does that make sense?  This is a great recipe for left overs.  The next day, if you need to stretch it, just add more veggies.  The dressing is simple as well:  3 Tbls olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, and 1/2 tsp each of oregano, garlic powder, pepper, basil, salt, dijon mustard (not the powder), and onion powder.  I shake mine in a small mason jar.  Note the only salt in here is the 1/2 tsp in the dressing and the feta.  If you don't use feta, you may want to salt your quinoa.

And like I told you in an earlier post, I wanted to try and make the Blueberry Coffee Cake I made for breakfast this past weekend into smaller sizes, so I did.  One recipe made 3-6" cakes.  We had one for dessert, one for the freezer, and I sent my friend home with one as well.  It's the perfect size for 2.  I did not adjust the temperature for baking, but changed the time to 33 minutes and baked them together on a cookie sheet.  Also, I tossed the blueberries in a little flour to coat before mixing them into the batter.  This made a big difference.  The berries held their shape and didn't ooze juice into the cake.  The taste is the same, but the aesthetic is much better.

Such a wonderful pleasure to share a meal with a friend.