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Entries in Salad (4)


Two Summer Salads - Panzanella & Grilled Peach, Prosciutto

Continuing on with the seasonal summer eats, I got invited to a BBQ this past weekend. I took that as the perfect opportunity to make something that would be fun to share on the blog. I decided to go with a classic panzanella because, in my opinion, you can never go wrong with bread, ripe tomatoes, and garlic. And since it was a BBQ I also wanted to try to recreate a salad I recently had at Aperto, an Italian restaurant here in the city. It involved grilled peaches, prosciutto, shaved Parmigiano and a gorgonzola vinaigrette. Need I go on, or do I have you salivating already?

My friend Jen came over Saturday morning to help me and we decided to check out the Alemany Farmer's Market. If you live in San Francisco I highly suggest checking it out. It was substantially less expensive than the Ferry Building, which since moving here 3 years ago, has admittedly been my favorite place to go on Saturday mornings... Nothing against the Ferry Building, perfect for grabbing coffee, breakfast, and taking in a little people watching, but if you are strictly going to shop, Alemany will have you covered and then some.

Jen and I knocked out our list in under 45 minutes, the highlights being: heirloom tomatoes (some really pretty orange and yellow striped ones), purple peppers (which are sadly not purple on the inside), freestone peaches (for only $2!), and an assortment of other goodies. And yes I am a total food dork.

So anyways onto the salads! Look how pretty those colors are.

Click to read more ...


Cilantro Honey Lime Dressing

The other day at work, my co-worker was raving about some cilantro salad dressing she had the night before. Having left over flank steak and a bunch of cilantro in my fridge, I went home from work inspired to try out a new dressing recipe. After scouring the internet for a few minutes, many recipes I found were pretty simple, but I opted for one with a few more ingredients including ginger, lime, and honey. It turned out flavorful with a great balance of sweetness, acidity, spice, and cilantro-ness that wasn't too overpowering for the cilantro haters in the house (I am not one of them!). 

Lime, ginger, jalapeno, and garlic

It also came in perfectly handy that my friend Phuong, who provided the photos taken on the few previous posts, just gave us a citrus juicer as a thank you for our Greek feast we had him over for. Check it out below, it works like magic for lemons and limes!

Limes for juicing

Cilantro Honey-Lime Dressing


            1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

            1 clove garlic

            3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

            1/4 cup lime juice

            1/3 cup honey

            2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

            1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

            1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves

            1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil



Place the jalapeno pepper, garlic clove, and ginger into a food processor or blender; pulse until the jalapeno and garlic are finely chopped. Pour in the lime juice, honey, balsamic vinegar, and salt, add the cilantro leaves; pulse a few times to blend. Turn the food processor or blender on, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated into the dressing. Season to taste with salt before serving.

*I used a tad less honey and a bit more cilantro, so adapt to your personal liking. 

As for my monster salad creation, I included corn, avocado, tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, black beans, Cotija cheese, flank steak, and romaine. Go for whatever you have, but this made for a really bright and delicious mix. You'll have lots of leftover dressing for another dinner too :)


Fattoush & Jewel Rice

Wrapping up the Greek feast here with our two sides. Warning, you have to embrace your inner Julia Child and can't be afraid of butter with this one. Both of these recipes came from Kara's mom and the cookbook she assembled for Kara of the Jancourtz family recipes that she has grown up on. Some from family, some from friends, some from estranged relatives, doesn't matter as long as the food was good, it made it in the book.

So here goes. If you ever want a refreshing Mediterranean salad with fresh veggies, especially in the summer when tomatoes are the best, go for the Fattoush. 


Fattoush – serves 4-6

Copied from Susan Jancourtz

The perfect summer salad to serve with burgers, lamb chops, roast chicken, fried fish—whatever.  It’s basically a big Greek salad with a lot of fresh herbs and crunchy pita bread added.  If you like tabouli, you’ll love fattoush.

On a hot summer day with a glass of iced tea, it’s perfect all by itself.


1 large head romaine, washed, dried, and torn into 1” pieces (don’t use the dark green)

1 English cucumber, sliced into half-rounds ¼” thick

1 large red or green  pepper, cut into 1” pieces

2 large juicy tomatoes, cut into 1” chunks

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives

Optional:  some red onion, sliced thin

4-8 ounces feta cheese (depends on how much you like feta)

2 rounds of toasted pita bread, broken into 1” pieces—about 2 cups

¼ cup each:  fresh parsley, fresh mint*, fresh chives

1 teaspoon fresh oregano


2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

1 small clove garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine the romaine, cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, olives, and crumbled feta in a large bowl.  Toss with half the vinaigrette, then add the herbs and pita croutons and toss again.  Add more vinaigrette as you wish. I actually skipped the romaine since the bowl was full and I thought it was still great.

A note on the herbs:  You can substitute ½ teaspoon of dried oregano for fresh.  But the parsley, mint, and chives must be fresh, or just skip them.  The two essential herbs are the parsley and the mint—use more or less of each one, as you like.   


Tomassian’s Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts – serves 6

Copied from Susan Jancourtz

This is also called “jewel rice”.  Don’t be stingy with the butter—this is already reduced from Sandy Tomassian’s version.  And it’s the butter that makes it so spectacular. 


  • Check your fruits before making the rice.  If they’re dried and hard, you’ll have to soak them in warm water for 15-30 minutes.  Drain before using.
  • If you find dried sour plums, dried sour cherries, or dried mulberries, use a handful of these instead of dried cranberries.  It’s more authentic.
  • Get a mix of colors and tastes in your fruit—orange apricots, burgundy cranberries, brown dates, etc.   Or just use “mixed dried fruits”.
  • You can use nuts of just one kind—almonds, pine nuts, or pistachios.   


1 smallish onion, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice*

3 ¼  cups water plus 2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes

In the same pot in which you’ll cook the rice, sauté the onion in the butter until it’s transparent.  Add the rice and stir for a few minutes, until the rice is coated in butter and just getting a few golden-ish grains to it (don’t brown it.)  Add the water and bouillon cubes (or chicken broth), bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.  Check—if it’s still hard, and no liquid in the bottom, add another 1/3 to½ cup water, cover, and cook another 5 minutes until done.  The rice can wait off heat, covered, for another 20 minutes or so.  

Dried Fruit and Nut Topping 

1 ½  cups mixed dried fruits (golden raisins, currants, apricots, dates, cranberries)

1 stick butter (Okay, maybe 6 tablespoons—but no less)

½ cup whole, shelled almonds (with or without brown skin, doesn’t matter)

1/3 cup pine nuts or pistachios

1 tablespoon butter

Saute the fruit in the stick of butter over medium-low heat until they’re warmed through and tender—5 to 10 minutes.   When they’re almost done, sauté the nuts in the last tablespoon of butter until golden.  (Careful—nuts burn easily.)

Mound the rice on a large platter (or two big dinner plates).  Pour over the fruit and butter, then the nuts on top.   Serve hot.

*You can use basmati (but not jasmine—too delicate) rice in a pinch.  Pre-soak it, and use only about 1 ½ cups liquid.  


Dinner Party: Mediterranean Masterpiece

Last Friday night my roommate Kara and I planned a dinner party for a few friends. As we started menu planning we went straight to Ina Garten for inspiration. We settled on a Mediterranean theme based around her Greek Lamb chop recipe. What followed was a feast we could definitely be proud of. I find that I have the most fun cooking for other people, not only do you get a chance to entertain and come up with creative new meals, but then you get to share it with great friends over a few glasses of good wine.

Since there were multiple dished involved, I am going to break them into a few posts so check back.

The Menu:

Appetizer - Ridiculous Radicchio Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Wrapped in Prosciutto (see below)

Main Course - Greek Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Side - Jewel Rice with Dried Fruit & Nuts

Salad - Fattoush

Sorry, no dessert this time...

Ridiculous Radicchio Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Wrapped in Prosciutto

Inspired by a dish first tried at Chiara Sottile's graduation party

This dish is seriously ridiculously delicious, and while admittedly not Mediterranean, very Italian in fact (hey they are close together right?), Kara and I just had to make this as a starter. You'd be stupid not to eat it, and I'll tell you why.

One of my favorite things to do is spend the day at Casa Provinciale, the nickname for my good friend Chiara's Sicilian family estate. Spending a day in Sonoma with the Sottiles is like being transported back to Rome where Chiara and I first met, where your belly will be fed to the bursting point with fresh Italian food served up by her charismatic Papa, Renato. From the Cypress trees lining the driveway as you drive in, all the way to the espresso and biscotti you polish off before you start your drive back to the city and real life.

Chiara just finished up her Masters in Journalism and had a graduation party at her house before she headed back to NYC, this is where this dish was discovered. Favorite snippet of dialogue from the day, Kara to Renato, "Wow, did you try one of those?" Renato turns to her insulted, "Do I like stupid? I had three of them. The key is to just stand there as they come off the grill and put them in your mouth."

Don't be stupid, make this appetizer!


6-10 Slices of Prosciutto, ripped in half length-wise

1 Head of Radicchio, cut in half from top to bottom

About 6 oz. Goat Cheese, cut into tablespoon size chunks

Olive Oil & Balsamic

Salt & Pepper

Pesto (optional, but highly recommended)


If using wooden skewers, soak them for 30 minutes in water. Tear off the Radicchio leaves, the leafy outter ones work best, and spoon a tablespoon of goat cheese into the end. Roll it up as tight as you can, then wrap the slice of prosciutto around it. Place 3-4 on a skewer. Once done, drizzle olive oil and balsamic over them along with some salt & fresh ground pepper.

Set your grill to medium heat and cook skewers for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side until the goat cheese is warm and starting to melt.

Serve with a dollop of Pesto on top. Having had it with and without, the pesto really makes it dance. But you'll still find yourself grabbing these off the plate without.