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TIP OF THE DAY: Salmagundi On A Platter

Grilled Chicken Salad Platter
[1] Salmagundi #1: a “hodgepodge” of dinner salad ingredients.

Marinated Red Onions
[2] Marinated red onions. These are so tasty, you may want to quadruple the recipe.

Yogurt Salad Dressing
[3] Making the dressing.

Icelandic Provisions Skyr
[4] The base of the dressing.

Steak Salad
[5] Salmagundi #2: steak salad.

Nicoise Salad

[6] Salmagundi #3: Lobster Niçoise salad. Photo #4 courtesy Icelandic Provisions; all other photos courtesy No Crumbs Left).

 

A little salad history: Since man first gathered wild greens, before the invention of fire*, mankind’s hominim ancestors ate what we call salad greens.

Fast forward to ancient Greece and Rome: Salads—defined as mixed greens with dressing—were a common dish on the table.

The Romans had many salad varieties, quite a few of which differed little from present-day ones: a selection of raw vegetables with a dressing of some sort.

That dressing was oil, vinegar, and often brine. The brine actually gives salad its name:

The key ingredient of salad, as opposed to raw vegetables (crudités), is the dressing. Our name for the dish derived from Vulgar Latin herba salata, literally, salted herb.

Dinner salads, as they are called today—a salad with proteins (cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, steak) as the entrée—were popular during the Renaissance, and continued to be refined.

By the early 17th century in England, composed salads (not tossed but laid out in a pleasing way) comprised cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers and dressed with oil, vinegar and spices [source].

They were called salmagundi, from the French word salmagondis, meaning a hodgepodge of widely disparate items. In English, the word came to mean a mixture or assortment. Here’s more on salmagundi.

MAKE YOUR OWN SALMAGUNDI

When we received the following recipe from Icelandic Provisions Skyr, developed by No Crumbs Left, we looked at it and thought: dinner salad ingredients look so nice served family-style on a platter. Salmagundi, anyone?

Thus today’s tip: Get out your platters and serve family style when appropriate—and not just salads. Food looks so much more festive on a platter than passing around bowls of sides, or serving everything pre-plated (known as Russian-style serving). With a platter, people can take exactly what they want.

RECIPE: SALMAGUNDI PLATTER

Since this is salmagundi, you can use whatever ingredients you like. The recipe is just one of endless combinations: Any “hodgepodge” works.

Pick vegetables and fruits as they come into season, vary the dressings, take inspiration from global cuisines. You’ll eat healthfully and never be bored.

The ingredients and instructions that follow start with the final assemblt. Recipes for the components should be made before cooking the chicken. (We saved time with pre-cooked, boneless chicken breasts from Trader Joe’s—well seasoned, ready to slice, and our favorite time-saver).

Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1/4-1/2 cup marinated red onions (recipe below)
  • 2 roasted chicken breasts, see recipe below
  • Potato crisps (recipe below)
  • 5 ounces baby romaine lettuce, or your favorite greens
  • 1 cup parsley (we used half parsley, half basil)
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced (the photo shows watermelon radishes)
  • 6 pepperoncini
  • 12 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 bunch green grapes
  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • Sliced fruits and vegetables
  • Skyr dressing (recipe below)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ASSEMBLE the salad, arranging the greens and herb(s) on a platter. Add the sliced vegetables and fruits. Add the marinated onions (don’t worry if the marinade comes along with them) and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve the dressing on the side, or drizzle it over the platter.

    RECIPE: TANGY SKYR DRESSING

    Skyr (pronounced skeer) is similar to yogurt, but has a slightly different recipe and more protein. Here’s more about skyr.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain skyr
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons water to thin, if needed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the mint in a bowl; whisk to combine.

    2, ADD the the mint and stir. For a thinner consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.

     
    RECIPE: MARINATED RED ONIONS

    Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Thinly slice the red onion. Place the slices in a container and top with the oil and vinegar. Add the dried oregano. Cover and let sit at room temperature to marinate for at least an hour.
     
    RECIPE: ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS

    Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Rub every crevice generously with olive oil, then sprinkle with plenty of kosher salt and black pepper. Bake for about 35 minutes, then brush the top of the chicken with the juices. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to brown the tops. Remove from the oven. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice.
     
    RECIPE: POTATO CRISPS

    Ingredients

  • 2 russet potatoes or 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch circles and place in a bowl with the oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Coat each potato slice evenly.

    2. PLACE the slices evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, remove, flip, and return to the oven for 15 more minutes. Repeat this step until the edges are brown and crisp and the inside of the potato is soft.

    ________________

    *The oldest unequivocal evidence of man-made fire, dated to 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, was found at Qesem Cave in Israel. It was used at different times by both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. However, archaeologists have discovered what appear to be traces of campfires that are 1 million years old, with charred animal bones and ashed plant remains. These fires were found in South Africa’s Wonderwerk Cave, a site of early hominin, and later human (Homo sapiens) habitation dating back two million years [source].

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Ingredients For Summer Tacos

    Summer Chicken Tacos

    Fish Mango Tacos

    Chicken tacos with radish and avocado. Here’s the recipe from Heather Christo. [2] Fish tacos with mango. Here’s the recipe from How Sweet It Is.

     

    The 2017 summer solstice falls on Wednesday, June 21st at 12:24 A.M. If you’re having a midnight dinner tonight, you can officially have summer tacos.

    What are summer tacos? Tacos with lighter ingredients: chicken, fish and vegetarian instead of beef; summer vegetables used as garnish or in vegetarian tacos.

    Bonus: These ingredients are more bountiful in the summer; hence, better priced.

    Here are 12 ingredients to add to your tacos:

    1. Basil. While it’s available year-round, fresh basil in a Caprese salad is the aroma of summer. Add some shredded basil to the taco or mix chopped basil into salsa. If you’re near a farmers market, pick up different varieties: lemon basil, opal (purple) basil, etc.

    2. Beans. Add beans and/or grilled tofu to a vegetarian taco. Use black beans, or think outside the conventional box of beans.

    3. Chives. For a subtle onion flavor, consider some chopped chives. We often add chopped red onion; but in the hot weather, chives are a lighter alternative.

    4. Corn. Use fresh corn kernels as a topping. You don’t need to cook them. Or, make corn salsa.

    5. Eggplant. While not the most obvious addition to a taco, it makes a delicious vegetarian taco and also pairs well with chicken and fish. Grill it and add it. For a vegetarian taco, combine it with summer squash and beans.

    6. Fish. Most Tex-Mex restaurants use frozen tilapia, a lower-cost fish (better restos use mahi-mahi). After you fry it and add the garnishes, who notices? We notice! During the summer, better fish are available in larger quantities; thus the price goes down. Treat yourself to black sea bass or striped bass, grouper, hake, mahi-mahi or red snapper (if you like strong fish flavors, we recommend bluefish, usually a bargain). Enjoy the fresh fish flavor with grilled—not battered and fried—fish.

    7. Jalapeños. Pickle your own: Slice them and add to a jar with brining liquid to cover (one part white vinegar, one part water and a big pinch each of salt and sugar). Add garlic or other spices or aromatics (e.g. diced onion). Then cap the jar, shake to blend, and keep in the fridge.

    8. Mango and pineapple. Dice and use them as a sweet contrast. We like mango as is, and the pineapple grilled.

     
    9. Radishes. This spicy veg adds crunch to the taco. Check farmers markets for heirloom varieties.

    10. Summer squash. Zucchini and yellow squash, also available year-round, are at their best in the summer. Chop them raw, add grilled zucchini to chicken and fish tacos, make squash salsa.

    11. Tomatillos. These green orbs—not related to tomatoes—are the base of salsa verde. You can add them raw, sliced, to the taco, or make your own salsa verde. Simply husk the tomatillos, give them a light char on the grill or under the broiler, and toss them into a food processor with cilantro, sliced jalapeños, salt and lime juice.

    12. Tomatoes. They’re at their best and least expensive in summer. Treat yourself to heirloom tomatoes. Diced or sliced, they make a big difference over the bland plum tomatoes used year-round.
     
     
    These ingredients will make better Taco Tuesdays, for sure!

    Tonight we’re having black bean, grilled zucchini and corn tacos. How about you?

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Circular Plating, Trending With Chefs

    Often, what makes the familiar exciting again is presentation. We love this circular plating trend, exemplified by these three salads and a main course.

    You can use the technique for any course that goes onto a plate.

    For the past couple of years, we’ve noticed the trend creeping up among creative restaurant chefs. It’s not just salad, but seafood, vegetable plates, meats and desserts.

    You, too can think outside the middle of the plate. It just takes a few minutes more to arrange food around the periphery, as opposed to putting it in the center.

    So what’s in the center of the plate?

    It could be cheese, croutons, dressing, sauce, spices, whipped cream…or nothing.

    Start today with your dinner salad!
     
     
    DESIGNING A CIRCULAR SALAD

    For salad, there’s always a choice of greens; but look to contrasting shades and textures. Don’t be afraid to add fresh herbs.

    Add at least two color elements, red (beets, berries, cherry tomatoes, grapes, radishes) and yellow or orange (beets, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, egg quarters, mango).

    Use an interesting vinaigrette, i.e., made with infused olive oil or vinegar.

    Serve the salad with plain crostini or garlic bread (crostini with garlic butter).

    If you want to serve a monotone salad, like Caesar salad, use a bright-colored plate.

    Take the same approach with non-salad courses.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: EAST MEETS WEST SALAD

    This circle of flavor from Pakpao Thai in Dallas combines east (mint leaves and dressing) and west. It’s hard to see, but the white in the center is whipped mozzarella. We didn’t have time to practice froth it to perfection, so we used whipped ricotta.
     
    Ingredients For The Salad

  • Asparagus
  • Baby radishes
  • Red onion
  • Mint leaves
  • Watercress
  • Wheat berries
  •  
    For The Mint Vinaigrette (6 Servings)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  •  
    For The Cheese

  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella*
  • 1 cup of half-and-half or light cream*
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Crostini

  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Other seasonings as desired (garlic salt, dried herbs)
  • ________________

    *Substitute 1 pint ricotta for the mozzarella and cream.
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crostini. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange the baguette slices on two baking sheets; brush both sides with oil. Season with salt and pepper and other seasonings as desired. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through until both sides are golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets.

    2. MAKE the vinaigrette. Combine the mint and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes; then strain into a large bowl, pressing on the leaves to extract all the liquid. You should have about 3 tablespoons of liquid after straining. Add the oil, vinegar, honey and salt; whisk until well combined. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days in a container with a lid, so you can shake it prior to dressing the salad.

    3. PREPARE the salad ingredients: Wash and trim as desired. Arrange on individual plates. Place the whipped cheese in the center of the plate (we used ramekins).

    4. DICE the mozzarella and place it in the bowl of a blender or food processor; or use a deep mixing bowl with an immersion blender. Blend into a froth and mix in the zest. Add the lemon zest at this stage.

    5. SHAKE and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve with the crostini.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: SPRING TO SUMMER SALAD

    This recipe comes from one of our favorite creative chefs, Eric B. LeVine. Here, the classic salad made with frisée, blue or goat cheese, apples or pears, and walnuts or lardons is plated in a circle.

     

    Circular Salad

    Circular Salad Plating

    Avocado Mango Circular Salad

    Plain Crostini

    Braised Chicken

    Strawberry Sorbet

    Pumpkin Custard

    [1] Recipe #1: a fusion salad from Pakpao Thai in Dallas. [2] Recipe #2: a frisée, apple and blue cheese salad from Chef Eric B. Levine. [3] An avocado-mango salad from Chef Eric B. Levine, with frisée, onion, tomato, yellow split peas (chana dal) and lemon oil dressing. [4] Crostini from Martha Stewart). [5] Braised chicken and eggplant with garlic chips, from Chef Eric B. Levine. [6] You could put sorbet, fresh fruit, fruit sauce and bits of tuille in a bowl, or you could plate it like this dessert from The Art Of Plating. [7] Pumpkin custard topped with a wreath of meringues, two types of cake crumbles, whipped cream and droplets of pumpkin seed oil, by Chris Ford| The Art Of Plating” target=”_blank”

     
    When stone fruits come into season, switch from apples and pears to nectarines, peaches or plums.

    We wanted some bitterness, so we added baby arugula.

    Ingredients

  • Apples or stone fruits, sliced
  • Red or purple grapes, cherries or strawberries
  • Blue or goat cheese
  • Frisée
  • Optional: baby arugula or watercress
  • Chile almonds (toast whole almonds with chili powder)
  • Apple vinaigrette
  •  
    For The Apple Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

    2. PREPARE and arrange the salad ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Martini

    Mashed Potato Bar

    [1] Who can resist a mashed potato bar (photo courtesy Betty Crocker)? [2] Use whatever dishes you have for the toppings. They don’t have to match (photo courtesy Hormel Foods).[3] If your guests can cope with glass, use your Margarita and Martini glasses (photo courtesy Hormel Foods). [4] Keep the potatoes warm in a slow cooker (photo courtesy Tip Hero).

     

    Whether you like to grill for Father’s Day or prepare everything in the kitchen, a fun, interactive addition to the festivities is a mashed potato bar.

    Our dad loved our cold green bean salad. With a bowl of that, and a cucumber salad or a special slaw, the only other side you need is the mashed potato bar.

    It’s a treat for guests to customize their toppings. For you, everything can be prepared ahead of time, including the potatoes, which are kept warm in a slow cooker or other device.

    Don’t want potatoes? Substitute mashed cauliflower.

    PREPPING THE MASHED POTATOES

    Make the mashed potatoes with or without skin, using your choice of red, white or golden potatoes.

  • Use a tried-and-true recipe.
  • If you like to load up the groaning board, offer mashed sweet potatoes as well.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker to keep the potatoes warm, use aluminum foil pans with steam warmers underneath. For a fancier event, use chafing dishes. If you don’t have any of these, see what you can borrow.
     
    MASHED POTATO BAR TOPPINGS

    DAIRY

  • Butter
  • Cheeses: blue, cheddar goat, parmesan; crumbled, grated or shredded
  • Sour cream, plain Greek yogurt
  •  
    PROTEINS*

  • Bacon
  • BBQ pulled pork
  • Chili
  • Sausage, sliced mini pepperoni or crumbled whole sausage
  • Anything else you like
  •  
    SEASONINGS

  • Prepared seasonings
  • Salt and flavored salts
  • Heat: dried chipotle, hot sauce, red chili flakes, peppermill
  •  
    VEGETABLES

  • Onions: caramelized, onion rings, sliced scallions
  • Mushrooms, sautéed
  • Steamed medley: broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc.
  • Tomatoes: diced fresh tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped sundried tomatoes
  •  
    TOPPINGS

  • Cheese sauce (if you can keep it warm)
  • Corn chips
  • Fresh herbs: chives, dill, shredded basil, parsley
  • Gravy
  • Olives
  • Sliced jalapeños
  •  
    PARTY ON!
     
     
    MORE DIY FOOD BARS

  • DIY Bacon Bar
  • DIY Bloody Mary Bar
  • DIY Breakfast & Brunch Bar
  • DIY Dessert Bar
  • DIY Jambalaya Bar
  • DIY Stuffed Avocado Bar
  • DIY Taco & Wing Bar
  • DIY Wedge Salad Bar
  • 20 More Food Bars
    ________________

    *Assumes beef and chicken are main courses from the grill.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Gluten-Free Quiche With A Potato Crust

    Gluten Free Sausage Quiche

    Idaho Red Potatoes

    Caramelized Onions

    [1] Sausage and caramelized onion quiche with a gluten-free crust of hash brown potatoes. [2] Idaho red potatoes (both photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). [3] Caramelized onions. Photo courtesy Pompeian | Facebook.

     

    May 20th was National National Quiche Lorraine Day. We make a quiche every year, to celebrate the holiday. (In our college days, quiche was all the rage and we made several a week.)

    There are numerous types of quiche, but we’ve never seen one as imaginative as this gluten-free recipe from Jennie Phaneuf of One Sweet Mess for the Idaho Potato Commission.

    This quiche, packed with sausage and caramelized onions, has a crust made from hash brown potatoes, making it gluten free. You may enjoy a potato crust even more than a gluten-free flour crust.

    You can also try a cauliflower crust and pack in some brassicas. Here’s a recipe.

    You can serve quiche at breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or as a snack with wine or beer. In France, it is often served as a first course with dinner. In the U.S., it’s more common to serve it as a light entrée with a green salad.

    Spicy sausage, sweet caramelized onions, and creamy blue cheese get combined with fluffy eggs and baked to perfection.

    If you don’t like blue cheese, substitute gruyère.

    Instead of purchasing ground sausage, we bought Bilinski chicken sausages (pick your flavor), removed the casings and crumbled the meat.

    RECIPE: SAUSAGE & ONION QUICHE WITH A HASH BROWN POTATO CRUST

    Ingredients
     
    For The Crust

  • 5 medium red Idaho potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grate the peeled potatoes and add them to a large bowl. Cover the potatoes with cold water and allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes. While the potatoes are soaking…

    2. HEAT a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat as you go, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the sliced onions. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the onions and stir to combine.

     
    Continue to cook until the onions are amber in color and caramelized, stirring often, about 35-40 minutes. If the onions begin to over-brown, turn the heat down to low. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside (you can add them to the same bowl as the sausage). While the onions are cooking…

    4. DRAIN and rinse the grated potatoes. Press down on the potatoes to remove as much of the water as possible. Transfer the potatoes to a clean tea towel and pat them dry with paper towels.

    5. ADD 4 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the grated potatoes. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine. Press the potatoes into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.

    Using a thin metal spatula, lift up on the bottom of the hash brown to release them from the pan. Flip and cook on the other side for 8-10 more minutes. It’s okay if the hash browns don’t flip perfectly; just arrange them back in the pan and continue to cook. While the hash browns continues to get crispy…

    6. ADD the eggs and half-and-half to a large bowl; whisk to combine. Gently season with salt and pepper, because the blue cheese is salty. If you’re using a less salty cheese, you can add more salt.

    7. TURN off the heat. Arrange the sausage and onions evenly over the hash browns. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese over the top, and then pour the eggs over the entire mixture. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through and the center is set.
     
     
    MORE DELICIOUS POTATO RECIPES
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POTATOES

     
      

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