Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways!  I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

 

Ingredients

For the Salad:
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block of halloumi, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

For the Dressing:
  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It’s going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
  2. When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
For the Salad:
  1. Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
  2. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
  3. Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Soup

In another round of my second favorite kitchen game*, clean out the fridge roulette, I was lucky enough to come up with a winner! I am sure I am not the only one to do it, but sometimes you buy some vegetables and then kind of forget about them for a week or two. I always feel awful if I don’t rediscover them until after the use it or lose it stage, but luckily I found a kind of wilted bunch of broccoli, a cauliflower that was about to cross to the dark side and some lonely looking carrots.

I like to let my onions get nice and brown (preferably caramelized) in most of my soups, so I diced up the onion and shallot and threw them on first thing. I let them get soft and caramelized while I chopped and washed the rest of the vegetables. I don’t mind my veggie soups having a bit of a bite in them, but if you prefer a softer or more blended soup, you might want to add the carrots with the onions so they get super soft. I added them after the onions were well softened and thought they came out perfectly. Truth be told, I used less stock than usual (3 cups instead of my usual 4) because that what I had left on hand and didn’t feel the need to open or make more. This resulted in a much thicker, almost chowder-like soup, which was delicious and filling.

I topped my soup with a sprinkle of cheddar, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of dill. After tasting the dill with the soup, I wish I had added some to the main recipe. Next time!

* – my favorite kitchen game is Don’t Cut a Finger While Cutting Onions, but I’m really not all that good at that.

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Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 large head broccoli
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and shallot and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, broccoli, spices and 3 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 10-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. The broth will not totally cover the vegetables but don’t worry- stirring will be enough to ensure the cauliflower cooks through.
  3. Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the cauliflower mixture until desired consistency is reached. (If you are using a regular blender, you will probably have to do this in batches so pour the blended soup into another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, stir in the cheese and serve.

Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad

No April Fool’s here! Just good food! My cousin posted the most delicious looking salad on Instagram last week and I was beyond jealous. Most of my family lives in Ireland, so with the time difference they are posting delicious looking lunches and dinners right when I wake up. Since checking Instagram is (shamefully) the first thing I do every morning, I get to start drooling over planning delicious meals right away. Luckily my cousin also mentioned the name of the restaurant in her picture and I was easily able to stalk the menu and find out more about this delicious meal. I read the description and was almost instantly in love.

Prosciutto, Pear & Parmesan Salad
Prosciutto ham, fresh rocket, toasted pine nuts,
sliced juicy pear and grated aged parmesan
with a strawberry and balsamic dressing.

I had everything on hand and set about making this bad boy right away. I took a few liberties of my own (NO pine nuts here! Yuck!) and had to imagine what the dressing might be like, but the end result was beyond anything I could have imagined. I think this the perfect type of salad for this time of year. There is a great combination of sweet winter and spring fruits, which are amazing with the salty prosciutto and the toasted almonds add a perfect crunch. And the very best part! It took less than ten minutes to put together!

Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad

Apart from switching disgusting pine nuts for almonds, I had to guess what kind of dressing was used. Personally, I am not a fan of oily or sweet vinaigrettes, so when I came across this recipe from Whole Foods, I thought it would be perfect! I added some chia seeds to the dressing for some extra nutritional value. This dressing is best made with strawberries that have been sliced for a bit (so they can get kind of sweet and syrupy in their natural juice) or strawberries that are over ripe (like the day before you might have to toss them).  Strawberries like that will be the juiciest and sweetest, which will cut the need for added sweeteners or oil.

 

Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients

For the Salad:
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1 ripe, but firm pear, sliced (I used a Bartlett)
  • 4 large handfuls arugula/rocket
  • 3 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • a block of aged parmesan, for grating
  • freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
For the Strawberry Balsamic Dressing:
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chia (or poppy) seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In a food processor combine all the ingredients for the dressing and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Wash your arugula and place in large bowl. Add dressing and toss until well mixed (I used about 1/3 cup). Add almonds and grate parmesan to taste. Toss again.
  3. Place arugula on large serving platter, top with prosciutto and pear slices. Add salt, pepper and parmesan to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Fromage Fort

Hi Fromage Fort, I'm your newest fan. #cheeseoverload

I doesn’t look like much, but I cannot even begin to put into words how amazing this is. Amazing! That’s all I can say. I was faced with the awkward situation of having a whole bunch of cheese, but not enough to make a legitimate cheese plate. You know that awkward spot where you’ve had a wine and cheese night and there is some cheese leftover, but not really anything worthwhile. It’s always a dark day. There are just tiny bits of that, something with a bit of a rind, some soft stuff that was kind of sad looking, a tad of blue begging to find a second chance. I poked around the internet for a bit and thanks to the magic of Google, I discovered the most glorious way to  save the cheese! Fromage Fort! You can’t really go wrong with the combination of cheese. I used some blue, Boursin, goat, brie and parm. Delicious.

Serving wise, baguette, crackers, even some crudités would be great to serve with this. I used toasted gluten-free bread. If I had been by myself, I probably would have just used a spoon.

Final word of advice, get on this. Stat!

Fromage Fort
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mix leftover cheese, harder cheeses grated, softer ones cut into chunks
  • A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
  • 1-3 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen. Let sit out for a few minutes to slight soften and make serving easier.

 

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Pickled Onions & Dill Vinaigrette

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Pickled Onions & Dill Vinaigrette

At the beginning of my summer break I managed to squeeze in a few quick trips to visit some friends. A long, relaxing weekend in San Francisco and a quick cross-country jaunt to Washington, DC.  I first had this salad at Granville Moore’s on H Street. It was a delightful start of a delicious meal.

DC was hot and humid (aka gross), but the muggy weather helped to make this salad even more enjoyable. The icy cold watermelon is perfect anytime during the summer, but paired with the peppery arugula and crunchy pickled onions it was even sweeter and more delicious.

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Pickled Onions & Dill Vinaigrette

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Pickled Onions & Dill Vinaigrette

For the Pickled Onions:

    • 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
For the Vinaigrette:
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad:
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon, well chilled
  • 1/2 cup pickled onions (drained)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste

Instructions

  1. Start preparing the onions. Whisk first 3 ingredients and 1 cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Drain onions before using.
  2. Next prepare the vinaigrette. In a food processor, combine the oil, vinegar, dill weed, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard and pepper. Blend until smooth, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  3. When the onions and vinaigrette are ready, prepare the salad. Arrange the arugula and spinach on a serving platter. Scatter the pickled onions over the top, followed by about half of the crumbled feta, then the watermelon cubes, and finally the remaining feta. Use a spoon to drizzle dill vinaigrette over the salad immediately before serving.

Red, White & Blue(berry) Quinoa Salad

Red, White & Blue(berry) Quinoa Salad

I think this salad is a perfect for any 4th of July picnic or barbecue. Not only are the colors fun and spot on for the holiday, the ingredients are absolutely fantastic together! The salty blue cheese, earthy quinoa and sweet blueberries each bring great flavors that manage to complement each other perfectly.

I used balsamic raspberry vinegar, which unfortunately muddled the color of the quinoa and blue cheese a bit. I know if I used a little vinegar (white wine, cider) the color would be perfect. I also found the raspberry balsamic to be a bit too sweet for my personal taste. The tangy blue cheese helped tone it down slightly, but I think I would try a less sweet vinegar next time.

Red, White & Blue(berry) Quinoa Salad

 

Red, White & Blue(berry) Quinoa Salad
Adapted from here.

For the Dressing

  • s5 Tablespoons balsamic raspberry vinegar (or vinegar of choice)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 8 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  1. Before cooking the quinoa, soak it in some cold water (about 20 minutes) to rinse off some of its natural bitterness.
  2. Add quinoa and broth to small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, mix the dressing together and set aside.
  4. Add the blue cheese, chives and place this in with all the blueberries into a large bowl.
  5. Once you drain the quinoa, cool it off till it is slightly warm or room temperature and pour the raspberry vinaigrette and mix that through.
  6. Let the quinoa cool down some more before mixing in the cheese, blueberries and chives (otherwise your blue cheese will melt.)
  7. Gently fold in raspberries before serving, being careful not to smush them.

Lemon & Feta Dip

Lemon & Feta Dip

My wonderful mother had this dip at a dinner party a few months ago. She raved about it. I decided to make it for  my book club meeting shortly after that and we all raved about it. This dip is fantastic. I served it with veggies and crackers, but I think there are endless possibilities for serving it.

The only minor change I made was upping the number of garlic cloves from one to three, but I’m crazy like that. I made this dip ahead of time and let the flavors get all happy together. I left off the last drizzle of olive oil until serving time. If you do make this dip ahead of time, make sure you give it at least 30 minutes to sit out at room temperature so it is of dip consistency and not a brick of feta.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my baking set giveaway! You have until July 1 to enter!

 

Lemon & Feta Dip

 

Lemon & Feta Dip
Recipe from Sweet Paul.

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil+ extra for serving
  • Fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Place feta, lemon zest and juice, garlic and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Serve with grilled tomatoes and grilled pita bread drizzled with olive oil, salt and thyme.

 

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Back when I was living in Budapest, there was this amazing Greek restaurant that I loved to go to. It was right on Danube and had a wonderful patio during the summer and was nice and cozy in the winter. At the time I was also a pescatarian and trust me when I say it can be a challenge to find tasty vegetarian options in a land full of szalámi and gulyásleves. (I never quite understood where fish in a landlocked country came from, so I either didn’t question it or steered clear completely.) Between good veggie dishes and an excellent wine list, it was one of my favorite places in Bp.

I have really had a hankering for Greek food recently. Unfortunately nearly every dish I could think of involved pita or phyllo… While attempting to make gluten-free phyllo dough sounds like a wonderful challenge, unfortunately I just don’t have the time or patience to attempt it.  Being the resourceful type that I am, I took a look around the kitchen and decided to improvise. I made the executive decision that corn tortillas would make a perfect substitute (might sound strange to some, but corn tortillas are a staple in these parts, plus they are gluten-free and are very handy for holding/transporting food).

Spanakopita quesadillas were the perfect (gluten-free) fix for a Greek craving. Not authentic by any stretch, but the flavors were there and they were so, so, so easy to make. I threw in a few chopped kalamatas for fun and I served up these quesadillas with some delicious tomato pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic) and some Greek yogurt mixed with dill and a few spices in an attempt to make a totally illegitimate tzatziki. I do kind of , sort of, like tzatziki, but cucumber in general makes my skin crawl, so plain Greek yogurt and dill, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice was the perfect compromise.

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. First make the ‘mock’ tzatziki. Combine Greek yogurt, dill, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is heated add onion and cooking until translucent and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Add oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until mixed.
  3. Next add the baby spinach. Stir to coat and cook until spinach has wilted.
  4. Remove pan from heat and put the spinach mix into a bowl or plate and set aside. Wipe down the pan return to medium heat and spray with cooking spray (you can use a new pan, but why do more dishes?). Place one tortilla in the pan and heat. Flip over when warmed and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top the cheese with half the spinach mixture, 1/4 cup of the feta and half the olives.
  5. Place another tortilla on top, spray lightly with cooking spray and use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over. Cook until the tortilla is warmed through and slightly crisp, about 3 minutes.
  6. Repeat with the other tortillas to make a second quesadilla.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Soufflés

Double Cheese Souffles

This was my first attempt at making soufflés and I must say I was quite impressed. I know I have had soufflés in the past, but I only remember them being in dessert form, so I really had no idea what was going to happen once I closed the oven door. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The texture was wonderful, really light and airy with just a little bit of crisp from the top crust. I really like that you could taste the goat cheese in every bite as well.

I think for this recipe to be a success, a scale is going to be necessity. I absolutely adore my small little kitchen scale and it’s definitely one of the most worthwhile investments I’ve made in a kitchen accessory. At the time I didn’t have any one cup ramekins to bake these, so used half cup ramekins instead. I have since found bigger ramekins at Ikea for next to nothing, so next time I will try the bigger cup.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Soufflés
Adapted from BBC Good Food.

  • 25g/1 ounce butter
  • 25g/1 ounce flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 250g/8.8 ounces soft goat’s cheese , crumbled
  • 50g/2 ounces Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 250ml/1 cup milk
  1. Heat the oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Butter 4 x 250ml/1 cup soufflé dishes. (I used 8 half cup ramekins.)
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for a minute or so. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time to make a thick sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the floury taste.
  4. Stir in the cheeses and chives then add 4 of the egg yolks, season generously and mix well.
  5. In a clean bowl, whisk all the egg whites until they are stiff and form soft peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture and pour into the buttered soufflé dishes.
  6. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the soufflés are risen and golden.

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad

I’m absolutely in love with this salad. Just writing about it makes me want to make it again. Even though it is still the middle of winter in most places, I’ve been on a huge salad kick thanks in part to our wacky weather (it was 80F/27C here over the weekend and now it’s cold and rainy…). This might be the perfect balance of light and salad-y and filling and hearty, which makes for a pretty good winter salad. The flavors in this salad combine perfectly. Every bite had the perfect balance of sweet, savory and tangy. I would preferred to use fresh apricots, and even though we are lucky enough to be getting in the start of our summer fruits here in Southern California, I just couldn’t find any fresh ones up to snuff. Dried worked just as well, but I personally like the fresh version over dried. I actually thought that the turkey was kind of lost in this salad. I would have enjoyed it just as much with out.

In theory this salad should be pretty quick to make. It’s easy enough to make if you are using regular bread and pre-cooked/leftover turkey, but since I like to make things difficult, that’s not the route I went. I made gluten-free focaccia and poached turkey tenders. Neither really took that much time at all, but definitely a little more work than the original recipe, but nothing over the top. You could still make this as a delicious weeknight meal even if you have to take a few extra gluten-free steps. It might be a bit strange to see bread as a major ingredient in a gluten-free salad, but I really liked how the [Chebe|http://www.chebe.com/] Focaccia worked. They reminded me of the croutons I used to make from ‘real’ bread many moons ago.

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.

  • 2 cups gluten-free focaccia bread, torn into bite-sized pieces (I recommend Chebe)
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, cut in thin slivers
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Cracked black pepper (optional)