Spicy soba cabbage salad

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I love when meals just come together and end up delicious. The other day, I had some cabbage that had been hiding out in my fridge for over a week. I’d meant to make a nice spring-y coleslaw and just never got around to actually doing it. I really had no inspiration whatsoever beyond my slaw, until I remembered the soba noodles that I recently purchased (after looking all over Paris for them!). And guess what else? I had a box of frozen edamame in the freezer… And thus this Asian-inspired salad was born! Continue reading

Thai chicken salad with sesame vinaigrette

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This was my absolute favorite thing to sneak bites of when I worked at the catering company. It was also one of the few dishes that I was fully in charge of making, from start to finish. The soba noodles had to be cooked, bell peppers blanched, vegetables julienned just-so… I remember making vats of vinaigrette, chopping heads and heads of iceberg lettuce, being extremely concentrated while slicing my blanched peppers and constantly worrying about ripping my hands open with the ultra-sharp mandolin. And yet the first time I recreated this salad at home it was pure, nostalgic pleasure. It brought back both good and bad memories (17 hour work days!), but mostly it was delicious and just as good as I remembered. Plus, when you’re only making enough for two people, it comes together really quickly! Continue reading

Chicken, pancetta and honeydew salad

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Summer is definitely over, but that shouldn’t stop us from reminiscing about the quintessential dishes that we’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks, and all of the season’s star produce. One of my favorite things about summer is the melon. Canteloup, honeydew, Brazilian, yellow, orange and green, always sweet and refreshing. Sometime in August I bought a beautiful little honeydew and also found myself at home alone that week. I decided on a fresh little salad that combines chicken (in this case, leftover ginger and spice fried chicken strips, but grilled chicken with a little garlic would be perfect as well), salty pancetta and juicy, ripe honeydew. I paired it with a light lemony dressing that I’ll think you’ll love.

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Ribbon carrot salad with mint and spicy lime-cumin vinaigrette

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I found the most beautiful carrots at the market the other day. Violet and off-white verging on green, pale yellow and orange. I knew that I had to focus on presentation, without forgetting about flavor. Although it was very time consuming, I decided on a ribbon carrot salad with a simple spicy and fresh cumin/lime/mint vinaigrette. I hope you like it!

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Ribbon carrot salad with mint and spicy lime-cumin vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 lb carrots, preferably colorful ones!
A few of the carrot fronds, washed and trimmed
1 small green onion, finely chopped
1 large handful of mint, roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T chile garlic sauce
2 t brown sugar
1 t cumin
2 T lime juice

Shredding these carrots would make this whole ordeal a lot easier, but less pretty too ;) I used a vegetable peeler to peel my carrots into ribbons. In a large bowl, mix all other remaining ingredients and season to taste. Go easy on the spices, you can always add more later, depending on how you like it! Add the carrots and fronds once the vinaigrette is ready and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before eating, to soften up the carrots and infuse them with flavor! This simple salad will be even better the next day, so why not make a double batch?

Fresh panzanella (Italian tomato and bread salad)

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Man, I love summer. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of it this year in my corner of France. My family came to visit recently and the first week was spent toting umbrellas and tightly tying scarves around our necks to keep the chill out. Luckily, the last week or so was amazing, culminating with the hottest and sunniest day of the year on my birthday.

It looks like that’s all over now, but I can’t stop myself from whipping up typically summer-friendly recipes that involve fresh, ripe produce and minimal cooking. I also can’t stop wearing summer dresses, even though technically it’s cold outside. I think I’ll just ignore those goosebumps for now, and keep on pretending like it’s still summer. Continue reading

My favorite potato salad

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I love potato salad. I know that not everyone feels the same. The thing is, a good (or bad) potato salad can make (or break) a picnic or BBQ. And the only way to make sure that your side is fabulous and not boring or tasteless is to make it yourself!

I’ve experimented a lot with potato salad over the last few years, and much more so since I moved to France and couldn’t just go out and buy it at the supermarket. I remember in the beginning, I tried to recreate many American classes for Jé, because I wanted him to know the foods I grew up eating, but mostly because I missed them. It was a hard adjustment to make at first, but I’ve learned to live without most of the American things that I can’t find here. Some recipes, and some dishes, however, have stayed with me. Potato salad is one of those dishes, and I think I’ve pretty much perfected it. Continue reading

Grilled shrimp pasta salad with mâche, heirloom tomatoes, coconut milk lemon and orzo

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The only thing better than salad is pasta salad. And the only thing better than pasta salad is healthy pasta salad. There are several ways to make this happen. First, just because it’s a pasta salad doesn’t mean that pasta has to be the most abundant part of the recipe. Try mixing some salad greens into your pasta salad. They’ll add flavor and texture and will help to fill you up without eating so many carbs. Mâche and arugula both work great here. Second, skip the mayonnaise. Or, at least cut down on it, like I did here. I like to use a traditional red wine vinaigrette with my pasta salads, mixing in just a spoonful of mayonnaise that helps me achieve that classic, creamy texture. Finally, add tons of fresh veggies to your salad, that’s what will make it delicious! Continue reading