Category Archives: Mains

Chopped Salad with Herbs and White Beans, and Honey Shallot Dressing

Thank You so much to Cavit for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.

 

“Can you bring theeeee salad?”; emphasis on the “the”.

When I get this particular request from anyone in my family, I know exactly which pile of greens they are referring to.

…”You know, the one with all of the herbs…and stuff.”

Yes.  I am on it.

I began making this salad a couple of years back when my garden was overflowing with branches of lemon thyme, crawling bundles of mint, and heaps of basil.  I tossed the freshly chopped herbs into a bowl of lettuce, and added them to my go-to shallot salad dressing too.  Those ingredients in tandem with a can of small white beans are the main components of this dish.

From there, you can really go anywhere you wish – but my favorite add-ins are slices of fresh cucumbers and fennel, chopped radishes, and bits of a good quality salami (Although omitting the latter and keeping it vegetarian-friendly is just as satisfying!).  This salad is a complete meal in-and-of-itself; pair it with a loaf of crusty bread and a light white wine  such as Cavit Pinot Grigio and you are good to go.

In fact, there is no better time to enjoy a glass of this variety as tomorrow (Friday, May 26th), has officially been named National Pinot Grigio Day.  From here on out, the holiday will be celebrated every year on the Friday before Memorial Day.  I for one will be raising my glass to the start of summer, and more white wine in my near future!  Cheers!

 

(more…)

Ukrainian Borscht with Potatoes

Thank You so much to Potatoes USA for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.

 

As kids, my sister and I spent many weekends staying with my Polish/Ukrainian Grandparents.  At one point in time, we lived right down the street from them, but to us visiting their house still somehow felt like venturing into another world.

My Grandma being big on tradition and my Grandpa being very much a creature of habit meant that on both counts, our visits rarely deviated from a routine.  On Friday night, we ate dinner at the Polish Home.  There we shared fried fish and large platters of potato and cheese pierogi.  If I was lucky, I got to have a 7-Up too (It was the only time I was allowed to drink soda!).

Saturdays were spent lounging around, reading “The Funnies” (comics) in the paper, and watching my Grandma cook, before heading to church later in the evening.  The dishes that she made were the typical Ukrainian fare, which she grew up with, including golumpki (stuffed cabbage) and borscht (beet soup).  This is her recipe for borscht.

If you have ever searched for a borscht recipe before, then you might know that there are hundreds of variations.  My Grandma thought it necessary to use a sparerib for the flavor that the fat imparts.  If you prefer, you can omit the meat altogether and make a Vegetarian version of this soup as I often do.  You must include the potatoes, however, as they not only thicken the broth, but soak up all of that gorgeous red beet color too!

 

 

(more…)

Creamy Sunchoke Soup

sunchoke-soup-jjbegonia-13

Just as summer turned to a fall, a few of my ladies and I got together for a girls’ night in.

Originally it was intended to be a last hurrah at the lake; a final chance to sit outside and watch the sunset.  We would have a bite to eat here and there, likely with a cocktail in hand.  Over time that plan evolved, and eventually it was decided that each of us would bring an appetizer and a drink to our little soiree.  It would be a potluck sampling of sorts.  At one point, there was talk of a possible contest and judging and a winner for the best pairing – and the accompanying bragging rights of course.  So naturally we all took this very seriously.

What actually ended up happening is that the night we chose to meet was cold and rainy and our beloved sun was nowhere to be found.  Undeterred we all still showed and passed our contributions around in the coziness of the kitchen, which everyone knows is the best place to end up at a party anyway.

We realized rather quickly that we should have agreed on a theme – for the drinks at least – because our “cocktails” ran the gamut from Jell-O shots to full-size Moscow Mules to homemade Irish Cream.  Basically, we created a recipe for a hangover.  If you want to try this at home, have everyone bring a drink using the same kind of alcohol, and dole the drinks out in small-ish standard cups.

Lesson learned.

We had a lot of variety in the food department too.  I must say, it was pretty neat to see how creative everyone got.  For my part, I brought a batch of Stormy Mornings and shooters of this creamy sunchoke soup.  If you’ve never tried a sunchoke (also known as a Jerusalem artichoke) before, it tastes like a cross between an artichoke and an especially rich potato.  In this soup, the flavor takes on a mushroom-like quality; very earthy.  To balance that earthiness, I added a secret ingredient.  Spoiler alert: it’s Prosecco!  I liked the way that it paired with my cocktail, which also included some bubbles.

If you are looking for an excuse to pop a bottle this weekend, or are in need of a little something extra for your Thanksgiving table, either (or both!) of these recipes would be excellent choices!

 

(more…)