Gluten Free Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad

Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad

It’s already getting warm here. We had approximately two days of rain and a maybe four cold-ish (by Southern California standards) days and we are apparently heading right back into summer. I’m not a fan. The only plus side is that I now have a legitimate reason to insist on barbecuing as often as possible. I was all set to grill up a delicious meal the other day and it turned out we had no propane left, which is kind of a major component to using a gas grill. Memo to Self: always check for propane.

The meal was not a total loss because I had made some delicious side dishes to go with the barbecue. This salad is probably going to be in regular rotation over the next few months around here. It’s a very easy to make and very delicious. I originally used white balsamic vinegar in my dressing for this salad, but I honestly thought it turned out a bit too sweet. I think apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar would be a much better match. I used dill in the potato salad because it had a ton on hand, but you could use just about fresh herbs you have on hand. Parsley or basil would be great and I think arugula really would be great too.

Gluten Free Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled red or yellow potatoes
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes, cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and when potatoes have cool enough to touch, cut into quarters and halves (depending on size). Let cut potatoes cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine yogurt, scallions, dill, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooled potatoes and toss to coat.

Chicken Bratwurst with Grilled Mango & Red Onion

Chicken Bratwurst with Grilled Mango & Red Onion

Some might say that grilling season ended yesterday (at least in the States), but quite frankly it’s hotter than hell here at the moment. I have no intention of turning on the stove or oven until this heat wave and gross humidity are over and done. There is something more bearable about standing in front of a 400 degree grill on a hot day than dealing with a 400 degree oven.

I usually don’t buy bratwurst because it’s generally made with meats I don’t care to eat, but I’ve found a delicious chicken bratwurst at Von’s/Safeway. It is gluten-free, no strange meats I don’t like, and it’s extremely tasty. It’s Von’s/Safeway’s own Open Nature brand, which is their store brand of  healthy/organic/natural/etc foods.

The grilled mango and red onion really stood out and brought so much extra flavor to the bratwurst. I combined the mango and onion with a teaspoon of oil, a generous dash of cayenne powder and garlic powder and a dash of lime juice. I think this ‘relish’ would have been delicious by itself, but grilling the mango and onion brought out so much flavor and the spice really complemented that. I topped mine with chili sauce just for a little extra flavor. It was the perfect accompaniment.

I made gluten-free buns from Chebe and then toasted them on the grill before topping them with the brats and grilled mango and onions. I have used Chebe for sandwiches and many other things before, but I never as buns. I was pretty impressed by how they held up to both the brat and to the grill.

 Chicken Bratwurst with Grilled Mango & Red Onion
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.

Ingredients

  • 1 large fresh mango, seeded, peeled, and halved
  • 1 small red onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 package of bratwurst links
  • buns

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss mango and onion with oil, cayenne, garlic, and lime juice.
  3. On grill rack place mango halves, onion, and brats directly over flames. Grill for 8-10 minutes, or until mango and brats are browned and cooked through and onion is crisp-tender, turning once halfway through cooking. Lightly toast buns for 1 to 2 minutes on grill. Set aside mango, onion, and brats.
  4. For relish, chop grilled mango and onion. Serve brats in buns with mango and onion.

Grilled Skirt Steak & Peaches

Grilled Skirt Steak & Peaches

This is another fast meal you can make on the grill instead of in a hot kitchen. The marinade/dressing for the steak is phenomenal. It really brings out the sweetness of the peaches and helps the flavors meld together perfectly. My peaches took a while to grill, so I would suggest putting them on the grill before the meat, which will cook quite quickly. You could easily add the peaches and steak to some lettuce, with a sprinkle of blue cheese and you would have any amazing salad.

Grilled Skirt Steak & Peaches
From Food & Wine

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 peaches, halved and pitted
  1. In a blender, puree the garlic, bay leaf, shallot, jalapeño, lemon zest and juice, soy sauce and thyme until combined. With the blender on, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the canola oil and puree until smooth. Season the marinade with salt and pepper. Pour half of the marinade into a shallow baking dish, add the skirt steak and turn to coat. Let the skirt steak stand for 20 minutes. Add the Dijon mustard to the remaining dressing and blend. Transfer the dressing to a small bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, light a grill. In a small saucepan, combine the water with the honey, cinnamon and ginger and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the peaches.
  3. Drain excess marinade off the skirt steak. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill them over high heat, 6 to 7 minutes, turning once, for medium-rare meat. At the same time, grill the peach halves, turning them frequently, until they are charred in spots and softened, about 8 minutes. Cut the peaches into wedges and thinly slice the steaks. Transfer to plates and serve, passing the dressing on the side.

Texas Caviar

My wonderful friend Amanda moved to Texas not so long ago and being the wonderful friend that she is, she sent me the perfect postcard!

Seriously, more places should sell postcards with recipes on them. Such a cute way to share regional recipes. I love it.

You can totally tell that I live no where near the south. It was so hard to find black eyed peas. Well the canned kind, not the boom boom pow kind. I definitely removed a couple ingredients from this that I am not particularly a fan of, like bell peppers and celery, aka the 2nd most disgusting food on the planet (bananas would be number 1 obvs.). It’s not too late to whip this up as a Labor Day side dish, or keep it in mind for you next barbecue. I highly recommend you do!

Texas Caviar (adapted from Amanda’s postcard)

  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 fresh medium jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 small red onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate 2 hours (or up to 2 days). Before serving, adjust seasonings to taste, adding extra vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve and enjoy!

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad & Some Great Labor Day Sides!

This quick and tasty salad would be a perfect side dish for any barbecue you are attending this coming Labor Day weekend. The broccoli and blue cheese-buttermilk dressing go together so well and the nuts give the salad a great crunch.

If you need any inspiration for Labor Day weekend, be sure to check out these recipes as well:

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad (From Real Simple, September 2011, p. 236)

  • 1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain greek yogurt
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds
  1. Steam broccoli until tender, 5 to 7 minutes; rinse with cold water to cool
  2. In a small bowl, mix together buttermilk, sour cream, blue cheese, scallion, red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Top broccoli with the buttermilk dressing and nuts.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Potato Salad

This salad is one of the prettiest dishes I have ever made. And one of the tastiest too. We had a midweek barbecue for dinner one night this week and I wanted to make a quick and easy salad to go with the rest of our meal. Green salad seemed a little lame, potato salad seemed a little much. This recipe seemed to balance out the two perfectly. The ingredients made for a perfect summer salad.

The potatoes made a great base for the rest of the salad. The corn, tomatoes and arugula just screamed ‘summer!’ to me and were perfect with the vinaigrette and feta. This salad would be perfect for any late summer barbecues you might be doing this Labor Day weekend.

Summer Vegetable Potato Salad (adapted from this Better Homes & Gardens recipe)

  • 1 pound small yellow or red new potatoes, sliced
  • 2 fresh ears of sweet corn, cooked, or 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, sliced or cut into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup fresh arugula leaves, torn
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2-4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In medium saucepan cook potatoes, covered, in enough boiling salted water to cover for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool. Cut corn from cob. On large serving platter arrange the potatoes and tomatoes. Sprinkle with corn and 1/4 cup basil.
  2. For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and shake well. Pour dressing over potato mixture.* Sprinkle salad with feta cheese and basil leaves. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*Make Ahead: Refrigerate salad up to 4 hours. Sprinkle with feta cheese and basil leaves, and let come to room temperature before serving.

Grilled Peach and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad

I am trying to make the most of the last few weeks of summer produce, which apparently means, peaches go with everything. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, it doesn’t matter, peaches belong there. And they definitely belong in this salad.

I have wanted to grill peaches all summer, I was planning on a dessert originally, but when I saw this recipe and that it involved balsamic and peaches, I quickly changed my mind. This salad was absolutely perfect. The peaches were very ripe and juicy and grilling them brought out the flavor even more. The balsamic reduction, was slightly sweet, but maintained that delicious vinegary tang that really complemented the sweet peaches. If you don’t have a gril, fear not! I totally cheated and used a grill pan! I would highly recommend this salad. It would probably be the perfect meal to enjoy over your Labor Day weekend!

Grilled Peach and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad (from The Best of Fine Cooking Cook Fresh Fall 2011, p. 15.) – Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 firm-ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups lightly packed baby arugula
  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella cut into 3/4-inch pieces, or 15 bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), cut in half
  1. Prepare a medium gas or charcoal grill fire, or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. (If using a grill pan, wait to heat until you have prepared the vinegar.)
  2. Combine the vinegar and thyme in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a summer and cook until the mixture is thick, syrupy, and reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 6 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat, disgard thyme sprigs, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Rub the peaches all over with 2 teaspoons of the oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill the peaches cute side down until lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice each half into thirds.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons of oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter. Top with the buffalo mozzarella and peaches and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the balsamic reduction, adding more to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

My Favorite Guacamole Recipe

So my grand plans of an epic Fiesta week full of recipes kinda puttered out. Mainly because I was busy having fun. The first couple days of fiesta were wonderful. Lots of good food, margaritas, cascarones and friends. It was a lot of fun. The last couple days… let’s just agree to not talk about it. 

On Friday for lunch we went to one of the Mercados for food. It might have been because I was starving and my left thumb was beginning to look tasty, but I swear these were the most amazing chicken tacos I have ever had. The red salsa they had to put on them was delicious. I may or may not have attempted to steal with bottle of salsa, but the guy running the both caught on to me pretty quickly. I also got an awesome fresh squeezed lemonade which I consumed too quickly to get a picture of. But the most exciting part of the day was getting to play skeeball! I am obsessed with skeeball.

Friday night I had some friends I’ve known forever and a day over and we had a great time catching up over margaritas and my favorite salsa. I also made up a batch of guacamole, which was gone approximately 5 seconds after I put it down on the table. It was delicious! And obviously a crowd pleaser. I’ve only recently come to appreciate guacamole. I still hate the concept of avocados. They are weird, plus my dogs used to eat them when I was really little, so in my head I think they just kind of became associated dog food, thus making them gross. But this guacamole is pretty spectacular. I really think the extra lime and the chipotle powder give it just that little extra something that takes it from good to amazing.

My Favorite Guacamole Recipe 

  • 3 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 1 1/2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper (be generous)
  • 1/2 cup diced red or white onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (garlic powder can be used in a pinch)
  • 1 pinch ground chipotle pepper powder (optional)
In a bowl, add the avocados, salt, pepper and garlic. Juice the lime over these ingredients and mash together (a potato masher is perfect for this). Mix in onion, cilantro, and tomatoes. Stir in cayenne pepper.

Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

Stop what you are doing and make this barbecue sauce right now! It will change your life. It might be my new favorite barbecue sauce.

I used less ketchup and brown sugar than was called for in the original recipe because I hate overly sweet barbecue sauces and I really wanted the tang of the balsamic to shine through. I really love vinegar and balsamic in particular, but if you aren’t such a diehard vinegar fan, you might want to keep the full amount of brown sugar in the recipe.

The original recipe also says the barbecue sauce could be used over steak if that’s your thing. You also have a couple different options for cooking the chicken. I used a grill pan on the stove, but you could also use a real grill or bake it in the oven and it would be just as delicious. Luckily we had a ton of sauce left over and I ended put it on many various things and it just made everything so much better; grilled veggies, potatoes, it was all delicious.

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Balsamic Barbecue Sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.
For the Chicken:
Prepare the chicken. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place grill pan over medium heat. Pour a bit of the barbecue sauce into a small bowl to avoid contamination from raw/cooking meat (yep, we’re a bit paranoid about getting salmonella in these parts). Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the chicken on the grill. Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce from the small, separate bowl every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.