Category Archives: Salads~Ensaladas

Summer Salads and Dessert~ Breaking with Routine

I am as traditional as they come when preparing foods and dishes for summer gatherings with friends and family. Potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad and  cool desserts are all my favorites when I think of a summer cook-out. But often what happens, at least in my experiences, some of the guest end up bringing variations of the same dish. So you end up with 3 bowls of potato salad, macaroni salad for days and enough pasta salad for a party of 100! Lol!  During one of my regular visits to the local bulk food store, owned by my good friend Kim, I picked up a few unsual suspects (ingredients) to prepare my version of summer foods.  Among them were dried garbanzo beans, instant couscous and tapioca. Anyone who knows me, knows that when it comes to cooking, I prefer to start from scratch. In my perfect food world there would always be homemade chicken stock, tortillas fresh off the comal and fresh pasta noodles, ha, ha, ha! But alas, there are days when we do have to take a little help from our local markets and purchase ready made products.  Fortunately for me, these three recipes are all from scratch, no cans, bags or packages of any premade ingredients. So with a little research and info from my friend Kim, this is what I came up with. A delicious couscous salad with lemon, parmesan, sun dried tomatoes and cilantro. A garbanzo bean salad infused  with chile ancho and spices, my favorite! And for dessert a cold tapioca infused with fresh mango and toasted coconut that I literally ate for breakfast a few days in a row. I cannot stress enough how important it is to support you local mom and pop stores and business’.  I know cooking from scratch is not for everyone, but there’s nothing like it when you do.

Updates on this post will happen as recipes develop. Enjoy your summer foods! Check out the new recipes at the end of post.

 

Everybody's Bulk Food Market

I stop by once a month to stock up on specialty baking supplies and the fresh selection of spices and reasonable prices.

These recipes are designed to be shared….

 

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad-Summer Foods

Ingredients

2 cups chicken stock or water
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for salad
2 cups instant couscous

5 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
Juice  and zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

More oilve oil

Instant Couscous and Garbanzo Beans

 

Directions

1. To a  skillet, add 2 cups chicken broth, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, whisk in the couscous, cover and remove from heat Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

2. Let the couscous cool while you prep all the ingredients to build the salad. Once couscous is cool, fold in all of the ingredients listed. If you like it less acidic, just add less. The couscous took quite a bit before I could really taste the citrus. Once you add all the ingredients drizzle in more olive oil to moisten and loosen the salad a bit. You can adjust it to your taste. Taste for salt and pepper and season to taste. Cover in airtight container and chill until ready to serve. Stir before serving. Yields 10-12 servings.

 

Couscous Salad

Both the couscous salad and garbanzo chile salad required a good amount of olive oil to keep them moist.

Couscous Salad-Summer Foods

 

Garbanzo Chile Salad

Garbanzo Chile Salad-Summer Foods

Ingredients

1  pound dried garbanzo beans, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt to taste
* yields about 8 cups once cooked

You will also need
2 tablespoons chile ancho powder
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder or 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Juice of 1 large lime
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 cups corn
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red or sweet onion, finely diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste

*This recipe requires dried garbanzo beans to soak 10 to 12 hours overnight.

Cooking Garbanzo Beans From Scratch

Directions

1. Once you have soaked the beans, drain all of the water and transfer to a large dutch oven style pot. Cover with enough cold water so it comes up about 3 inches above beans. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I don’t like to add the salt until the beans are tender. Then you could add the salt to taste.

2. Once beans are cooked, I drain all of the water and rinse them in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients listed. Stir well to combine then drizzle in enough olive oil to create a little chile sauce/dressing. The garbanzo beans will absorb some of the liquid, so be generous with the olive oil. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Before serving, stir well and taste for salt and pepper again.  Yields 10-12 servings.

 

Garbanzo Chile Salad-Summer Foods

I also purchase the pure chile ancho powder at the bulk food store. Adjust any of the spices to your liking.

Garbanzo Chile Quesadillas

Garbanzo Chile Quesadillas~I cannot say enough how much I loved these meatless quesadillas!! Comfort food without all the extra calories.

Garbanzo Chile Quesadillas

I prefer corn tortilla quesadillas over the flour tortillas, but the flour would also be delicious!

Garbanzo Chile Flautas

Crispy flour tortilla flautas filled with Garbanzo Chile Salad…sooo tasty! For both recipes, I just brushed the tortillas with olive oil and cooked them on a pan at medium heat. Once soft and pliable, I filled them and continued cooking them until they were crisp. Turn them as needed.

 

Mango Coconut Tapioca

Mango Toasted Coconut Tapioca

Ingredients

3 cups milk, I used 1%
1 cup half & half, I used a light version
1/2 cup sugar, I used organic cane sugar
1/2 cup tapioca, previously soaked in water
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1 large mango, peeled and diced

* you could use a lite coconut milk in place of the half and half. 

Soaking Tapioca

 

Preparing Tapioca

 

Preparing Tapioca

Directions

1. Soak 1/2 cup tapioca in cold water overnight.

2. When ready to prepare, drain all of the water from tapioca and rinse gently with cold water, set aside.

3. To a medium sauce pan, add the milk, half & half and sugar. Heat to medium and cook just until bubbles start to form. Be careful not to let it boil over. Add in the tapioca and cook until tapioca becomes clear, stirring as needed.

4. Temper the eggs by slowly whisking in some of the hot milk mixture as you whisk the whole time. Once tempered, add the egg mixture into the tapioca in pan. Also add the vanilla, coconut extract and pinch of salt. Cook for a few more minutes or until it thickens slightly. Let cool on stove top. Once cooled, stir in the fresh mango and toasted coconut. Store in an airtight container and chill for a few hours before serving.  Garnish with more fresh mango and toasted coconut. Yields up to 8 servings.

 

 

Preparing Tapioca

 

Mango Coconut Tapioca

 

 

Mango Coconut Tapioca

 

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

14 oz can hearts of palm, drained, rinsed and sliced
3 stalks celery. diced
1 english cucumber, diced
15 to 20 grape tomatoes, sliced in halve or quarters
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/2 red onion, finely diced and rinsed under cold water
1/4 to 1/3 cup cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 large meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
2 avocados, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed. Taste for salt and pepper and season to taste. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushroom, one of our favorite fresh foods to enjoy during the summer. On a typical day, I would have picked most of the ingredients from my own garden, but I am just planting this week. The basil plants were so aromatic, that is what inspired me to prepare this recipe. I only picked a few leaves from each plant, lol!  My husband and I love any fresh bruschetta simply served over toasted crostini bread slices. Now and then I will fold in some cooked pasta with  grilled shrimp or chicken for a delicious hearty meal. Here’s to a great summer filled with fresh produce and lazy summer nights! Oh, and cool drinks, can’t forget those!

Grilled Mushrooms Combined with my Favorite Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette
Grilled Mushrooms Combined with my Favorite Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette


8 ounces steak mushrooms, grilled and sliced
1 pint tri color grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
10 to 12 kalamamta olives, sliced
5 queen green olives, sliced
Zest and juice of 1small lemon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Salt to taste

 

Melted Mozzarella on Crostini with Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms
Melted Mozzarella on Crostini with Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms


Combine all of the vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, juice, vinegar, olive oil and all of the dried spices together. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables, stir well to combine. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with toasted crostini bread slices. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

 

Grilled Steak Mushrooms, Seasoned with Salt, Pepper and Chile Flakes
Grilled Steak Mushrooms, Seasoned with Salt, Pepper and Chile Flakes


Tips~ Toss mushrooms with olive oil and grill on stove top grill pan at medium heat, turning as needed. Season lightly with salt,fresh cracked pepper and red pepper flakes during the last few minutes of cooking time.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms
Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms

 

We plant all of our herbs and peppers in pots. Front porch gardening.
We plant all of our herbs and peppers in pots. Front porch gardening.

Quick and Fresh Shrimp Ceviche(Cebiche)

On most days the seafood for ceviche or cebiche is cooked in lemon or lime juice. But for this quicker version, I like to poach the shrimp for just a minute or two to speed up the cooking process. Most traditional ceviches have few ingredients. It’s mostly the seafood, lime juice, little thin onion slices and some chile. I like to serve this more like a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado. Serve with store bought or homemade tostadas and you have a quick, light meal for anytime of the year. This is one of my early recipes, so I did not have but this one picture in my files.

Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado, Cucumbers and Tomato
Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado, Cucumbers and Tomato

Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 cup white onion, finely diced
1 cucumber, seeds removed, finely dice
2 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 serrano peppers, minced
Handful of chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, diced for garnish
Hot Sauce for garnish

Directions

1. Poach the cleaned shrimp in 4 cups of salted boiling water for just 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water.

2. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients in the order listed. Drain the shrimp and add to bowl. Stir well to combine, taste for salt and let sit for 20 minutes. Garnish with avocado and hot sauce.  Serve with tostadas, chips or as a topping for a fresh salad. Yields up to 6 servings.

Tips~ Whenever preparing ceviches or guacamole that calls for tomato or cucumbers, I like to remove the seeds. You will have less water build up in your recipe.