It's been a while, I know. My trip to Italy was fantastic - I've lots more recipes and stories to share, but I came back exhausted, swamped with work after being away so long, and absolutely stuffed! It's taken me a few weeks to get reoriented. The food was incredible, however, eating my way through Tuscany for more than two weeks definitely caught up with me.
Tuscan food, delicious as it is, tends to include lots of meat (particularly, pork), pasta and bread, and much less fruits and vegetables than I am accustomed to eating. It's also a bit saltier (cured meats, cheeses and the like). I returned home, after a whirlwind trip, feeling tired and heavy, wanting to lighten things up and get myself back on track.
Couple that with the fact that my oven broke down last week and you've got a menu that consists of plenty of salad - light, fresh, healthy and no cooking required. I've made many of the old standby's like this one and this one, and I've tried a few new ones. This Summer Veggie Salad with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette is my new favorite! Especially the dressing, which I imagine will also be a rockin' marinade for grilled fish, chicken or vegetable kebabs. The recipe, which I adapted a bit, comes from Cooking 1.0 by Heidi Swanson. I added a few more veggies to the salad, but the vinaigrette is her recipe, exactly as written. It will absolutely knock your flip-flops off! So...
I'm now back home on Long Island. Temperatures are in the mid-60's. The sun is shining. The produce markets are brimming with the bounty of spring and I'm back in my kitchen. Yes, indeed, there is no place like home.
3 handfuls of mixed baby greens
3 handfuls of baby spinach
1 cup of green beans, blanched
1/2 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1/2 carton on grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 rib of celery, thinly sliced
1 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels (if using frozen, thaw them)
Fresh Herb Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 small log of herbed goat cheese, crumbled (approx. 1/2 cup)
Place greens in a large salad bowl. Add all other veggies. Toss with the vinaigrette, then top with the goat cheese.
Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 pinches of salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a blender or food processor, puree the shallots, basil leaves and mint leaves. Add the lemon juice and give it a quick whiz. While running, add the olive oil slowly (this will create a creamy dressing). Finish off by adding the salt and pepper.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing.