Tag Archives: lettuce

Left –Over Salad Dressing

20 Jun

This is a concept I learned from Katy at the Yoga Center… 

When we cook at the yoga center, salad is a big part of each menu and we do a home-made salad dressing to go along with it.  The first time I was “in charge” of the salad dressing I did not know what to do.  I have never made salad dressings in such bug quantities or know how to season it.  One rule we have at the yoga center is that we do not taste food before it is finished and “offered” to the Supreme Being.

Here comes Katy to the rescue…  She told me to check if there was any salad left over from the lunch service and to start from there.  What!?!?!?  Well, this is how left-over dressing came about.  The SALAD in the name is two-fold – it’s a salad dressing and it’s made from left-over salad…  The concept is to take what you have in the fridge, particularly a little bit of lettuce or a little piece of onion to season the dressing.  You season it and voila – salad dressing that’s natural and free of preservatives…

Because this is a concept made to use up any leftovers you might have in your fridge before they go bad, this is more a method than it is a recipe… so bear with me in regards to the ingredients list.


 Leftover Dressing


A handful of whatever salad greens you might have… I have even used a bit if shredded cabbage for coleslaw, red cabbage, mesclun, arugula, icebrg lettuce, you name it…
½ carrot – if the salad already has carrots, you don’t need to add more
1 tomato – again, if the salad you have left over has tomatoes, no need to add more…
¼ onion
½ cubanelle pepper
1 tbs salt
1 tbs garlic and herbs seasoning
3 tbs vinegar or the juice of 2 lemons/limes
About ½ cup olive oil – I rarely measure this…
About ¼ cup water – to thin it out a bit… it may end up being too chunky
Optional add-ins:
1/3 cup yogurt
4 oz cream cheese
 ¼ cup egg-less mayonnaise


  1. In a blender add the salad, onion, carrot, pepper, tomato, vinegar or lemon juice and seasonings.  Add the olive oil and blend together well.  If you feel the mixture is too thick, add the water in little increments until it reaches your desired consistency. 

I sometimes add all the ingredients except the olive oil and drizzle it slowly through the chute on the blender cover to make sure the oil emulsifies and that it does not separate afterwards.


You can use this as a sald dressing over greens or sometimes I also like to drizzle on top of steamed/boiled veggies, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.


Salade des Haricots Verts

13 May

Last week, the Serious Eats site released the challenge of making a great weekend meal by cleaning out your pantry.  I was so inspired by the idea I made two… well, it was really a whole meal composed of the main course, Spinach Puffed Empanadas, and this side salad with French green beans and lettuce, directly from by CSA basket.

  Salade Haricots Verts


a handful of French green beans or haricots verts, trimmed of the stem end
5-6 leaves of lettuce, I used a local “del país” lettuce, but any buttery lettuce will do
½ tomato, chopped
½ cucumber, peeled if it’s not organic and chopped
The juice of ½ a lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil                                                                                                                    
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small to medium covered sauce pan, bring about ½ inch of water to a boil.  Salt the water with about ½ tsp of salt and place the green beans.  Cover the saucepan again and wait about 1 minute.  Turn the heat off and let the green beans steam for about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Mix together in a salad bowl the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and cooked green beans.  Pour over it the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.


 Spinach Empanada 5

Serve alongside a Spinach Puffed Empanada or the main course of your choice…

Veggie Cuban Sandwich

5 Mar

I grew up eating Cuban Sandwiches… being the daughter of a Cuban, it was something I ate at least a few times a month.  My dad would take us to La España or La Ceiba – two bakeries here in Puerto Rico where the best Cuban sandwiches were made back then… now the same can be said for Kasalta too. 

Cuban sandwiches are now becoming very popular among US chefs – Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, among others have all sung the praises of the Cuban sandwiches.  Traditionally they’re made with roasted pork, sliced cooked ham, crusty white criollo bread, mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese.  There is a smaller version called Media Noche – same ingredients as the Cuban, but in a smaller sweet bread.  This is the kind my sister and I had when we were growing up… and when the Media Noche is too small for your more adult appetite, you graduate to the Cuban.

Now that I am vegetarian, traditional Cuban sandwiches are not an option… so I have come up with my veggie version.  I order these at any panadería in PR or Miami.  And even though I prefer whole wheat, whole grain breads in my sandwiches, Cubans traditional or veggie versions taste better in regular white criollo bread.  The crunch it has compared to a whole wheat version can’t be beat.



Criollo Bread
Swiss Cheese
Lettuce and Tomato
  1.  When you go out an order, say you want a grilled cheese on criollo bread with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mustard.

If you want to prepare it yourself…

  1. Slice a 1/3 pound of criollo bread “baguette”.  Slather the insides with yellow mustard.  Place Swiss cheese on one side, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles on the other.
  2. Place in a pannini press or a George Foreman grill and press the sandwich so the bread toasts and the sandwich flattens a bit. 
  3. You could press without the lettuce sand tomato and add them afterwards, but sometimes the cheese melts so much that it’s difficult to reopen to add the salad.


To me, the best way to wash down your Veggie Cuban sandwich is with a malta or a batido de mamey.  No other drink makes it justice…

One final note… be wary of Cuban breads out there (Pan Cubano – as they are called in Miami) you need to order Puerto Rican bread.  Why??? Cuban bread usually is made with lard.  You run no such risk in PR as “pan de agua” or “pan criollo” is made with vegetable shortening.  Something to watch out…

Comme Çi Comme Ça Salade Niçoise

2 Apr

To celebrate my French classmates and to practice the French we learn at l’Alliance Française, I decided to host a French dinner  get-together – French food while speaking only in French…  Parlez-vous français, anyone???  Hey, one of my friends even showed up with her books to look up any word she might forget…  she’s hilarious.I decided to try a few adaptations from the cooking book and TV special that inspired me to take-up French again – Barefoot in Paris from Ina Garten.  I decided my menu would be Comme Çi Comme Ça Salade Niçoise and Croque Monsieur sandwiches.

Comme Çi Comme Ça means in English “more or less” or “so so” – this salad is a karma-free version of the original, which typically includes tuna and eggs.  The sandwich is also an adaptation, using a soy-protein smoked ham in place of the traditional real ham.  I must say that none of my guests were vegetarian and they could not believe the deliciousness of the dinner.

I’m telling you… They were both magnifique!!! 



This salad is a composed salad with lots of ingredients.  It might seem like a lot, but if you take it little by little it will not seem as daunting as the ingredients list might suggest.  Please believe me, it’s simple.

1 recipe for French Potato Salad, recipe follows
Roasted button mushrooms, recipe follows
Marinated roasted red bell peppers, recipe follows
Sautéed green beans, recipe follows
1 head of Romaine lettuce
2 handfuls of grape tomatoes
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
½ English cucumber, sliced thin
2 radishes, washed and sliced thin
Handful of olives – niçoise are best, but I also used lemon-stuffed manzanillas
Nicoise Vinnaigrette Dressing, recipe follows
  1. Arrange the lettuce, potato salad, sautéed green beans, roasted mushrooms, marinated bell peppers, grape tomatoes, carrot, cucumber, radishes and olives on a large flat platter.

For the French Potato Salad:

10 baby red-skinned potatoes, washed and quartered
4 tbs vegetable stock
3 tbs white wine vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds of freshly ground pepper
10 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 stalk of green onion, sliced at an angle
4-5 leaves of basil, julienned
  1. Boil the potatoes in a medium pot in salted water.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until they are just cooked through.
  2. While the potatoes boil, prepare the dressing in a medium sized bowl that can accommodate the potatoes comfortably.  Whisk together the vegetable stock, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper.  While whisking, add the olive oil to create an emulsion. 
  3. Drain the potatoes well and add to the bowl with the dressing.  Add the chopped green onion and basil.  Toss well to combine.  Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let all the dressing to be soaked into the potatoes.
  4. Set aside until you get ready the rest of the salad ingredients.

Marinated Roasted Peppers

4-5 jarred roasted Piquillo peppers
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbs capers
¼ tsp grated garlic
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and let the peppers marinate while the rest of the salad ingredients are ready.

Sautéed Green beans

½ bag of frozen green beans – I really prefer fresh, but I found non at the market so this is a cool substitute
1 shallot sliced thinly
1 clove of garlic, finely minced or grated
A dash of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil.  Pour in the frozen green beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes. 
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the shallot and the garlic lightly.  Add the drain green beans and sauté with the shallots and garlic.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Roasted Button Mushrooms

1 pint of white button mushrooms, cleaned with a damp paper towel
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the mushrooms in half.  Place in a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to coat.
  3. Roast in oven (I do this in my toaster oven) for about 20 minutes until mushrooms are cooked and golden brown.

Niçoise Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tbs white wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 scallion, cut in big pieces
4 olives, pitted
1 tsp capers
A squirt of Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender.
  2. With blender running, slowly add oil until completely incorporated and emulsified.
  3. Serve in a dressing pitcher on the side of the salad.


This salad was so delicious, that my friend’s husband could not stop eating it.  This whole platter served only 4 people.  Accompanied by the Croque Monsieur sandwiches and my friend’s Aniette’s Bull… this was a complete meal.

Bon Appétit!!!

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