Super Green Spring Salad

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s spring! And my garden is blooming and booming. I’ve been eating this Super Green Spring Salad every chance I get since all of the ingredients are directly from my garden… delicate lettuce, baby kale, bright broccoli with pretty tiny yellow flowers, crisp sugar peas, mint, chives. This salad is less of a recipe, and more of a throw-together spring green treat!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But, I should pause and preface this delicious garden post with the fact that I am not a good gardener. Seriously. I’m bad. Plants shrivel at my touch. They tell their other plant friends to run and hide when I decide to buy them. Any success I have at gardening is not my doing. Plants thrive in my garden in spite of me. I just wish I was a good gardener like my grandmother was. She could make anything grow and she could make you think that you could do it too. *sigh*

The first year we moved to Kansas City, I decided that I wanted to BE A GARDENER! (p.s. I said this with both hands on my hips and in a booming voice).  This is a laughable statement because at the time I killed anything in a pot in my house and at one point was scared to even get a pet because I couldn’t even keep a plant alive!

But, dangit, I was going to finally try to grow a garden and feed myself and eat healthy and get dirt in my fingers and sweat and love it and bring bushels of food in at the end of the day and sigh and say “way to go me!”.  So I bought three tomato plants and marched into the backyard of our new rent house with a shovel and a prideful grin on my face.  Like a blind settler deciding on their perfect plot of land, I just shoved my shovel into the hard clay ground next to the fence and dug three holes. That’s it. I just stuck the tomato plants in the ground as if I were planting flowers.  But, despite my ineptitude and lack of reading up on “how to grow tomatoes“, I ended up with some darn good tomatoes that year. Those plants grew over 8 feet tall! I even canned tomato sauce! Yeah. All that from just digging three holes…..and praying like hell and battling thieving squirrels!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Basically, I kill any plant that is not in the ground. If it is up to me, all plants would die. However, after I put the plant in the ground, I cross my fingers that mother nature will take over and that she’ll be the true gardener.  I depend on her to water my garden too. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do…it’s just what I do…as a bad gardener!

Also, as a bad gardener, I don’t weed. I should…but I don’t. I feel like everything should be given a fighting chance.  My husband goes out to my garden and tries to weed things and I freak out. FREAK out. I’m scared that he’s going to pull a baby beet or a baby kale or maybe just a baby, hell I don’t know. “NOOOOO! That’s a blah blah blah and I wanted it there…. yeah. I WANTED that weed.”

Sorry, I’m super protective of my garden… even if it’s a weed box. Back off!

As a bad gardener, I plant things too close together. My husband always tries to correct my eagerness to cram as much as possible into our tiny raised beds. But I tend to say, “Space shmace. If you want to survive, you gotta try harder Mr tomato!!!!”.   This doesn’t always work out….buuuut, I won’t admit that to him.

But this year, six years into BEING A GARDENER, my garden is growing like a REAL garden!  Thank you again, mother nature. I have one of the biggest lettuce crops (which love these cool temps and tons of rain that KC has gotten this spring). I also have gorgeous broccoli heads! Oh and peas! I have snow peas climbing a trellis (actually it’s a defunct hand rain I pulled off my outdoor stairs) and tiny pea pods dangling everywhere! Kale is coming up like a champ! Baby beets are gearing up and their greens are getting taller.  I’m even growing brussels sprouts and cauliflower for the first time. Way to go me! I hope my grandma would be proud. I think she’d also really love this Super Green Spring Salad that I’ve been making from all of my garden goodies!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I mention my lack of gardening skills in order to encourage anyone that loves fresh produce but may be scared to begin their own garden because, like me, they are terrible with plants. But don’t be scared. Just go do it!  What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a pack of seeds? You’ll fail, but you will also succeed and learn from those mistakes.  Man, I sure sound like an after school special, don’t I?  Anyways, I love seeing what new things I can grow. Nothing is better to me than walking outside my door to my own farmer’s market!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to branch out, dig a whole, plant something.  Plant something in honor of the one’s that you have loved and in their memory.  And then every time you go out to tend to it and get dirt on your fingers and sweat on your brow and harvest your fresh amazing produce, you can remember them and realize that their memory lives on. But also, don’t forget to give yourself a high-five from them and say “way to go!” (but say it with both hands on your hips and in a booming voice).

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – This salad does not really have a set list of ingredients and can morph into whatever you have on hand. I have provided a gentle guide for what I like to use, but feel free to mix and match with whatever greens you have on hand or can spot at your local farmer’s market.  

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Four generous handfuls of spring greens mix (such as, leaf lettuce, baby kale, arugula, beet greens, etc.), gently rinse and dry
  • Handful of fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Two small heads of broccoli
  • Handful of fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, chives, cilantro)

Ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the snow peas or sugar peas in half or into bite-size pieces if they are large. If they are small, you can keep them whole. Whatever you choose.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets from the stalk. Chop the florets into small portions. Cut off the bottom fibrous portion of the stalk and chop the tender portion into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the lettuce, peas, broccoli, and herbs into a large bowl.
  4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Just before serving, drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Place leftover dressing in the fridge or add more if needed.

Suggested toppings:

  • Optional Protein Toppings: chicken, quinoa, boiled egg, chicken sausage, fish
  • Optional Misc Toppings: sunflower seeds, roasted nuts, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, goat cheese

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Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

I want to begin with an apology to my 8 year old self for this post because I’m breaking a BIG commandment with myself.

Thou shall NOT cut corn OFF the cob…ever.

My kid self would be appalled. I mean…WHY would anyone ever cut corn OFF of the cob. They are taking ALL of the fun out of eating corn.

When I was little and we had corn on the cob for dinner, it felt like a holiday. I would ask for more corn over a slice of pie any day. Weird child, I know. There was also a period in my young life when I think I didn’t have front teeth for over a year, but continued to gnaw down ear after ear of corn, while projecting kernel after kernel into the air in front of me like a machine gun.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Plus, when I was a kid and corn wasn’t on a cob, that it meant it came in a can…*shudder*. I haaaate canned corn. Sorry to all you canned corn eaters. But if you have ever had FRESH FRESH FRESH corn straight from the cob, it will change your life. So I feel like my childhood self might forgive me if she had ever had fresh corn directly from the farm.  To satisfy my inner child, I bought 12 ears so that most of them could be eaten directly from the cob.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

A lesson in cutting corn from the cob. Place the cob slightly angled up and down OVER a bowl. Cut the kernels off with the blade of the knife pointed awaaaay from you, allowing the kernels to fall lovingly into the bowl. Otherwise, your kernels will catapult off of a plate onto the ground. We can’t let those kernels go to waste! All kernels need a home…a.k.a my belly!

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Next thing about this salad is that it is a substantial and gluten free feast. It has quinoa which is a super food, or so I’ve been told. I love that bit of crunch that the cooled quinoa and fresh corn provide to this lush herby and fresh salad. It’s perfect for a gluten free and vegetarian option at a picnic lunch or a cool weeknight meal. You can make the quinoa ahead of time and just throw everything together prior to serving. Easy peasy. It also would be good with some grilled chicken on top, for those meat lovers like my dear hubby.

P.S. One or two or three things about the dressing! It is VERY good….like hide in a closet and drink it good. I was going for a type of green goddess style of herbaciousness. Feel free to mix up the herbs…cilantro, mint, tarragon, basil..whatevs. If you don’t have yogurt on hand, I think half an avocado would do well in this dressing. Aaaaand if you don’t have yogurt OR an avocado, throw in some soaked and drained nuts or sunflower seeds instead and give them a whirl in the food processor. You will just need to add water to make it the desired consistency.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free)

  • Servings: 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used mixed quinoa, but any color would work here)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed from cob (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I also added a big heirloom tomato because I loooove tomatoes)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, thinly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of assorted greens (spinach, baby kale)
  • feta crumbles
  • Fresh basil and cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 fresh basil and cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until water is fully absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat. Place cooked quinoa in a covered dish and refrigerate until cooled. Can be made several days ahead of time.
  2. In a medium bowl combine corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes, carrot, sweet bell pepper, and greens.
  3. In a small food processor, add all dressing ingredients and process until desired consistency is achieved. Place dressing in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. After the quinoa is cooled, add the quinoa and the dressing to the corn and tomato salad. Toss well. Sprinkle with feta, additional basil and cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

One of my all time favorite salads that I make is my Spring Roll Salad with Thai Dressing. It is the perfect salad to make when herbs are springing forth from the ground in full force. It’s packed with fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and fresh basil.  I jam all of those fresh beauties in the salad and top with carrots, cucumber, and spring onions and just POUR that beautiful thai dressing in my mouth..I mean, on the salad. But seriously, I could totally gorge myself on that stuff.

If you don’t have fresh herbs growing, you can totally grab some at the farmers market in large beautiful bunches. But I recommend growing some in pots. Super easy and incredibly rewarding to be able to use fresh herbs in a flash. They are easy to grow from seed or purchasing starters at your local gardening store.

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Anywho, I decided to take my amazing herbalicious spring roll salad to a new level. I topped it with grilled chicken that had been marinated in a thai flavored marinade for an hour. My husbands words after eating this salad were “This is the best salad I’ve ever eaten in my life.”  Who can’t love a great juicy grilled chicken and amazing peanut sauce! Heaven.

So this is seriously an easy peasy dinner, folks. Maybe not as easy as scrambled eggs but soooo much more tasty. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour or as long as overnight. You can use bone in or boneless, heck you can even go with breasts, thighs, legs, wings…whatever you want. I want judge if you’re a thigh person over a boob person. It’s cool. We are being super easy over here. Note: if you choose bone in breasts or thighs, it will take longer to grill than boneless. But who cares…we are grilling. Grab a brew, throw your meat on the grill, cheers to summer. That stupid winter is over. And here comes that ungrateful sticky humidity. Get ready!

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

While the chicken is grilling, throw your greens, herbs, and veggies together in separate bowls or one massive bowl. Whip up the Spicy Peanut Dressing. Add water to the peanut dressing as needed to get it to the consistency that you want. Set it aside and let everyone pour the sauce at their leisure. You may want to make extra!

Pull the chicken off the grill, let sit for a few minutes, then cube it up. Add it to the salads.

Pour dressing. Pour some more. C’mon!

Done.

Eat.

Lick bowl.

Dream about peanut dressing until the time you get it. Or is that just me? Life sure is better with fresh herbs and peanut dressing!

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs chicken breasts or chicken thighs (I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 2 Tablespoons nam pla (thai fish sauce) (I use red boat…great write up on it here)
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (red or green works)

Spring Salad Ingredients

(basically this Thai Spring Roll Salad of mine)

  • Mixed greens (lettuce, baby kale, arugula, etc)
  • shredded carrots
  • cucumber
  • green onions
  • red bell pepper
  • avocado
  • fresh limes
  • fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
  • Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (substitute peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter in the dressing depending on your dietary needs)

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag or shallow glass dish. Mix marinade ingredients in a small dish and pour over the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator or an hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the grill (or preheat oven to 425 F). Remove chicken from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain. Place chicken on hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until a thermometer reads 155 F within the thickest part of the chicken breast or thigh. If baking, place the chicken on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove cooked chicken from grill or oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Mix ingredients for the spicy peanut dressing together in a small bowl or small food processor. You can use almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter based on dietary needs. Add water as needed to obtain the consistency that you desire for dressing. Set aside.
  4. Assemble salad ingredients in separate bowls or in a single bowl. Top with cubed grilled chicken. I like mine with extra herbs, sliced avocado, and a big squeeze of lime too. Then pour the peanut dressing on top. I even go for an extra dash of siracha to boot. Mmmm. Enjoy!

 

Carne Asada Salad (Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free)

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Have you ever lost your mojo? Felt lost?

If you are frequent reader or friend of mine or even someone I have passed on the street, it has been a bit too obvious that I have lost my mojo.  I’m typically so goal-driven, mega type A, and awesome…or anal, whichever you deem it. But not for sometime. For a while I have felt like a feather in the wind with no direction, which is TERRIFYING to me. I think we all have a threshold of how much willpower we have and how much we can endure. And then one day you snap…for me it was the lack of ketchup in our house when I had made sweet potato fries…. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY CAN”T I HAVE WHAT I WANT!

Too dramatic? naaaah.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But there has to be a certain point when you just have to realize that life just is what it is. We get handed certain things in life and we can either roll around in it like a stinky pile of poop or we can make poop pie and throw it at someone that deserves it. I’ve decided to quite rolling in poop and throw it. Wait…I don’t think that came out right.

Well, you get what I’m saying right?  Take out your frustrations on others, am I right? That’s what friends are for? right? Friends? Thanks for being there for me. 🙂 No really. Thanks.

This week has been operation “get my mojo back”. If you have often felt like your mojo is gone, I challenge you to get it back by realizing that we can’t compare ourselves to others (even past versions of ourselves). We are where we are and we have to try to enjoy these moments, even the hard ones, because our time is short and our love is vast.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Here are a few of the things I did to get mojo back this week that you can try:

  • Exercise – Go for a walk. Listen to the birds, see the trees in bloom, embrace the now.
  • Treat Yo’ self – Hello mani/pedi.
  • Cook – Try something simple and fresh for yourself and family. Your belly will thank you.
  • Laugh – This is the most important thing of all.

As part of my “get my mojo back” week, I decided to cook something fresh and simple. I thawed out a strip steak from our purchase of 1/4 of a COW. (I don’t know which fourth I got, but he’s tasty.)  Strip steaks are nice and thin and are great for carne asada! So I whipped up a quick carne asada marinade when I got home from work. Fresh limes are key to the marinade. Let your steak marinade for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. Fresh greens are abundant in the farmers market and in my garden so I decided to create a fresh salad instead of tacos.  I used fresh baby butter lettuce, baby kale, and cilantro that is growing in our garden and some other goodies that I picked up at the market to create a Carne Asada Salad that was quick, delicious, and something that I will be making many times during this grilling season. Feel free to modify your toppings, but focus on fresh and good quality items.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Strip steaks are thin and will not require a long time on the grill. For medium, you will likely only need to grill it 4 to 5 minutes per side, or less. Keep an eye on it. You could even cook your steaks inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

Carne Asada Salad (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 30mins + 1 to 8 hours for marinade
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 lb strip steak (flank steak would work too)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • fresh limes
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Place the strip steak in a large glass bowl or baking dish.  Do not use metal because it may react with the acids in the marinade. Salt and pepper on both sides. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the steak. Make sure that all of is covered and saturated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Pull out of the refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan using medium-high heat or flame. Brush the grates of your grill with a bit of olive oil so that the steak does not stick to the grates. Remove the steak from the marinade and place onto the hottest part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until the underside of the steak is browned, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak.  Flip the steak and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. This will help the steak from being chewy.
  4. Prepare four salad bowls and place sliced steak on top. As another option, prepare these as tacos using grilled corn tortillas. Mmmmm! Happy eating!

 

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We are all getting antsy around here. Am I right? I hate getting taunted with a few days of warm weather, then blasted with too many days of cold. It’s a terrible tease. Tulips are peaking out of the ground. Trees are beginning to bud. Patio weather one day and then fire-place/wool socks/snuggy weather the next. Ugh.

Does anyone else feel a little bipolar weather insanity coming on?  My body and cravings are in a constant state of flux… Sun!!!!! Give me fresh veggies! Give me fresh fruit! More spring greens!!!!

OOOOoooooh wait…clouds? Snow? Blaaaah. Carb me up it’s cold! Where’s the chili? Where’s the chowder? Salad, really???? Why is it not covered in cheese? Helloooo! I like my cupcake handles, thank you very much! Gotta keep some padding on this bod against the polar vortex!

Wait. But NO! Let’s think positive. Let’s all send out SPRING THOUGHTS. (Don’t roll your eyes! I’m trying to quit being so crabby….I said trying, people).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Wish for camping. Wish for tulips. Wish for gardening. Wish for the smell of grills. Wish for the sound of neighbors chatting with each other. Wish that your lawn will mow itself (get a goat). Wish that those cupcake handles will magically disappear once bathing suite season rears its ugly head (or maybe swimming t-shirts will come back in style).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As you send out your good vibes into the world, here is my positive food vibe. I used one of my fave winter veggies, brussels sprouts, to make a springy slaw! Lime and cilantro pump this puppy up another notch. Red cabbage makes this a total beauty to serve.  Oh ya, give me a badge! Healthy and Hawt!

Personally, I love this slaw on my fish tacos. Mmmmmm….recipe to come later. So put down the carbs and chili for just a few minutes and try to get a positive spring mind.

Maybe if we all think positive, spring will finally move in for good. But summer will stay asleep for a loooong time.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium-sized brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onion, white and green parts sliced
  • juice of 1 large lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Remove any brown or spotted out leaves of the sprouts. The sprouts can be shredded several different methods: shredded in a food processor (using the slicing blade), sliced as thin as possible using a good knife, or using a mandolin slicer. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Shred half of a head of small red cabbage or slice as thin as possible. Add the shredded cabbage, cilantro, and green onions to the large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, salt, and olive oil together. Pour dressing over shredded veggies. Toss and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to distribute the dressing. Eat up!

Strawberry and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

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My husband pulled the trigger this week. Four years of waffling on my end.  But he just woke up one morning this week and decided it was time. He jumped in and started pulling up the 85 layers of laminate and tile and fiber board that covered our kitchen floors. Good thing he stopped just before hitting the asbestos tile. What a man!

He sent me pictures of the destruction while I was at work. Needless to say I was shocked. And then kind of excited. But then it hit me…

“Wait… You JUST did this???? Are you kidding??? No stove? No fridge? No floor?  Is that asbestos? Are you dying? Is that a respirator? Are you drinking water???? Don’t eat the floor! Don’t die on me.”

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I guess this means I’m GETTING A FLOOR!

What do you eat when you don’t have a kitchen and your garden is going gangbusters with cucumbers? Cucumber salad!

Let’s get fancy….cucumber ribbon salad! Oooooh gurrrrl!  Ya, I did it. I used a vegetable peeler for something besides collecting dust in my kitchen utensil crap drawer. Boom!

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I also threw some fresh strawberries, basil, mint, and feta into the mix. Personally, I think the fresh herbs and feta really bring this dish together. I also drizzled a little bit of good balsamic vinegar on top. This has been my go to lunch of choice this week. Summer in a bowl!

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This also is a perfect picnic salad! Because I’m basically picnicking every meal until our kitchen floor installation is complete.

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Strawberry and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

Makes 4 side salads or 2 large salads

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh mint and/or basil, slivered
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler or or mandolin slicer, cut the cucumber lengthwise into long thin ribbons. Stop before you get to the seeds.
  2. Place cucumber ribbons in a bowl with sliced strawberries, crumbled feta, basil, and mint. Drizzle with good balsamic vinegar when ready to serve.

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad

I like simple things….

t-shirt and jeans…

a warm day in the middle of a cold spell…

a hug after a long day…

and winter citrus! 

Winter citrus is an anomaly to me: bright and flavorful fruits that are at their peak when everything else is dormant.  I can’t seem to get enough grapefruit, Meyer lemons, clementines, oranges, and especially blood oranges!  Have you had a blood orange? Eating them is like a secret escape to my own tropical island. Where’s my mai tai? Where’s my pool?  Where’s my hammock????

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The salad I made is adapted from Alice Water’s amazing avocado and grapefruit salad from her-must have cookbook The Art of Simple Food.  A girlfriend of mine had this cookbook and I poured over it every time I was at her house. And then I received a copy for my birthday!!!  The recipes are so simple and so flavorful.

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I swapped blood oranges in for the grapefruit and served it over a bed of mixed greens. Using blood oranges makes me feel like I just bedazzled my salad.  I whipped this up for a quick lunch and took it to work, eating with some leftover salmon. It totally made feel like I was on vacation in the tropics and not sitting inside an office cage in the middle of winter peering out a tiny jail-sized window. Womp womp.

Hrmmm….note to self…get a hammock for my office….and more winter citrus!

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad (adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters)

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 cups of mixed salad greens, washed and dried
  • 2 Blood oranges
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Divide the salad greens evenly among four plates.
  2. With a sharp knife, peel the rind from the blood oranges down to the flesh. Slice in thin rounds. Divide the orange slices evenly among four plates.
  3. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Sprinkle the inside lightly with salt. Inside the skin, slice the avocados in 1/4-inch slices. Carefully scoop from skin and divide the avocado slices evenly among the four plates.
  4. In a small lidded jar, add vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake well. Drizzle the vinaigrette lightly over each salad. Store leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.