A stroll through the farmers market!




A few weeks ago I was walking through the open-air market just going crazy over the most amazing and abundant vegetables. I started to buy things up and my friend said that he would make more salads if he only had some good recipes. I was a bit stunned. Well, just throw some mix greens, spinach, or lettuce in a bowl. Toss with whatever fresh veggies you like. You can make a simple dressing with lemon juice, olive oil salt and pepper. Or a simple dressing of garlic, Dijon mustard, red vine vinegar and olive oil. He looked at me puzzled. I realized that growing up for most of us we had iceberg lettuce, flavorless tomatoes and Wishbone Italian from a jar. We are living in such a great culinary time! The massive amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. I can only stress; use your imagination. I am a total veg-head and I am big on mixing anything in a salad. I love mixing colors, textures and flavors. I love adding apples. pears and grapes. I always make dressing, but there are some very fine bottled dressings in the markets now. I have given some of my best dressing recipes as well as some salads. Feel free to mix and match and make them your own. So go out and make an adventure in your produce section and then get out your favorite large bowl and have a salad party!

Honey Mustard Dressing
1-cup plain nonfat yogurt
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Combine yogurt, honey, mustard & cider vinegar in a jar. Tighten lid & shake until blended. Chill 30 minutes before serving.

Peanut Wasabi Vinaigrette
1/4cup rice vinegar
1/4-cup canola oil
1/4-cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Wasabi Paste
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves fresh minced garlic

Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine. Let stand for 45minutes.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
6-tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup Olive Oil
Fresh Ground pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and let stand for one hour.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Buttermilk Balsamic

1 bunch asparagus
1 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 eggplant
1 red pepper, seeded
2 ears corn
1 small jicama, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch arugula
1 head romaine
Salt and pepper

Lightly coat asparagus, zucchini, squash, eggplant, pepper and corn with olive oil.. Heat cast iron grill pan over high heat. Grill vegetables until tender. Toss arugula and romaine leaves with jicama and Tomatoes. With buttermilk balsamic dressing e in a bowl. Arrange on platter and top with grilled vegetables. You can top with ground pepper, shaved Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.

Buttermilk Balsamic Dressing

3 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup Balsamic
1-cup olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients until well mixed. Let Stand for one hour.

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Gwen’s Caesar
In small bowl whisk together-
1 egg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-tablespoon anchovy paste

Then add,
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Up to 3 cloves of garlic to taste
2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a steady stream add
1/2-cup olive oil
2 cups canola oil

If you would like, add a few shakes of pepper or a dash of Tabasco sauce. If you like a stronger flavor or are not keen on the anchovy paste, a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce works wonders.
Fill a large salad bowl with lettuce. The traditional Caesar lettuce is Romaine. I like to add spinach and radicchio for flavor and color. Mix in croutons (see below) shaved or grated Parmesan and then toss in the dressing. Go lightly the worst Caesars are the ones that are over-dressed. Taste as you go. For variation you can add cherry tomatoes or toasted pine nuts, both are tasty and add a little pizzazz.
Truly, you can use any kind of bread, seasoning and oil. I will give you the basic, but again – go for it and make it your own.
1 baguette (long loaf of French or sour dough bread)
Olive oil to coat
Pinch of Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Slice baguettes into quarter inch slices. Place in large bowl. Toss with oil until well coated. Add salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet in single layer rows and bake at 350 until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

The Cobb Salad

Another one of the culinary legends is The Cobb salad. It is hard to believe that something so wonderful could have been so carelessly concocted, but I guess that is the gift of creating. It seems that in the 20’s at the super hot, super trendy Hollywood hangout The Brown Derby manager Bill Cobb was board. The menu consisted of mainly heavy grilled meats. He really wanted a “light meal!!!!” so he tossed some things into a bowl!!!! I can’t even imagine a “light salad” consisting of bacon cheese and avocado. While there have been many variations mine stays pretty close to the original. And of coarse you can add or delete any thing you like.

1 large or 2 small heads of romaine, finely chopped
2 heads of Boston lettuce, finely chopped
1 bunch of watercress, finely chopped
1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled
3 ripe avocados, chopped
3 pounds chicken breasts, poached, and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1-bunch scallions, sliced
2 shallots, minced
1-cup red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cups olive oil
1 cup Blue cheese, finely chopped

In a large salad bowl toss together the romaine, Boston lettuce and watercress. In a small food processor mix shallots, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a slow stream, mixing until the dressing until it is emulsified. Pour into a bowl and stir in blue cheese. Pour it over the lettuce, and toss the salad well.

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