Category Archives: Salads and Salad Dressings

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Summertime means lots of fresh salads.  I like to make my own vinaigrettes because they are not full of preservatives and they are easy to make.

Regular followers of my blog will know that I love the quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils I get from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown, PEI.  I jokingly say I have almost as many varieties in my cupboard as they have in the store!  There are so many combinations of vinegars and oils that each salad dressing is a new adventure and a new flavor.

This evening I decided to make a Rhubarb Vinaigrette because I have a rhubarb patch in my back yard.  Rhubarb pairs well with citrus and I have a bottle of grapefruit balsamic vinegar and one of mandarin orange infused olive oil.  These three ingredients along with some orange juice are the basis for my salad dressing.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

1 cup rhubarb, sliced
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp grapefruit balsamic vinegar
½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small green onion, minced
1 tsp J.J. Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard Sauce
¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ tsp minced or puréed garlic (optional)

Assemble ingredients.

In small saucepan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice. Heat over medium heat and cook until rhubarb has completely softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Let cool.  When cool, use an immersion blender to purée the mixture.

Add the maple syrup, vinegar, lemon juice, green onion, mustard, olive oil, sea salt, and garlic (if using). Stir well to combine.

Serve over your favourite salad. Keep refrigerated in covered bottle for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 cup

For this salad, I used a simple bed of fresh mixed salad greens, slices of pink grapefruit, blueberries, raspberries, red onion, and goats cheese.  I have been growing sprouts this spring so added a handful to add texture, flavor, and appearance to the salad.  A drizzle of the  coral-red colored Rhubarb Vinaigrette added the finishing touch.

The Rhubarb Vinaigrette is very versatile as it can be used on either a fruit- or vegetable-based salad.

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Grilled Peach Salad with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette

We have eaten a lot of salads from our garden produce this summer and I must admit I am starting to get a bit tired of the traditional green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, etc.  The peaches have been divine this late summer so, for a change, I decided to grill them and make a fruit salad on fresh garden greens.

This is a tasty salad with the grilled peaches, fresh blueberries, red onion rings, and feta cheese on a bed of mixed greens.  I topped it off with a peach balsamic vinaigrette made with peach balsamic vinegar and mandarin-infused olive oil from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.

To grill the peaches, I cut each in half, removed the stone, and brushed both sides of the peaches with the mandarin- infused olive oil.  Make sure the grill is greased as well.

On a pre-heated grill (medium-high), the peaches only take 2-3 minutes, each side (use tongs to turn the fruit). Don’t overcook the fruit as it will become too soft and mushy.   Grilling fresh fruit brings out the deep flavor of the fruit and intensifies the sweet taste.  Plus, the grill marks on the peaches, enhance the presentation.

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For salad for two:

mixed greens

2 grilled peaches

blueberries

red onion rings

feta cheese

To make the dressing: 

1/4 cup mandarin-infused olive oil

2 tbsp peach balsamic vinegar

4 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1 green onion, finely sliced

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Shake well.  Drizzle over salad when ready to serve.

To assemble salad:

Make a bed of mixed greens on each plate.  Place sliced grilled peaches on greens.  Add red onion rings.  Sprinkle with blueberries and feta cheese.  Drizzle with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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Grilled Chicken, Strawberry, and Feta Cheese Salad

With warm summer evenings, it’s nice to have a go-to recipe for an easy-to-prepare, light yet filling, entrée.  One of my favorite summertime evening meals is warm grilled chicken served over a strawberry, feta cheese, and green salad and drizzled with a good balsamic vinaigrette.

The option is yours to choose to marinade the boneless, skinless chicken breasts or not.  I usually do and I don’t follow a precise recipe for the marinade but these are the usual ingredients:  brown sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, minced onion, soya sauce, salt, and pepper.  As for quantities of each ingredient, I don’t actually measure them out and add more or less, depending on how many chicken breasts I am marinating.  I make several horizontal cuts in the chicken breasts to allow the marinade to permeate through the meat.  Place the chicken breasts in a ziplok bag, mix together the marinade and pour it into the bag, making sure the entire chicken breasts are covered.  Zip up the bag and place it in the fridge for several hours (I usually aim for between 2 and 4 hours).  Heat up the grill and cook the chicken breasts until they are done.

One of the pleasures of summer is having our own garden.  We eat a lot of salads and there is nothing better than running to the garden right before meal time and gathering a medley of fresh lettuce as well as some herbs from our little herb garden.

Slice the warm grilled chicken breast horizontally into slices about ¼” thick.

Cover the plate with a medley of greens.  Transfer the cut-up chicken breast to centre of the plate on top of the lettuce bed.  Slice up and add some fresh strawberries and red onion rings. Sprinkle with feta cheese and a few nuts such as cashews or sunflower seeds (or both!).  Add a balsamic vinaigrette and voila, a tasty and light dinner.  Serve with baguette slices and a refreshing glass of your favorite white wine.  Here I have selected “flipflop”, a California Pinot Grigio which made a fine accompaniment to a summer salad.

My recipe for the vinaigrette follows.  Of course, you know the secret to a really good vinaigrette – the best quality of olive oil and balsamic vinegar you can find.  Because we have a “Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive” store in Charlottetown, I buy their olive oil and vinegar products because they are superior and fresh quality.

Peach and Mandarin Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil

2 tbsp peach white balsamic vinegar

4 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1 small green onion or 1 – 2 tsp finely chopped red onion

2 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ – 2 tsp sugar, to taste

Freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt, to taste

Mix and shake all ingredients together until well mixed. Drizzle over salad at time of serving.

 

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