Zahtar Potato Salad

Zahtar Potato Salad

Zahtar or Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend that I’ve not had the pleasure to work with a lot with over the years. It’s a real shame because I love it!  Earthy and nutty with hints of citrus makes it wonderful with so many foods.  Hummus and pita are probably the first things people think of when they associate it, but it goes way beyond.  Great with chicken, eggs and potatoes to name a few. I recently came across a Zahtar Egg Salad and figured why not incorporate it into a potato salad, and Zahtar Potato Salad was born. 

I was not far off the mark thinking it would be delicious. The combination of briny, salty olives and creamy mayonnaise brings baby potatoes to life and makes for a great Mediterranean version.  Even though I prefer the  mayonnaise based potato salad, I did experiment with a warm salad version using olive oil to dress it instead of the mayonnaise.  It too was a tasty version of potato salad but I just couldn’t stop scooping up the creamier version.  Maybe because that was the way my mom used to make it and by far the type I’ve eaten most in my life. 

The Zahtar I purchased contains salt, so I therefore found it was not necessary to add additional salt in this recipe.  If your Zahtar does not contain salt,  be sure to add salt to taste. You can also make your own if desired, here is a simple recipe from The Genius Kitchen

Recipe source for Zahtar Potato Salad:  Inspired by Bon Appetit Mediterranean Egg Salad

Zahtar Potato Salad
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    12 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    12 minutes
    Zahtar Potato Salad
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      12 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      12 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and place pine nuts in a single layer on a small baking tray or pie plate. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, turning at least once until golden. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use.
      2. Heat enough water to just cover the eggs and simmer gently for no more than 12 minutes. Drain and immediately cool under cold running water. Once cooled, peel and coarsely chop.
      3. Steam or boil baby potatoes in simmering lightly salted water until just fork tender, about 8-10 minutes depending on size. Drain and cool under cold water. Allow potatoes to drain thoroughly once cool.
      4. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces, usually a baby potato cut in half or quartered makes for a nice size.
      5. In a medium size bowl stir together red onion, green olives, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, Zahtar and salt and pepper. Add chopped potatoes, eggs, pine nuts and cilantro. Gently stir into mayonnaise until combined. Serve immediately sprinkled with additional cilantro if desired. Can be chilled for several hours prior to serving if needed. Best served the day it is made.
      Recipe Notes

      -For time management, the potatoes, pine nuts and eggs can be cooked at the same time.

      -The Zahtar I used contained salt, so little extra salt was needed. However, if your brand does not include salt you will need to adjust seasoning to taste.

      Grilled Steak Salad

      Grilled Steak Salad

      Grilled Steak Salad is just that!  Tender, juicy, spiced rubbed steak thinly sliced and served with crisp mixed greens, goat cheese and zesty Catalina dressing.  It’s low in carbs, high in protein and filling enough for lunch or dinner.   

      For this recipe I used sirloin steaks that were about 1” thick.  They’re relatively lean and price friendly compared to their classy cousin the tenderloin. Either steak works here, choose what suits your mood and budget.  Fattier cuts like ribeyes are not the best option even though all that marbling makes for the ultimate juicy grilled steak, it sorta defeats the purpose of eating a salad for the main course.  Kinda like drinking diet pop while eating a hamburger and fries. I’m sure you get my point. 

      Of great importance is to “rest” the meat.  The resting allows all the juices to be reabsorbed back into the muscle of the meat, helping to retain its moisture and therefore tenderness and juiciness.  Cutting a steak or roast without letting it rest will spill out all the meat juices that have accumulated towards the centre of the meat from the heat of cooking.

      Once your steak is cooked and rested to perfection, those slightly charred and thinly sliced pieces are fantastic drizzled with a vibrant Catalina dressing.  Of course homemade is preferred and you can get the recipe here Catalina Dressing  It’s easier than you think and you probably have everything on hand already.  Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Grilled Steak Salad:  Compelled To Cook

      Grilled Steak Salad
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        2 people 25 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        2 people 25 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Grilled Steak Salad
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          2 people 25 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          2 people 25 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. In a small bowl stir together first 10 ingredients. Sprinkle steaks generously on both sides with spice rub, pressing gently to slightly adhere. Drizzle with oil and rub paste evenly over steak. Cover and set aside at room temperature while grill preheats.
          2. Preheat grill to medium high.
          3. Clean and dry mixed greens ( I like to use a salad spinner). Clean and slice vegetables, subbing in others as you like.
          4. Grill steak to desired doneness. 4-5 minutes per side for a medium 1" steak. It will depend on thickness of steak. Remove steak and cover with foil and allow to rest at least 5 minutes.
          5. While steak rests, arrange mixed greens on plate and top with sliced vegetables and crumbled goat cheese.
          6. Slice steak across the grain and arrange on salad. Drizzle with Catalina dressing and serve immediately.
          Recipe Notes

          I recommend using homemade dressing, you just can't beat it.  Here's a link to my Catalina Dressing.

          Catalina Dressing

           

          Catalina Dressing

          Catalina Dressing

          It will soon be summer with salads of crisp greens and bitter radicchio.  What better way to dress your salad than with homemade Catalina Dressing.  I’d say it’s a bit of a forgotten dressing, one that’s been in the shadows of more trendy dressings made with avocado and tofu.  Kinda like it doesn’t get to hang out with the cool dressings, but there’s no reason for the snub.  Catalina Dressing is sweet and zingy, and just what your greens are screaming for.

          It’s not new and maybe even a bit old fashion, but I thinks it’s more that everyone has forgotten how good it really is and all the other great uses it has.  Dressing is dressing you might think, but how about mixing it with mayonnaise for a great burger and sandwich spread. 

          Next, you’ll want to add a generous splash of sriracha to that spread and serve as a dip for sweet potato fries or potato wedges.  

          Oh, and did I mention Catalina Dressing makes fantastic chicken wings, yes you read that right, CHICKEN WINGS.  Coming soon to the blog, I promise!  So never, never underestimate this humble salad dressing, it’s anything but boring. 

          Recipe for Catalina Dressing adapted slightly from: Epicurious

           

          Catalina Dressing
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            1 cup 10 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            1 cup 10 minutes
            Catalina Dressing
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              1 cup 10 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              1 cup 10 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: cup
              Instructions
              1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour to meld flavours. Move to fridge if not using shortly after. Will keep for 1 week refrigerated.
              Recipe Notes

              Yields:  1 generous cup

              Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing

              Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing

              Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing is a lovely use of your fresh beet bounty this summer. For the fresh garden beets that are the star in this recipe, I give thanks to my mother in-law, who at 76 still maintains a huge yard and garden. It was from her wonderful garden that I was able to hand pluck my beets, wishing with each pull that I had endless time and energy to use more.  Throughout the season my husband and I are lucky to enjoy fresh beans, carrots and potatoes even though we only use a very small fraction of what she grows. Her other lucky recipients include neighbours, bridge club and church friends. Plus, family get together meals at her house are laced with  a dose of fresh buttery peas, pickled beets and tomato wedges.  I am a very lucky gal and grateful to benefit from all her hard work.

               

              Gardening is a great hobby to have, but a tremendous amount of work as it is with her large garden. So while I enjoy this Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing I recognize her efforts and the importance of maintaining a residential garden no matter how big or small. I believe the skills and knowledge to grow a successful garden are not passed down by generation as they once were and that tradition is slowly slipping away. I suppose we have Google and You Tube now to help us out, but something tells me it’s not the same as having your parent or grandparent help you position the pitch fork “just right” underneath that hill of potatoes, show you why you need wire mesh for the peas or sending you out to cover up the tomatoes. So hats off to all those who still maintain their own fruit and vegetable gardens and take the time to share their knowledge and their bounty!

              Recipe source for Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing:  Compelled To Cook

              Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                2 people 20 minutes
                Cook Time
                15 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                2 people 20 minutes
                Cook Time
                15 minutes
                Beet Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 people 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  15 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 people 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  15 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Salad
                  Dressing
                  Servings: people
                  Instructions
                  Salad
                  1. Cook beets in lightly salted simmering water until fork tender, approximately 15-18 minutes depending on size. Prepare dressing while beets are cooking. Drain and cool with cold running water. Once cool to the touch, trim off top and bottom and peel off skin, which should remove easily. Place beets onto a paper towel lined plate to absorb any run off beet juice. Cut beets into large bite size chunks.
                  2. Arrange approximately 2 cups of mixed greens onto plate. Cut apple half in half and remove core. Slice into 1/4" slices and spread half of the apple over mixed greens. Top with half the beets and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of pistachios. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional fresh dill fronds. Season with freshly cracked pepper and sea salt if desired. Serve immediately.
                  Dressing
                  1. Using a blender or mini food processor, blend together all ingredients except feta until combined and smooth. Add feta and pulse a few times to combine yet retain some feta texture. Keep chilled until ready to use.
                  Recipe Notes

                  -I used the elongated cylindra beets which cook quickly and peel easily.  Globe style beets can be used, just adjust cooking time according to size of beet.

                  -This recipe makes about 2/3 cup of dressing which may be more than you need, however it is difficult to blend smaller amounts.  Use any extra on sweet potato fries or lamb burgers.

                  -This recipe makes 4 starter size salads if desired.

                  Summer Berry Ambrosia

                  Summer Berry Ambrosia

                  Show off your red white and blue the delicious way with Summer Berry Ambrosia.   A lovely salad that’s a little part dessert and fantastic for your 4th of July celebration, potluck or BBQ this summer.   Gorgeous red and blue summer berries folded into a sweet white marshmallow cloud that’s creamy and crunchy with coconut. It will be loved by children and adults alike.

                  Although Summer Berry Ambrosia is on the sweeter side for being a salad, it’s not as sweet as you might think.  There is no added sugar in this salad.  The sweetness comes from the sour cream “washing off” the sugar already on the marshmallows and coconut. This melding of ingredients creates the perfect balance of sweetness.  The berries add brightness and their inherent tangy sweetness as well.  It’s a great combination of simplicity, texture and flavours.

                  Summer Berry Ambrosia is super easy to put together with little prep and only a handful of ingredients.  You can have it stirred up in no time at all.  It takes longer to sit and meld the flavours than it does to actually make.

                  Recipe source for Summer Berry Ambrosia:  Compelled To Cook

                   

                  Summer Berry Ambrosia
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    6-8 people 15 minutes
                    Passive Time
                    1 1/2 hours
                    Servings Prep Time
                    6-8 people 15 minutes
                    Passive Time
                    1 1/2 hours
                    Summer Berry Ambrosia
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      6-8 people 15 minutes
                      Passive Time
                      1 1/2 hours
                      Servings Prep Time
                      6-8 people 15 minutes
                      Passive Time
                      1 1/2 hours
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: people
                      Instructions
                      1. In a large bowl whisk together sour cream and vanilla. Fold in marshmallows, coconut and berries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours to meld flavours. Top with toasted coconut if desired. Best the day it is made.
                      Recipe Notes

                      Makes approximately 6 cups.

                      Asian Kohlrabi Slaw

                      Asian Kohlrabi Slaw

                      Crunchy, cool, and mild, kohlrabi lies somewhere between a turnip, broccoli stems and an apple. Delicious raw in salads or simply eaten as is with your favourite veggie dip. Its crispness is a perfect pairing with cabbage in this lovely Asian Kohlrabi Slaw. But don’t hesitate to toss thinly sliced or grated kohlrabi into your own favourite coleslaw, because it’s fantastic with creamy dressings as well. You can also use kohlrabi in soups, stir fries and stews much like you would turnip or potatoes.  Don’t throw out those leaves either, because they can be sauteed or braised like kale for a nutritious side dish. Kohlrabi is low in calories and a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

                      Recipe source for Asian Kohlrabi Slaw:  Compelled To Cook

                       

                      Asian Kohlrabi Slaw
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        6-8 people 30 minutes
                        Servings Prep Time
                        6-8 people 30 minutes
                        Asian Kohlrabi Slaw
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          6-8 people 30 minutes
                          Servings Prep Time
                          6-8 people 30 minutes
                          Ingredients
                          Servings: people
                          Instructions
                          1. In a small bowl whisk together oil, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, ginger, sesame oil and salt. Set aside.
                          2. In a large bowl toss together kohlrabi, green cabbage, green onion, cilantro, carrot, sesame seeds and jalapeño. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat and combine. Stir in purple cabbage at the end to avoid the purple colour weeping too much. Garnish with additional toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Serve immediately or within an hour.
                          Recipe Notes

                          To julienne the kohlrabi, cut off stems and peel bulb with a vegetable peeler.  Cut bulb in half and lay flat.  Slice thinly, then stack a few slices together and thinly slice into strips.  Repeat with remaining kohlrabi and slices.

                          Makes approximately 6 cups of salad.