Category Archives: Salad

A Simple Rocket Salad

Simple Rocket SaladIn my early days of being a bright-eyed foodie (yes, I still am), we went to Rose Pistola restaurant in San Francisco.  It was a fantastic meal with the perfect ambiance, attentive service and quality food.  It’s funny though – I can’t remember what I ordered for dinner because the salad struck a chord with me with its simple yet intriguing flavors.  Made with rocket (also known as arugula), persimmons and toasted hazelnuts, the salad is dressed with just hazelnut oil and salt and pepper (hazelnut oil is light yet has a heady, rich nutty aroma).  Until recently, I would only make the salad when persimmons were in season – a few short weeks here – and sometimes the season would come and go with me lamenting that “I missed the Rose Pistola salad again this year!”  While persimmons are a sweet and unique fruit to use, I started using mangoes so we could enjoy this salad almost any time of the year.  They are a dandy substitute; the sweet fruit plays beautifully against the spicy arugula leaves and the nutty flavors from the hazelnuts and oil add another dimension of flavor.  In this rocket salad, the simplicity of the flavors shines through – another wonderful food memory re-created at home.Empty Salad Bowl

Eat well and share the love!Logo Foodie for Two

Rocket Salad with Mangoes & Hazelnuts
Recipe adapted from Rose Pistola/San Francisco
Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies for a side salad

3 to 4 handfuls of rocket or baby arugula
Hazelnut oil
Sea salt (or kosher salt)
Fresh cracked pepper
½ mango, peeled, cored and sliced into strips
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Add the rocket/arugula  leaves to a large bowl and drizzle lightly with hazelnut oil (about 2 or 3 teaspoons), along with a scant 1/8 teaspoon salt and a good pinch of pepper.  Gently toss to evenly coat the leaves; you want just enough oil so the leaves glisten.

Add the mango slices and chopped hazelnuts and toss together.  If needed, add more hazelnut oil to taste.

Mound the salad on two plates, add a pinch of sea salt on top and serve immediately.

How to cut a mango


Foodie for Two: Top Ten Posts of 2011

My last blog post briefly mentioned a few stats in closing and today I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at Foodie for Two’s most popular posts in 2011.  Starting at ten and counting down to one, here are the top ten most viewed posts from last year.  
Eat well and share the love! 

10. Book Club: Gluten-free Quinoa Salad
Inspired by Good Earth’s Chicken Marco Polo with broccoli, raisins, walnuts, onions and a walnut Dijon vinaigrette.

9. New England Clam Chowder
Well tested and simplified for the home kitchen with rich and deep flavor.

8. Fisheries…Wild-caught… Farm-raised… Sustainability…Huh?
The only informational piece I posted, reviews the basic fish facts with reputable resources

 7. Vegetable Shots at the Bergman’s
Featured in several blogs last year, it’s only fitting the Bergman’s are in the top ten; inspired by an appetizer that Holly served at my belated birthday dinner.

6. Memorial Day BBQ: Buttermilk & Sage Brined Chicken 
Here’s an easy recipe for grilling chicken; the overnight brining keeps the meat juicy and moist.

5. Passover Traditions: Adele’s Matzo Ball Soup 
What an honor that the recipe from my late mother-in-law, Adele, is one of the five most popular!

4. Memorial Day: Grilled Corn with Honey Jalapeño Butter 
Grilling is a great way to get lots of caramelized flavor, and corn on the cob is no exception.

3. Cinco de Mayo: Slow-cooked Carne Seca
Our favorite regional dish from Tucson; London broil is slow cooked, shredded and mixed with sautéed onions, Poblano peppers and tomatoes.

2. Easy Weeknight Meal: Gourmet Tuna Melts 
I have to admit that I was surprised by the popularity of this one!  Inspired from a simple idea for a fabulous lunch.

1. Memorial Day Dessert: Strawberry Granita with Whipped Cream
Considering my love of sweets, I am very pleased that a dessert made the number one spot.  When you combine whipped cream and strawberry granita it tastes just like ice cream, a rich and decadent treat.

I look forward to sharing many more in 2012! 

Hearty Summer Salad with Roasted Potatoes, Haricot Vert & Sauce Vert

In a selfish attempt to extend the memories from our recent trip to the Napa valley (see my last post), here is a salad inspired from a meal I had at a restaurant in Healdsburg.  It was made with local ingredients – baby greens with fingerling potatoes, haricot vert (French green beans – they are sweeter and more tender than regular green beans), a poached egg – which I asked them to omit – and drizzled with a tarragon green goddess dressing.  My brain is always on food hyper-drive so when I see a scrumptious looking and intoxicating smelling plate of food, I immediately go into how-can-I-recreate-at-home mode.  Instead of the green goddess dressing, sauce vert came to mind which is a creamy dressing with fresh herb flavors – more on that in a minute.   And hard-boiled eggs would most certainly replace the poached.  With such beautiful, fresh ingredients how can you go wrong?  It’s a hearty salad full of fresh and sweet flavors that is a satisfying meal at home.  

I used a mixture of baby spinach, baby arugula and some mâche (a delicate little salad rosette, with a nutty and bright flavor) The greens are topped with some roasted baby gold potatoes and haricot vert, slices of white and red radishes, hard-boiled eggs, black Cerignola olives (yes, I have an olive addiction), some chopped Marcona almonds and it was all drizzled with the rich sauce vert.  Believe it or not, it is a filling salad that won’t leave you hungry in a few hours.  The salad would pair nicely with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or even your favorite Pinot Noir.

Now for the sauce vert that I used for the dressing – it is a versatile sauce that adds fresh flavor to many dishes.  The recipe came from my catering days and I have modified it for a home version.  It’s pretty simple to make in the food processor or blender; the base is mayonnaise and sour cream with fresh basil, tarragon and thyme, baby spinach and baby arugula (typically just spinach is used).  The result is a creamy dressing with fresh, herbaceous flavors.  And the addition of arugula gives it a nice little zing.  The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about a week (store in a sealed container).

Remember my belated birthday post about Vegetable Shots at the Bergman’s?  The sauce vert would be a great substitute for the dressing/dip.  And did you catch one of my most popular posts – Gourmet Tuna Melts?  Mixed in with the wild-caught canned tuna, the sauce vert would make it even more gourmet.

Whether it’s a weeknight or weekend meal, this Hearty Summer Salad is a nice alternative from the usual fare.

Eat well and share the love!

Hearty Summer Salad with Roasted Potatoes, Haricot Vert & Sauce Vert
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies

4 to 5 baby gold potatoes (or fingerling or baby red)
Handful of haricot vert (about a 3 inch bundle)
Olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs
3 cups baby salad greens (used spinach, arugula and
Sauce Vert Dressing
2 small radishes, thinly sliced and cut in half (used white and red)
Cerignola olives
2 tablespoons Marcona almonds (roughly chopped)
Sauce Vert/Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 cups baby spinach and arugula
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
2 stalks fresh tarragon, leaves removed and stalk discarded  
2 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed and stalk discarded (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup milk (used 1%)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Roast the potatoes
Wash and dry the potatoes.  Rub potatoes with olive oil and season all sides with salt and pepper; place on foiled lined tray.  Roast in a toaster oven (325 degrees F) or oven (375 degrees F) for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and knife tender.  Let cool and cut each potato into four wedges.

Roast the haricot vert
After the potatoes have cooked for 25 to 30 minutes, drizzle the haricot vert with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add to the foil-lined pan with the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

Hard-boil the eggs
High-altitude technique: This works perfect for me every time and doesn’t create the green ring around the cooked yolk – a sign that it was cooked too long.  Add eggs to small sauce pan and cover completely with cold water.  Put saucepan on stove and turn heat to medium high.  Bring water to a light rolling boil and reduce heat to medium, just enough to maintain the light rolling boil.  Cook for 11 minutes, making sure heat stays consistent and the eggs don’t move too much in the water.  Transfer eggs to an ice bath (bowl filled with water and ice) and let cool about 5 minutes before peeling. 
For those not at high-altitude, try this link: Melissa Clark/perfect hard-cooked egg

While the vegetables are roasting, make the Sauce Vert
Add the ingredients in the order listed to a food processor (or blender).  Blend until well incorporated and sauce is smooth, about 1 minute.  With motor off, scrape down sides with a rubber spatula a few times.  Dressing will keep in refrigerator, in tightly sealed container, for up to a week.

Assemble Salad
Add the salad greens to a large platter.  Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss lightly.  Around the edges of platter, add the roasted potatoes wedges, hard-boiled egg halves, radish slices and olives.  Fan out the roasted haricot vert and place in one corner of platter.  Drizzle salad with more dressing, scatter the chopped Marcona almonds around and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

A giant artichoke sculpture at Robert Mondavi gardens