Category Archives: Salad Dressings

Spring Has Arrived…

 

Photo May 12, 12 28 05 AM BUFFET

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size

Hi Everyone,

I have been very, very busy the past few weeks so instead of sharing a tablescape today, I wanted to share some springtime recipes with all of you. 

 Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast and it is glorious to finally have some nice weather. Spring makes me want to open all the windows and welcome in the fresh air. What a pleasure!

I am waiting for all the farmers markets and road stands to open. I love going to farm stands and buying fresh produce straight from the fields. Fresh is best and I want to support the local farmers.

I also buy all my organic herb plants from the farms. This year I am growing a larger herb garden than last year because it seems that I am constantly buying herbs in the grocery store only to have them last a few short days.

Last year we planted basil and parsley but this year I am branching out to add rosemary, sage and thyme.

As we all know I have a brown thumb (I killed the bamboo), so Bob will have to take over the garden. I will still be the chef.

To welcome spring and this lovely weather for the past few days, I decided to make a quick weeknight “Springtime Buffet” for Bob and I with some fresh veggies. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary night.

(Once you read the recipes, you will notice that they are all fairly easy). 

I started with one of my favorite salads, an Italian caprese salad which is layers of alternating tomato slices with fresh mozzarella, basil, some olive oil and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I have this salad all spring and summer.

Photo May 12, 12 28 11 AM CAPRESE SALAD

I made two additional salads for the table, one is a very refreshing carrot salad with pineapples and raisins.

I have been making this four ingredient salad for years. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe from. When I visit my son, I have to remember to bring a container of carrot salad because it has always been a favorite of his. The secret is using fresh topped carrots and not the carrots pre-packaged in bags. Fresh carrots are so much sweeter.
Photo May 09, 7 59 24 CARROT SALAD ING.

Photo May 12, 12 34 03 AM CARROT SALAD

The second salad was a tossed salad of mixed greens with the addition of radishes, cucumbers, fruit, nuts and cheese. I make my own salad dressing with lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, garlic & oil and I will include that recipe at the end of the post.

It is officially spring when I start using one of my favorite pieces for spring and summer. A galvanized wheelbarrow that I use for salad. Purchased last year in my home away from home, Pier 1.

 It just puts me in the mood for gardening and springtime.

Photo May 12, 12 29 54 AM SALAD

The main entree for this buffet was a vegetable quiche.

The quiche was filled with yellow squash, green zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. You can add any combination of veggies you want as long as you use the basic recipe. I change the filling all the time depending on what I have in the veggie bin.

I did not have enough time to “attempt” to make my own pie crust ( making homemade pie crust is not my specialty), so I used a frozen organic pie crust.

Photo May 09, 3 18 14 PM VEGGIE QUICHE ING

I always sprinkle a layer of fine bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie crust just in case your filling is too wet  (the mushrooms give off liquid). The bread crumbs will prevent the crust from getting soggy.

Photo May 09, 6 50 53 PM BREADCRUMBS

I find the best bread crumbs for this job are the organic bread crumbs from Trader Joe’s because they are extra fine.

Photo May 12, 3 14 00 AM BREADCRUMBS

All the ingredients are mixed and now the quiche is ready for the oven…Photo May 09, 7 10 45 PM READY FOR THE OVEN

Once our springtime buffet was complete, we enjoyed eating this meal outside on the patio. I just love when we can dine al fresco.

(Although in Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail and not eating outside. Very shocked when I heard that bit of information, but we aren’t in Italy.)

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Photo May 12, 12 29 07 AM VEGGIE QUICHE

I hope that some of the recipes today inspired you to try something new.

Give them a try and find a new favorite, and enjoy the nice weather too!

I’ll be back soon with a new tablescape…

Photo May 12, 12 31 16 AM FLOWERS

HERE ARE THE RECIPES…

CARROT SALAD

2 bunches topped carrots

1-cup mayonnaise

1/2 pineapple peeled and chopped OR a 14oz can of pineapple tidbits, drained

1/2-cup raisins

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Peel the carrots and grate them in a food processor fitted with the large grating attachment. (if you lay the carrots on their sides in the feed tube, you will have nice long grated strands)

Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the mayonnaise, pineapple, raisins, salt & pepper. Toss well and season to taste. Serve chilled or at room temp.

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FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING

3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 TBSP cider vinegar

1 TBSP mayonnaise

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 tsp sugar 

1 very small garlic clove, chopped OR  1 TBSP minced garlic in a jar

1 cup olive oil

In a food processor, blend all ingredients EXCEPT the oil until smooth…..with the motor running add oil in a stream, blend until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a jar and keep it covered and chilled until serving, yields 1- 1/4 cup

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VEGETABLE QUICHE

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1- 1/4 cup half and half OR heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  •  1- 1/2 cups sharp or mild cheddar cheese OR Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups diced veggies
  • 1- 9-inch unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell OR 2 regular pie shells

COOKS NOTE: I sprinkle a layer of fine breadcrumbs on the bottom of the pie crust in case your filling is too wet, it will prevent the crust from getting soggy.

COOKS NOTE: if you add spinach, buy frozen it’s easier…thaw and squeeze out excess water. Break apart the spinach and add to the ingredients.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium-mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

6-8 servings

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Enjoy Spring!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

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Butterflies….

Diane put this post together for her followers before she went to the hospital for surgery.

She sends her love to all.

She’ll be back soon with new posts.

Butterfly Lunch With the Girls

140213114050-01-monarch-butterflies-restricted-horizontal-large-gallery- BUTTERFLY

At the end of this post I have included some recipes to help you prepare this luncheon including my Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts recipe.

A very easy lunch to pull together and it never disappoints.

 Chicken salad with grapes and walnuts served on a croissant with a green salad and some fruit, and your guests with love it.

Now on to the butterflies…

For those of you who know me well, you know that,

 I Just LOVE Butterflies !

Bob and I have been to many Butterfly Gardens in South Carolina, Niagara Falls and downstate New York. I just can’t seem to get my fill.

To me, Butterflies are a sign from heaven and are good luck.

Here is a photo of a butterfly that landed on my shoulder at one of the events, that I thought for sure was coming home with me because it stayed there for hours; but at the last minute, no such luck.

(Click photos to enlarge)

October 2011 200- butterfly on shoulder

Since Spring is finally here, I am hoping to see more and more butterflies come back to share their beauty. 

I buy so many items in the butterfly theme, that you could say it is another “collection” (just ask Bob). I bought these butterfly dishes many years ago not only because of my love for butterflies, but because I just loved the colors as well. They are simple and cheery and I also love the scallop edge.

2015-04-29 15.15.01 - DISHES A

2015-04-29 15.15.37- DISH B CLOSE UP

Now on to the tablescape...I decided to use these dishes for a very casual “ladies” luncheon that I was having with some friends. You know the type of luncheon I am talking about, a little girl-talk, a little food, A LOT OF DESSERT.

2015-04-29 18.07.39- INTRO TABLE

Since the colors are so bright in the dish, I wanted to keep the rest of the table bright too. I chose a lime green tablecloth and napkins with simple clear napkin rings. 

2015-04-29 15.16.28=- NAPKIN

and then decided to use my orange woven placemats with a lime green charger plate.  

2015-04-23 12.39.26 -PLACEMAT AND CHARGER

For the glassware I chose bright aqua goblets.  All of these colors together gave the table a sort of a Tropical feel and very upbeat.

2015-04-29 15.23.28- AQUA GOBLET

I continued with the bright color scheme using my very bright yellow flatware.

2015-04-29 15.19.48 - FLATWARE

Along with the chicken salad and fruit, I wanted to have a special dessert to go with the usual cake, so I bought cupcakes and topped them with edible sugar butterflies and some colorful crystal sugar.

Between my love of butterflies and love of setting a tablescape, I was so excited to find baking cups with a butterfly design while browsing in Michael’s Arts and Crafts that I just had to buy them.  (I was so delighted with this find that I think I lost my breath for a few seconds in the store).

2015-04-29 14.08.24- BAKING SUPPLIES

The colors on the baking cups match the butterfly picks that I will be using in the centerpiece. It’s the little things that make me happy.

2015-04-29 18.07.05 - EXTRA BUFFET WITH CUPCAKE

I brought out one of my favorite items that I own, individual glass cupcake holders. I wanted to display the cupcakes at each place setting during lunch.

The sugar butterflies are so delicate, you can hardly tell them apart from the baking cups.

2015-04-29 15.55.44 - CUPCAKE CLOSE UP

2015-04-29 18.09.18- CUPCAKE WITH HOLDER

I had to give this centerpiece a little thought because I didn’t want it to be too high so I couldn’t have a conversation, or see my guests over the centerpiece. After shopping around the house (in this case the garage), I spotted some colorful flower pots that pick up the colors of the dishes.

(Remember, shop your house first).

2015-04-29 18.13.10 - EXTRA TABLE

I planted a few marigolds in each flower pot that would be bright and low enough for conversation. A few silk butterfly picks added to the flower pot and this would work perfectly. The centerpiece would be done.

2015-04-29 18.04.37 - CENTERPIECE

I chose marigolds because they are a hardy plant and since I have a “brown” thumb and kill every plant (except the bamboo-that is still alive), I figured I will have a good chance that they would last until the luncheon was over.

Of course I had to keep the theme going, so I scattered a few more silk butterflies on the table as table confetti…. I made the confetti from garden picks that I just cut the wire stem off of.

2015-04-29 16.08.02 TABLE CONFETTI

 and I wore my Butterfly scarf to the luncheon (I told you I love butterflies).

2015-04-29 20.32.29 - BUTTERFLY SCARF

Now I am ready for my guests.

2015-04-29 18.06.26 - BUFFET

Place Setting

2015-04-29 19.22.10 - PLACE SETTING

Tablescape Details

Tablecloth and napkins from Linens and Things

Butterfly dishes from Caldor (yes, I know, I am showing my age)

Orange placemats from Homegoods

Lime charger plates from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Yellow flatware from Christmas Tree Store

Aqua goblets from Pier I

Butterfly baking cups from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Butterfly picks from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Butterfly table confetti from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Edible butterflies from Amazon

Individual Glass Cupcake Holders from Kohl’s by Artland Aspen

Butterfly scarf from Lord & Taylor

Flower Pots from the garage…

Marigolds from Lowes

Thank you for letting me share with you my love of butterflies and one of my favorite dinnerware sets. I hope you enjoyed the butterfly tablescape.

(Don’t forget the recipes below)

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Diane

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Recipes

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

2015-04-23 12.09.07- FRUIT SALAD AND CROISSANTS

Serve this chicken salad on a croissant along with a green salad and some fruit,

 (PLUS a lot of dessert of course).

2015-04-23 12.09.24 - FRUIT SALAD

Below is a photo of what the chicken salad looks like when all combined.You could also serve it on a bed of lettuce.

2015-04-23 12.28.31- CHICKEN SALAD

Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise (or ½ mayo & ½ plain Greek yogurt)
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
5 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Salad
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4-cup walnut pieces, toasted (or any nut of your choice)
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Method

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a baking dish with 1/2-cup water or chicken broth. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until completely cooked through.

Remove cooked chicken breasts from pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

When the chicken is cold, dice into bite-size chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in walnuts, grapes, celery and dressing. (I told you this was easy)

Enjoy !

I hate the look of salad dressing bottles on the table when you are having guests; so I always dress the salad right before serving.

The recipe below is very basic and I always gets compliments. Nice accompaniment when putting goat cheese and fruit in your salad too. 

Little tip: If you have a hard time cutting goat cheese, use dental floss.

Homemade Salad Dressing for a Green Salad

Ingredients:

3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

1 TBSP mayonnaise

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 tsp sugar (equal to 4 packets)

1 very small garlic clove, chopped or 1 TBSP minced garlic in a jar

1 cup olive oil

Directions:

In a food processor, blend all ingredients EXCEPT the oil until smooth…..with the motor running, add oil in a stream, blend until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a jar and keep it covered and chilled until serving, yields 1 1/4 cup… you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your liking.

 Some of my butterfly photos over the years..

October 2011 066- BLOG 1October 2011 091 -BLOG 2October 2011 092- BLOG 3October 2011 130- BLOG 4.

Myrtle Beach 2008 309- BUTTERFLY 1

Myrtle Beach 2008 429- bUTTERFLY 2Myrtle Beach 2008 635- bUTTERFLY 3