Anyone out there?

Wow – nearly a year since my last post. How time flies. Following the birthings of our wee babes life has been busy! Too busy to blog. And in the meantime I let our pretty URL lapse and it was snatched up by someone who writes about (ahem) colorful medical topics. Simply check and you’ll see what I mean.

Today, out of the blue, a company contacted us to review a salad product. Got me thinking about dusting off the old blog. Perhaps under a new URL, perhaps with more linking, less typing and pics probably taken with my iPhone. (Read:  a little less work for moi). So, a question…  is anyone out there, and if so, would you start reading again if I fired this old dawg back up?

– Hill


Shortcut: 10 Second Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette

Its been a loooong time since my last post. But I have a solid excuse. The tiny human that is currently growing inside me doesn’t particularly care for green things. For the first three months, he/she had a strong preference for fresh fruit, pancakes, frozen yogurt, chocolate milk and all things sweet and dairy – even looking at salads was not terribly appealing. Thankfully, that phase has wound down and I no longer have to force feed myself (and said tiny human being) the green stuff. And now I have a back log of salads to post. As a warm up, today’s thoughts will be brief.

I wanted to share my secret weapon for making the world’s fastest vinaigrette: Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. It’s better than plain dijon because it has garlic and lots of spices included – one shop shopping. Next time you’re at Trader Joe’s, pick up a jar then get your game face on to make ridiculously fast salad dressing.

10 Second Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves: 2 dinner salads, but since this is an “eyeball recipe” you can make as much as you want very easily

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Juicy Peach and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Mint Vinaigrette

Many moons ago my husband went on a company outing to a cooking school in Healdsburg called CookSonoma (couldn’t find a website… maybe they went out of business?). While the  team building exercise was pretty lame, as they always are, a couple of the the recipes he brought home were great. Last night he dusted this one off and made it. He even made it look nice so I could take a photo for this here blog.

It was yummy, very fresh, and low-fat. Who knew peaches and tomatoes would go together so well? I went a little overboard with tomato plants in our new garden (4 varieties, 8 plants!) and I’m getting excited for them to start producing when the weather gets hot. Here’s one more tasty way I’ll be using them.

Juicy Peach and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Mint Vinaigrette

Serves: 6-8 as a side salad

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Mexican Wild Rice Salad With Pine Nuts, Apples and Lime

I’m just back from a dreamy beach vacation in Punta Mita, Mexico and in addition to perfect weather, glorious deserted white sand beaches, and golf carts as the main form of transportation, having a cook take care of  breakfast and a couple of dinners at our house added to the luxury of the week. Sofia, a bandana-wearing hipster chef from Sayulita with great taste in music made dinner two nights. For our last meal in Mexico, she made a Chile Relleno Souffle (eggy cheesy spicy deliciousness) and a delectable sweet & tangy wild rice salad. That salad! So good.

Last night I tried to replicate it and I think I got pretty close. Here’s my take. You can really get creative with this one and add in your own ingredients. I think Sofia had some finely diced mango in hers as well. Jicama would be a great addition too.

Mexican Wild Rice Salad with Pine Nuts, Apples and Lime

Serves: 8 amigos as a side dish

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Guest Post: Shaved Artichoke and Parmesan Salad

The below guest post is from a good friend Diane Schreiber. If you’re an everday skeptic like moi, you may take one look at this recipe and say “No WAY can raw artichokes taste good.” I said the same thing over and over as I was making this salad, until I took a bite. Trust us, its goooooooood. The lesson? Don’t second guess a native New Yorker.

A photo from my version is below, and remember to start this a couple of hours before you want to eat it – the artichoke shavings need to soak in a citric bath to soften up.

– Hill

I grew up in a concrete jungle of Manhattan but I loved my little oasis on our terrace, a veggie garden. Spring and summer just produced this amazing bounty of goodness that kicked off my love for all things fresh. In the spring, artichokes were a passion in the family. In my crazy greek family it was stuffed, roasted and fried and I loved it all ways. However it wasn’t until I moved to California and visited artichoke country did I appreciate it in its raw state. I know, sounds shocking! But artichokes when sliced thinly and treated to a citric bath are definitely yummy spring eats!

Don’t be afraid, artichokes are not difficult, but they do have a lot of waste, accept it and move on. This recipe has simple ingredients, no whistles and bells. Just amazing tastes. If you like artichokes, you’ll love this. It is Spring on a plate.

Shaved Artichoke and Parmesan Salad by Diane Schreiber

Serves: 4 as a side salad

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Golf, Rain & Potato Salad: An Irish Kind of Sunday

Lets face it, there’s a reason the Irish are known for their golf courses more than their food. Calm down. I’m a Murphy. I can say things like that now. Potatoes can be blah. Boiled potatoes? D.O.U.B.L.E. B.L.A.H.

We were supposed to go to a barbecue today, and I wanted to experiment with potato salad, but make something with lots of flavor.  I decided to use fingerling potatoes instead of little red potatoes, grill them instead of boiling them, and add tons of crunchy, colorful veggies.

We didn’t make it to the barbecue. Instead it was pouring rain, The Masters was on TV, and we were staring at a gigantic bowl of potato salad that I made last night. But, with a glass of crisp white wine, it turned out to be a pretty tasty lunch. I’ll definitely be making this again for the next backyard party.

Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad

Serves: 10 as a side dish

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Quinoa, Edamame and Feta Salad

In honor of the Easter bunny, I decided to write up a recipe that some of my relatives in Texas might consider rabbit food: Quinoa Salad. Quinoa is a whole grain that looks like cous cous with a tiny mohawk, and is better for you than rice or other starches. Its is high in protein, amino acids and other nutrients, is a great source of fiber and – bonus! – it actually tastes good. Quinoa used to be  accessible only to patchouli-wearing wannabe hippies and the brave souls that grocery shop at the health food store, but these days quinoa is as easy to find as a Toyota Prius on Highway 101 — its everywhere.

Okay, enough about its nutritional benefits and my distaste for faux hippies, here is a quick quinoa salad that is light and delicious.

Happy Easter everyone!

Quinoa Salad with Edamame, Feta and Green Onions

Serves: 6-8 as a side salad. Tightly covered, it keeps in the fridge for days.

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