Category Archives: salad

Farro and Arugula Salad with dried Cranberries

My friend Katelyn is a grain salad person. She’s always serving the tastiest salads with barley or wheat berries mixed together with other delicious morsels.

Last week my sister hosted dinner and served a tasty orzo and arugula salad that I absolutely loved. I decided to adapt her recipe by using farro and it turned out wonderfully. I served it to Katelyn alongside this Chicken Piccata recipe from Homemade Italian Cooking. She asked for the recipe, so here we are. 🙂

The magic ingredient in my salad (that’s completely optional) is reconstituted porcini mushrooms chopped up finely. It adds depth to the dish and the lemon, feta and dried cranberries bring in a brightness that complement the spiciness of the arugula.

This is a wonderful side dish to serve at Thanksgiving as it incorporates cranberries, grains, and has a look of good cheer on your plate.

You can of course replace the farro with any grain such as brown rice or couscous.

Farro and Arugula Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Farro and Arugula salad with Feta, Cranberries and Porcini

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
  • 2.5 cups cooked farro, cooled
  • A few big handfuls of baby arugula (or baby spinach/arugula mix)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Farro and Arugula Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Directions:

Place dried porcini in a small bowl and cover completely with boiling water. Place a plate on top of the bowl and let sit for 20 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Chop finely.

Add all the ingredients to a salad bowl and toss until everything is well coated. Add more olive oil if it needs to be loosened up a little.

Pickle and Potato Salad

I’ve discovered I’m picky when it comes to potato salad. I don’t like celery, I don’t like hard-boiled eggs, or caraway seeds, or big hunks of onion, or mushy potatoes — ok, ok I’m a potato salad priss!

I needed to use up some thin-skinned potatoes in my pantry so I turned to Pinterest and couldn’t find just what I was looking for. I did find something close. This recipe from Mrs. Happy Homemaker calls for pickle brine instead of vinegar or lemon juice. That piqued my interest.

So I came up with my own version and it was everything I’ve always wanted in a potato salad. It’s creamy, tangy, salty and has a good bite.

Pickle and potato salad - a perfect potato salad recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Pickle and Potato Salad – the perfect potato salad without celery or eggs

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds small, thin skinned potatoes
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • generous 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup pickle brine
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Place unpeeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for about 12 minutes until potatoes are fork tender but not mushy.

Drain potatoes and run cold water over them to cool.

Combine the pickles, mayo, brine, mustard, and green onions in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice them half lengthwise and then slice into 1/4-inch wide pieces.

Add potatoes to the sauce and mix until potatoes are completely coated. Serve warm or chilled.

Pickle and potato salad - a perfect potato salad recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing

Tonight was supposed to be leftovers night, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to cook something using the ingredients on hand. We had leftover chili and tortillas so I decided on chili enchiladas. That’s a heavy dish and as with most Mexican-style dishes I never know what type of vegetable to serve on the side. Broccoli? Cole slaw? Naw.

I rifled through the fridge and found an English cucumber, feta and some limes. I had chickpeas in the pantry. Yes….this could be something.

This salad was the perfect palate cleanser to the heavy enchiladas. The bright lime dressing cut through the spicy, cheesy sauce and left me licking the salad bowl.

You can opt to not fry the chickpeas, but that added crispiness was a wonderful touch.

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing

Serves 4

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 english cucumber, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3+ tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup feta crumbles
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a medium sauté pan with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons. Heat over high flame. Remove as much moister as possible from the chickpeas by putting them in a salad spinner.

When the oil is hot, add the chickpeas to the pan and fry them for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and crispy. Turn off heat and let chickpeas cool.

In a medium bowl, add the cucumbers, green onion, cilantro and feta.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When chickpeas are cool, add to the rest of the salad. Just before serving, whisk the dressing together and toss into the salad.

Cucumber chickpea salad with lime dressing | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Smoky tuna dip – a healthy snack

In Alaska we are pretty seafood-centric. Although we have more than 47,000 miles of shoreline my husband doesn’t like seafood so I rarely cook with it.

I have access to Alaska halibut and salmon, but sometimes I just want a good old-fashioned can of tuna. Recently I was in Mexico and a friend served up a dip made with smoked mackerel. I don’t have any smoked fish lying around my freezer so I tried my own tuna dip. With a tiny amount of liquid smoke and just a few other ingredients I came up with a smoky, delicious tuna salad that’s perfect for a mid-afternoon snack — and it’s healthy too!

Smoky tuna dip | A healthy snack from Alaskaknitnat.com

I love tuna packed in oil, but that can run pretty expensive at our local fancy grocery store. The big grocery store carries the next best thing for about $2.50 a can.

Smoky tuna dip | A healthy snack from Alaskaknitnat.com

You can use any can of tuna you’d like.

Smoky tuna dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 teaspoon of chile in adobo sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • salt and pepper to taste

Drain the tuna and place in a small mixing bowl. Combine all the other ingredients. Serve with corn chips or crackers.

Smoky tuna dip | A healthy snack from Alaskaknitnat.com

Salmon salad lettuce wraps

With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve decided to join the countless others who resolve to eat more healthily. As a contributor to Anchorage Food Mosaic Project, I was recently asked what my Food Year’s Resolution was. Fewer cheeseburgers was the first thing that came to mind, but also to cut down on carbs and to eat more healthily in general.

My husband and I are trying out the South Beach Diet, which is a low sugar and carb regimen. The first phase is pretty strict, but that doesn’t limit my ability to cook delicious food.

Today’s lunch was quick to prepare and pretty dang delicious. I love me some smoked salmon, but that stuff is expensive. I wanted to make a dish that had the flavor of smoked salmon, but was a little easier on the pocketbook.

This salad recipe is chock full of nutrients and with the use of smoked paprika, it fulfilled my craving for smoked salmon. I purchased my canned salmon at Costco, but if you’re lucky to have an Alaska fisherman friend, you could certainly make this with fresh-cooked salmon!

Smokey Salmon Lettuce Wraps | A Healthy Lunch from Alaska Knit Nat

Smokey salmon lettuce wraps — A South Beach Diet phase 1 recipe

Makes about 6 wraps

Continue reading Salmon salad lettuce wraps

Wild Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps

Last year we picked hundreds of pounds of boletes — wild porcini mushrooms. We dried them and have since not consumed many of them; so before we hit mushroom season this summer we decided we better start using these earthy, flavorful morsels.

Wild mushrooms pair well with risotto. I had a half box of Barilla Orzo pasta, which look like grains of rice. I thought the orzo would taste super with portobello and porcini with a hint of lemon and garlic.

Costco sells a four pack of portobello caps for just a few dollars. I lightly marinated them in oil and vinegar then grilled them over high heat and topped them with roasted bell peppers and chèvre. The fresh arugula salad was the perfect accompaniment to the meal with a simple lemon vinaigrette.

This is a quick meal that’s hearty and vegetarian too.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Wild Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad

Serves 3

Ingredients:

4 portobello caps

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

4 Tbs. butter

Olive oil

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 cup dry orzo pasta

2 cloves garlic

zest and juice of one lemon

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup crumbled chèvre

3 mini bell peppers

salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Bring a cup of water to boil. Pour over the dried mushrooms and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes. Remove the stems from portobello caps and set aside. Remove the gills with a spoon. Lightly score the tops of three of the caps with a paring knife. Reserve one cap for the orzo. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, the vinegars, one minced clove of garlic salt and pepper to a one-gallon ziploc bag. Carefully add the caps, seal and gently toss to coat the caps. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour.

Chop the stems and one portobello cap. Remove the porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Chop the porcini. Set aside.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the orzo for 7 minutes. Drain and set aside. Lightly toss with olive oil so they don’t stick together. Meanwhile, heat the butter and one tablespoon olive oil in a large sautĂ© pan. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated from them. Add the lemon zest and one minced clove of garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, till garlic is fragrant. Add the orzo, 1/4 cup of reserved mushroom liquid and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Toss thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Set all burners on your gas grill to high and heat for 15 minutes. Chop the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Skewer them on a metal skewer. Turn grill burners to med-high and set the peppers and the mushroom caps, top side down, on the grill. Cover and grill for about 4 minutes. Flip and grill another 4 minutes. Remove everything from grill and slice the peppers. Serve the caps with sliced peppers and crumbled chèvre alongside the orzo, sprinkled with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

For the salad: Top baby arugula with sliced cherry tomatoes, blueberries and crumbed chèvre. Squeeze fresh lemon on top and drizzle on extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Creamy Potato Salad

We’ve been having an unusually sunny and warm May, which means it’s time for BBQ food. No BBQ is complete without creamy potato salad. This recipe was inspired by one from Cook’s Country Magazine where they incorporate an egg yolk into the dressing. I’m not usually a fan of hard-boiled eggs mingling with my potato salad, but this time it turned out surprisingly well.

I know everyone has a “method” to cooking perfect hard-boiled eggs. My method is to cover the eggs with cold water and pour in a couple of teaspoons of baking soda. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and boil for 11 minutes. Then immediately drain and cover with icy cold water. Not only are the yolks perfectly cooked, but the eggs peel easily too.

Creamy Potato Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Creamy Potato Salad

Serves 4

3 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 hard-boiled eggs, one yolk reserved

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. agave nectar or honey

1/2 a celery rib, minced

2 green onions, minced

2 pickles, diced

1/4 cup greek yogurt

2 Tbs. mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Toss your diced potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Add a couple of pinches of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer till potatoes are just tender — about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, agave nectar, and the yolk from one egg. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Pour over half the dressing and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining eggs to the remaining dressing and thoroughly mash till the egg whites are small chunks. Add the celery, green onions, pickles, yogurt and mayo. Once the potatoes are cooled, add the remaining dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer your salad even creamier, add a little more mayo.

If you’re looking for a healthier potato salad, why not try this tasty recipe I made with red potatoes? Click on the photo for the recipe:

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