Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spencer's Greek Feta Salad

This recipe didn't actually come from Spencer's kitchen. I've had it in my recipe box for awhile. But as the word Greek was running through my head I thought of Spencer, a distant hero, someone who took the time to create something beautiful in honor of my Uncle Chris. Spencer lives in Chicago; Uncle Chris in Peoria, 150 miles apart. I have never met Spencer but ended up spending some time on the phone with him when my Uncle Chris passed away suddenly last Spring from a massive heart attack at age 56.

(I am on the left, with Eva, Chris and Edie on the right.)

Spencer and Chris called each other every Friday for the last 20 years. Throughout the years, Spencer, an English Professor, tried to get Uncle Chris to publish his many short stories and poems. Chris didn't have the confidence in his own writing to do this. So out of love for his best friend, Spencer asked if he could have Chris' writings after he passed. I gathered up what I could from the garage in Peoria, dragged them back to Chicago and passed them along to Spencer. Eight months later, he published the book,

A Time In The Country And Other Stories.

So in honor of Spencer's selflessness, I name this salad after him.

Spencer's Greek Feta Salad

1 Head of Fresh Broccoli
1 Small container of Grape Tomatoes (approximate 1 cup but you can be generous)
8 oz of Feta Cheese crumbled
1/2 Red Onion sliced thin
2 Tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar, its what was in the pantry)
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Cut broccoli into florets, Peel and cut broccoli stems into 1/4 inch thick slices. Steam broccoli about 2 minutes or until bright green. More if you like it more tender. Drain broccoli and plunge in ice water to stop cooking and capture the bright green color. Drain and set aside. Slice tomatoes in half and slice onion thin.

In large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Add brocolli, feta, tomatoes and onions; toss to coat. Serve.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

German Potato Salad

I met Fred about nine years ago and each time his mother visits us from Philadelphia, he requests she make this German Potato Salad along with her Philly Style Mac and Cheese. At first, as a good Mid-Western girl, I was appalled that this didn't have any mayo in it. But over the years I've learned more about what's really healthy and this salad has won a place in my favorites. I love the simplicity of olive oil, vinegar, salt and onions. Very easy. This salad sits out on the counter overnight to develop the flavor and truly it only tastes its best at room temperature where the oil stays golden.

Eleanor's German Potato Salad
5 lbs of Large Baking Potatoes
1 Medium Yellow Onion minced fine
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Boil potatoes with skin on in a large pot of water. Start checking them for doneness at about 10 minutes. You want the potatoes to give to the tines of a fork but not be so soft that pieces break off. Pull the potatoes out of the water and set on a rack or towel to cool a bit. When you can handle them without burning yourself, peel away the skins. Slice the potatoes while still very warm into a large glass or ceramic bowl (do not use metal or wood, as they affect the taste).

Add your minced onion to the warm potatoes, then pour the oil over the potatoes and the vinegar on around the outside of the potatoes so it pools to the bottom. Fold all this gently, so the oil, vinegar and onion are distributed evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the amount of potatoes, you may need to increase your oil and vinegar. This salad is meant to be wet. Keep your oil 1/3 more than your vinegar (so if you add 3 Tblsp of oil, then add 2 Tblsp vinegar). Cover and leave out overnight so the oil and vinegar soak into the potatoes. Refrigerate if you must but before serving, let it sit to room temperature. You can also add chopped bacon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thai Coconut Rice

I love coconut! I've searched high and low for this box of rice! I read someone's review on Amazon and it sounded so great. Basil with garlic and coconut and throw in some lime at the end and its excellent! I found it at our Smith's grocer on 400 S. 600 E.

I decided to serve it with Grandma Schubert's 'Salat' which is just iceberg lettuce cut in small pieces, add equal amounts olive oil and cider vinegar, then sprinkle with garlic salt. Make sure its fairly oiled/wet. Nothing worse than dry iceberg.

I finished this off with a side of black beans (I used canned organic).

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I'm behind on posting. I've been side tracked by a pet illness.

Feel free to follow her journey on Sydney's Song.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pizza Simplicity

I miss great pizza! I found this great little crust at Whole Foods which had a nice recipe for veggie topped pizza on the back. I brushed this soft, wheat crust with my favorite pasta sauce, layered mozzarella, then sauteed onions (both yellow and red) with olive and salt, added that on top, then added a pit more mozzarella and a little fresh parmesan. (All in all, I probably used 1/2 block or 5 oz of mozz.)Just before baking I drizzles a few tsps over the top. Bake at 400 degrees in the upper third of the oven.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Best Pistachio Ice Cream

Tonight we stopped at O'Falafel for a quick dinner before heading to Westminster University for a talk on Great Salt Lake migratory birds. I indulged in the most intense pistachio ice cream I've ever tasted. There were so many ground pistachios, the texture was more like crunchy peanut butter. There was a generous portion of pistachios sprinkled on top as well. I even detected a slight crunch that reminded me of those sprinkles on DQ cones. The girl at the counter offered somewhat of a trade secret; that a powder was used in the making. Fred offered an ingenius guess; possibly they used pistachio pudding mix? I will be working on re-creating this delight in my home ice cream machine. Oh My. I may sneak by for this treat on my way home from work and forget to tell Fred. (Hats off to O' for serving this delight in an ICE COLD porcelain dish.)

O' Falafel on Urbanspoon