Friday, February 19, 2010

VOTE for Me!!!

I have NEWS!! This blog has been nominated for a Best of Blogs award presented by the Sun Sentinel. If you like what you read, please take a moment to VOTE. The competition is stiff. I’m up against blogs titled Worst Pizza and Burger Beast just to name a few…….. Send a note to your friends and ask them to vote for me as well. (Us “Type-A” personalities just love a pat on the back!!)

Now, back to the food. I went to a pot luck supper the other night. Because my last name begins with an “M”, I was slotted to bring dessert. Boxed brownies be damned, I traded with my friend whose name begins with a “G” and opted for the salad instead. Rather than toss a bunch of veggies into a bowl with a container of dressing on the side, I decided to create an arranged salad.

A long time favorite that often anchors my luncheon buffet table, a platter full of stacked veggies centered around a protein like fish or chicken is an ideal dish. Guests can pick and choose exactly what the want. Arranging the food on the platter brings out your inner artist. The colors and textures of the food mix and match to create an appetizing main course meal. The adage is true; we eat with our eyes first.

One of my favorite arranged salads is Salad Nicoise, named for its ingredients used by the chefs of the City of Nice, France, which includes garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black olive, capers and lemon juice. Another all time fave is the Cobb Salad. As the story goes, the dish was the invention of Bob Cobb, at The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. As do all practical chefs, he was trying to find a way to use up leftovers. His first salad was created at the end of a long day, when Cobb realized he’d been to busy to eat. Wandering over to one of the restaurant iceboxes, a weary Cobb scrounged around to see what he could fix and an American main-stay was born.

We home cooks can take a lesson from sensible chefs. Creating a dish worthy of sharing with friends and family is about using what we have in the fridge, not letting anything go to waste, and having the confidence to take a flight of spicing fancy. Check out my recipe for Arranged Salmon Salad with Chinese Five Spice Vinaigrette to see what I mean.

The next time you’re asked to bring a dish to a pot luck supper, or to take your turn dropping off a meal for a friend in need, think outside the casserole and prepare an arranged salad instead. Your pals will say, “thank you” with their mouths full.

If you like this and the other recipes, tips and info that you find on this site, remember to VOTE in the Sun Sentinel BOB awards contest.

Thanks a bountiful bunch!!!!

Arranged Salmon Salad with Chinese Five Spice Vinaigrette

When you are asked to bring a dish for a pot luck supper, or to drop off a dish for a neighbor or friend in need, think beyond the casserole. An arranged salad offers flexibility, allowing diners to pick and choose from a platter filled with an abundant supply of veggies, fish and hard boiled eggs. A sprinkling of fresh herbs and spicy vinaigrette create a hyper flavor experience everyone will enjoy.

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes to roast potatoes and about 10 minutes for salmon

1 ½ pounds (1 ½ -inch long) fingerling potatoes, about 15
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus ¼ cup for vinaigrette
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ pound medium fresh asparagus spears, about 16
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed, about 16
1 medium lemon juiced, about 3 tablespoons
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Miso paste
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
1 (1-pound) salmon fillet
4 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and cut into quarters
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh watercress
Heat the oven to 400°. Place the potatoes onto a baking sheet with lip. Toss with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until the potatoes are soft and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Blanch the asparagus spears in the water until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Place the Brussels spouts into the boiling water and blanch until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to an ice water bath.
Place the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, honey, miso and Chinese Five spice into a blender. With the machine running, pour in ¼ cup olive oil.
Place the salmon onto a baking sheet coated with vegetable oil spray. Brush 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the fish. Roast until the fish remains rare in the center, about 8 minutes per inch of thickness.
Assemble the salad by placing the salmon in the center of a large platter. Arrange the potatoes, asparagus and Brussels sprouts around the salmon. Place hard boiled egg slices and tomato wedges alongside. Sprinkle with watercress and additional coarse black pepper. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the top.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Photographically Inspired Musings by a FANatical Foodie
Title: White Sand

Miles and miles and miles of sand drifts. It makes one feel small… unless you are small. A toddler shoveling sand at the beach is not small when his sand castles wash away with a giggle and a tear that makes him stand tall. Life’s lessons, small and large. We reflect on them less and yet should it be more and more… Miles and miles of sand to cross with footsteps lost to shore.
A Salty Dog is a refreshing cocktail. One to be enjoyed by the sand, by the beach, in a lounge chair, with an umbrella and a beach towel nearby. In a cocktail shaker filled ¾ full with ice, pour 4 ounces of grapefruit juice, 1 ounce of vodka and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Close the top and shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass and sip slowly. The perfect dish to pair with a Salty Dog is my Super Antipasti Platter. They come together swimmingly – just like the sea and the sand.

Now, my friends, this is what YUM …ography is all about!!
See more photographic inspirations at
Meet Chris at the Estero Fine Art Show February 26th and 27th

Super Antipasti Platter

There are no don’ts to assembling a gorgeous antipasti platter. Here are a few guidelines.

Radishes with sea salt for dipping
Sliced salami or other Italian meats such as sopressata and capicola filled with cream cheese and dipped in fresh herbs
Slices of ham rolled around roasted red pepper and asparagus spears
Chunks of Provolone and Parmesan cheeses
Artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
Hearts of palm, drained and sliced into rounds
Grilled eggplant topped with fresh herbs and olive oil
Roasted garlic
Garlic rubbed crostini
Fresh figs sliced in half
Fresh Bay Leaves for garnish

Arrange the meats and vegetables in a decorative way on a large platter. Garnish with fresh herbs and drizzle with olive oil.
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