Vinaigrette’s To Complete Your Salad

Vinaigrette’s To Complete Your Salad

Vinaigrette is a French culinary invention, around 1690 to 1700’s.

It is an emulsion of vinegar and oil with onions, garlic, and shallots used along with other ingredients.

The Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

The most basic recipe for making a salad vinaigrette is one part vinegar or other acid like lemon juice, mixed with three to four parts oil.

Choosing The Oil

Oils that are most used in a vinaigrette recipe can be extra-virgin (EV) olive oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, canola or vegetable oil and even walnut or almond oils. The later two oils bring the most expensive to purchase.


Are You New To Cooking – Then You Need To Know – The Smoke Point of Oils.


Becareful though the oil that you use. Using oils with very strong, intense flavors, like some nut oils and extra-virgin olive oil, can sometimes overwhelm the delicate flavors in a salad.

You can opt to use just olive oil, avocado oil and even vegetable or canola oil. These oils have a less intense flavor.

If you use coconut oil, mix it with EV olive oil and a infused balsamic vinegar. With flavors like pomegranate, dark cherry or pear among others.

Coconut oil mixes well with a fruit salad or sweet tasting vegetables like sweet peas, snap peas and even green beans.

Avocado oil is a mild nutty and buttery tasting oil. Many people have describe it as being a “clean” tasting oil. In other words, it doesn’t over power those delicate flavors you want to taste in a salad.


Learn To Make Homemade Mayonnaise with Avocado Oil


Choosing The Vinegar

Any vinegar will do. But the same rule applies: Pick something tasty. Cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and balsamic vinegar are good to use.

If you want an acid other than vinegar, you can use fresh-squeezed citrus juices, like lime, lemon, orange and even grapefruit.

Avoid plain distilled white vinegar as it has a very strong, harsh flavor that isn’t generally very good in vinaigrettes.

Seasoning The Vinaigrette

Start with salt, either kosher, Himalayan, or sea salt. Your choice. Just skip the table salt.

Fresh ground pepper corns are the best to use. But already ground pepper will do.

When adding salt and pepper, add to taste. Start with a small amount until you have the flavor you want.


What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt
What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

Fresh herbs give vinaigrettes a punch of brightness and additional tangy to sweet flavor and minced garlic or shallots add pungency.

If you like a bit of sweetness in your salads, add some honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Again, these sweeteners have their own flavor to add, so choose wisely as you would with the oil and vinegar.

Oil and Vinegar Don’t Mix

This is so true, oil and vinegar will naturally separate into two separate layers, but when you are making a salad, you want them to bind together so they coat a salad evenly and giving a uniform flavor as you enjoy eating the salad.

Oil is a non-polar substance and has no attracting powers and so it separates from the vinegar and rises to the top.

Adding an emulsifier can bind fat (oil) and water (vinegar or citrus juice) together.

That’s where mustard seeds comes in.

Mustard seeds contain a thick gloppy emulsifier called mucilage.

The mustard seeds have a mix of proteins and polysaccharides that surrounds the hull of the seed. Therefore making it highly effective at stabilizing emulsions.

In other words, mustard helps the oil and vinegar to mix or combined together so it sticks to the salad ingredients.

One tablespoon of mustard mixed into 8 ounce of vinaigrette (3:1 oil to vinegar or citrus juice) will provide enough mucilage to mix and stabilize the dressing so as to coat the salad greens (Source: The Science Of Cooking – page. 200).

The best mustard to use is Dijon mustard, though any mustard will do, including dry ground mustard seed.

Choose Your Salad Recipe

Choose one or more of the deliciously yummy salads to make a great vinaigrette.

These Deliciously Yummy Salads Are In The List Below

You’ll also enjoy reading Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More Than Just a Salad.


More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More Than Just a Salad

Balsamic Vinegar Complements More Than Just A Salad

Balsamic vinegar enhances nearly any food it touches as it is so much more than a salad dressing.

You can use balsamic vinegar to marinate meats, glaze roasted vegetables and even as a baking ingredient.

The process of making balsamic vinegar is a more than 900 year old tradition from Italy.

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

How Balsamic Vinegar Is Made

Balsamic vinegar is made by pressing grapes complete with the stem, seeds, and skin.

The unfermented grape juice, also called “grape must,” is reduced and then cooked down and aged in hard wood barrels either oak, cherry or walnut, to create a delicate flavor that expertly balances both sweet and savory.

Depending on the wood barrels being used, flavor is added to the essence of the balsamic gradually over time.

As it ages, moisture evaporates out, further thickening and concentrating the balsamic.

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Traditional Balsamic verses Commercial Made

Many consumers outside of Italy are unaware of the fact that there are two types of balsamic vinegar.

According to Compass and Fork, the balsamic vinegars sold at a local market or gourmet food shops are commercially made vinegar, and even if it says Modena on it, it has not been produced according to the traditional standard.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – with a Balsamic Dressing

To be able to be labelled as a balsamic from Modena, only one step in the process has to be performed and it can be to any quality standard.

Though the bottled balsamic vinegar is sold at moderate pricing, it is only bottled in Modena.

Wine Vinegar Included – Not Traditionally Made

Traditionally produced balsamic vinegar is also protected under labeling laws, with only products made in a particular way and in Modena bearing the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label.

How To Use Balsamic Vinegar

There are three basic age groups of balsamic vinegar, and each is used differently:

Group One

The youngest group, 3 to 5 years, is good for salad dressings, dipping sauces for vegetables and bread, sauces and marinades.

Group Two

The middle age group, 6 to 11 years, is more viscous and is quite versatile. Use it in sauces (at the end of cooking), in risotto and pasta dishes, in marinades and mixed with mayonnaise or sour cream for a sandwich condiment.

Group Three

Well-aged balsamic vinegar (12 to 150+ years) is best used after the cooking is finished, and in otherwise mild dishes (nothing spicy or heavily seasoned), so it can shine on its own.

Use it to flavor meat like chicken, steak, fish or veal. It is well-suited to fruit and cheese pairings, such as strawberries, peaches and pears, along with ricotta or feta cheese.

Smoked Bacon And Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts – with a Balsamic Drizzled over Chicken

It may be enjoyed by itself (just a tiny amount) or added to water (or sparkling water) for a refreshing beverage.

Flavors Infused with Commercially Made Balsamic Vinegar

There are commercially made balsamic vinegars that are infused with different flavors such as but not limit too:

  •  Chile Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic Cilantro Balsamic Vinegar
  • Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Sesame Ginger Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar

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Enjoy A Meal With A Simple Spring Salad

Enjoy A Meal With A Simple Spring Salad The arrival of spring means that seasonal fruits and vegetables are in season. Produce like asparagus, strawberries, leafy greens and rhubarb among others.

We look through some of our favorite past cooking magazine issues and possibly yours as well to find the perfect spring salads.

Your family will love these vibrant, colorful and delicious salads.

If you want to make a meal out of them, just add some chopped cooked chicken, or fish, like salmon, halibut, or tuna.

Both featured salads serve a table of four.

Arugula Salad Topped with Walnuts Strawberries and Parmesan Cheese

Vinaigrette 

1 cup halved fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar *see recipe notes below

1 tablespoon EV olive oil

1 teaspoon raw local honey (local to your area)

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until well mixed.

Recipe Notes

Aged balsamic vinegar may not be economical for you, as I thought it wasn’t for me. Unless you plan to regularly use it.

A bottle of 12 year old aged balsamic vinegar is around $40 a bottle.

What we did, is brought a 1/2 cup of regular balsamic vinegar infused with strawberry (you can also opt for blueberry or Pomegranate ) to a boil over high heat in a small ceramic coated skillet.

Cook until the vinegar begins to thicken and becomes syrupy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool then follow vinaigrette recipe above.

Salad Ingredients

1 cup walnut halves

We found a cool way to candy the walnuts, and credit goes to private chef Chris Crary  with his candied walnut recipe featured at California Walnuts.

1/2 cup California walnuts

1 egg white

1 ounce sugar

2 tablespoons walnut oil

Salt to taste

Beat egg white until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and mix in to peaked egg white.

Next add the walnuts and coat with the egg mixture.

Place in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Allow to cool. Once mixture is cool, toss in walnut oil. Set aside.

16 ounce bag of arugula

2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup candied walnuts

Shaved Parmesan

Arugula Salad Topped with Walnuts Strawberries and Parmesan CheeseIn a large salad bowl, combine arugula, strawberries and candied walnuts.

Plate salad and drizzle with vinaigrette and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

To make salad a meal, when mixing salad ingredients, add a cup or two of your choice, chopped cooked chicken, salmon, halibut, or tuna.

Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

1 grapefruit with white flesh, peeled, pith removed, and dice segments

5 ounce package of mixed greens

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

5 ounce package smoked salmon, flake with a fork

Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of sweet garlic mustard (we found this at Whole Foods Market)

1 tablespoon of EV olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon Avocado and Grapefruit SaladMix lemon juice, mustard, oil, salt and pepper to a large salad bowl.  

Next add mixed greens, grapefruit, avocado, and smoked salmon. Toss until well coated with vinaigrette. Plate and serve.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and FigsThe number on producer of sweet potatoes in the United States alone, is the state of North Carolina, planting and harvesting more than 40% of the national supply.

3 popular sweet potato varieties sold at market

Image Credit: Saveur Magazine

The website for the sweet potato industry, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes say that the list of sweet potato varieties changes rapidly and new varieties are released almost annually.

The most popular varieties sold at your local market are, Covington Sweet Potato, O’Henry Sweet Potato, and the Japanese Sweet Potato.

The popular food magazine, also found on line, Saveur says that shopping for sweet potatoes, particularly during the Thanksgiving holiday (USA), you can came across a surprising range of varieties, 16 to be exact.

They go on to say that a consumer can find both heirlooms and new hybrids alike, all which are being grown in the United States.

Our feature recipe – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – uses three different types of sweet potatoes, which are the speckled purple sweet potato, which is named because of their flecked magenta flesh.

An heirloom variety with pale orange skin and flesh, and not to forget the Hannahs varity which has tan skin and an off-white interior. When roasted the flesh takes on a yellow cast, a lightly sweet flavor, and a dry texture.

Here is what you will need to prepare – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs in your own kitchen.

2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, different colors

5 tablespoons olive oil

Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste

6 dried figs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 peeled coins fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar

12 scallions or green onions (white and green parts), cut into 1 1/2 inch segments

1 red chili,halved, seeded, thinly sliced

My mother had two fig trees in her garden, both a black and green variety. Fresh figs can be very fragile, and need to be eaten within a day or two of harvesting. We used dried figs in our recipe because they are just as versatile as fresh figs when re-hydrated.

Read more here about the Benefits Of Figs Help Fight Against Common Ailments.

Recipes directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Scrub potatoes and slice each one into wedges.

roasted sweet potatoesToss wedges with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, s teaspoons of Himalayan salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle and roast until soft, about 25 minutes.

rehydrating fdried figs with lemon zest, juice, sugar and fresh gingerMeanwhile, place the dried figs in a medium saucepan with lemon zest, juice, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cover with fresh water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer until figs return to plump fig pose.

dried figs rehydratedScoop figs from saucepan with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels. Let dry, and quarter the figs, cutting away the stems.

In a small saucepan, stir together the balsamic vinegar, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs - close upArrange roasted sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a sauce pan and heat. place in onions, and chili. Fry for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Spoon the oil, onions, and chili over the sweet potatoes.

Nestle the figs among the wedges and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Suggested to serve at room temperature.

Ginger and Lemon Juice WaterMaybe you are wondering what to do with the water solution that was used to dehydrate the figs? Put it into your Nutri-Bullet or blender, and blend for about 30 to 40 seconds and drink down a nutritious anti-inflammatory drink.

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Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and AsparagusAbout 70 years ago, way before fast food restaurants opened up, one pot meals were popular. The reason being that the women worked long hours in the fields or in factory jobs, and were often too tired to make a complete meal for their family. So instead they made meals that were quick and easy to put together.

One pot meals are quick and easy to prepare and do not not require a lot of time in the kitchen. On many occasions these meals are enjoyed by family and friends, and always include foods that go well together, like pinto beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti and ground pork.

A true one pot dish is literally using one pot to cook all the ingredients at the same time. The one pot meal can also include using one pot to cook the ingredients separately, and then combining them together at the end of the preparation and cooking time. These type of one pot meals are also not time consuming.

Our featured dish: Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus is the later description of the one pot meal. Here is what you will need.

produce ingredients for Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Italian dressing, your favorite, store bought or homemade

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/4 lbs chicken, sliced horizontally, and cut into 2 x 4 inch pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and black pepper for seasoning

1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed of tough ends, cut to 2-inch pieces (thinner stalks are the best to use, if you can find them)

1 1/2 cups rainbow matchstick carrots

1 cup grape tomatoes, mixed colors, halved

If you can not find rainbow matchstick carrots, then the orange ones are fine. We did take the time to make our own matchsticks using a red and yellow carrot with a julienne peeler.

In a large measuring cup, mix together dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes, and set aside.

cooking chicken in a large skilletIn a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper, then place chicken evenly in skillet. Cook about 8 minutes, turning chicken pieces once halfway through cooking, until it has cooked through.

Add half the dressing mixture to skillet and rotate chicken to evenly coat. Transfer chicken to a large serving platter, and leave sauce in the skillet (if there is any).

cooking asparagus and carrots in a large skilletNext add the prepared asparagus and carrots to skillet, season with a little salt and pepper (optional), and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer veggies to a serving platter with chicken.

Add remaining dressing mixture to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus - closer viewAdd tomatoes to vegetables and mix in. Drizzle dressing mixture in pan over top of chicken and vegetables or return chicken and vegetables to pan and toss to coat. Plate and serve.

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Asian Spicy Poached Chicken

 

Asian Spicy Poached Chicken

Poached chicken is very popular in Hong Kong.

The chicken is poached in a broth flavored with star anise, caraway seeds, orange zest, lemongrass, ginger and Thai chilies.

Traditionally the broth is not served with the poached chicken and spices.

You can freeze the chicken stock in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw it to use in anything from flavored soup bases to fragrant noodle dishes, and even to cook rice.

Asian Spicy Poached Chicken

1 to 2 pounds chicken thighs with skin and bone-in

1 small stalk of lemongrass

Peel of half an orange

1 stalk celery

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 ounce piece fresh ginger root

1 red Thai chili

2 green finger chilies

2 pieces star anise

½ a red onion

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Some fresh filtered water

Half a cup coconut oil or olive oil

preparing to cook Asian Spicy Poached ChickenBegin by placing chicken pieces in a pot or pan with enough water to cover the chicken.

Add the lemongrass, orange peel, celery, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes.

pouching chicken for Asian Spicy Poached ChickenWhen the chicken done, you can eat the cooked dish as is, but this won’t be Asian Spicy Poached Chicken without the spicy part! So let’s continue.

spicies for Asian Spicy Poached ChickenFor the spicy ‘sauce’ gather the peppercorns, onion, chilies, star anise, oil, ginger, and caraway seeds. Slice the ginger, onions, and chili.

cooked spices for Asian Spicy Poached ChickenIn a small sauce pan over medium heat, place all of the spices and oil into the pan. Slowly heat up to infuse the oil with the spices.

pour spices over Poached ChickenAfter about 5 minutes of the spices steeping in the oil, pour the ‘sauce’ over the drained chicken pieces. You can strain the oil off if you want, but the traditional way of serving this dish is with all the spices left in the oil.

close up detail of cooked Asian Spicy Poached ChickenThis dish is best enjoyed with a side of Asian style vegetables or an Asian salad.

How about this Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing or Mango Thai Noodle Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

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Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Leafy greens with are full of nutritional benefits. They include vitamins A, C, K, B complex, minerals and antioxidants.

Now include things like fennel, raspberries, wheat berries, fresh basil, onion, raw honey, and olive oil, and you have a real nutritiously good plate of food.

How so? Well, let’s examine some of those fresh food ingredients.

Fennel

Fennel Bulb

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant, that is documented as an herb, and all parts of the plant are eaten.

The fennel has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a native plant to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Because of its highly aromatic smell and flavor, it has found its way, becoming naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Fennel has found its way into culinary dishes and the medicine cabinet, as it has medicinal uses as well.

The seeds are used whole or are ground into a powder and used in many culinary dishes of India, Pakistan, Ground fennel seedAfghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East.

Fennel has 360 mg of potassium per serving. And Accor to the American Heart Association the more foods that contain potassium that you eat can help keep your blood pressure in normal range.

Raspberries

Bowl of red raspberries According to Lisa R Young, PhD, RDN, author of the book Finally Full, Finally Slim, raspberries are high in the antioxidant vitamin C, perfect for immune health. They also contain the mineral potassium which may help lower blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose when you go to the bathroom. Having less sodium in your system can help ease the tension for your blood vessel walls, which causes high blood pressure.

Raspberries contain 186 milligrams of potassium per cup, which is about 5% of the average daily recommended value.

Fresh Basil

One of the most significant benefits of basil is its contribution to maintaining cardiac health.

The herb is an excellent source of vitamin A, promoting healthy blood vessels and minimizing cholesterol buildup inside the blood vessels.

Basil varieties Depending on the variety, basil can be green, white or purple with a scent reminiscent of lemon, cloves, cinnamon, anise, camphor or thyme.

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

4 cups of red leaf salad, or leafy spring greens

4 cups basil, fresh

1 fennel, thinly sliced

2 cups raspberries, fresh

1 medium red onion, sliced

6 to 8 ounces goat cheese

1 cup farro or wheat berries, cooked

Raw Honey Vinaigrette

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

Make the vinaigrette by adding vinegar, oil, and honey to a jar, cover and shake to combine, and set aside.

Next take the goat cheese and shape into small balls, about 1 inch round, and set aside.

Wheat Berry cooking in olive oilToast cooked wheat berry in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Building the Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese SaladStart building the fresh salad by first spreading the leafy greens over a salad platter. Next add the sliced red onion, then the sliced fennel, and lastly the chopped basil.

illustration of chopping basilChop the basil last as it can brown after the inner parts of the leaf act with the air.

It is better to tear the leaves apart, but if you act quickly, you can use a knife to cut several at a time.

As shown in the image, we collected together three leaves, rolled them up and made 4 or 5 slices across the rolled basil. 

The process can go fast, and the basil will not brown. Make sure though, the knife you will use to cut the basil is sharp.

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad - close up

After building the salad take the goat cheese balls, and roll them in the toasted wheat berries and arrange them on the salad platter.

Next add the raspberries, and drizzle the Raw Honey Vinaigrette over the salad. Plate and serve.

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Purple Sweet Potato Cashew and Chicken Salad

Purple Sweet Potato Cashew and Chicken Salad

This recipe brings together flavors for an exciting salad as a main dinner selection. It features the sweet purple potato which roasts up very tasty, along with cashews, tender baby kale, chicken breast, and an all organic balsamic dressing purchased at the Whole Foods Market. It is a non-oil dressing that is gluten free, vegan friendly, and non-dairy. The main dressing ingredients includes blackberries, figs, and aged balsamic vinegar.

Let’s get to cooking and enjoy the video.

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Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard has a sharp, hot, pungent flavor. Over time though, the heat of prepared mustard can dissipate, because of the chemical compounds coming in contact with oxygen after they have been crushed.

As a prepared condiment, mustard could contain ingredients like salt, sour vinegar, and sweet flavors. Turmeric is most often added mainly to give mustard its yellow color.

Because of its antibacterial properties, mustard will not grow mold, mildew, or harmful bacteria. Mustard can last indefinitely without becoming inedible or harmful, though it may dry out, lose its flavor, or turn brown from oxidation. Just stir in a tiny amount of wine or vinegar to help improve dried out mustard.

Dijon style mustard with the addition of wine, was first developed in Dijon, France.

Now for our featured recipe:

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette

3 slices center-cut bacon

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (recommended not to use farm grown shrimp, as it contains more cholesterol, than its wild caught counter part)

2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 1 medium bulb)

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (when making this in the summer, you can use Symphony Cherry Tomatoes, as they come in a variety of colors)

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

1 (9-ounce) package fresh baby spinach

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (we like to use infused balsamic vinegar, our favorite is balsamic infused with pomegranate)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (if possible get the Dijon that has some whole seeds, and you will get a sharp, hot, pungent flavor to your salad)

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt (better than regular table salt. It contains all of the trace minerals, so you use less salt)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, optional

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving the drippings, and crumble the bacon., and set aside.

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette -close upNow add the prepared shrimp to the pan, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes on each size. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, fennel, grape tomatoes, red onion, and baby spinach.

Combine the remaining ingredients at the bottom of a large salad bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Now add the bacon, fennel, grape tomatoes, red onion, baby spinach, and shrimp. Toss the ingredients until well coated with the balsamic mustard vinaigrette toss.

Plate and serve.

 

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Ten Ways to Beat the Heat with Summer Melons

Ten Ways to Beat the Heat with Summer Melons

Watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe are the three most common and loved melons, and they are all melons which are mostly consumed throughout the summer months.

From April until August its melon season throughout earth’s northern hemisphere. Consuming these melons while in season should be about more than just the fact that they taste good and are supper refreshing. They contain vitamins and minerals, including large amounts of water, which is hydrating to the body.

Here are ten wonderful ways to enjoy melons in the summer.

Watermelon Basil and Goat cheese

Image Credit: deansheremet.tumblr.com

1. A nice hunk of juicy watermelon will help beat the heat. If you feel watermelon is a little too bland for your taste, then just cube up some melon and toss it with a little feta or goat cheese and some balsamic vinegar and olive oil sprinkled with some fresh basil. You’ll have a simple, refreshing, grown-up treat that’s sure to help you beat the heat this summer.

2. Make a delicious summer soup with pureed honeydew melon and cantaloupe. Chill it and add some fresh mint leaf for an extra refreshing treat.

3. Make a refreshing drink out of the melons. Whether it’s a watermelon martini or just a sparkling water drink garnished with your favorite melon, it’s sure to help you beat the heat this summer.

4. Make a watermelon smoothie or a melon parfait for a treat in the heat.

5. A fruit salad with all of your favorite melons in it will cool you down and be light and refreshing enough to help keep you feeling cool and breezy.

Melon Ball Ice Cubes

Image Credit: laylita.com

6. Using a melon scooper, make melon balls with your favorite melon and freeze them and add to fresh water. It will make your water have a nice sweet taste as the melon balls thaw, also it will cool you off while providing a great refreshment (link here for a great recipe on preparing Melon Ball Ice Cubes).

7. If you don’t want any melon in your ice cubes, just make a frosty granita by pureeing your melon. Mix it with some ginger ale, lemon juice, and lime juice; then freeze it. Give it a stir every half hour or so and you have a wonderful cooling slushy-like dessert.

8. Melons are even great as a salsa for a nice light dinner dish. It’s refreshing and tasty with a nice grilled piece of chicken.

9. Try all the different types of melons. If you can get your hands on something other than cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew, then you should try them for a different treat to beat the summer heat. Melons like Casaba melon, for a sweet and spicy flavor the Crenshaw melon, the Persian melon, and the sweet honey-like taste of the yellow flesh watermelon.

10. Enjoy fresh melons with your friends – preferably by the pool or some other body of water. Nothing says fun and summer like watermelon at the beach with the people you love the most. So get out there, have a good time, and beat the heat with your melon in hand and your toes in the water.

Melons are the perfect summer beat-the-heat food because of the large amounts of water they contain. Water helps thin the blood which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood through your veins. So even if you’re not a big fan of drinking water, just eating these watery melons will do so much to help you stay ultra-cool and hydrated. Just grab your favorite melon today and beat the heat this summer!

Here’s our recommendation for a great salad using watermelon: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad.Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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