Appetizers Salads Sauces Uncategorized Vegetarian

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

    Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette
    Butter Lettuce with Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

    The other day, I had lunch at The Left Bank in Larkspur, CA, and I had this lovely butter lettuce salad with a tarragon-mustard vinaigrette. The plate came with an entire head of butter lettuce and the vinaigrette was so smooth, I simply had to try to recreate it at home.

    I was lucky today because by chance, I already had shallots and fresh tarragon in the fridge and I remembered to pick up a head of butter lettuce on my way home from dropping off the kids at school. Lunch, here I come.

    When standing in front of my bottles of olive oil and vinegar, however, I thought, “I bet Michael Ruhlman’s book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking has something to say about this.” Sure enough, a quick Google search yielded a guest post he wrote over at Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes. In that post, he actually provides three different vinaigrette recipes. I chose to make the tarragon-mustard vinaigrette because I hoped it would match what I had at The Left Bank.

    It almost did – definitely close enough for lunch at home. Just make sure to use the highest quality ingredients you can find and whip it up with full gusto.

    Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette
    adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s recipe

    2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
    1 Tbsp minced shallot
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    6 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

    In a tall bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, and mustard. Give it a stir with a whisk or fork to soften the shallot then drizzle the oil in while whisking continuously to form an emulsion. Wait to stir in the tarragon just before serving.

    For more information about Michael Ruhlman and his amazing work on ratios, check out his iPhone app and watch this video that explains it.

      Salads Uncategorized Vegetarian

      Autumn Salad with Tangerines, Avocado, and Pumpkin Seeds

        Autumn Salad
        Autumn Salad

        Day 28 of 31 days of pumpkin and I am craving salad, people! So maybe you’ll call it a cheat, but I’m eating a salad with pumpkin seeds in it and calling it fair game. And what a delicious salad it is. I found it in this wonderful little book, Halloween Treats: recipes and crafts for the whole family, by Donata Maggipinto. Published in 1998, it’s currently out of print, but is available from Amazon sellers:

        The cumin-scented vinaigrette lends an air of mystery to this salad. The flavors of autumn come together beautifully. Frankly, I’m just glad to be eating something green.

        Oh, and a word about roasting pumpkin seeds. I did a post earlier this month where I roasted the seeds with a rich, spicy coating, but for the salad, I just tossed them with olive oil and a lot of salt and roasted them on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, turning them every 15 minutes. These pumpkin seeds had sat out on the counter drying for about two days, which I think enhanced the flavor in the end.

        Autum Salad with Tangerines, Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds
        Serves 6


        For the dressing

        2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
        1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
        3/4 tsp ground cumin
        salt to taste
        1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
        ground pepper to taste

        2 medium heads red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, carefully rinsed, and dried
        2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
        1 red onion, thinly sliced
        1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
        6 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds


        1. In the bottom of a large salad bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, cumin, and salt and whisk to dissolve the salt. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking as you do so. Season with pepper.

        2. Put the lettuce, tangerines, onion, avocado, and pumpkin seeds on top of the dressing in the bowl. If you are not serving the salad immediately, cover it with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to serve. If you are serving the salad immediately, toss the greens lightly with the vinaigrette and serve.

        Autumn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
        Autumn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
          Salads Uncategorized Vegetarian

          Heirloom Tomato Orzo Salad

            Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil
            Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

            Recently I decided to host a dinner party on Sunday night, hoping to stretch out the weekend a bit and squelch the Sunday night blues. It totally worked.

            For inspiration, I turned to a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months: Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties: Inspired Recipes and Party Ideas for Entertaining. I even found a menu that I wanted to cook from start to finish. I’m glad I decided to go all the way because it turned out to be the kind of menu that allows the cook/host to have fun at her own party, but it didn’t include a pot roast or a casserole. Au contraire. This menu was light, healthy, elegant AND easy. The main course was a Halibut fillet with herbed butter and that was served with this light, end-of-summer, orzo salad.

            What I liked best about serving this salad with the fish is that it could be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature, so I didn’t have to worry about making it at the last minute or reheating it at just the right time. Stay tuned for more recipes from this Sunday Night Dinner Party.

            Heirloom Tomato and Basil Orzo Salad
            (Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties cookbook)
            Serves 8


            1 box (1 lb) of orzo
            dash of salt for boiling water
            1 Tbsp olive oil to coat orzo when finished cooking (to keep from sticking)
            1 1/2 lbs Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (choose a variety of colors)
            1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
            2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
            1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
            1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


            1. Boil the orzo according to package instructions for an Al Dente texture, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Once the pasta cools a bit, you can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until its ready to mix in with the rest of the ingredients (up to several hours ahead of time).

            2. Chop tomatoes and the basil and mix together in a large bowl.

            3. In a small jar, mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Close lid and shake until emulsified.

            Final preparation: About 1 hour before the party, gently fold the orzo, tomato/basil and vinaigrette together and spoon into a serving bowl. Cover with a paper towel while salad reaches room temperature. Toss again before serving and garnish with fresh Basil leaves.

            Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil
            Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

            Other Orzo Salad Recipes from Around the Web:

            Orzo Salad and The Influential Power of Simple Food from Week of Menus

            Miss Mary’s Orzo Salad from Erin Cooks

            Orzo Salad (this one’s got Feta, people) from Dlyn

            Spinach and Tomato Orzo from Southern Grace Gourmet

              Appetizers Salads Uncategorized Vegetarian

              Warm Cabbage and Cannellini Bean Salad

                Cabbage and Cannellini Bean Warm Salad
                Cabbage and Cannellini Bean Warm Salad

                Recently, I decided it was time to reign in my appetite and focus on eating healthier, leaner, fresher food. I’ll be honest. I even signed up for the web-based version of Weight Watchers. As a lifetime member, I know the program, but paying a monthly fee again and tracking foods using the webtools have helped me shift my cooking energy in the right direction. I think the WW approach actually helps one adopt habits that are in line with what Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan advocate. In the first sentence of Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes, Bittman poses the question, “Could improved health for people and planet be as simple as eating fewer animals, less junk food and super-refined carbohydrates?” and in the first sentence of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Pollan writes simply, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Either of these statements could be licensed by Weight Watchers as taglines, and so I’m using the WW framework and tools to help me do what Pollan and Bittman advise.

                With that in mind, I returned from the market today with bags full of produce and set about making a low-point, satisfying lunch quickly. I like vegetables best when they are sautéed slightly – still crunchy, but the raw edge taken off. And most of the time, something warm just feels more filling. So for this dish, I did what is my favorite preparation of cabbage – chopped it and sautéed it in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. I topped the cabbage with a preparation of garlic and cannellini beans that had also been warmed and then garnished the dish with a few heirloom tomato chunks and chives. It was so easy and quick (and pretty cheap too), it just might become a staple.

                Warm Cabbage and Cannellini Bean “Salad”
                Serves 2

                1/2 Tbsp olive oil
                1/2 medium onion, chopped
                1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
                salt and pepper to taste
                1 tsp of olive oil
                2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
                1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained
                1/4 cup 99% fat free chicken broth
                1 Bay leaf
                1/2 tomato, chopped into small cubes
                chopped chives to garnish


                1. Heat oil in large, heavy bottomed frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautée until softened, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and toss. Continue to sautée gently for about 8 minutes In the meantime, heat oil in a small saucepan. Add garlic and sautée gently for 1 minute. Add beans and stir thoroughly. Add chicken broth and Bay leaf and bring to a near boiling simmer. Allow to simmer until cabbage is ready.

                2. Spoon cabbage onto plate. Top with beans and sprinkle with chives. Add tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy immediately.

                Tools used today available at Amazon:

                  Produce Salads Sides Uncategorized

                  Fresh Corn Salad w/ Tomatoes & Basil

                    Corn Salad with Tomatoes & Basil
                    Corn Salad with Tomatoes & Basil

                    Since local corn is back in season, corn salad is back on the menu here at StreamingGourmet. I can’t get enough of the stuff and even my kids like it. I’ve kept my corn salad simple. I like to let the vegetables speak for themselves (i.e., there’s no oil in my recipe). The key is to keep the corn crisp by boiling it for only three minutes and promptly removing it from the water. Fresh basil is the other key ingredient here. My entire kitchen smelled great while I was putting this salad together.


                    4 ears fresh corn, shucked
                    1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
                    1/2 small onion, diced finely
                    1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    A few spritzes of fresh lemon juice


                    1. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Add corn and boil for 3 minutes. Remove corn from water and place on a platter to cool.

                    2. Dice the onion using a mandoline on the finest dice setting. On my mandoline, I put the onion in the safety holder, sliced it thinly then swiped through perpendicular to my slices.

                    3. Once the corn is cool, slice it off into a large bowl. Break up the slices into kernels gently, leaving some big chunks, but not too big. Add the tomatoes, onion, and basil and toss to distribute everything evenly. Add salt and lemon juice and toss again.

                    Served chilled or at room temperature.

                    Serves 4

                    Scroll Down for More Corn Salad Recipes
                    from Around the Food Blogosphere
                    Yummy Local Corn
                    Yummy Local Corn
                    Other Great Corn Salad Recipes from Around the Food Blogosphere

                    1. Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has a few great recipes. One of them is Grilled Corn Salad. It’s got a Southwest twist with cilantro, chili peppers and cumin.

                    2. Chuck at Sunday Night Dinner wrote a post last year called Spicy Fresh Corn Salad – A Taste of Yellow 2008 – The post was in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and features a simple corn salad with a spicy Thai chili pepper kick.

                    3. Kevin at Closet Cooking has a recipe for Avocado and Sweet Corn Salad. He’s added a creamy salsa verde dressing that looks great.

                    4. Chef John over at Foodwishes has produced a video Red Pepper and Corn Salad Recipe. For the recipe, visit Foodwishes. You can watch the video here.

                      Appetizers Salads Uncategorized

                      Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

                        Beet Salad
                        Beet Salad

                        Roasted beet salad is one of my absolute favorites and recently at Le Garage in Sausalito, I had a beet salad with some scrumptious goat cheese on it. I was inspired to make beet salad at home and add a little goat cheese myself.

                        The goat cheese does not appear in the photograph but I dropped slices of it as a garnish right before serving the salad.


                        6 medium beets (3 red, 3 yellow)
                        Olive oil for roasting

                        3 Tbsp Olive oil
                        Juice of half a lemon
                        1 Tbsp fresh grated orange zest
                        Juice of one orange
                        1 Tbsp shallot, minced
                        1/2 tsp dijon mustard
                        1 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
                        1 3 oz package of herbed goat cheese – room temperature

                        I’ve been looking for a better way to roast beets and this time I found one from who else? Martha Stewart. Following her advice, I drizzled each beet with olive oil and wrapped it aluminum foil lined with parchment paper. I also seasoned the beets with salt and pepper before folding them up into their individual packets. Then I roasted them for about an hour in an oven heated to 450˚F. They were delicious right from the get-go and needed little adornment for the salad.

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