Eat It Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton

What’s the best way to save on your monthly grocery bill? Use up everything you can and throw as little away as possible. If you need a little help in this area, Eat It Up! comes to the rescue with produce insights, pantry tips, upcycling scraps recipes, and how to use up every bit of that whole chicken you came home with.

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It isn’t just a way to save money, though. Food waste is a growing problem everywhere, and is sometimes exemplified when there isn’t a market for the good, nutritious, and completely edible by-product food that gets discarded. For example, Vinton writes:

Cauliflower heads are plucked from the center of the plant, the abundant wreath of nutritious leaves that surround it – pounds of fresh, nutritious food – are left to rot on the ground. They’re readily available and taste great, but there’s no market for them, so they go uneaten.

Other reasons to fully utilize what you’ve got: saves time; tastes great; preserves natural resources; gives farmer’s kudos; maximizes farmland productivity. The author suggests ways to reduce food waste in the way you actually shop – by buying directly from the grower, and looking for ugly foods (seconds and misshapen produce) and ‘trash’ fish (by-catches).

Eat It Up! Overview

The book is presented in 5 different sections with each one a great source of info. What’s Up with Eating It Up chapter is the ‘why and how of reducing food waste in your home kitchen.’ Nose-to-Tail Produce is a great chapter, and in it there are lots of great tips and suggestions on how to fully use up all the produce scraps you might typically throw out. The Whole Beast helps with the concept of using up the whole animal. Rendering fat, purifying drippings, using up bones, and storing and freezing extra eggs are all covered. The Pantry section gives your last bit of jam or pickles one last use before recycling the jar. A Little Extra – Upcycling has a few recipes to use up leftovers in the refrigerator.

Using Up Every Bit From What You Already Have

While clean eating may be a great start to healthy eating, using up every bit of what we buy or harvest saves on food waste. Food waste is a chronic problem, and controlling what we toss at home is a major step in reversing that trend. Namely, eating eat up what we already have instead of throwing it out.

Watermelon rinds are a prime example in our household. We eat a ton of watermelon during the summer months (even our two boxers are watermelon lovers) and we discard all the edible rind every single time. It’s edible, but what can it be used for? Peel off the green outer skin and dice it up for chutney or pickles.

The recipe below transforms watermelon rinds into a refreshing pickle salad. Salty, sour, sweet – all these flavors blend for a great dish that goes perfect with steamed fish or grilled chicken. Delicious.

Thai Rind Salad
Yields 4
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  1. 2 cups watermelon rind, cut into matchsticks (just the white part)
  2. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  4. 1 teaspoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  5. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. Pinch of granulated sugar
  8. 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as organic canola
  9. 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
  10. 1 shallot, sliced thinly, rinsed, and drained
  11. Pinch of red pepper flakes
  12. 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  13. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Blanch the watermelon matchsticks. Drop them into a small pot of boiling water and simmer for 60 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander. Rinse under cold water. Drain, blot dry, and set aside.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk the lime juice, nam pla, soy sauce, salt, and sugar until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Gradually whisk in the oil. Add the blanched watermelon rind, cucumber, shallot, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. Garnish with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Eat It Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
Adapted from Eat It Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
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Book Info:

  • Eat It Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton.
  • Da Capo; 2016.
  • ISBN13: 9780738218182

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own. Affiliate links help to support this site. 🙂

Excerpted from Eat It Up!: 150 Recipes to Use Every Bit and Enjoy Every Bite of the Food You Buy by Sherri Brooks Vinton. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.



Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero

“Discover the Way of the Salad!”


There are a few reasons why I love Terry Romero’s cookbooks: engaging text, downright delicious recipes, and the fact that you don’t even have to be vegan to enjoy what she makes. It’s actually included in the name of her latest cookbook: Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to be Vegan to Love. Salad Samuri is no change from her previous works (Veganonmicon; Vegan Pie in the Sky) in that there is fun for everyone.

Salad Samurai: Salads by the Seasons

Romero dives right into salads by talking about ‘The Salad Samurai Code’ with tofu pressing, portability and storing, ingredients, and seasonality. This leads the reader to see how she breaks down her book, mainly by the seasons. And don’t think salads are strictly for the long, hot, dog-days of summer. Winter and fall recipes include Smokehouse Chickpeas ‘n Greens Salad, Sesame Noodles in the Dojo, and Seitan Steak Salad with Green Peppercorn Dressing, which are hearty for anytime of the year.

Meal planning is important but pretty dull, and Romero attempts to make it fun (She succeeds! Who likes to menu plan? My hand will remain down!), and provides tips on how long as a general rule certain components should be kept with a plan for tackling salad menu planning.

Fun & Resourceful Supporting Recipes

Ok, her recipes are great, but all the supporting recipes are what makes the book gold and a valuable kitchen resource for me. I love this book for all of the separate supporting recipes that I can mix and match, and totally beef up my old, tired favorites – her dressings and ‘seriously hearty salad toppings’ are the bomb: Pickled Red Grapes and Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan are keeps for more things than simply salads.

Here is a tempeh recipe to try from the book. The accompanying Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (look for the recipe in the book) is a supporting recipe, and an example of what makes this book gold.



Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad
Serves 2
If a layer of pizza is the foundation of your food pyramid, toss this zesty salad into your well-balanced diet: “pepperoni” tempeh nuggets, fresh basil, olives, onions, and a vibrant pizza “sauce” dressing are served up not on a crust but on a robust blend of spinach and arugula. Guilt-free and gluten-free, it will leave you feeling great about having another slice, er, salad bowl. Perfect as is, but decadent with a dusting of Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (page 35 in the book).
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with basil and garlic (do not drain)
  2. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  6. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepperoni Tempeh Bites
  1. 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  2. 2 tablespoons tamari
  3. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  6. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 8 ounces tempeh, diced into 1?4-inch cubes
For the Salad
  1. 2 cups baby arugula
  2. 3 cups spinach
  3. 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
  4. 1 cup plain toasted pita chips or Classic Croutons (page 39)
  5. 1/2 cup pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
  6. 1 sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
  7. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 2 tablespoons Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (page 35)
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup of the diced tomatoes for the tempeh bites. Add the remaining tomatoes and the rest of the dressing ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. Chill the dressing until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved 1/2 cup diced tomatoes with the paprika, tamari, vinegar, garlic powder, fennel, and black pepper. Preheat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until browned, then stir in the marinade. Fry for another 3 minutes, until the tempeh is sizzling and most of the marinade is absorbed, then remove from the heat.
  3. Add to a large mixing bowl the greens, basil, pita, olives, onions, and oregano. Pour over half the dressing and toss to combine. Divide the salad into serving bowls, top with the tempeh, and serve with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle each serving with hemp parm.
  1. Prepare the dressing up to 2 days in advance and keep chilled in a tightly covered container. You can also make the tempeh the night before and gently warm it before assembling the salad.
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Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher (thank you!) and any opinions are my own.

Recipe and image from Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Mayim’s Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik has been busy in the kitchen, and her new book Mayim’s Vegan Table is the result. With a simple layout and quick recipes, the book would make a welcome addition on the cookbook shelf for a home cook just getting into vegan cooking. For veteran vegan cooks, she offers ways to spice up the family menu.

Vegan Choices

The first four chapters deal with vegan nutritional choices and stocking the kitchen with plant-based selections. The way veganism wound its way into Bialik’s life slowly, first by removing dairy from her diet due to her son’s dairy sensitivity then looking at the environmental impact of non-vegan foods, was interesting. As an active vegan mother, her home menus are both surprisingly down to Earth and quick to prepare. From the book:

Her transition from a vegetarian college student to an almost vegan mom to a now entirely vegan mom involved a strong need for “fun foods” – foods that can please finicky toddler palates, and a lifestyle that is not expensive, time consuming, or only available if there are vegan restaurants around.

The tips and advice cater to those who know nothing about actual veganism, such as comparing an apple to all the ingredients in an Oscar Meyer Lunchable snack, looking at dairy alternatives, and describing what a vegan is. For a person already living a clean vegan lifestyle, I’d assume they would simply skip through this. For non-vegans contemplating the lifestyle choice, the info would be helpful.

Recipes: Grouped by Menu Item

The seven recipe chapters are grouped by the menu item: Breakfast; Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches; Snacks, Sauces, and Dips; Veggies and Sides; Entrees; Breads; and Desserts. The Metric Conversions is a standard chart, but the Resources at the back of the book is a helpful list of vegan and nutritional books and websites to check out.

Bialik makes good use of quinoa and couscous, and while this isn’t a Jewish cookbook, her all-vegan Matzoh Ball Soup has all the ingredients for a tasty vegetable soup. She also gives eight different dip recipes that could easily double as sandwich spreads.

What I liked the best is the ease with which many of the recipes can be put together (read between the lines – much of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry). Right now where I live, the weather is starting warm up, so anything quick and cool is satisfying. The Vietnamese Banh Mi with Do Chua and Sweet Sauce is one I’ll probably have on hand all summer for sandwich pockets (do chua is a Vietnamese carrot and daikon pickle).

Overall, I appreciated her recipes. Almost every single one I can reproduce with things I have in my pantry. And as a busy parent, finding healthy recipes (not just entrees!) to incorporate into a menu makes planning easy.

Here is her recipe for Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Herbs. Quick to toss together and glorious looking on a potluck table, this one would leave both vegans and non-vegans satisfied.


Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Herbs
When Mayim first became vegan, she saw a recipe in a magazine for barley salad with herbs. She replaced the barley with quinoa, a high-protein seed from South America that is incredibly versatile, inexpensive, and easy to make. The result is one of her favorite dishes to bring to potlucks. You can prepare it with almost any vegetables and herbs you have on hand. The secret is to use a generous amount of the dressing and let it sit for a few hours before serving.
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  1. 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  2. 1/2 cup chopped green onions, green part only
  3. 1/2 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
  4. 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  5. 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  6. 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  8. 1/4 cup canola oil
  9. 1 garlic clove, minced
  10. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the green onions, red pepper, peas, parsley, basil, and mint. Toss in the cooked quinoa.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss into the salad, stirring to mix well. Let stand for 1 hour for the flavors to blend.
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Book Information:

About the Author:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Recipe and Photo: From Mayim’s Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours by Mayim Bialik with Dr. Jay Gordon. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Mesclun: Specialty Baby Salad Greens

Mesclun Mixes

A quick look-up in a dictionary for the word ‘mesclun’ will yield a simple definition: a salad made of greens and herbs. If you take a closer look at the different mesclun salad mixes in the produce section, you’ll find a wide array of baby lettuces and fresh herbs.

Many different greens are used in the mix. The key to mesclun mixes is that they are grown and cut as small leaf lettuces, ensuring they are tender and less bitter than their adult forms. While mesclun can be sautéed and served warm, mesclun mixed greens are often simply used as a salad base.

Growing mesclun at home is easily started and grown in a container at home, and the seed mixes vary. The manufacturer’s or grower’s mix may depend on desired salad color, texture, growing times, or the salad’s flavor profile. Check the labels of different brands for a mix that suites you and follow the recommended growing instructions.

Here is a list of five of the most popular greens that make up a general mesclun salad mix, and their daily value percentages from a single serving size.

Mesclun – Five Popular Greens Inside a Mesclun Mix

  • Endive – Leaf vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Endive can be found as frisee (curly endive) and escarole (broad leaf endive). Endive provides both flavor and texture to the mix. Per one-half cup serving, endive adds 11% DV Vitamin A, 3% DV Vitamin C, 9% DV Folate.
  • Radicchio – Variegated colors in red or green. Gives a nice bitterness and color to a salad. Per 1 cup shredded portion, radicchio gives 6% DV Folate, 5% DV each Vitamins A and C, and has 37mg Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Arugula – This leafy green also goes by the name of rocket or roquette, and adds spice to the salad. Per 1/2 cup serving, arugula leaves give 5% DV Vitamin A, and 2% DV each Vitamin C and Folate.
  • Chard – Also can be found as Swiss chard, chard are the leaves from the beet plant, Beta vulgaris. Per 1 cup raw serving, Swiss chard gives 44% DV Vitamin A, 18% DV Vitamin C, 3% DV Vitamin E, and has 22mg Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Dandelion Greens – Not the typical weed, this wider leaf variety gives great flavor and texture to the mix. A 1 cup serving of chopped dandelion greens gives 112% DV Vitamin A, 32% DV Vitamin C, 10% DV Calcium, 8% DV Dietary Fiber, and gives 144mg Omega-6 fatty acids.


Neufeldt, Victoria, Ed. Webster’s New World College Dictionary. 3rd Ed. New York: Simon, 1997.

Nutrition Facts and Analysis found on 

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero

When I heard Vegan Eats World was coming out, I got excited. Namely because of the author, Terry Hope Romero. She always finds a way to turn vegan food into something delicious, gorgeous, and with my personal favorite Vegan Pie in the Sky which she co-authored, creates vegan desserts that cook up perfectly.

Romero entertainingly starts the introduction with “What If the World Was Vegan?” She brings up her philosophy that the building blocks of cuisine are not meat or meat products per se, but the so-called supporting elements in recipes – the grains, the herbs, the spices. If I think hard on that, she is right. Pasta is but pasta (or, for non-vegans, chicken is but chicken), and it is the vegetables, fresh herbs, fruits, nuts, and more, that transform a simple dish into one that is uniquely Thai or Chinese or Italian. Vegan Eats World travels the globe and gives the reader a little bit of each ethnic cuisine, vegan-style.

Whether or not you are familiar with vegan cooking, the first section Kitchen Cartography: Mapping Your Way to a Brave New Vegan Cuisine is a helpful one. She talks about mise en place (one of THE most important things I learned in culinary school LOL), knife basics, cooking terms, ethnic and regional ingredients, kitchen equipment and even shopping lists. Good stuff to review before tackling the different recipes which touch on the following cuisines: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European, Latin American and Caribbean, Asian, Indian, Thai, and African.

I love how the chapters are separated not by region but by menu item giving me the freedom to mix it up and serve a multicultural meal in one sitting. The chapters are: Spice Blends; The Three Protein Amigos: Tofu, Seitan and Tempeh; Pickles, Chutneys and Saucier Sauces; Salads, Spreads and Sandwiches; Soups; Curries, Hearty Stews and Beans; Dumplings, Breads and Pancakes; Asian Noodles to Mediterranean Pasta; Hearty Entrees; Robust Vegetable Entrees and Sides; Rice and Whole Grains: One-Pot Meals and Supporting Roles; and Sweet Beginnings.

My son has his favorites but my daughters are adventurers in the kitchen. And if one won’t try something, the other will dig right in so no matter what I try I have one of them tasting right along with me. Carrot salad is just one of those things that I cannot for the life of me get any of my kids to eat, though. Something about raisins and carrots suspended in sweet mayonnaise or bland vinaigrettes leaves a bad taste in my mouth, let alone theirs. But, carrots are plentiful at the house and everyone loves them. Enter the Harissa Carrot Salad. Major hit all around. I think it was the lemon-cumin combo that did us all in, with a just a little sweetness from the orange juice and agave nectar.

The recipe is below, and is excellent with Israeli couscous for lunch.

Harissa Carrot Salad
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  1. 3/4 pound carrots, scraped and sliced into matchsticks or shredded
  2. 1/4 cup golden raisins
  3. 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  4. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  7. 1 teaspoon olive oil harissa Paste (recipe on page 43 in the book) or 1/4 teaspoon each cayenne pepper and ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  9. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Place the carrots, raisins, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the carrots. Use tongs to toss everything together and serve immediately.
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Book Information:

Author Information:

From Vegan Eats World: 250 International Recipes for Savoring (and Saving) the Planet by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Oven Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Basil Vinaigrette

Market black box: a bunch of beets.

Use the quantities needed for the occasion. Small dinners for two may need only a couple of beets with an orange or two for the recipe, and large family dinners may need a couple of pounds of beets with several oranges. The Orange Basil Vinaigrette can be scaled up as needed, with or without the basil.

By drizzling the vinaigrette over the top of the salad, the colors of the beets will bleed and mix with the vinaigrette, turning it a lovely pink color on the plate. Good for serving with dinner, or top it with walnuts and feta cheese for a light dinner.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad Recipe
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  1. Whole beets, 1 medium beet per person
  2. Oranges, 1/2 orange per person
  3. Basil leaves, as needed for the salad base
  4. Sunflower sprouts
  5. Oil for roasting the beets
  6. Orange Basil Vinaigrette (see recipe below), or use your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing
  1. Take the beets and clean under running water. Pat dry and rub a little vegetable oil on the outside. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender when pressed. For larger beets, the baking time may be longer and for smaller varieties, the time may be shorter. Check every 15 minutes during the roasting. Remove from the oven and cool.
  2. Segment the oranges and set aside
  3. Wash the fresh basil leaves and sunflower sprouts. Pat dry.
  4. Peel the beets and place on cutting board. With a knife, cut the beet into sixths, almost cutting through to the bottom but not quite. Beet will still be attached at the bottom.
  5. Place the cut beet on a plate, and gently spread open to an open flower shape. Arrangthe orange segments, basil leaves and sunflower sprouts over the top and around the cut beet. Using a spoon, drizzle some of the dressing over the top. By doing this, the beet will bleed a little bit and the vinaigrette will turn a nice pink color on the plate.
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Orange Basil Vinaigrette
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  1. 1 cup canola oil
  2. Juice of 1 orange
  3. 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  4. 3/4 teaspoon salt, or as needed to taste
  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Squeeze the orange for its juice into a bowl.
  2. Add in the oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil leaves. Whisk to combine.
  3. Pour over the beet and orange salad.
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Salad Nicoise – Would the Real One Stand Up?

Market black box: fresh albacore tuna that hubby caught.

What we did with it: made a Nicoise salad.

There are as many different Salad Nicoise recipes as there are cooks. Some recipes call for tuna and/or anchovies while others forgo the meat altogether: my 1977 edition of Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking ingredient list for Salad Nicoise calls for boiled potatoes, ripe tomatoes, string beans, lettuce hearts, thinly sliced onions, fresh chervil with oil and vinegar (no fish at all). And still, some recipes have the vegetables cooked and others keep it raw. The 1988 English version of Larousse Gastronomique states that “Neither potatoes nor cooked vegetables should be added to this salad.” Hmmm.

While the recipe ingredients and list of ingredients might be different, common elements to most Nicoise Salads include beans, tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs (tarragon, chervil, basil and parsley are common), and an oil-and-vinegar blend dressing. The tuna is usually canned, either packed in water or oil. Anchovies, if used, are sometimes rinsed and patted dry before placing on the plate.

My version uses fresh albacore tuna. I prepare this salad with fresh tuna from what we catch whenever we get lucky landing an albacore. Somehow, the kids don’t mind this kind of tuna salad. The tuna is first poached in a court bouillon and cooled. Experiment with your salad. The other ingredients can be changed as desired.

Albacore Tuna Salad Nicoise
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Court Bouillon Poached Albacore Tuna
  1. 12 oz fresh albacore tuna
  2. 1 celery stalk, chopped
  3. 1/2 small onion, chopped
  4. 1/2 lemon, squeezed into the water
  5. Several twists of freshly ground black pepper
Albacore Tuna Salad Nicoise
  1. 12 ounces fresh poached albacore tuna, see recipe below
  2. 12 ounces small red potatoes, steamed and cut in half
  3. 8 ounces fresh green beans, snapped, trimmed and steamed
  4. 4 small vine ripened tomatoes
  5. Hearts of Romaine, washed and leaves separated
  6. 4 hard boiled eggs, quartered or chopped
  7. 12 each whole kalamata olives, pitted
  8. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  9. 1/3 cup olive oil
  10. 1 garlic clove, pressed
  11. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard Fresh tarragon leaves
For the poached albacore
  1. Use a pan large enough to allow the poaching liquid to cover the top of the piece of fish. Add about a quart of water or more to the pan, and add the celery and onion. Bring to a soft boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  2. Add in the fresh albacore, adding additional water if needed to cover the top of the fish. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the fish tests done - flakes easily and is opaque throughout.
  3. Remove from the court bouillon and let cool.
For the Nicoise salad
  1. In 4 large salad bowls, place a serving sizes amount of Romaine lettuce leaves on each plate. Arrange on each salad plate: 3 ounces tuna, 3 ounces red potatoes, 2 ounces green beans, 1 each tomato quartered, 1 each hard boiled egg, and 3 each kalamata olives.
  2. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, pressed garlic clove and Dijon mustard. Drizzle some over the top of each salad. Top with tarragon leaves and serve immediately.
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Couscous Salad Three Ways

Couscous is a super-fast grain to prepare and cook, and its neutral flavor makes it ideal for salads. A basic batch makes a great base for a variety of ingredient combinations. Here is a basic recipe for couscous.

Basic Couscous
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  1. 1 3/4 cups plain couscous
  2. 2 cups chicken stock
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. As soon as the liquid begins to boil, add in the couscous. Stir to incorporate and cover the saucepan.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes so the couscous can absorb the stock, and lightly fluff with a fork.
  3. Use as is, or chill for later use (like the recipes below).
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Turn a basic couscous recipe into three distinctly different salads from a handful of ingredients. Each one can be served warm for dinner or chilled for a picnic.

Classic Summer Couscous Salad
An all-purpose salad for barbeques and picnics. Substitute the Roma tomatoes with any variety in your garden, even half small cherry or grape tomatoes if you have those.
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  1. 1 Recipe of Basic Couscous, see recipe above
  2. 2 medium sized Roma tomato, chopped (don’t skin or seed tomatoes, just chop up)
  3. 2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  5. 2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal, white and green part
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve.
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Greek Couscous Salad
This makes a quick salad to serve with grilled lamb. Use a variety of summer squash for added color.
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  1. 1 Recipe of Basic Couscous, see recipe above
  2. 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  3. 1 medium sized Roma tomato, chopped (don’t skin or seed tomatoes, just chop up)
  4. 1 cup zucchini, diced and lightly sautéed in 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve.
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Easy Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Great accompaniment for marinated and grilled or broiled poultry.
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  1. 1 Recipe of Basic Couscous, See recipe above
  2. 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  3. 2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal, white and green part
  4. 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  5. 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve.
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Grilled Tofu and Asian Slaw Salad with Edamame

Eating soy products is a great way to add quality fiber, iron and protein into a diet. Tofu is a soy product processed from soy milk, and edamame is the actual soy beans still in the pods themselves. According to the USDA Nutritional Database, a 100-gram serving of firm tofu (about 3.75 oz.) contains less than 9 grams of fat and about 15 grams of protein. A 1/4 cup serving of shelled edamame contains about 2 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein.

Here is recipe using both of these soy products. Both the marinade and dressing may be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until preparation time; just whisk well before use as the oil may solidify a bit. This recipe makes about 4 servings, depending on meal size served.

Grilled Tofu with Asian Slaw, Edamame and Peanuts with Sesame Ginger Dressing
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  1. 1 14-16 oz. block of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  2. 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  3. 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  5. 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Ginger Sesame Dressing
  1. 4 mounded cups Napa cabbage, sliced thin (about 3/4 average head)
  2. 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
  3. 2 whole green onions, cut on bias both green and white parts
  4. 1/2 cup cilantro, rinsed well and chopped
  5. 2/3 cup edamame, cooked and shelled
  6. 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  7. 4 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  8. 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  9. 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  10. 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  11. 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  12. 1 tablespoon sugar
  13. 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated peeled gingerroot
  14. Pinch of white pepper
  1. Whisk the peanut oil, soy sauce, sherry vinegar and rice vinegar together in a bowl.
  2. In a large casserole or other shallow dish, pour the marinade over the tofu slices. Turn over to coat all the slices. Place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, turning the tofu slices about 4-6 more times.
  3. Brush an indoor grill lightly with a nonstick spray and heat up to high (or sear setting). Lift each slice of tofu out of marinade to briefly drain and arrange on grill. Grill for about 3 minutes, then turn over to cook another 4 minutes more. Remove from grill, and serve with the slaw and sesame dressing.
  4. Combine the sliced cabbage, bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, edamame and peanuts in a large mixing bowl. Toss well to incorporate ingredients.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the sherry vinegar, rice vinegar, dark sesame oil, peanut oil, soy sauce, sugar and grated gingerroot together. Add in a pinch of white pepper to taste.
  6. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss well to coat the slaw. Serve with the grilled tofu.
Sand & Succotash