Pear Salad

I admit, I am not a salad girl.  But I wanted to have a good salad recipe for friends and family and after playing with different greens and dressings and add-ons I've come up with this - and it's been a crowd favorite since the unveiling. 

You will need:

1 heart of romaine lettuce

1 large ripe Bosc pear

¼ of a large or ½ of a small Vidalia or sweet Texas onion

½ cup toasted chopped walnuts

½ cup crumbled goat cheese (salty type that comes in brine) or feta or good blue cheese


 

 

For the dressing

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of honey

¼  cup  champagne vinegar

¼ cup olive oil


 

Separate lettuce leaves, remove hard spines and shiffonade. Julienne the pears. Finely slice the onions. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.  Place the lettuce, pear and onion into the salad bowl, pour the dressing over and lightly toss.  Crumble the cheese on top and finish with walnuts.  Serve immediately.

Often times I serve the dressing on the side so folks can put as much or as little as they want

Olivie Salad

This is the recipe that, like borsht, is a staple in every family hailing from or still living in Ukraine or other former Soviet countries.  This salad is made for holidays and family gatherings and just because you want to treat your family to something simple yet very special. 

Here's the basic recipe with noted possible variations - but really, you can change it to fit your preference almost any way you want. A friend of mine makes it with fresh cucumber instead of pickles and it is awesome.  Some folks put boiled carrot in. The basics are potatoes, meat, eggs and peas, the rest can be entirely up to you. I remember that in the leaner times my mom would make it with bologna instead of turkey or chicken breast, or almost-unattainable seafood,  but it always tasted like holidays. 

Olivie

Serves 6

6 medium or 4 large potatoes, boiled in skins, peeled and diced

6 hardboiled eggs, diced

½ can of peas, strained

½ lb smoked or roasted turkey or chicken breast (or ½ lb of lump crab meat or craw fish tails), diced

4 large deli pickles, diced

Sweet Vidalia onion (small or half of large) , diced - optional

Salt, pepper to taste

Mayonnaise to dress


 

Prepare all ingredients.  Make sure that the dice is consistent, otherwise the salad will look unappealing. Mix everything together, add salt, pepper, and dress with mayonnaise.  The salad tastes best if done the day before, but at the very least let it sit for a couple of hours to ‘marry’ the flavors.

Onions are optional for Olivie – my family is not very fond of them so I usually omit altogether or only use green onions finely diced for decoration.  My mother liked the crab/craw fish variation better so that was her go-to option. 

 

Beet Salad

One more 'old country classic' - beet salad or Vinegret. Don't ask why Vinegret but that's what we called it.  A very good side dish or an appetizer, completely vegetarian - unlike it's cousin Olivie it contains no meat, seafood or eggs.  


 

For serving for six:

6 medium or 4 large potatoes, boiled in skins, peeled and diced

2 large beets, roasted or boiled, peeled and diced

2-3 large carrots, peeled, boiled and diced

1/2 can peas, strained

4 large pickles. diced or 1 cup (packed) sour cabbage, chopped

Salt, pepper, oil and vinegar (white)

Prepare all ingredients as noted above, maintaining consistent dice. Mix well, dress and let sit for at least two hours for flavors to develop. 

Passover Potato Salad

This dish is one of my mother-in-law's Passover classics. It's beautiful in it's simplicity and absolutely delicious. I usually don't want to wait until Passover to have it and I'm sure once you try it, neither would you! 

To serve six you would need:

1-2 tablespoons of rendered chicken fat (yes, chicken fat, you can't do it without good old chicken fat)

1 large sweet onion, sliced 

4 hardboiled eggs, grated on a large-eye grater

6 medium or 4 large potatoes, boiled in skins, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper to taste


 

Melt chicken fat on a skillet and fry onions until golden and crispy.  Mix the potatoes and eggs, salt and pepper them and toss with onions and the fat.  Serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy! 

Carrot Salad

It's very pretty, tasty and simple to make.  A very good addition to any dinner or holiday table, especially if you need a variety of vegetarian dishes.

You will need:

2-3 large fresh carrots 

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup white raisins, blanched

2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

2-3 tablespoons of mayo 

1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)

 

Grate the carrots or shave them with julienne peeler.  Taste them and if they are not sweet (which happens in the winter when you are not using fresh crop but stored vegetables) sprincle them with sugar. Add nuts, raisins, garlic and mayo and mix well. Let sit for a couple of hours before serving for the carrots to absorb all the flavors. 

Roasted beet and prune salad

This is another delicious salad/side dish that was a staple in our home for as long as I can remember - and it's a great way to include more beets into your diet! 

 

2 large beets, greens and tails cut off, scrubbed

1/2 cup finely chopped prunes

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

2-3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

2-3 tablespoons of mayo

 

Drizzle beets with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast until tender. Cool completely, peel and grate. Mix in the prunes, nuts, garlic and mayo, mix well and let sit for couple of hours before serving for the flavors to blend.  Enjoy!