Tag Archives: salad

Recipe: Thai-Style Seven Flavor Salad


After nearly two weeks of juicing fruits and vegetables for breakfast and lunch and eating vegetarian meals for dinner, Rem and I went our for Thai food on Friday evening and ate a yummy appetizer that inspired this dish. At Thai Smile in San Rafael, the dish is called MIANG KHAM (Spinach Wraps).

Instead of a bowl or plate of salad this is assembled in small lettuce leaves and eaten out of the hand like a mini lettuce taco. Each person assembles a wrap with the seven different ingredients, plus the chutney to pull it all together. It is very flavorful.

I used lettuce leaves instead of spinach and cooked shrimp meat instead of dried shrimp. Peanuts were replaced with almonds, but only because I didn’t want to buy a large bag of peanuts.  Either would be great. It was a refreshing supper on a hot summer evening.


I also cheated by using chutney for the sauce, but it was fairly similar to the sweet, gingery sauce we enjoyed the other night.

I’m going to offer suggested amounts for two servings, but to be completely honest, I didn’t measure as I was making this. So feel free to ad-lib and adjust as you see fit.

Thai-Style Seven Flavor Salad

2 baby gem lettuce, leaves pulled apart and washed and dried on paper towel or in lettuce spinner

1/3 lb. cooked shrimp meat

about 1 cup dried shredded coconut, toasted in a dry pan until a bit brown, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn ( I got plain, unsweetened shredded, dried coconut at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts or almonds (I used rosemary and salt Marcona almonds – yum!)

1/2 lime with peel, thinly sliced, each slice cut into about 6 small squares

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very small dice

2 inch piece of green onion, finely sliced or chopped

1/2 jalapeno chili cut into very thin slices, than cut those in half or quarters

1/2 to 3/4 cup of chutney

Arrange all ingredients in small bowls or in piles on a platter.  Each person assembles their own individual wraps.


The coconut and almonds or peanuts are crunchy, the chili, onion and ginger add their own zing and the lime is bright and tart. The dried shrimp we had in the restaurant was kind of chewy and salty.  But for our summer dinner (with half an avocado on the side), the cool, sweet shrimp were delicious.


In my #30DayJournal project today, the prompts asked about how I bring creativity into my life, and experimenting with recipes is one of the ways I do that.


Thank you for stopping by (sorry for the early draft that went out by mistake to my subscribers).


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Everyone’s Irish on March 17


Shamrock’s at Muir Woods.

Here’s a little round-up of some of my previous green-themed posts.  It includes links to recipes – just click on the underlined headings.

Rem and I had our St. Patrick’s day dinner a little early over at my mom’s, and enjoyed a sodium-nitrate-free corned beef from Whole Foods.  Happily I have enough leftovers so I could leave some for mom and still have some for tomorrow night’s dinner.

This is a a post about Roasted Root Vegetables which is how I did the vegetables we had this year.  The corned beef and cabbage cooked in the slow cooker.

Root Vegetables

These two salads are both green and both delicious: Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado

Baked Feta with Greens & Avocado

And Emerald City Salad with nutritionally dense kale and chard, brown rice, fennel, apple and craisins.

Emerald City Salad

A pre-spring hike in early March 3 years ago was the source of some pretty green pictures.


This last post includes a recipe of Irish Soda Bread, a redhead, and a lovely blessing.

Irish Soda Bread

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


Filed under Cooking, Crafts, Life

Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Salad

Saturday lunch: Chicken Taco Salad.

On most Saturdays, after walking with my sister and the pups, I take Molly back home and fix lunch for my mom and I.  I come up with something from what I find in her fridge – usually some variety of salad.

This week, we were still celebrating Mom’s birthday. Since there were five of us for lunch, I wanted to fix something special.  I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman.  I’d also made this dry rub the day before (from Smitten Kitchen) and I had some of the spice mixture left over, so decided to use that on the chicken.

This isn’t really going to be a recipe.  Check out those links if you want more specifics.

Ingredients Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Salad

lettuce – I used Green Leaf

boneless, skinless chicken breasts (two would have been enough but this package had three)

taco seasoning or dry rub mixture

1 can of beans or corn, rinsed and drained (better yet, use fresh corn, as in the Chicken Taco Salad on The Pioneer Woman site)

A bunch of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 avocado; peeled, seeded and cubed

red bell pepper, diced

green onion, thinly sliced

grated cheese

cilantro, roughly chopped

tortilla chips


sour cream


BBQ Sauce (I was using homemade, but bottled is just fine)

fresh lime juice (use half a lime for juice, the other half cut into wedges for garnish

Cooking Chicken Breasts

You want to get the chicken cooking.  Pat the pieces dry with paper towel than sprinkle with seasoning.  Spray pan with nonstick spray and cook on medium heat until cooked through (cut into a piece to check for doneness).

Shred the lettuce and put into a large serving bowl then just keep adding the other ingredients.

bowl of lettuce

Building the Salad

Once your chicken is cooked, cut it in strips and then into cubes.

Chicken Breast

Add the chicken to the bowl and toss together.  I like to serve the tortilla chips separately so they don’t get soggy.  I had the cilantro on the side because some people don’t like it. But it can be added to the dressing or tossed in the bowl with all the other ingredients if you prefer.

Taco Salad

For the dressing, combine about a half cup of sour cream, a few spoonfuls of salsa, a splash of barbecue sauce and a squirt or two of lime juice in a jar and shake to combine.  Put in a small serving bowl and let everyone dress their own serving of salad.

Chips can be combined in with the salad (my choice) or eaten on the side.

Serving of Taco Salad

Thank you for your visit.


Filed under Cooking

Cold Noodle Salad with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Cold Noodle Salad

Our weather has been hot for a few days now. Yuck.  I don’t do well when I’m too warm and the last thing I want to do after work is get even hotter cooking dinner.

Main dish salads are perfect for this kind of weather and this salad from Smitten Kitchen is a delicious combination of cool, crisp vegetables, a bright, tangy lime marinade, juicy grilled chicken thighs, skinny noodles, creamy ginger-peanut sauce and a scattering of herbs and crunchy chopped peanuts on top. It is colorful, flexible and loaded with flavor.

I went with a wider selection of veggies than in the original recipe.  This salad is my little salute to Pride with a rainbow of vegetables.

Pride Veggies

The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for rice noodles and the first time I made it, I used them.

With Rice Noodles

I didn’t find them at Safeway yesterday and I think I like it even better made with Angel Hair pasta.

Plate with Cold Noodle Salad

I cooked the pasta this morning while it was still cool and I was fixing my breakfast and lunch.  I lucked out when Rem said he would take care of the other cooking part: grilling the chicken.  He prepared the two sauces (the marinade is made from part of each) and got the chicken soaking up the flavor when I was at work. Then it was a matter of him cooking the chicken while I chopped vegetables for a cool, delicious dinner.

As I mentioned before, it is a flexible recipe.  I think the vegetables in the original recipe are a wonderful combination: carrots, cucumbers and green onions, but my additions of bell peppers, mung beans and cabbage worked beautifully.  Use what you like and have.  Little sticks of jicima would be good, for example, or some blanched green beans.  I added fresh corn kernels, cut off the cob, to my lunch salad today and it was delicious.

My biggest changes to the original recipe were a reduction in the Asian fish sauce, omitting the fresh chiles, and increasing the vegetables.

Cold Noodle Salad with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 servings


Sweet and Tangy Sauce
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

5 tablespoons brown sugar

juice of three limes

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

Creamy Peanut Sauce
1 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

juice of two limes

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and grated or minced (or thinly sliced if you make the sauce in a blender or small food processor)

6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon water

Pinch of cayenne

Chicken and Noodle Salad
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)

8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or Angel Hair pasta

2 small cucumbers, cut in half the long way than into 1/4 inch slices

2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne

1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 small yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 cup shredded red cabbage

1 cup bean sprouts

A handful of basil or mint or cilantro sprigs.  I love it with all three, but you can use your favorite.

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts

Bowls of Topping


Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar.

Make the peanut dressing: Combine ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until blended.  Or, you can use a blender or small food processor, leave the peeled ginger in thin slices, and puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce.

Marinate the chicken: Stir together 1/2 the Sweet Tangy Sauce and about  1/3 the Cream Peanut Sauce in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook the noodles: For rice noodles: bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; taste to check if noodles are done). Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.  For Angel Hair pasta: Cook according to package directions (about 5 to 7 minutes) and drain when al dente.  Cool under running water.

Cook the chicken: Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Or broil about the same time. I’ve made this twice and the first time I chopped up the chicken prior to serving. Last night it looked so tasty with the grill marks, I left it whole to serve and just cut it up on the plate

To serve: Arrange the noodles and vegetables in a bowl or on a platter, put the chicken on a serving plate, and the green onions, herbs and chopped peanuts in small bowls.  Each person can assemble the salad to their taste: first a nest of noodles than top with veggies and a splash of the Sweet Tangy Sauce.  Top with chopped chicken and drizzle on the Creamy Peanut sauce.  Scatter with green onions, herbs, and chopped peanuts.

(Or, if you are Rem, skip the noodles and vegetables entirely and make the grilled chicken into a sandwich with Creamy Peanut sauce).

Thanks for the visit.

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More for Mom

Here are a few more ideas for Mother’s Day from past posts.

A beautiful, rose-covered Mother’s Day Hat Card.  The tutorial has lots of pictures, directions for making the swirled paper roses and a template for the hat card.

Mother's Day Hat Card

Last year, I made a Mother’s Day Butterfly Card: a bouquet of stamped and cut out flowers with a vellum butterfly embellishment.

Butterfly Card

A Glass Tile Pendant would make a pretty gift.  Consider a photo in place of decorative paper used in this project.

Glass Tile Pendant

Speaking of  a photo, these Glass Marble Magnets use just that – and what mom (or grandma) wouldn’t enjoy a set of magnets for the fridge with photos of her kids or grandkids?

Glass Marble Magnets

The classic Mother’s Day treat is breakfast in bed.  In bed or at the table, these Buttermilk Lace Pancakes are beautiful and delicious.

Lacy Pancake

If Mom wants to sleep in on her day, she should be allowed that luxury.  Serve her Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado Salad for lunch instead of breakfast.

Baked Feta and Avoado Salad

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars are easy to make and would be a nice make-ahead for either breakfast or a treat later in the day.  A flexible recipe means lots of yummy possibilities when making these oat bars, loaded with dried fruit and nuts.

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars

Thank you for stopping by.


Filed under Cooking, Crafts

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Shamrocks, Sea Ranch, March 2011

Daffodils, Filoli

Daffodil, Filoli, Spring 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread (recipe here)

Fennel Fruit Juice

Fennel Fruit Juice (recipe here)

Emerald City Salad

Emerald City Salad (recipe here)

I’ve been humming this Irish Blessing in my head today and send it out to all of you and your loved ones:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

And may the rain fall soft upon your fields.

Thank you for the visit.


Filed under Cooking, Life

Emerald City Salad

On vacation in Seattle I had a version of this salad from a store called PCC Natural Market.  I’ve been eating lots of kale and chard but usually cook it  (and occasionally juice it) so having it raw in a salad was new for me.  The PCC recipe has ribbons of kale and chard mixed with wild rice, fennel, bell pepper and green onion in a lemon/olive oil dressing.  It was very good but I wanted to tweak it a bit.

I switched brown rice for the wild rice, though wild rice is great if you want to splurge on it.  I added some apple and dried, sweetened cranberries for a little bit of sweetness and celery for more crunch.  I also omitted the garlic from the dressing and reduced the green onions.  A little toasted sesame oil in the dressing enhances the nutty quality of the brown rice.  The resulting salad is delicious and colorful.  It is perfect for a potluck as it makes a lot.  It also holds up better than most green salads.

It is loaded with healthy ingredients and might be just what you’re craving after a weekend of turkey, stuffing and pie.  I think it could be the perfect fall salad and with a little leftover turkey on the side would make a very nice lunch or supper.  I like to make a big bowl of it on Sunday and enjoy it for lunch throughout the week.

Emerald City Salad


2 cups cooked brown rice (I use Trader Joe’s frozen, microwavable brown rice or their Rice Medley which is a combination of Brown Rice, Red Rice and Black Barley).  You can, of course, start with raw rice and cook it according to the package directions.

1/2 half bunch of kale (about 7 ounces before trimming)

1/2 half bunch of Swiss chard (about 7 ounces before trimming)

1/2 a large fennel bulb

1 red bell pepper (or half of a red bell pepper and half of a yellow bell pepper)

1 apple

2 stalks celery

2 green onions

1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, such as Craisins


1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijonnaise, Dijon or other mustard (I love Dijonnaise by Best Foods aka Hellman’s – it is a creamy blend of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and I use it all the time in salad dressing and on sandwiches)

1 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper to taste


Remove the tough stems and ribs from the kale and chard.  You can grasp the leafy part in one hand and kind of zip the stem down with the other.  Lacinato or Dino Kale is pictured below though I more often use Curly Kale.

Stack and roll up the kale and chard leaves and cut into thin ribbons.

Thinly slice the fennel.  Dice the bell pepper and apple.  Slice the celery and green onion.

In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, kale, chard, the vegetables and the apple.  Add the dried cranberries and toss together.

Put the olive oil, toasted sesame oil, about 3/4’s of the lemon juice, Dijonnaise, sugar and salt and pepper in a jar.  Close the lids and shake well to combine.  Taste and adjust with the remaining lemon juice, additional olive oil, Dijonnaise and/or salt and pepper as needed. (I like it quite lemony and mustard-y with the kale and chard, but others might prefer it on the milder side). Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until greens are well coated.

Salad will improve if it sits at least an hour in the fridge once it is dressed.  Adjust seasoning before serving.  This salad keeps well but I found it needed a little more lemon juice after being in the fridge for a day.

Serves 6 to 8

Thanks for the visit.


Filed under Cooking

Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado Salad

This is a delicious salad and I only wish I could give you a taste.  I’m afraid my photos don’t capture the combination of flavors and textures that has my mouth watering at the memory.  But you really should just go on faith here and make it.

The salad is a wonderful balance of crisp, creamy, crunchy, rich, and salty dressed with fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

I saw the salad on The Hazel Bloom and had all the ingredients so I gave it a try.

It is made up of mixed greens topped with avocado and a zesty spritz of lemon.  That is than top with feta cheese that has been baked along with some torn bits of bread that have been drizzled with olive oil.  The resulting melty-warm feta and crispy bread crumbs are what really take this salad from good to I-want-it-again-now wonderful.  A grind of black pepper and you are ready to eat.

Note: I’ve made this for myself twice and I just cut the recipe in half.

Baked Feta with Greens and Avocado Salad

Serves 2

2 oz. feta cheese (I love Pastures of Eden Israeli feta, available at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup crusty bread torn into small pieces

2 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cups mixed salad greens (your favorite combination from the Farmer’s market or an easy bagged salad from your local grocery store)

1 avocado

juice from half a lemon

black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put the feta in a baking dish and scatter the torn bits of bread on and around it.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is soft and crumbs are toasty.

While the cheese and bread are in the oven, put the salad greens on your serving plate and top with sliced avocado. Squeeze lemon juice over the avocado.

When the feta cheese and toasted crumbs are ready, put the cheese on top of the avocado and scatter the toasted crumbs.  Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the salad and grind black pepper on top.

Now eat it right away so you can enjoy the contrast between the cool, fresh salad greens, and the warm cheese;  the crunchy, toasty bread crumbs and the buttery avocado.


Thank you for coming by.


Filed under Cooking


I love pesto.  I’ve had a few simple variations and I love those too.  Basil + garlic + nuts + cheese + oil is such a winner that I haven’t strayed very far from the classic, but I would probably also be very happy with other versions.

Lucky for me I was walking with my mom a few weeks ago and just when we were going back up the driveway her neighbor said she was cutting back her basil plants.  “Would you like some?”, she asked us.  Before mom had a chance to speak I was through the garden gate.

An armload of aromatic basil and a few heads of garlic later and I knew a batch of pesto was in the making. I’ve since polished off that first batch and made a second one today because I enjoyed the first so much.

Pesto is classically made with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan or Romano cheese, garlic, olive oil and salt.  Some people like and use more garlic.  I didn’t have enough pine nuts so added some toasted, slivered almonds to this batch.  I’ve seen it with lots of oil and less of everything else, but I prefer a thick pesto with lots of texture and lots of all the goodies that make it so delicious. A colleague mentioned a recipe her brother had made with plenty of heavy cream.  Sounds lovely and very decadent.  Here is my recipe.



1/2 cup pine nuts – (you can substitute almonds, walnuts or other nuts for all or part of the pine nuts)

1 to 2 cloves garlic – one good sized clove is plenty for my taste buds

2 to 3 packed cups basil leaves – basil in the store and farmer’s market comes in all different size bunches and to make a batch of pesto you will probably need 2 or 3 bunches.  My first batch probably had 4 cups of leaves.

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup olive oil

salt to taste (the saltiness of the cheese and your own personal preference will determine how much salt you add – taste first and add less than you think to start – you can always add more later but it is difficult to fix if you put in too much in the beginning)* see note further down


I don’t always take the time to toast the nuts but it does add a nice layer of flavor.  The last batch I made was with already toasted almonds.  Toast nuts in a dry pan on medium heat, watching carefully and stirring often to keep from scorching.  They go quickly from not quite toasted to burnt, so keep a careful watch.

Put nuts and peeled garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and process until the nuts and garlic are finely chopped.

Add basil and pulse until the leaves are finely chopped and mixed with the nuts and garlic.

Add cheese and pulse to combine.

With processor running, add oil in a steady stream, stopping to scrape down sides of processor bowl a few times as needed.

Taste and if desired add salt and pulse to combine.

Note about salt: I made a batch of pesto recently and put salt in with the nuts in the beginning.  Not a great idea.  The particular brand of Parmesan cheese I had was very salty and when I took a taste of the finished pesto it was extremely salty!  I didn’t have any more basil but I did have some fresh parsley in the fridge, and more nuts in the cupboard.  I added parsley to the food processor along with another quarter cup of nuts and the results were really wonderful.  It was still on the salty side but it is a sauce that I use often but with a light hand.  This “rescued” batch was really good and was still bursting with flavor.  I couldn’t detect the parsley and I didn’t have to throw out the yummy sauce I’d made.

(I wish you could smell this stuff – it is so fragrant and so delicious!)

The resulting Pesto Sauce should be pureed but with some texture to it.  I understand it freezes well but can’t advise you on that as I just scrape it into a jar and keep it in the fridge, stirring it into pasta, topping pasta and pizza with it and dressing salads and other vegetables with pesto alone, stirred into mayo or hummus or shaking it in a jar with lemon juice and olive oil.

One of summers prodigious growers is zucchini.  I sliced several slender squash from the Farmer’s Market thin using a mandoline slicer from Benriner, than sauteed them and topped the resulting ribbons with fresh pesto.  Delicious.

Thank you for coming by.  Thanks for the ongoing interest and support – this is my 200th blog post!


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Day 10: Vegetable Potato Salad

It was HOT out today.  Salad weather.  Sit in the shade with a fruity, icy drink in your hand and do nothing weather.  Well, as it happened, it wasn’t a do-nothing day.  But somewhere along the way I decided to make potato salad to eat tomorrow.

I went to the Marin County Farmer’s Market this morning with the idea that I was going to take a bunch of yummy photos to make a photo montage.  But it was hot and crowded and most of the the gorgeous fruits and vegetables were in the shade.  I did get a shot of some cherries and updated my blog header.

I also saw some new potatoes and then some green beans and I thought of this recipe.  This is one of those non-recipe kind of recipes.  It is a series of guidelines and suggestions and it’s the kind of dish that never comes out exactly the same but is always delicious.

This is one of my favorite potato salads.  It is a combination of new potatoes and fresh vegetables, some raw and crunchy and others tossed in with the potatoes near the end of their cooking time, cloaked in a mayonnaise-yogurt dressing, and has more veggies than potatoes.  It will make a lovely supper with a deviled egg or two on the side.

Vegetable Potato Salad


About 1 lb. new potatoes

a small crown of broccoli

a handful of green beans (about 5 oz. before trimming, or 1 heaped cup after trimming)

kernels cut from 1 ear of corn

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins.  If large, cut in half.

2 stalks celery, sliced

2-3 green onions, sliced

1 cup frozen petite peas, defrosted

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons dijonnaise

1 to 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt and pepper


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and drop in potatoes.  Cook until just barely tender.

While potatoes are cooking, trim the ends of the green beans and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Trim stem off of broccoli crown and peel, then slice into discs.  Cut broccoli into small florets.

When potatoes are nearly done, drop green beans into the pot with the.  Set timer for 2 minutes.

When time rings, add broccoli to the pot and set time for one additional minute.  When timer rings, pour contents of pot into a colander in the sink.  Run cold water over potatoes and vegetables to cool them down. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, celery, green onions and peas.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into cubes.  Add the potatoes, cooked green beans and broccoli to the bowl.

Spoon Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and dijonnaise onto potatoes and vegetables.  Sprinkle on red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  Stir together to coat salad.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

If you like dill, by all means, add some dill.  Some chopped hard-cooked egg would be good though I like eggs in a different potato salad so have mine on the side, deviled.  I’m sure other vegetables would work too, this is the combination that I find works and I usually have most of the items on hand.  I imagine black olives would be tasty in here.

I also picked up apricots and cherries and can attest to the fact that they taste sublime with Lemon Custard Ice Cream!

Last year the theme for Day 10 was neon and I took a photo of these hot neon flames coming out of a toaster.

Stay cool and thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Cooking