November 19, 2012

Italian Chopped Salad

It turns out that last month wasn't my last Secret Recipe Club post. Seems I was a month ahead of myself, which in my crazy, hectic life never happens.

B.K. (before kids) I was an on-the-ball kinda gal. I mean, I never forgot things, or misplaced things. I managed to remember to comb AND style my hair each morning. Really, I was pretty amazing. 

Now, not so much. Now, there are days when I never brush my hair, forget my sweet friend's birthday and simply not show up to some place where I'm supposed to be! *Gasp* I have become one of those people. 

I used to think my life was busy when I had a career, while rehabbing a house, volunteer work, bible study group, and dating. Ha!

Silly me. Now I now the define the word busy.

For those of you out there without kids, have pity on people like me. Know that we are still in there somewhere and will (hopefully) re-emerge when the college years are upon us.

My scattered brain managed to produce another Secret Recipe Club treasure in time for today's deadline. I'm very proud not to have dropped this ball. I have unearthed a delicious chopped salad recipe. This one is very Italian and very delicious. (Sandy, you would even appreciate it.) It comes by way of Authentic Suburban Gourmet.

Lisa blogs from the sunny San Francisco Bay Area. She has a ton of delicious recipes, but what I was really intrigued about was her photography. Either she has subbed out the photography to a pro, been replaced by an alien expert photographer, or worked her tail off learning how to take better photos. I'm not sure which, but it is incredible to see the transformation of the photos on her blog. Just search "chopped salad" and you'll see some examples of what light can do for a photo. Not to mention her food styling. Her stuff just looks beautiful. Lisa blogs exemplifies how we can each improve our skills. Maybe there is hope for my mommy's brain after all.

This chopped salad recipe is from “The Mozza Cookbook” from famed chef, restaurateur and cookbook author, Nancy Silverton. I made a few changes like adding black olives and purple cabbage (because it is so much cheaper than radicchio). Be sure to check out Lisa's recipe if you like detailed instructions. And she has those beautiful photos to go with it.

The key on a chopped salad is to chop most everything in uniform sizes. That way you get a little of everything on your fork at the same time. Delicious!

Italian Chopped Salad
from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

1/2 sm red onion, chopped
1/2 sm head iceberg lettuce, cored and chopped
1 sm head purple cabbage, cored and chopped
1 pint sm sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1⁄2 c garbanzo beans
1 c chopped black olives
4 oz aged provolone, chopped into sm pieces
4 oz salami, chopped into sm pieces
1/4 c banana peppers, chopped
2 tsp salt
1⁄2 c oregano vinaigrette
1⁄2 lemon juiced, plus more to taste
toasted pine nuts (see note at bottom)

Combine the onion, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, olives, provolone, salami, and pepperoncini in a large, wide bowl. Season with salt and toss to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, then toss gently to coat the salad with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon juice or vinaigrette if desired. Pile the salad on a large platter or divide it among individual plates, piling it like a mountain.

Oregano vinaigrette
2 1⁄2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, 1 smashed and 1 grated or minced
1⁄2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 1⁄2 c extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake vigorously. Use the vinaigrette or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to three days. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature, whisk to recombine the ingredients, and taste again for seasoning before using.

UPDATE: I actually tried this salad withOUT the lettuce and it was amazing that way and keeps longer since there is no lettuce to wilt. The general consenses was that it would make an amazing pasta salad! And toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top, take this dish to the next level.

November 17, 2012

Gingerbread Latte

I posted about this beauty back here, but some of you have asked for the specifics of this recipe, so this one is for you. Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. Make a big batch of the spiced milk and keep it in the fridge. When company comes, warm some up in a pot on the stove, brew the coffee or espresso and combine the two in mugs. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Voila! You have a fancy drink in just minutes and you look like the Hostess with the Mostess (as Mom would always say).

Gingerbread Latte

1 cup milk (I use skim)
2 Tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (which is basically mostly cinnamon with ginger, cloves and nutmeg added) I just add a little of each, never measuring
1/2 tsp ginger (for that gingerbread flavor)
1 c strong brewed coffee or espresso

Brew the coffee. While brewing, get out a glass measuring cup, the kind you use for liquids. Measure the milk and then add the sugar and spices. Put it in the microwave on high for 1 min - 1:30. You want it hot, but not boiling. When the coffee is brewed, combine your coffee, spiced milk and vanilla in a large mug. You can top it with whipped cream and cinnamon if you want to go over the top, which I of course did!

Alternative method: Triple or quadruple the recipe and combine milk, molasses and spices. Heat and stir. Cool. Store spiced milk in a jar in the fridge until you are ready to use. When you want a latte, brew the coffee or espresso and heat up the spiced milk and combine for as many servings as you need. 


November 16, 2012

Apple Pie Smoothie

Perfect fall goodness in a cup. It's a guilt free apple pie smoothie. All of the flavor and sweetness of an apple pie, but healthy enough to drink after a run.

I made this one up because I like to drink a smoothie after working out, but I didn't have any fruit other than apples laying around. I have never blended a whole apple, only apple juice. Turns out the fiber makes it pretty filling. The kids tried it the next day and loved it, so we have a new smoothie in the rotation. I wonder how it would work as a popsicle in the summer?

We had these wonderful apples that we picked in Ellijay at our favorite stop: R&A Orchards like we have in previous years. This year was pretty hard on the harvest. Warm crazy weather will reek havoc on an orchard. All of the apples were dropping right off the trees and the Georgia Apple Festival hadn't even occurred! We managed to pick a few and of course I bought bags and bags of "seconds", which are perfectly good apples in my opinion. I made a bunch of applesauce, but no apple butter this year. I was going to make Apple Pie Soup and that's where the revelation came in - ah ha - I could make a smoothie with apples. Apple Pie Smoothie! 

Apple Pie Smoothie
1/2 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
2 c vanilla almond milk 
1 scoop protein powder, optional
ice cubes

Put it all in a blender and whir into a creamy smoothie. 

{Almond milk is a new product in our household and we have enjoyed it. I like it because it keeps much longer than cow milk. I used Silk brand almond milk, pictured here and it's already sweetened, so I didn't add any sweetener to this smoothie. You could use milk and add honey and almond or vanilla flavoring if you like.}


November 3, 2012


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