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Summer Cactus Salad – Truly Vegan (no processed ingredients added)

In Salads, Sides On July 2, 2020 0 Comments

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In Mexico, cactus leaves (nopales) are usually combined with ingredients such as tomatoes, chiles & onions. This results in refreshing salads that act as a side dish to meat, poultry and fish.

Nopales (cactus) leaves can be purchased in Latin American supermarkets or grocery stores. Here is our exquisite take on this traditional dish –  Summer Cactus Salad.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 cactus (nopales) leaves (found in Latin American grocery stores or supermarkets)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 of a Serrano Chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped, fresh mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:
1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cactus (nopales) leaves into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Transfer the chopped cactus to a colander set over a bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the chopped red onion, red bell pepper, Serrano chile and mint in a mixing bowl.

4. Rinse the chopped cactus under cold water and drain.

5. Working in batches, transfer about 1/4 of the chopped cactus to double paper towels set on cutting board.

6. Take paper towels and pat dry (cactus will stick to the paper towels).

7. Release the dried cactus  from paper towels and add it to other ingredients in bowl. Repeat with remaining cactus.

8. Add olive oil and lime to salad ingredients and toss. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

9. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours ahead.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Brown Rice Confetti Salad

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Salads On May 5, 2020 1 Comment

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This salad is delicious as a side or as a buffet dish for any celebration. Make it for Mother’s Day – they’ll love it!

Prep time: 15 minutes (to assemble ingredients)
Makes: 3 to 4 cups

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups cooked, brown rice
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled & finely shredded
2/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup chopped, fresh chives
5 to 6 fresh mint leaves, slivered
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
Dash cumin

Directions:
1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. If rice has excess liquid after cooking, drain and discard the liquid.

3. Transfer the rice to a 4-quart glass or porcelain bowl & stir in the olive oil.

4. Let rice cool to room temperature.

5. When rice is at room temperature, stir in remaining ingredients; toss, taste & adjust seasonings.

6. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap & serve later in the day.

7. Brown Rice Confetti Salad can be made early in the morning. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Wild Shrimp Salad – Italian Style

In Fish & Shellfish, Salads On January 3, 2020 0 Comments

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Wondering why you see the word “wild”? Since Italians have enjoyed wild shrimp for millennia, we realize that wild shrimp are sweeter than the farm-raised variety. In order to taste the ocean, salt and sweetness of these little crustaceans, I literally bite a chunk off (shell and all) while standing at the fish market. It’s okay – the fishmongers know me well and laugh it off. When shrimp are farm-raised, they are literally flavorless.

This Italian style salad has limited ingredients so that the sweet, wild shrimp flavor stands out at every bite.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 to 1-1/2 pounds wild shrimp, peeled and deveined (top and bottom veins)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 of a yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley, finely minced

Directions:
1. Rinse the shrimp under cold water, drain and transfer to a 6-quart saucepot.

2. Cover shrimp with cold water and place saucepot on burner set on high – uncovered.

3. Stand by to make sure water does not foam up and spill out of saucepot.

4. When shrimp come to a boil, cook until flesh is opaque and pink – about 1 to 2 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

5. Taste a shrimp to make sure it is cooked through.

6. When shrimp are cooked, immediately drain them into a colander set over a sink.

7. Transfer shrimp to a large glass or porcelain bowl.

8. Add remaining ingredients; toss and taste.

9. If needed, adjust seasoning levels.

10. Cover salad with aluminum foil and let cool. Serve at room temperature.

11. Alternatively, prepare salad 2 to 3 hours ahead and refrigerate, covered. Wild Shrimp Salad – Italian Style can also be served cold.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Israeli Herb Salad

In Salads, Sides On July 4, 2019 0 Comments

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I went to Israel in April -as many of you know – and learned how to make the best herb salad ever! Here it is:

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh, Italian flat leaf parsley, stems discarded
1 bunch fresh cilantro (coriander), stems discarded
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, stems discarded
1 bunch fresh tarragon
1/2 of a Serrano chili pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped, unsalted almonds
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup (for a slightly sweet flavor)
2 teaspoons fine-quality dark Balsamic vinegar
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 4 cherry tomatoes, for garnish

Directions:
1. Wash and spin dry (in a salad spinner) the parsley, cilantro and mint.

2. Transfer half of the spun-dried herbs to a food processor; process finely (DO NOT OVERPROCESS, AS THE HERBS WILL WILT).

3. Transfer the spun-dried herbs to a glass, porcelain or stainless steel mixing bowl; set aside.

4. Repeat processing remaining herbs and transfer them to the bowl; set aside.

5. Rinse and pat dry the taragon; then chop it finely.

6. Add tarragon, Serrano chili pepper, carrot, pine nuts to herbs in mixing bowl.

7. Stir in the olive oil, agave nectar or maple syrup, Balsamic vinegar, salt and ground black pepper.

8. Taste the herb salad and adjust seasonings, according to taste. Serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

Lentils, Apples & Herbs

In Salads, Vegetables On June 29, 2018 0 Comments

Cook time (lentils): 20 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 8 to 12

I got tired of lentil soup and decided to reinvent lentils. This recipe combines lentils with apples, herbs, olive oil and other seasonings. Serve my Lentil, Apples & Herbs on July 4th!

Ingredients:
1 lb (16 ounces) lentils, cooked per package directions; drained & cooled
1 red onion, peeled & finely chopped
4 celery stalks, bottom white tips discarded & stalks finely chopped
1 apple (any variety)
Juice from 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
white or golden Balsamic vinegar, to taste
5 sprigs fresh mint leaves (plus extra, for garnish)
2 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. After lentils have cooked, drained & cooled, transfer them to a large serving bowl.

2. Add chopped red onion and celery to bowl with lentils; set aside.

3. Cut apple into fourths; core apple.

4. Cut apple fourths into 1/8-inch thick slices; cut slices into slivers; set aside in a small bowl.

5. Immediately add lemon juice to apple & gently toss; set aside.

6. Add olive oil, Balsamic vinegar to lentils; set aside.

7. Meanwhile, finely chop 5 mint and oregano leaf sprigs (discard stems).

8. Add chopped mint, oregano, salt and ground black pepper to lentils in bowl; toss.

9. Drain lemon juice from apple slivers; toss apple slivers into lentil salad.

10. Taste the salad and, if needed, adjust seasonings.

11. Serve Lentils, Apples & Herbs immediately or prepare up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerate (covered).

12. The salad will keep (refrigerated) up to 3 days.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real