Confetti Potato Salad

Baby, Tricolored Potatoes make the best potato salad!
Baby, Tricolored Potatoes make the best potato salad!
Baby, Tricolored Potatoes make the best potato salad!

I generally don’t eat potatoes. Probably because I grew up in a Mexican American household where rice was the predominate starch. Because of this, I have not mastered mash potatoes, scalloped potatoes or the summer favorite, potato salad…..that is, until now! 

Tricolored Baby Potatoes!
Tricolored Baby Potatoes!

I stumbled into the most adorable sack of baby, tricolored potatoes while grocery shopping this week. I promptly purchased them, with the intention of making the best potato salad, ever. A beautiful potato salad, devoid of mayonnaise and tangy, bright and lemony.

For the vinaigrette, I relied on one of my favorite recipes. The base of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and a hefty shot of dijon mustard would be the perfect dose of flavor to liven up the potatoes.

A bouquet of herbs.
A bouquet of herbs.

My garden is bursting with herbs, so I added a hefty handful of basil, purple basil, thyme and chives. These herbs and their blossoms, are perfect to add a layer of fresh flavor to any salad and they also provide a gorgeous pop of color. I also tossed in some arugula to boost the green factor:)

Potato salad generally has relish or pickles added to it to intensify the flavor. Luckily, my refrigerator is full of homemade pickled beets, carrots and onions.

Pickled beets, carrots and onion.
Pickled beets, carrots and onion.

Next time you are at the grocery store, look for pickled veggies that are readily available. These veggies are the perfect addition to any summer salad! I roughly chopped these up and added them to the mix. They looked like confetti, dancing in the salad.

The potatoes are so small, only 15 minutes of boiling was needed to cook them through. When they became cool enough to touch, I sliced them in half and added all of the ingredients, in a large bowl.

Potatoes, herbs, arugula and pickled veggies!!
Potatoes, herbs, arugula and pickled veggies!!

The arugula became perfectly wilted in the process. The vinaigrette soaked into the warm potatoes. I placed the bowl in the refrigerator to chill.

My last step was to soft boil 4 eggs. This last step is mandatory. I prefer 7 minute eggs, where the yolks are just barely cooked through and still a bit runny. If that is not your thing, go for the 10 minute egg (a true hard boiled egg). Once the egg has cooled down, slice it carefully in half (you don’t want to loose too much of the yolk) and add it to the potato salad. Go ahead and stir it in so that the yolk spills into the salad. The yolk adds a layer of thickness and richness to the vinaigrette, without weighing it down too much.

Mix in your eggs!!
Mix in your eggs!!

As you stir, use your spoon to gently chop up the egg whites, so that it incorporates evenly throughout the salad. Add salt and pepper or a squeeze of lemon juice if needed. Sprinkle with additional herbs and blossoms to garnish. Enjoy! And by the way, it’s even better the next day;)

Confetti Potato Salad
Serves 4
A delicious and colorful summer salad!
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound of baby tricolored potatoes
  2. 1 cup of pickled veggies, chopped
  3. 1/4 cup of chopped, fresh herbs (recommend chive, basil and thyme)
  4. 2 cups arugula or other greens
  5. 4 eggs billed to your preference
  6. 3 TBS apple cider vinegar
  7. 1/3 cup olive oil
  8. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  9. 1 tsp honey
  10. 2 TBS whole grain mustard
  11. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  12. 1 pinch of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes. In a separate pan, boil eggs to your preference and allow them to cool. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice on half and add to a large bowl along with the arugula, herbs and pickled veggies. Whisk last 7 ingredients together to make vinaigrette and add to salad, coating all ingredients evenly. Add salt and pepper or lemon juice if needed. Place in refrigerator to chill. Once eggs have cooled, cut them gently in half and stir them into the salad.
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French Lentils with Cream, Mushrooms and Greens

So good!
Simple ingredients make the best food!
Simple ingredients make the best food!

I’ve been working really hard to shift us to a plant based diet for the New Year. For the first two weeks, I was obsessed with everything Japanese. Clean broths, lots of fish and veggies. Everything was squeaky clean. Perhaps too clean. Poor Jason was beginning to look famished. So this week, I’ve gone back to my cooking roots and I’ve been working on more familiar inspiration. I decided to start with lentils. Why lentils? Lentils have the second highest ratio of protein per calorie of any legume, except for soybeans. So, it’s a great plant based protein source:)

French Lentils
French Lentils

Have you cooked with lentils? Most people tend to simply use lentils in soup, but they are so adaptable and can be used in so many other dishes. There are tons of varieties available. The colors range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. It can get very confusing if are not familiar with the differences between them. The French lentil is a good option for this recipe because they are sturdy and don’t fall apart.

So, I stumbled onto this amazing looking lentil recipe on Pinterest. I didn’t have the exact ingredients, but I decided to swing it anyway. The most important part of the recipe was the French lentils. the next key ingredient was mushrooms and I had a huge batch of chanterelle mushrooms that I needed to use.

Chanterelle Mushrooms!
Chanterelles

The recipe also called for kale. Given my recent Japanese food kick, I had a bunch of baby bok choy, so I decided to use it.

Shallots and garlic add a lot of great flavor.
Shallots and garlic add lots of flavor.

Feel free to use the mushrooms or greens of your choice. They will work!

Baby bok choy and chanterelle mushrooms. Don't forget the wine!
Baby bok choy and chanterelle mushrooms.

Ok, so as the the recipe states, it contains cream. Yes, cream. Actually, a lot of cream. Here’s the thing. There is nothing like eating real food to get your glow on! Live it up and enjoy the deliciousness of whole milk, butter and CREAM.

Plenty of cream!
Plenty of cream!

These ingredients are great to have in a diet that is comprised of fresh whole foods. Go ahead. Eat like royalty (at least once in awhile), as long as the ingredients you use include lots of delicious organic veggies, herbs and nutritious proteins like lentils!

So good!
The finished product!

The recipe is actually very easy, but does occupy 3 pans. It was worth it!

French Lentils with Cream, Chanterelles and Greens
Serves 2
Cream braised French lentils. Simply delicious and decadent!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup French lentils
  2. 3 cups vegetable broth
  3. 3 TBS unsalted butter
  4. 1 small shallot, diced
  5. 8 ounces chanterelle mushrooms
  6. 1 tsp kosher salt
  7. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  9. 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  10. 1 TBS olive oil
  11. 2 eggs
  12. 6 baby bok choy, chopped, ends removed
  13. Parmesan to finish
Instructions
  1. Rinse lentils. Simmer in vegetable broth for 30 minutes. Lentils should be al dente. In a large skillet, at medium-high heat, brown butter. Add shallot. Cook until about a minute. Add mushrooms and 1/2 of the salt. Then add garlic. Cook until it starts to slightly stick to the bottom of the pan. Do not burn. Deglaze with the wine. Reduce until nearly dry. Add cream and simmer until cream just begins to thicken up. Add lentils and the remaining salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, add enough oil to cook the 2 eggs. Cook eggs to your liking. And place on a separate plate, until lentils are done. Add the chopped bok choy to the lentils. Do not overcook, keep them green. Season lentils if needed. Serve 2 equal portions, with an egg on each. Top with freshly grated parmesan. Yum!
Adapted from From Ashley Rodriguez's "Date Night"
Adapted from From Ashley Rodriguez's "Date Night"
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Olive Roasted Cauliflower with Feta

It's done!
I store my spices in a drawer. It makes it easier to organize;)
I store my spices in a drawer. It makes it easier to organize;)

Now that my herb garden is no longer bursting with fragrant blossoms, I rely on my spice drawer being well stocked. As the winter months draw near, my spice drawer becomes one of my greatest allies in the kitchen. It’s loaded with spices from nearly every continent on earth. Spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, curries and smoked paprika get a serous workout, in the cold winter months. Their flavors are satisfying, warm and complex.

This weekend, the weather in the Pacific Northwest was relentless. Heavy rain, wind and cold kept us indoors, near the warmth of the fireplace. Finally burned out on roasted squash and sweet potatoes, I turned to the humble cauliflower.

The humble cauliflower.
The humble cauliflower.

Not being discouraged by its lack of color (how boring can this vegetable be?!), I decided it would be my canvas for something wonderful.

I chopped the cauliflower into medium sized, manageable pieces and placed them on a large cookie sheet. Now what? I needed to add something flavorful to add interest to this seemingly boring base.

It's starting to come together!
It’s starting to come together!

I had some leftover pitted olives from our dinner party the week before. Perfect! These olives happened to be lemon and rosemary brined. I added the olives, whole, with their brine, to the cookie sheet, tossed it all together and drizzled some olive oil and a heavy pinch of salt. It seemed too simple, so I added lemon juice, to compliment the flavors of the brine.

Now, it was time to add a spice. I could add any variety of spices, but really, when in doubt, (or for simplicity’s sake), I often go to smoked paprika. It’s complex on its own, yet it blends well with Mediterranean, Latino and Central European flavors.

Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika

Plus the smoky flavor adds extra depth to roasted vegetables. So I added 2 TBS over the top and set it all into the oven to roast.

20 minutes later, I checked on it. The fragrance was amazing. All it needed was a quick stir and a few minutes to finish it off. This is the perfect time to add raw nuts. I love adding nuts to my roasted veggies. They add texture, interest and protein to any vegetarian dish.

Roasting up nicely!
Roasting up nicely!

So I tossed in some pine nuts, and a more olive oil to keep things from getting too dry. After 3 minutes back in the oven. It was done…..or was it?

I felt like I needed to continue turning this dish into comfort food….my kind of comfort food. I don’t know about you, but for me cheese is the answer. So I added a hefty handful of crumbled feta. I chose feta because it’s salty, crumbly and works perfect with the olives.

It's done!
It’s done!

All that’s left is a sprinkle of smoked paprika and some chopped parsley. It was delicious. We ate it all, so I’m not sure if it makes good leftovers;)

Olive Roasted Cauliflower with Feta
Serves 3
A hearty side dish or light main entree, full of flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of cauliflower chopped into medium sized chunks
  2. 1 1/2- 2 cups of pitted olives of your choice (Rosemary lemon brined)
  3. 1 lemon, juiced
  4. 2 TBS smoked paprika
  5. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  6. 1/8 cup of olive oil, or more, if needed
  7. 2 tsp salt
  8. 3 TBS chopped parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry cauliflower. Chop into medium sized chunks. Add to large cookie tray and toss with olives (brine included), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and paprika. Make sure cauliflower is evenly coated. Roast for 15 min, or just long enough for cauliflower to get browned. Remove from oven and toss in pine nuts. Add more olive oil and lemon juice, if cauliflower looks dry. Roast for an additional 3 min, just to brown the pine nuts. Remove from oven, mix in feta cheese and garnish with parsley and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve warm!
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