Greek salad couscous.

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I know. I know. It’s been like, three weeks since I last posted. I was away for a week, then I was simultaneously busy and lazy for another week, and now… I’m getting back on track.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that at my old job, I was spoiled by our cafeteria. It was staffed by two very sweet women and one very nice dude, who just so happened to have been trained at the Culinary Institute of America (and shared some recipes with me, which was awesome). There were fresh soups and salads every day, with “deli” sandwich specials and hot meal specials, and everything was delicious, all the time.  This iteration of Greek salad was featured pretty often, sometimes with chickpeas and other times with Israeli couscous. I always made room on my plate for a little scoop of it. I finally got around to buying a canister of Israeli couscous a few weeks ago, and made my own version of it. You should make it too, especially if you have an olive thing. I…have an olive thing. I’m not proud of this, but I ate a whole can of pitted green olives this weekend. I keep buying them with recipe-related intentions, and then I just scarf them all down and wonder how I got here.

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Broccoli salad.

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I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy salad bars. I like piling a random assortment of vegetables, fruits, dressings, nuts and seeds on my plate. It’s so much more fun than getting a regular salad assembled by someone else. I mean, maybe I don’t want just Caesar salad. Maybe I want some Caesar salad, and a spoonful of Waldorf salad to go with it. If I want to plop some baby corns or cherry tomatoes on my mixed greens, I can do that. And if my favorite salad bar staple, broccoli salad, is there, then awww yeah.

Sadly, broccoli is not one of the shining stars of the vegetable aisle. Admittedly, I didn’t like it when I was growing up – and I wasn’t one of those kids who eschewed her vegetables at every turn. I generally ate my peas and string beans without a fuss, and considered carrots and cucumbers to be pretty neat snacks, but unless broccoli was slathered in Velveeta, I wanted no part of it – and even then, I’d bite the florets off the stalks, leaving those behind…possibly concealing them under some mashed potatoes.

But now, I can get down with broccoli. Especially if it’s tossed together with some other veggies, bacon, cheese and a creamy dressing.

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This will convert you into a macaroni salad fan. If you’re weird like me and didn’t already like it, that is.

Originally posted June 2012.

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Dear Macaroni Salad,

If you don’t mind, I’m going to be frank with you — I never really liked you. Now look, I’m not saying this to hurt your feelings, but I’m just trying to establish an honest relationship with you.

It wasn’t your fault, really. I’ve just never really thought that macaroni should be served cold. Macaroni, in my eyes, has always been at its best served hot, slathered in tomato sauce and topped with two or three big ol’ meatballs. Or baked in a plethora of cheeses. Heck, I even enjoy macaroni on its own, with just a bit of melted butter and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

But cold? Macaroni had no business being served cold. And especially not with celery. The starch salad that always won my heart was that of the potato. I know you’ve had your fans, Macaroni Salad, but I was not one of them.

Not until this came along…

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This delicious, spicy, smoky, COLD macaroni dish that I would happily make on a weekly basis. This macaroni salad that I made last night and just polished off the leftovers of for lunch. This macaroni salad that you must try to make on your own. Seriously, I demand it.

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