Posts Tagged ‘salad’

My friend and gourmet cook (and food photographer), Grace Gotham, has lately been posting yummy photos of her culinary creations.  She cooks healthy, light and delicious dishes and has given me permission to post her tuna salad roll.  Seriously her photos practically make you want to lick the computer screen!! I know that sounds gross but you’ll see for yourself!

Here’s is Grace’s quick and easy recipe:

Tuna served lobster roll style! Tuna salad made with @fage 2% Greek yogurt, fresh dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, finely chopped celery and onion, diced kosher dill pickles, and a smidge of Sir Kensington mayonnaise. @gothamgreens Bloomin Brooklyn iceberg lettuce adds fresh crunch. All on a classic Martin’s potato roll. ‪#‎gracegothamgourmet‬ ‪#‎tasseltotable‬

Tuna Served Lobster Roll Style

Tuna Served Lobster Roll Style

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Farro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found this recipe on a blog that I follow, Proud Italian Cook and I knew right away I wanted to make it.  I had all the ingredients in my kitchen except for one.  I made it for myself for dinner one night to test it out because I planned on serving it for a planned dinner party.  It was delicious and I served it this past weekend. This is so simple and so tasty, you should make it tonight.  It’s a good winter salad.

1 1/2 cups of cooked farro 

1 lb. baby arugula

handful of marcona almonds

1/2 cup, sliced cherry tomatoes

1/3 cups nicoise olives

1/2 cup good feta crumbled


1 lemon

olive oil

1. Make the dressing by squeezing the juice of one lemon into a small bowl then whisking in olive oil and tasting until you get the right balance.

2. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and then toss with the dressing adding salt and paper to taste.

*** The first time I made it I didn’t have farro in the house but I had some Ancient Grains and I used them.


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And you are wondering…what’s this all about??  Well let’s start with the definition of the term amuse-boucheIt translates as mouth amuser.  And is used to describe a tiny tidbit of an hors d’oeuvre,  served as  a free extra to keep you happy as you wait for your first course and to give you an idea of the chef’s approach to cooking and the restaurant’s attention to your appetite.

pureed pear with smoked paprika


So I’m introducing a new category and in keeping with my blog’s title, pbenjay and my byline, I think amuse-bouche says it all.  You can expect a morsel, a tidbit, a hint of something more to come or just an itsy-bitsy piece of information or a small piece of news, or even a quick peek at some new, hot thing, place or person.

I hope you find it interesting and of course amusing!  The first offering, the amuse-bouche du jour comes to you from me by way of Gail, who encouraged me to add a kind of mini-bite blog post to my repertoire.  So thank you  Gail for the idea and the video (which I’ve watched 3 times already).

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This seemed like the perfect Sunday night supper, however that never happened! It turns out that this very night, this Tuesday was the perfect night for this meal.  I made the components of the dish during the day and put it together when we got home from the movies.  The time spent is all in the prep so it is a good dish to serve if you are going to be busy at night but have some free time during the day or night before.


1 pkg  (20 oz) of cheese tortellini

1 red sweet pepper, cored, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 red onion, peeled, thinly  cut ( about 3/4 cup)

1 small bunch of asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1  1/2″ pieces

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

2 TBS Wegman’s basting oil*, divided

1 zucchini, trimmed, 1/4″ dice (2 cups)

3 TBS pine nuts

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

1 pkg (7 oz) Italian Basil Pesto Sauce

1/2 tsp Tobasco Sauce

15 basil leaves finely sliced

Preheat oven 450 degrees

Cook pasta according to directions, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside,

Season pepper, onions, and asparagus with salt and pepper;  toss with 1 TBS basting oil.  Transfer to baking sheet; arrange in single layer.  Roast 10-12 minutes, turn halfway thru cooking time. Remove from baking sheet and set aside.

Season zucchini with salt and pepper; toss with remaining 1 TBS oil. Transfer to baking sheet arranged in single layer.  Roast 5-7 minutes until tender but not browned.  Remove from oven.  Add to pepper mix. Chill 1 hour.

Toast pine nuts in small pan on MEDIUM, 3 minutes, stirring till slightly toasted.  ( I used a toaster oven). Remove, set aside.

Add tomatoes, pesto, Tobasco sauce, basil, pine nuts, and veggie mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chilled

* Basting Oil is basically Olive Oil and chopped basil and parsley.

Chef Tips – Prepare 1 day in advance for the flavors to meld.  You can substitute  Tomato Pesto sauce .

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Image via Wikipedia

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

I‘m sure you heard the news around Thanksgiving that 94% of all Americans having Thanksgiving Dinner had turkey as the main course.  Not so with Christmas!  It seems that besides turkey (yes some people replicate their Thanksgiving Day dinner one month later), roast beef, crown roast of pork, baked ham (spiral, pineapple decorated etc) all vie for the center of the table.  Whatever you choose, I think you’ll like this simple flavorful salad.

It’s light, crisp, colorful, healthy and easy to make.  You can slice the oranges and fennel the day before (in between wrapping presents), refrigerate separately covered with plastic wrap.

1 TBS white-wine vinegar

2 TBS olive oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

5 navel oranges

3-4 fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds total), ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced, crosswise, plus 1/4 cup roughly chopped fennel fronds (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil, season with salt and pepper.

Using a sharp knife, slice off both ends of each orange.  Following the curve of the fruit, cut away the peel and white pith. Halve orange from top to bottom; thinly slice crosswise.  Transfer oranges along with any juices that have accumulated on work surface. to bowl with dressing.  Add fennel and if desired, fronds. Toss to combine.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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For years I struggled with trying to find an appropriate salad to serve on Thanksgiving Day.  Salad itself presents the problem of necessitating another plate on a crowded table.  However with so many carbs on the table, I like to have a light dish to balance out the meal. This is the salad I’m serving this year.

Escarole, Persimmons, Pomegranate Seeds w/Lemon-Shallot Dressing

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3-4 lemons)

1/4 cup minced shallots

2 TBS grainy mustard

2 TBS chopped fresh marjoram

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp coarse salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 heads escarole, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

5 Fuyu persimmons, very thinly sliced

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

Combine the lemon juice, shallots mustard and marjoram in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.  Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly, until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper.

Toss escarole with just enough vinaigrette to coat.  Arrange persimmon slices over greens and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if using.  Serve remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Thanksgiving salad, pomegranate seeds

Heart Healthy Too!

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Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

So the lazy hazy crazy days of summer are over and some people actually expect you to go back to the office.  What a bummer especially when one of the chief joys of summer at the shore was eating tons of fresh fruit; juicy peaches that DID run down your arm, musky cantaloupe so sweet in your mouth, and of course Jersey  Tomatoes!  Well there are still fresh tomatoes to be had and I say enjoy them while you can because in two months they’ll be serving tinted styrofoam balls.  This is a great dish to make and divide into two containers and take it to work!!!

canned chickpeas,

I use Progresso

3 oz. baby arugula (about 4 cups)

2 scallions,thinly sliced

1 can (15oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted if desired

2 TBS red wine vinegar

2 TBS olive oil

coarse salt and pepper

Divide evenly between two airtight containers. Layer arugula, scallions,chickpeas, tomatoes and walnuts and refrigerate up to overnight.

In two more airtight containers, divide vinegar and oil for vinaigrette: season with salt and pepper. Cover and store at room temperature. To serve shake vinaigrette in containers and to combine and pour over salads and toss.  Serves 2

recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Every Day Food

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In this salad, the hot pasta will wilt the spinach and soften the squash

1/2 lb short pasta, such as fusilli

1 medium yellow squash(thinly sliced crosswise)

1/2 cup roughly chopped pitted Kalamatra or Nicoise olives

4 lightly packed cups baby spinach (3 1/4 oz)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta.  Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl, and toss with squash, olives, spinach, lemon zest and juice, and 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium high heat.  Add shrimp and cook stirring occasionally, until opaque throughout – about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top pasta with shrimp

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