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by Heather Harris Brady

I know, a whole lotta people hate beets. But if you’re one of them then you’re probably skipping this post anyway.

I happen to really like them. I like them even more when they’re ginned up with some vinegar and sprinkled with feta or goat cheese. Roasted beets are your friend. You can make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy them in your lunches for a week or two.

I like to use different colors of beets if I can find them, and if you can find heirlooms so much the better. I’m using golden beets and regular red beets here.

Roasted Beet Salad, Enough for six entree-sized salads

  • Six whole beets, about 4″ across, washed and scrubbed
  • Two c. water
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 t. salt
  • 8 oz. feta or goat cheese
  • Fresh toasted nuts for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375. Rub the beets with olive oil and put them in a baking dish. Bake for about 60 minutes, until tender all the way through.


Let the beets cool, then peel and slice them 1/4″ thick. Keep the red beets away from the others or they will turn red! I put them directly in storage containers at this point.


Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir until the sugar and salt is dissolved.


Pour the mixture over the beets and refrigerate them. Let them sit overnight and they’re ready to use!


Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle them with the cheese and nuts. You can go crazy here, add some grains, put them over lettuce, drizzle on a little balsamic dressing, whatever you like.


This makes a great vegetarian entree too.


Two years ago: Seeded Crackers
One year ago: Classic Italian Buttercream


by Heather Harris Brady

Earlier this year in California I had an amazing plate of pasta – achini de pepe and crab in an alfredo sauce. It was all things it should be – thick, rich and luxurious at the point where it left rivulets of butter on the dish. But one can’t live like that every day, so when we got home I developed this recipe using the same ingredients but turning them into a bright summer salad with a lemon vinaigrette.

Summer Crab Salad, Serves eight as a side dish

  • Four ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1/2 of a red pepper
  • 1/3 c. diced onion
  • 3/4 lb. of achini de pepe pasta
  • 2/3 c. shaved parmesan
  • Meat from one lb. of king crab legs


  • 2/3 c. olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Cracked pepper
  • Salt

Cook the pasta, drain and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Set aside.


Cut the corn off the ears and set it aside.


Saute the pepper and onion in a saucepan with 2 T. of olive oil on medium heat.


When the pepper starts to soften, add the corn and cook it until crisp-tender – about 10 minutes.


When the vegetables have cooled to room temperature, combine them with the pasta.


Fold in the crab.


Combine the oil and lemon juice in a separate bowl and whip well with a whisk. Add in the seasonings.


Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and cheese.


Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill thoroughly, at least three hours, before serving.


This salad would be delicious as a stuffing for fresh tomatoes. Keep it cold at all times. And once in a while, if you feel like subbing in an alfredo sauce for the cheese and vinaigrette, your secret’s safe with me.

One year ago: Baby Back Ribs with Dry Rub


by Heather Harris Brady

It’s salad time but I have to say I rarely buy dressings. I usually just settle for throwing together some kind of vinaigrette when I need one. However, one day I had a beautiful buttery leaf lettuce and a yen for Thousand Island. Most of the recipes I found called for mayo, another thing I never have. If I made my own I’d have the Uncooked Egg Problem, which I’d prefer to avoid. So, I reasoned, could I not make a dodgy sort of hollandaise and use that as a base?

Why yes, yes you can. If you have your own fresh eggs, so much the better.

Thousand Island Dressing, Makes about 1-1/3 cups

  • Two whole eggs and one egg yolk
  • 1/3 c. white wine
  • Cracked pepper
  • 1/3 c. olive oil

Seasonings to taste (amounts are a guideline):

  • 2 T. ketchup (storebought or my recipe)
  • 2 T. cocktail sauce
  • 2 t. asian hot chili sauce
  • 1/3 c. sweet relish
  • 2 T. minced red pepper
  • 1 t. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Have your eggs and oil standing by. Beat the eggs together well. Reduce the wine and pepper over medium heat until the pan is nearly dry (au sec).



Add the oil to the pan, and start whisking like mad as you drizzle in the egg.


You should end up with something vaguely like a hollandaise. Let the pan cool to lukewarm and then whisk in the seasonings.


Adjust the ratio until it pleases you. Then scoop it a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. If you leave it overnight so much the better, the flavors will blend more.


Store the dressing in the refrigerator. Serve with any green salad. To frost your plates just rinse them quickly under cold water, shake off the excess and place them (unstacked) in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

One year ago: Strawberry Shortcake




by Heather Harris Brady

Back in the days when we were footloose and fancy-free urban dwellers, and by fancy-free I mean child-free, my husband and I used to hit up a coney island at least once a week. In the Detroit area coney islands are often Greek in nature, with amazing salads, spinach pie, and gyros. The grilled chicken gyros were my non-breakfast go-to, always arriving piping  hot, swaddled in aluminum foil and dripping tzatziki sauce.

My subconscious must have been thinking along those lines when I came up with this recipe. The topping is based on a lovely salad I had at a friend’s house. You could sub in chickpeas for the chicken, or put it all on a bed of lettuce instead of bread.

Greek Chicken Pitas, Makes about six large pitas

1 batch greek salad dressing

1 pound thin-sliced chicken breasts

1 cucumber

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

4 oz. feta cheese

1/3 c. minced red onion

1 package of pita bread

Mix up the dressing. Put the chicken in a ziplock bag and pour half of the dressing over it. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.


Assemble the topping ingredients.


Combine them all in a bowl and fold in the rest of the greek dressing.


Refrigerate the topping until you’re ready to grill the chicken.


Warm the pita bread in the microwave or on the grill. To make each sandwich, slice a chicken breast onto the pita.


Dress it with a generous spoonful of topping and serve immediately, preferably wrapped in aluminum foil.


One year ago: Apricot Frangipane Tart


by Heather Harris Brady

While most of my posts come from my kitchen at home I’m breaking new ground here to bring you this post – lunch at my desk. As spring creeps in at a glacial pace I still find myself craving nice salads for lunch. It’s a great gluten free, vegetarian entree, plus it’s a cinch to throw together in-situ, making it handy for picnics and tailgates too!

Chickpea Salad, Makes about 3 cups

  •  One 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • One ready-to-eat container of brown rice (0ptional)
  • 1/4 c. good-quality olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste



Before you leave home in the morning combine the last five ingredients together in a container. Put the beans, tomatoes and cheese in your bag along with the dressing. Refrigerate when you get to work.


When you’re ready for lunch, heat the brown rice according to directions. (Mine cooks in one minute.) Warm up the dressing if it has thickened in the refrigerator.


Stir the cheese into the dressing and mix well.


Combine the beans, tomatoes, and rice in a bowl and pour the cheese/dressing on top. Mix well.


That’s it! This recipe makes enough for at least two lunches, if you put it over greens it would probably stretch to three, so make sure you refrigerate any leftovers.


One year ago: Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)


by Heather Harris Brady

Due to some technical/computer difficulties yesterday I couldn’t get this portion of the recipe added to yesterday’s post. So I’m putting it in today instead. Farro is the oldest cultivated grain in the world, resistant to diseases and willing to tolerate poor soils. It’s high in fiber, protein and packed with vitamins and minerals. While it is lower in gluten it is not gluten free. Straight-from-the-field grain is extremely tough and requires a lot of soaking. However, if you look for precooked or pearled farro, you can have it ready in about 15 minutes.

This is a very kid-friendly pilaf. If I were making it just for me I would throw some diced onions in with the carrots and some additional seasoning. We had about half of it left over, which I tossed with 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese and warmed it through for lunch the next day.

Farro Pilaf, Makes about four generous servings

One 8.5 oz package precooked farro

1/3 c. baby carrots, cut in small dice

1 small zucchini, cut in small dice

Cook your farro according to package directions and drain. Set aside.

Saute the carrots in 2 T. olive oil until crisp-tender, about six minutes.


Add the zucchini.


Cook for two minutes and then add the farro.


Toss with butter and season to taste. Serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. This pilaf would also be great wrapped in flatbread (see below) with some grilled chicken.

One year ago: Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)



by Heather Harris Brady

This idea comes from the most recent issue of Cooking Light. It inspired me to throw together this quick side dish. Once you get your pan hot it all comes together in under five minutes. If you added some cooked brown rice it would make a fantastic pilaf or a filling for vegetarian wraps.

Charred Asparagus, Serves Four

3/4 lb. fresh asparagus spears, cleaned with tops cut and set aside

1/3 c. crumbled pecans

Juice of one lemon

1 T. butter

1/3 c. shaved parmesan

Find a heavy pan and add 1 T. olive oil. Get it SMOKIN’ hot then throw in the asparagus stalks.


After they are charred on nearly all sides add the tops.


Continue stirring and add the pecans, then the butter. Turn off the heat.


Toss the asparagus and pecans with the parmesan and the lemon juice.




One year ago: Pavlovas



by Heather Harris Brady

Since the roast beef and yorkshire pudding are on the heavy side, I wanted a light and pretty salad to go alongside. This is really quick to throw together, with whatever looks best in the produce section. I made an easy honey-lime vinaigrette and tossed it all just before serving.

Fruit & Vegetable Rainbow Salad, Serves 8

  • Three Clementine oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • One Prickly Pear, peeled and diced
  • One pomegranate, arils only
  • Five fresh pineapple slices, cut into chunks
  • One bag of rainbow salad mix (shredded carrots, broccoli, red cabbage)

For the dressing:

  • Three limes, juiced
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. olive oil

You can wash and prepare all the fruit ahead of time if you like.


If you do clean it ahead of time keep the pomegranate and prickly pear separate because they’ll color the rest of the fruit red. Assemble the salad:


Whisk all the dressing ingredients together well and pour them over the top, then toss. Whatever the combination of fruit you use, this salad is a nice antidote to the long gray days of winter.

One year ago: Mexican Lasagne


by Heather Harris Brady

I did break down and turn the oven on for these potatoes because they are one of my husband’s favorites. They’re based on a recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook, so they’re super easy and delicious.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes, Serves Four

Four medium Russet potatoes
One medium onion
1/2 c. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil
2 t. kosher salt

I usually peel the potatoes but you could leave the skins on if you like. Cut them into medium dice. Slice the onion thinly and combine it in a bowl with the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 375, use convection if you have it.

Whisk the mustard and oil together, pour it over the potatoes and onions.


Mix well.


Spread them out in a thin layer on a greased baking sheet.


Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender all the way through. The onions will get dark and crispy. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and serve.


For the strawberry salad I played with the idea of strawberries, balsamic vinegar and pepper. There really aren’t any set ratios here, just use whatever you prefer.

Salad greens
Quartered fresh local strawberries
Salt and pepper walnuts (I bought these at Whole Foods.)
Balsamic vinagrette: 1/2 c. olive oil, 3 T. balsamic vinegar

Toss the greens, strawberries and walnuts. Whisk together the dressing and toss it with the salad just before serving.



by Heather Harris-Brady

Since it’s getting to be salad time I thought I would post these little nibbles. You could also put them out with drinks, as part of a cheese course or as a dessert garnish. But they also make an interesting addition to salads, with goat cheese and chopped nuts. Plus, you’re making use of something you’d usually just compost!

Candied Grapefruit Peel, Makes about 2 cups

Peel (in long strips) from two medium grapefruit

1/2 c. water

1/2 t. vinegar

1 c. granulated sugar

Superfine sugar for final rolling


Take your strips of peel and remove as much of the white pith as you can. Then cut it into 1/8″ or 1/4″ wide strips.

Put it in a saucepan and cover it with water. Boil for five minutes.


Drain and repeat. This removes the bitterness from the peel.

Drain once more. Bring the 1/2 c. water, vinegar and 1 c. sugar to a boil. Add the peel and cook until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage (about 235 degrees on a candy thermometer).


While the syrup is cooking prepare a work surface (marble is ideal but a countertop will work). Cover it with parchment or foil and spread it heavily with superfine sugar. When the peel reaches 235 spoon it out onto the superfine sugar.


Working quickly, spread it out so the pieces are in one layer. Roll them in the sugar until they are completely coated. When they are cool, store in an airtight tin. You can roll them in more sugar before using them if they aren’t as white and crystally as you would like.




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July 2017
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My Favorite Movies/Shows – Food Related

  • Chef's Table (!)
  • Chocolat
  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Hundred Foot Journey
  • Ratatouille
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Master Chef (NPR)
  • Julia's Kitchen (NPR)
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