Tag Archive | summer salads

Pimento Paroxysm

By definition, paroxysm means any sudden, violent outburst.  In my mind, with summer just around the corner and today being Father’s Day, it’s time to break out the summer dishes and just let the flavors explode all over the palette.  So, given that definition, I think paroxysm works well in my title!

Today I am trying two comfort food dishes that include pimentos but changing it out a little.  Pimentos are just chopped up red peppers that can be pickled and smoked.  I love the flavor they add to dishes and the color just adds a beautiful pop to any dish!  The first dish is a revamping of my favorite summer dish: potato salad.  Who doesn’t love potato salad on a hot day?  There are so many ways to make this dish, but I just kept it simple using what I had in the pantry.  The second dish is: pimento cheese spread.  Another dish that has fifty million different ways of making it, I again chose to keep it simple and the recipe is based on one from a co-worker.

 

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First step: peel and chop potatoes.  Probably the least fun part of the whole thing!  I took 5-6 large Idaho potatoes, because that’s what I had in the kitchen!  After peeling and washing them, I put them into a large bowl of water.  It’s been said that soaking them in water will help remove some of the starch.  I guess it’s true, because when I came back a little later to chop them, their texture was very different!

Second step: cook the potatoes.  In a large pot of salted water, boil the potatoes until just softened.  You don’t want to overcook them because the potato salad will be mushy.  Once cooked, drain and rinse the potatoes.  Rinsing them helps to stop the cooking as they will continue to cook until cool.

For the sauce, you will need your favorite mayonnaise or salad dressing.  To keep it vegan, use Veganaise or another similar vegan mayo.  I had some light Miracle Whip on hand and decided to just use that.  Next add some yellow mustard, freshly ground black pepper, healthy pinch of paprika, pimentos, shallots and some Vidalia onion.

Mixing it all together, chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight so the flavors meld together.  See the recipe below!

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Cyn’s Pimento Potato Salad

5-6 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cooked until just tender

1/2 Vidalia onion, diced

1-1/2 purple shallot, diced

2-1/2 tbsp. pimentos

3 tbsp. yellow mustard

3-4 tbsp. salad dressing or mayonnaise

1 tsp paprika

freshly ground black pepper

Peel and soak potatoes in a large bowl of water for about 20-min.  While they are soaking cut the Vidalia onion, purple shallots and place in a bowl together with all the other ingredients.

One the potatoes are chopped, cook until just tender in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Drain and rinse to slow the cooking process.  Toss altogether and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight so the flavors will meld.

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Now for the second dish!  I love pimento spread, but sometimes the store-bought has so many extra ingredients in it and while I like cream cheese, using it in pimento spread makes the spread so much heavier, in my opinion.

This recipe was inspired by a co-worker who brought in her pimento spread for a birthday party luncheon that we had recently.  I basically followed what she told me, except for the choice of cheese.  She uses Velveeta process cheese and I chose sharp cheddar.

The end result is basically the same = creamy, light, flavorful.  Perfect.

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Doesn’t that close up photo just make you want to dig in?!? 

Here’s the recipe:

Cyn’s Pimento Cheese Spread

1 cup freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

2-3 tbsp. pimentos, including the juice from the jar

your favorite mayonnaise or salad dressing

(I added some freshly grated white Mexican melting cheese that I had because there was just a tiny bit of it left.  I think it came to about 1/3 cup or less)

Mix all together in a large bowl until well combined and creamy.  You may have to add more mayonnaise or salad dressing until it’s the right consistency.  Chill for at least an hour to allow the mixture to set.

Serve on bread or crackers or use as a dip with your favorite dipping chips.

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Bon Appetite!

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Red Quinoa Summer Salad

Quinoa has been around for a long time, but I have been slow to try it!  In my part of the world, sometimes it can be hard to find certain items or if it is to be found, the selections are quite limited.  I ended up buying this online for several reasons with one being that it is organic.  It is Eden Foods Organic Red Quinoa.  Then because I was uncertain what to do with it, I just let it sit for a while.  A few days to be exact!  Then after talking to a few friends who eat quinoa regularly, I had a better idea of how to use this mystifying grain.

One friend suggested I try it for breakfast.  She eats it every morning like a hot cereal or oatmeal.  So I did on a weekend since this has to cook for a few minutes.  I tried mine with a little molasses.  It was delicious and I did not get hungry for 5 hours!

You can use quinoa to make veggie burgers, vegetarian meatballs and so many other things, but one idea that interested me most was the cold quinoa salad.  I love salad.  Lately, I’ve been eating a salad at least 5-6 times per week.  And for me, the busy week makes me keep everything very simple.  So here is my version of a Quinoa Salad.  I hope you like it!

Quinoa Salad

 

Red Quinoa Summer Salad

Cook the red quinoa according to the directions on the package and then chill for at least 24 hours.

1-2 medium cucumbers, seeded and cut into small chunks

1-medium tomato, seeded and cut into small cubes

1-2 tbsp. feta

Vinaigrette dressing – click here for the recipe

Once the quinoa is thoroughly chilled, toss with cucumbers, tomatoes, and vinaigrette.  Sprinkle feta in and mix well without breaking up the chunks of feta.  Chill for about 30 minutes so the flavors can marinate together.

Serve as a side dish or main meal.

This is such a refreshing salad!  I’m sure it will be reinvented often in my kitchen!

Bon Appetit!