Pesto potato salad

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I love to look at pictures of famous people. People.com is my guilty pleasure, but I actually don’t bother with most of the crap on their website. I don’t care about reality stars or royals– I only care about the real famous people! Don’t show me pictures of the attention seekers; show me pictures of Jessica Chastain and Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence and people with actual talent. I don’t even know why I look at Star Tracks, which is the section that publishes pictures paparazzi take as stars are leaving the gym or Whole Foods. It takes forever to load each page, and the pictures of celebs in fancy dresses at awards shows is where the real entertainment is. Who can resist pictures of pretty dresses? Surely not me.

I was obviously bored in front of a computer too many hours when I worked in an office, because when I eat this pesto potato salad, I think it’s the sort of thing a celebrity would eat for lunch (since Jennifer Aniston ate a Cobb salad for lunch for 10 years while filming Friends). See, I really wish that I didn’t know these random facts, but I do, so I’m just gonna embrace it. Random useless facts are always fun to pull out at parties.

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Back to this salad though: If you have any basil plants outside and fear the cooler weather might get to them, make this before it does. If you have basil plants inside and they have suddenly overgrown (which mine had), this recipe is calling your name. If you like pesto, even just a little, you need to make this creamy pesto and use it for the salad.

The dressing is creamy from a little Greek yogurt and mayo, and it’s full of flavor– the basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are a tradition too good to change. A little parsley, vinegar and lemon juice brighten the flavors, and tender potatoes coated in the sauce placed atop spicy, lightly dressed arugula complement each other splendidly. The punch from arugula and burst from tomatoes create enough contrast that you feel like you’re eating a salad, not a just a potato salad, and that’s because it is a real salad. It’s a healthy, delicious and interesting combination that is perfect for the end of summer and good enough to eat several days in a row.

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Pesto potato salad
adapted from Cooking Light, July 2015
makes 4 main course servings
four-stars

 

Notes: Any kind of potato works. I used russet because that’s what I had, but  waxy potatoes such as new potatoes would be great for this.

If you only want one or two servings at a time, only dress enough potatoes for those servings, and refrigerate the dressing and potatoes separately. Additionally, reduce the amount of arugula and tomatoes for fewer servings at once as well.

 

1 ½ pounds potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1 inch square pieces
1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
1 ounce (about a 1 inch by 2 inch piece) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
olive oil
arugula, roughly 4-6 cups
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

 

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Set on stove and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, strain put in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Put basil, parsley, Parmesan, yogurt, mayo, vinegar, pine nuts, the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt in the bowl of a mini-chopper or food processor. Pulse until blended– you may need to scrape down the bowl to ensure that everything is well blended.

3. In a serving bowl, stir together the juice from the other half of a lemon and a glug (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil. Toss in the arugula and cherry tomatoes. Add the creamy pesto to the bowl with the potatoes and toss to coat.

4. Serve the arugula on plates, and then top with potatoes. Bon appetit !

Quick carrot and avocado salad

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Since I’ve been in this adjustment limbo, I’ve been slow to figure out when is a good time to cook, especially since I’d been abnormally exhausted after early mornings at the bakery. I’m a bit more accustomed, figuring out that going from one day off to three has given me so much time to work on this, and other things, and just relax, so I’m easing my way back in. If you can’t tell from this recipe, the process has been rather slow. Slow is better than nothing, though, and you can still eat well even when you don’t spend much time preparing a dish or a meal.

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Indian coleslaw

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My dad and I have a penchant for the same side dishes: steamed or grilled broccoli, salad with honey mustard dressing, and coleslaw. I can say that my dad orders one of those things every time that he eats in a restaurant, and I probably do at least 50% of the time. We find foods that we like, and we stick to them. Continue reading “Indian coleslaw”

Simple salad (for winter)

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 To know me is to know that I love honey mustard. I really, really love it. I’ll put it on almost anything (that’s only a slight exaggeration), and honey mustard and salad just go together perfectly to me. Sometimes I want to mix it up with different dressings, but often not.

Therefore, I eat a lot of salad with honey mustard. In the summer, the salads tend to be full of vegetables, especially tomatoes, but in  winter, the produce that I most love is out of season. Tomatoes are mealy and hard, summer squash in winter just doesn’t make sense, and everything comes from the other side of the world. My salad standbys don’t work out when it’s cold.

I’ve recently been eating a winter-appropriate salad, though, and I’ve been having second thoughts for a while about my honey mustard love. Let’s face it–honey mustard is basically the unhealthiest dressing of them all. It’s loaded with sugar, and my particular favorite, Ken’s Steakhouse Honey Mustard, is really just flavored mayo. These are facts that I know and accept, but I feel a little guilty about them. “I should want to eat salad with better, healthier, even maybe sweetener-free dressings,” I tell myself. “I like balsamic and olive oil. It should be good enough!” Yet it never, ever is. Continue reading “Simple salad (for winter)”

Warm Brussels sprout salad

sprouts2Not only does the end of summer mean you have to pack up your shorts and sundresses, but it’s the time of your tearful goodbye to the bountiful tomatoes, summer squash, peppers and all of the lovely berries and produce of long days and warm nights.

Although it’s been fall for a few weeks, and I even pulled out my flannel shirts and sweaters almost a month ago, I have yet to transition well to cooler-weather food. During fall and winter it’s easy to crave carbs and warm cheesy toppings, but I find it to be quite a difficult time for eating vegetables. Frozen veggies just aren’t as good as fresh, and I don’t particularly crave squash or root vegetables.

I feel like the foods I’ve been sharing recently that aren’t representative of what I normally eat, and I’d like to change that. I typically eat a lot of vegetables, and when cooler weather comes around, I’m always at a loss for what to eat. I generally keep to spinach and broccoli, purchasing them weekly, and then I try to add some random vegetable I see at the store that looks okay. Although I mix up my meals, the veggies can get really boring, and I tire of them. This blog requires me to get out of my cooking habits, and I think it’s a great thing–I must break my habits and expand my cool-weather veggie horizons! Continue reading “Warm Brussels sprout salad”

Tomato panzanella

panzanella2In case you weren’t aware–and I know that no one was aware– this week was supposed to be a tomato extravaganza. Extravaganza is a bit of an overstatement since I only post twice a week, but I wanted to share a couple of great recipes that show off one of my two favorite parts of the summer bounty. (Tomatoes v. berries is a tough decision, and one I surely cannot make.)

Shakshuka is a lesser known way to take advantage of tomatoes, plus it’s new and different, so it was nice to kick off the festivities with it. To close, though, I’m going to share my absolute favorite way to eat tomatoes: tomato panzanella. It’s cool, quick and easy, and the flavors go together so well in such a fantastic way that you’ll want to fix it at least once a week.

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Three bean salad

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We’re coming upon the eve of the Fourth of July, and if you haven’t already gone to the grocery store to stock up patriotic groceries and libations, you might be thinking about going. July is hot, though, and if you’re like me and don’t have a grill, you’re also probably looking for ways to avoid turning on the oven. Even if you have access to a grill, it’s likely that you seek reprieve from the heat outside, too, and hope to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen, even without the oven on. Filling your belly with watermelon is a good solution, but one can’t survive on watermelon alone. Let me introduce you to the solution to  your problems: three bean salad.

ingredients

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Tomato and cucumber couscous

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My dad recently bought something online, and you know how sometimes you get special deals for things you don’t need when you purchase something online? Well, he fell for them and now has subscriptions to three travel magazines and two cooking magazines. He said they were only two dollars each for a year’s subscription, but I told him to be sure to unsubscribe after a year. Needless to say, my new-found cooking magazine subscriptions have brought me some inspiration.

Continue reading “Tomato and cucumber couscous”