Showing posts with label vinaigrette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vinaigrette. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2014


by Sheila Connolly

I was going to give you a recipe for how to cook a weed, but that didn’t sound quite right for the Fourth of July (even though it is a native species of weed!), so you may see that one in coming weeks.

Happy Independence Day! 

Between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, I’ve been spending a lot of time (in my head, at least) with the Revolutionary War recently. Maybe it was the early influence of Johnny Tremain (written by Esther Forbes and published in 1943; Walt Disney made a movie of it in 1957), which was required reading for my sixth grade English class, but I’ve always found the whole thing romantic—those ill-equipped farmers without uniforms or decent weapons standing up to the might of the well-trained, well-supplied British Empire in defense of their homes and livelihoods and maybe even some ideals. It’s a great story with a happy ending, isn’t it?

Back to the food. Summer has finally arrived around here, and there are parties and fireworks to watch this week (plus that annoying Hurricane Arthur), and mosquitoes to swat, so I’m going to keep it simple. Here’s a nice recipe for a salad with a few little twists.

Pea Shoot and Hazelnut Salad with Mustard-Honey Vinaigrette


1-1/2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar (flavored if you like)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
5 oz. baby arugula (or any other small greens you prefer)
3-4 oz. pea shoots (available in packages at your market!)
4 large radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (the white part only)

Right up front, I’ll give you a choice: you can prepare your own hazelnuts:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and toast until they are fragrant and the skins blister (12-15 minutes).   Transfer them to a kitchen towel and let cool slightly, then rub the nuts together vigorously to remove the skins. Chop the nuts coarsely.

Or you can just buy a package at your market--much simpler! Although the toasting is a good idea because it brings out the nuts’ flavor.

In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey and shallot. Add the olive oil and whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Arugula--looks like oak leaves, doesn't it?
Pea greens
n another bowl, toss the arugula, pea shoots, sliced radishes, sliced fennel, and chopped hazelnuts. Add the vinaigrette and toss again to cover. Serve.

As with any salad, you can add whatever greens are fresh and available. Can’t find pea shoots? Try thin slices of sugar snap peas.

Razing the Dead involves a body (or two or three) found near the site of the Paoli Massacre, a notorious battle from the Revolutionary War, fought outside of Philadelphia. The monument shown on the cover is based on the real one, in Paoli, and is the second-oldest military monument in the country (after the one at Concord, MA, naturally).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

Apples are a nostalgic food for me.  When I was young, we lived on a farm with apple trees.  I had a penchant for climbing those trees (sometimes getting myself stuck), and whenever possible I snagged an apple right off the tree and ate it amid the branches.

When I was older, we didn't have trees of our own, but we lived close to a fantastic orchard called Robinette's (you West Michiganders know what I'm talking about).  We made the 20 minute trek to Robinette's at least twice every fall, enjoying fresh apple cider and warm pumpkin doughnuts dusted in cinnamon and sugar, and then toting home bushels of fresh, crisp apples.

Bottom line, I love apples.

I grew up eating apples on their own and eating them in sweets.  With the exception of the occasional bit of warm applesauce (with pork chops, of course), we rarely at apples at dinner.  Then one year (2001, to be exact), I was looking for a salad to complement our usual Thanksgiving shepherd's pie, and I stumbled across a recipe for apple/pecan/romaine salad in Bon Appetit.  I was intrigued, and then delighted by how yummy it was.  Over the years, I've tweaked the vinaigrette a bit and switched from romaine to more peppery baby greens (this time a 50/50 blend of spring mix and baby spinach).


Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

Cider Vinaigrette

3/4 c. canola oil
3 Tbs.  apple cider vinegar
1 c. apple cider
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


2 gala apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4 inch dice
5.5 oz. of baby greens
3/4 c. pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

Place the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Cook until reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.  Allow to cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Dressing can be (and really should be) made 1 day ahead . . . refrigerate until using.  Bring back to room temp before using and whisk to combine the vinaigrette one more time.

Toss apples with 1/3 c. dressing.

Place baby greens in a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and toss.  Top with apples and pecans.  Serve with any remaining dressing on the side.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette & Feta

I am so pleased to announce that Roberta Isleib (Lucy Burdette) and I (Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames) have been nominated for the Anthony Awards for our short stories. Whee!

The Anthony Awards are literary awards for mystery writers presented at the Bouchercon Mystery Convention since 1986. The award are named for Anthony Boucher (1911-1968) one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America.

Click this title to read Roberta's "The Itinerary". You can catch my story, "Palace On The Lake" from FISH TALES: THE GUPPY ANTHOLOGY on my website.

Speaking of fish...

Oh, wait, no, I don't want to talk about fish today. I want to talk about's almost summer, right? [Can you tell I'm a little befuddled? I'm waiting for a baby to come from my nephew and his wife - my nephew is like a son to me! So sweet. On pins and needles.]

Anyway, back to summer. Summer should be simple, easy, and fun, don't you think? It's time to spend hours outside, drink in the sun, inhale the fabulous aromas of barbecue and ocean (lake) air.

Summer is also one of the best times to enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits. I love going to the local farmers' market and picking up tomatoes, lettuce, and all sorts of goodies.  One of the easiest things to do to liven up a salad is sprinkle it with cheese.  Feta offers a terrific tang to just about any salad. 
My husband loves to add Greek olives and red onions to his salad. In addition, I like to add artichoke hearts. Yum!  (Granted, I don't get the artichokes at the farmers' market. I'm all about efficiency sometimes. But don't cheap out on artichoke hearts. There is a difference in certain canned or jarred goods!)

Make your salad with your preferred ingredients.

DRIZZLE with balsamic vinaigrette and you're good to go.  Enjoy your greens. They're so good for you!


(Yields: one cup, approx.)


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper, ground
1 teaspoon fresh or dried basil


Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and basil in a blender.  Slowly add the olive oil so the mixture emulsifies.    [If you're not going to use the dressing right away or use all of it, cover and refrigerate. Shake well before using.]


* * *

If you don't figure it out yet, I, Avery Aames, am also

Daryl is what my husband actually calls me.

Here's how to learn more about Avery Aames or Daryl Wood Gerber.

Click this link to get to "our" website.

Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.

Daryl will have a new series out in 2013:
featuring a cookbook store owner
who is an avid reader and admitted foodie!

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
She doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Say cheese!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maple Madness: Smoky-Sweet Maple Vinaigrette from Cleo Coyle

Stack your pancakes, everyone. All that frigid, white stuff that blanketed the Northeast this winter is going to give us a banner year in maple production, according to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal.

Cleo Coyle, mad for maple,
is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
"Icy nights and warmer days are essential to a good syrup season," wrote reporter Kristen Miglore. "The end-of-winter rhythm of freeze and thaw coaxes sap from the trees for as long as they can resist the urge to bud, usually four to six weeks..."

That's right, this is the season for tapping trees and boiling down maple syrup. For far too many years, I mistakenly thought winter was the time for maple syrup production. (My romantic notion was, no doubt, engendered by the plethora of bucolic photos showing snowy Vermont woods with slate gray buckets hanging from craggy, brown tree trunks.)

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Spring is the season of sugar! One fine year, I hope to visit a maple syrup farm in Upstate New York or New England. Until then, I'll have to content myself with the fruits of the farmers' labors via online shopping (or a trip to my local market). On the other hand, thanks to our friends at YouTube, we can take a *virtual* trip north anytime...

For those of you interested in how
maple syrup is made, take a *virtual* trip
with me to the Bushee family farm in Vermont...

With all that sweet maple syrup on its way, I’ll be sharing some maple recipes with you over the next few weeks, starting with a few suggested by chefs quoted in The Wall Street Journal...

Maple Ice cream Topping

New York Chef Gabrielle Hamilton (of restaurant Prune) told The Journal she enjoys serving butter pecan ice cream "drowned" in a pool of syrup, finished with a shower of coarse salt. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds like heaven—and surely looks like that legendary Yankee treat of "sugar on snow" when hot maple syrup is poured over a bowl of freshly fallen snow.

Maple Marinade

Once again, according to The Journal, the cooks at the Vermont restaurant Michael’s on the Hill steep trout in a maple brine, along with caraway, fennel, and celery leaves. The trout is then smoked over maple chips and served with a horseradish crème fraiche. A lovely idea to try at home with trout or pork or...well, The Journal suggests that anything from "duck breast to pigs’ feet" can benefit from long soak in maple and salt.

Maple Dressing

When Chef Tony Maws (at Craigie on Main in Boston) suggested maple as an "almost sinister substitute for honey in a vinaigrette," I had to try it that night for dinner. Unfortunately, Chef Maws didn't share a specific recipe, so I experimented with a favorite honey-mustard dressing and came up with a delicious smoky-sweet salad dressing that I've been enjoying for a weeks now. I hope you do, too...

Cleo Coyle's
Maple Vinaigrette

Maple can offer a smoky-sweet note to many dishes. In this salad dressing, it serves as a sultry substitute for honey.

For a free PDF of this recipe, along with a bonus recipe for my Leftover Champagne Vinaigrette, click here.

Servings: This recipe makes about ¼ cup of dressing, enough to dress 4 small salads or 2 large ones


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons lemon juice*

Sea salt and ground pepper (to your taste)

*Yes, there is no vinegar in my maple vinaigrette, but I really do prefer the flavor of the lemon juice in this dressing.

Directions: First, please note that I'm using both Tablespoons and teaspoons in this recipe, so be sure not to confuse those measurements. Using a fork, whisk up the olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Pour over fresh greens and toss. Add sea salt and ground pepper to your taste. (See below for my favorite salad using this dressing.)

Cleo's Spinach Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Servings: This recipe makes 4 small salads or 2 large ones


9 - 10 ounces (about 12 cups) fresh, raw spinach (see my note)*
¼ cup maple vinaigrette (see recipe above)
2 - 3 slices bacon (I use thick-cut) cooked crispy and chopped
1 hard boil egg, chopped

*I often use the "triple-washed" packages for convenience. Fresh, bunched spinach is delicious, but be sure to wash at least three times to remove all grit.

Directions: Toss spinach leaves with vinaigrette. Garnish with bacon bits and chopped eggs, and...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, win free coffee,
or find out more about my books, visit me
 at my *virtual* coffeehouse:

Click on the book covers above
to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.


A final, quick note for our mystery reading fans.
The latest Mystery Readers Journal with the theme Hobbies, Crafts, and Special Interests is now available.

The issue, edited by Mystery Fanfare's Janet Rudolph, includes many mystery authors who have guest posted for us over the past year. You can check out the contents by clicking here, which will also give you info on how to purchase a copy (hard or electronic) for yourself.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Leftover Champagne Vinaigrette

This post was named
a Foodbuzz Top 9 Pick.
Thank you, Foodbuzz!
~Cleo Coyle

Got Leftover Champagne?Waste not, I say…

So the countdown is toast, the ball has dropped, and the last of the champagne has gone flat. You know the stuff I’m talking about, the dregs in that bottle sitting in your fridge.

Well, for heaven’s sake, don’t pour that sad, fizzless liquid down the drain. Do what I do every New Year’s week. Use it to make champagne vinaigrette.

Yes, I know, champagne vinaigrette is typically made with champagne vinegar, but my version is a nice alternative for frugality and fun. My vinaigrette is light, bright, refreshing, and the delicate flavor of champagne comes through very nicely, too.

A fresh salad is also an especially intelligent way to start off the New Year. Why? Lettuce is mostly water and hydrating will help set your body right after an evening imbimbing to excess (aka attempting to pickle yourself).

My amateur sleuth, Clare Cosi, actually received this same advice from her
ex-husband, Matt, a guy highly skilled
in the art of party survival.
To learn more about my mysteries,
click here or on the book cover.

Got a hangover? My in-house editor Mr. Fellows says:
"Drink lots of water. Hydrate with salad. Even better, dress those crisp,
healthy, greens with a hair of the cat that bit you..."

Cleo Coyle’s Leftover
Champagne Vina

Servings: This recipe makes about 3 tablespoons of dressing, enough to dress an average salad for two people.

2 tablespoons champagne (fresh or leftover)1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon white rice vinegar (or white or cider vinegar or lemon juice)1 clove garlic sliced into big pieces (optional)
Combine all ingredients (but the garlic) in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork. Add the garlic and let stand 15 minutes (this optional step will impart a light garlic flavor). Remove all of the raw garlic. Whisk again with fork and pour dressing over your favorite salad. The salad you see pictured is one I often make: romaine lettuce and mixed greens, grape tomatoes sliced in two, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.

*CLEO'S FINAL TIPS: Oil: the oil flavor really shines through in this vinaigrette so choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Salt: sea salt and Kosher salt are much better choices than table salt for flavor. Pepper: I often use black pepper or a pepper mix for this dressing, but if you want a really nice presentation, use white pepper. Grinding it fresh always gives you better flavor. Vinegar: I like white rice vinegar for this dressing, but any white vinegar will impart that needed note of astringent brightness, which will balance the sweetness of the champagne. If you don’t have any white vinegars on hand, use lemon juice to taste. I would not recommend red or balsamic vinegar for this vinairgrette. Not only will those darker, heavier vinegars overpower the delicate champagne flavor, they will change the dressing’s color and defeat the culinary concept. (Then again, if you’re hung over, snow is piling up outside, and it’s all you’ve got on hand, go for it!)

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle
author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

You can get more of my recipes
at my virtual home...

"Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."

National Hardcover
Mystery Bestseller

National Bestseller

Now in paperback.

Click here
or on book covers to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.

"Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle, a new addition to the coffeehouse mystery series…adds in jolts of souped-up coffee, sweet cooking…and super sleuthing to deliver a fun and gripping fa-la-la-la latte surprise."

~ The Huffington Post

Text and photos in this post are copyright (c) 2010 by Alice Alfonsi
who writes The Coffeehouse Mysteries as Cleo Coyle
with her husband, Marc Cerasini