Posts Tagged ‘salad recipe’

Celebrating Summer Produce: Tomatoes and a Tomato Salad Recipe

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Tomatoes are no longer just a salad bar garnish. With such a huge variety of heirloom tomatoes available, especially in August and September, tomatoes are quickly on their way to becoming the star of the dinner table.  Magazines from Food and Wine to Martha Stewart Living have featured tomatoes on their August covers, and we’re taking inspiration both from them and from the colorful heirloom tomatoes at our local farmer’s market. For the next two weeks, we’ll be showing off beautiful, versatile tomatoes.

 

Here are some quick tips to buying and storing tomatoes.  It’s the height of the season, so making sure to pick the right ones and keep them fresh and flavorful is key.

  1. Look for tomatoes that are heavy for their size, have smooth skin, slight give when touched, and are noticeably fragrant. If you can’t smell them, they’re not ripe.
  2. If you see a tomato that looks unusually puffy or bloated, don’t get it. That’s probably a waterlogged tomato.
  3. Remember that tomatoes, especially heirloom tomatoes, come in a rainbow of colors. Green heirloom tomatoes can be perfectly ripe, as long as they’re heavy for their size and smell fragrant.
  4. If you’re not sure, ask the farmer’s market vendor or your store’s produce person to help you chose. They want to keep your business so they’ll make sure you get the best fruit possible.
  5. Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator. I get it, they last longer, but refrigerating tomatoes makes them mealy. The cold also shuts down the compounds in the fruit that make tomatoes so flavorful.
  6. Keep tomatoes out of direct sunlight. Tomatoes will ripen off the vine, especially in sunlight, and leaving them in the sun can overheat them and cause them to ripen unevenly.
  7. Don’t pile tomatoes on top of each other when storing them. This could cause them to bruise. Instead, spread them out on a tray or a countertop. We’ve noticed that our baguette trays are the perfect size and shape for lining up tomatoes!

 

 

We’re starting off with a beautiful raw presentation in one of our Acaciaware salad bowls. This rustic Panzanella Heirloom Tomato salad is hearty enough to be a meal all on its own. It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled chicken and steak.  The keys to making this salad perfect are picking great tomatoes, leaving the bread out until the very end, and using a big enough bowl that all the tomatoes, bread, and cucumbers end up doused in that rich, garlicky dressing. We suggest our 12” Calabash bowl. The rich tones of the acacia wood set off the colorful tomatoes nicely, and the bowl doesn’t absorb odors from the rich, garlic-infused dressing.

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Ingredients:008

  • 4 cups cubed French bread.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, cubed and seeded
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 3-4 large cubed heirloom tomatoes, any color
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 10 basil leaves, diced
  • ¼ cup diced parsley013
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or run through garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Toss cubed bread in melted butter, salt and pepper. Spread in a single row on baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

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  • In the bottom of your salad bowl, whisk the Dijon, salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic together.
  • Add the vinegar and whisk until well combined.

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  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, whisking well to combine.
  • Prepare vegetables. Add tomatoes to dressing first, toss well to combine.
  • Let tomato and dressing mixture sit for 5 minutes in order to draw the juice from the tomatoes.

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  • Add other vegetables and herbs, toss to combine.
  • At this point, the salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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  • 5 minutes before serving, toss the bread cubes into the salad and serve.

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We hope that this beautiful panzanella salad inspires you to get out there and experiment with the best that the season has to offer.  Make sure to check back next week when we put our Kilner jars to work and teach you how to make and preserve the perfect tomato sauce you’ll be sure to enjoy all year long!

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Tips for a Great Fourth of July Barbecue!

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

US-flag-Florida-BridgeCan you believe that Independence Day is just around the corner?  That’s right, July 4th is almost here! Naturally, we’re getting ready for a big family barbecue with all the trimmings, from Red and Blue placemats to all-American apple pies to an incredible spread of food laid out on our eco-friendly Acaciaware serving dishes.  They come in a huge range of shapes and sizes ,  from baguette traysto bread boards to chip and dip

Acaciaware

Acaciaware® Salad Bowl

trays and they’re  perfect for serving a crowd. They’re durable and don’t shatter when dropped.

If you want to get in on the Acaciaware action this summer, enter code FIREWORKS at checkout! You’ll receive a FREE salad serving set with every 10” or larger salad bowl. After all, no one wants to serve a fruit salad with their hands.

We’ve actually already published a couple of recipes on this blog that would be absolutely great for your Fourth of July gathering.  Check out our National Burger Month post for a perfect, foolproof burger recipe. If you’re a ribs lover (and how could you not love ribs?) check out our Father’s Day dry rub recipe. Of course, one cannot live on meat alone – unless you’re a shark or lion – so today we’re going to feature a great vegetarian recipe to help you balance out your barbecue.

Before we get to that recipe, we’ve got our top five entertaining tips to share with you. We want to make sure that you can throw America a great birthday bash and still enjoy time with friends and family, instead of manning the grill all night.

Tip 1: Make as much of possible ahead of time. This seems like absolutely common sense, but it’s easy to forget. If I’m making burgers, I slice my tomatoes and onions the night before the party and put them in a sectioned serving tray like the Acaciaware tray featured below.   I also make all my salads and sides ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator in their serving bowls, so on the day of the party I can just pull them out, stick some serving spoons in them, and be done.  To keep salads fresh, I don’t add the dressing until the last minute – I make it separately and store it in jars, but beyond that, ¾ of my party foods are made ahead so I’m not running around like a chicken with its head cut off as guests start to arrive.

     Acacia Wood Deep Bowl, 12" x 12" x 6" Kilner Preserve Jar, 1.0 Liter/34 fl ozAcacia Wood Fork & Spoon Serving Set, 12"

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Tip 2: Keep it simple.  I’ve thrown parties where I’ve overdone it on the food and forgotten to enjoy the guests. You’re throwing a Fourth of July bash. Burgers, a simple salad and a dessert , like our strawberry shortcake should be plenty. By making no more than one entrée, 2 sides, and a dessert, you’ll spend less time fussing and more time having fun.

Tip 3: Get help. There’s no rule that says that you have to make everything just because you’re hosting. Buy something (or a few things) pre-made at the store.  Most grocery stores have great vegetable trays, cookies, chips and dips, and so much more. If you want a consistent look, put them on your own dishes. Your guests won’t know the difference! We’ve got Acaciware serving solutions that are perfect for veggies and dips, chips and dips, and even big platters for appetizers and desserts.

Tip 4: Don’t try too many new recipes at once.  Maybe make a new entrée, or a new side dish, but don’t overwhelm yourself with new recipes unless you’re 100% sure they’ll work out.  You’ll be stressed by the time the food is served.  Adventurous eating is awesome, but it’s always good to have at least one dish you can make in your sleep, whether it’s burgers,  pulled pork, or guacamole.  You’ll know it’s good without trying it, your guests will love it, and it’s one thing you won’t need to worry about.

Tip 5: Fire extinguisher. It’s the Fourth of July, which means that there’s a grill going, fireworks, and children running around with sparklers. We’re not saying there’s going to be a fire, but it’s better for your peace of mind to have an extinguisher handy. Like my mother always says, “better safe than sorry.”

And now, on to the recipe:  Mom’s Black Bean and Mango Salad. With the protein from the beans and the sweet tang of mangoes, this salad is hearty enough that it can be a meal on its own. It’s also a great side that everyone seems to love, and it’s amazing on tacos. It can be made up to 4 days ahead, which is great: July 4 is on a Thursday this year, but you can get the prep out of the way on the weekend. Just add the avocado at the last minute or it’ll get brown and mushy.

 

This colorful salad looks particularly beautiful in an Acaciaware salad bowl. The natural wood tones really make colors pop! I l especially love the way it looks in a flared bowl.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked black beans (Canned and drained or cooked and drained)
  • 3 cups corn (canned and drained, frozen and thawed, fresh and lightly steamed)
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 3 avocados, diced right before serving
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (more to taste)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large serving bowl.
  • Toss to combine.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper
  • Add avocado right before serving.
  • Serve on own, as a topping for tacos, or as a side salad.

We hope that this simple recipe and our helpful hints keep your Fourth of July barbecue as fun and stress free as possible. And remember, no one wants to serve that delicious salad with their hands, so enter FIREWORKS at checkout to get a set of free salad servers with any bowl 10 inches or larger.

Happy 4th, everybody!

A Little of This, A Little of That…

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I’ve had a few requests for the recipe for my homemade vinaigrette dressing, so I’ve included it below, along with the recipe for my favorite salad. Enjoy!

Bruce’s Famous House Salad

Salad:

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch chives, diced into 1/8 “ pieces
  • 1 plump, moderately firm heirloom tomato, sliced or diced to suit your style
  • 4-5 hearts of palm, diced into ¼” pieces

Remove tough and discolored leaves from exterior of romaine head, and cut into bite sized pieces*, rinse, pat dry, and toss into your gorgeous wooden salad bowl from Pacific Merchants. Add chives, tomato and hearts of palm in reckless abandon. Toss with vinaigrette just prior to serving in your gorgeous wooden salad bowl from Pacific Merchants. Am I repeating myself? ; )

Vinaigrette:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Unsweetened rice wine vinegar
  • The best virgin olive oil you can manage
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed garlic
  • Fresh garden herbs

To be perfectly honest, I don’t have measurements for this dressing. It’s “a little of this, a little of that” which means the ingredients above serve as a guide for your own, unique vinaigrette. In the interest of good health and lower calories, I do tend to use much more vinegar than oil, flipping the traditional 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 oil the other way round. But that’s all I’m going to say. Enjoy!!!

*Romaine is the only lettuce I know of that can be cut with a knife, rather than torn. This according to my 8th grade home economics teacher. Something to do with the edges of the leaves being resistant to browning. I’ve never checked with an outside source to verify Miss Silver’s claim, but she did have a sterling reputation.


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