Don’t Be Blue Salad: Easy Meal Edition

This salad is full with nutrient dense foods, such as spinach, avocado, blueberries, extra virgin olive oil, and walnuts.  It is very easy to whip together and would be a great lunch to bring to work.  The creamy avocado is a nice contrast to the crunchy walnuts.  The blueberries add sweetness.  Next time I will add feta for its salty flavor, I just didn’t have it this time!

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Place fresh spinach in a bowl.  Add blueberries, sliced avocado, and walnuts.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.

Mix and enjoy!

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I Love Olives: Easy Meal Edition

As I said earlier this summer, I worked far away from my home.  So I relied on quick’n easy meals filled with healthy ingredients.  Olives became one of my favorite ingredients to use because I love salty food 🙂

Green Machine Salad

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Place a few handfuls of fresh spinach in a bowl.  Add pitted green olives, Samira’s hummus, a handful of Biena’s Chickpea Snacks, and an avocado.

Quinoa Spinach Salad

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Cook around 1/4 cup of tri-colored quinoa according to the instructions on the bag.

Place spinach in a bowl.  Add quinoa, pitted kalamata olives and crumbled feta.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Greek Power Bowl

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Place spinach in a bowl.  Add kalamata olives, Samira’s hummus and spicy grape leaves, and Watusee Chickpeatos.

Enjoy!

 

Don’t Be Blue: Food Edition

Pizza.  A hot, cheesy, saturated, carbo loaded, all American meal.  An easy crowd pleaser, it shows up at birthday parties, casual gatherings, meetings, and early mornings after a night out.  While I am all in support of a $5 cheese pie at Comellas, we are here today to talk about the finer things in life: Pizza with prosciutto, fig, and blue cheese to be exact.

Over the past several months I have sampled three varieties of this pizza to show you its whereabouts in Boston because it is one of my favorite combinations.  We will take a look at Locale in the North End, Figs in Beacon Hill, and Teatro in the Theatre District.

Locale 

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Out of all three restaurants this was my favorite.  The pizza was called Parma Due and had Prosciutto, Arugula, Mission Figs, and Gorgonzola.  The crust was thick enough to support all of the ingredients, while still being thin enough to keep a good dough to topping ratio.  None of the ingredients overpowered each other, while allowed the flavor combinations to meld well.  The prosciutto had a salty bite, the blue cheese added a funky rich note, the figs a sweet punch, and the arugula brought freshness to the dish.  However, what really set this pizza apart was the bottle of balsamic glaze the waitress brought to the table to drizzle on top.  Reduced balsamic vinegar brings a deeply sweet, slightly acidic flavor, which balanced the rich blue cheese very well.

Figs 

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Pardon me for the less than stellar picture quality, but the lighting in Figs made it difficult, and I remember being very hungry, so my patience was not at its highest level.  Figs had a much thinner crust than Locale, and the fig and blue cheese were almost combined together like a spread before the pizza was baked off.  This pizza did not have any balsamic reduction to top it off, but the flavor profiles of the prosciutto, blue cheese, and fig were spot on.  Fig’s atmosphere was also the best out of all three restaurants.  Located on Charles St. our party was seated looking outside of a beautiful window, greeted with old brick buildings, Christmas lights, and people passing by.  Figs’ small size creates a very romantic and intimate feel, but also makes it hard to get a table, so make sure that you get there early.

Teatro

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Lastly comes Teatro’s pizza, but don’t get me wrong it was still a stellar pie!  The presentation of this pizza was probably my favorite, and when it came to the table it really looked like a work of art.  The reason this was my lowest ranking was because the blue cheese flavor was not that strong and was lost among the salty prosciutto and sticky fig jam.  The blue cheese was actually labeled Gorgonzola Crema on the menu, which may explain the diluted flavor since it was transformed into more of a sauce.  As a side note you must order the parmesan truffle fries at Teatro.  To die for.

I hope you try all of these wonderful spots in Boston and let me know where your favorite pizza places are!

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

One of these days I hope SweetGreen discovers my food blog and names a salad after one of my inspirations… that day has yet to come!  This salad is unique because the shrimp is marinated in an herb and salt mixture, Aglio Olio, that my cousin mailed to me from California.

Aglio Olio

Aglio Olio

She knows I am a big foodie and she usually mixes the seasoning with olive oil as a dip for bread.  I took the liberty of repurposing it and was met with success.

"Shrimp My Ride" Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad (for one)

6 shrimp washed and deveined

olive oil

Aglio Olio seasoning

half an avocado (or full if you’d rather just go for it)

half a yellow bell pepper (chopped)

carrot (chopped)

1/4 cup feta

handful sunflower seeds

6 Greek olives (pitted and chopped)

2 cups romaine lettuce

2 cups spinach

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Place the shrimp in a bowl.  Pour olive oil on top to cover it.  Sprinkle on the Agli Olio salt and herb mixture to season the shrimp.

Grill the shrimp until each side is pink and cooked through.

Place spinach and lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.  Cut the tails off of the shrimp.  Place everything on top of the greens.  Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress the salad.  Dig in!

 

 

Nectarine Spinach Salad

I know I tend to go through phases with my posts, so I will try and make this the last salad you see for at least a little while.  I liked the pairing of salty feta to contrast the sweet nectarine, but I think the dish needed something with a more robust flavor like blue cheese which I will try out next time!

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Nectarine Spinach Salad

nectarine sliced thin

spinach

sunflower seeds

feta

balsamic vinegar

Place the spinach down on a platter.  Lay the nectarine slices on top.  Crumbled the cheese and sprinkle the seeds on top.  Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar.  Enjoy!

Summer Spinach Salad

This dish was a take on my favorite spinach salad with cranberries, feta, and walnuts, but I added some leftover grilled corn that I had from the night before.  I made it quickly for a family dinner so I did not record the exact proportions, but I don’t think you can mess it up!

SALAD

Summer Spinach Salad

spinach

grilled corn

cranberries

chopped walnuts

salted sunflower seeds (shelled)

feta

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Cut the grilled corn off of the cob using a sharp knife.

Place the spinach in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle on the grilled corn.  Crumble the feta on top.  Add the walnuts, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.

For the dressing mix 1/3 part balsamic vinegar and 2/3 part olive oil.

Pour over the dressing and toss the salad.

Chopped Greek Salad

This salad is an effortless side dish perfect for spring and summer BBQ’s.  All you have to do is chop up the vegetables and feta, and whisk together an easy dressing.

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Greek Chopped Salad (equal parts of all ingredients)

chopped tomatoes

chopped cucumber

pitted kalamata olives

crumbled feta cheese

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Top with balsamic dressing below.

Balsamic Dressing

1/3 part olive oil

2/3 part balsamic vinegar

freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

 

Balsamic Ravioli

This recipe is basically a spin-off from one of my favorite salads.  Spinach, feta, dried cranberries, walnuts, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  I swapped out the spinach for asparagus and ravioli to make the meal a little more substantial.  I love how there are tart, sweet, salty, and savory elements in this pasta dish, and it takes less than thirty minutes to cook!

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Balsamic Ravioli (serves 1)

Cheese ravioli (cooked per instructions on the package)

Asparagus, rough ends removed, and cut into one inch pieces

Butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Feta cheese to crumble on top

Dried cranberries

Chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Heat the butter in a skillet at medium heat.  Add the asparagus and salt and pepper.  When the asparagus is cooked through add the balsamic and olive oil.  Turn the heat on high and cook for a few more minutes, stir the sauce so the vinegar does not burn.  Add the ravioli, cheese, walnuts, and cranberries, and cook until the ravioli is warmed through.  Then plate and dig in!

Balsamic Mushrooms

I have been neglecting the side dishes on this blog, perhaps because they just seem less glamorous than desserts and dinners.  However, many times the side dish can enhance the overall feel of a meal.  These mushrooms are savory and meaty and pair well with mashed potatoes.  Subtle enough to not over power the main event, yet delicious enough that people will definitely go back for seconds.

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Balsamic Mushrooms (serves 6 as a side)

3 cups sliced button mushrooms

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Heat olive in a pan over medium/ high heat.  Add the mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until tender.  The mushrooms will turn a nice medium/dark brown.  Add in the vinegar and cook for a couple more minutes until it coats all the mushrooms.  The mushrooms should have a nice snap and crispiness on the edges.

Balsamic Glazed Steak

With minimal fuss you can concoct a delicious dinner sure to please any meat-eater.  The sweetness of the reduced balsamic enhances the flavor of the steak and amps up the profile of a pretty simple meal.  Serve alongside a starch and vegetable and you can have dinner on the table within 45 minutes.

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Balsamic Glazed Steak (serves 8, my family doles out generous sized portions)

4 lbs. sirloin

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan at medium/high heat.  Season the steak with salt and pepper.  Cut into strips about 1 in thick.  Then cut into cubes 2-3 in long.  Add the steak to the pan and get a good sear on all sides.  Add the balsamic vinegar on top and more olive oil if needed (so steak does not stick to the pan).  Reduce heat to medium and cook until the steak is your desired level of doneness.  It probably will be another 15 minutes from here.  Enjoy!