Tag Archives: Salad

Basil Bean Salad

Basil Bean Salad
Basil Bean Salad

In the Tuscan tradition, a rainbow of beans – from green to white to red to black – with the heavenly fragrance of basil and sparkle of sun-dried tomatoes.

Serves 8 – 12 as a side.


  • 1 cup organic green beans, trimmed and cut into 1in pieces
  • 1/3 cup finest extra virgin olive oil, for example, Fresh Basil from Temecula Olive Oil Company
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh fennel
  • 1/4 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, green tops only
  • 1 14-oz can organic butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can organic cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can organic red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Orange Muscadet Champagne Vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 5 large leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 8 grinds)


Basil Bean Salad - prep board with fennel
Basil Bean Salad – prep board with fennel








  1. Either poach, steam, or microwave green beans for 1 minute only, then put them into a large serving bowl. Drizzle them with the olive oil.
  2. Mix in the fennel, sun-dried tomatoes, and green onions.
  3. Stir in butter beans, white kidney beans, red kidney beans, and black beans.
  4. Drizzle in vinegar and sprinkle on basil,  1 teaspoon salt, plus a few grinds of pepper. Taste. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 8 hours, taking out from cold 1 hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

First posted by Barbara Newton-Holmes on www.CulinaryOracle.com on February 25, 2016.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star! (Cookies)

“…As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” – The Star, by Jane Taylor, in Rhymes for the Nursery, 1806

Star, Comet, and Moon Cookie Cutters
Star, Comet, and Moon Cookie Cutters

Yesterday, my friend Carole and I baked cookies…

…for next Saturday’s Culinary Historians of San Diego (CHSD) public meeting at the San Diego Central Library Auditorium.

We are on the Hospitality Committee (actually, currently we ARE the Hospitality Committee, but would welcome others, too!), so, most months of the year, Carole and I enjoy coming up with something related to the meeting’s topic. To launch 2016, Richard Foss is presenting “From Tubes and Cubes to Space Espresso: Dining in Zero Gravity.”

Carole has ordered some Tang, a drink used by some of the earlier manned space flights, to augment our usual drinks line-up. We’ll also have some Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers for those who like something savory. But, for a Saturday morning, I think something a little sweet is also a must with the standard coffee and teas. Plus, it gave me a chance to use my collection of astronomical cookie cutters.

“Look into the Night Sky” 

Star Cookies with Sparkling Sugar
Star Cookies with Sparkling Sugar

The night before, I made up a double batch of King Arthur Flour’s Holiday Butter Cookies. It’s a simple but delicious recipe, especially when flavored with Fiori di Sicilia, a heavenly marriage of citrus and vanilla, the signature flavor of Italian panettone.  

For any roll and cut out cookie, the dough needs to thoroughly chilled. 

The real work was going to be the rolling out, cutting, and topping.

Frosted Star Cookies
Frosted Star Cookies

The quartz countertop on our kitchen island is perfect for this: plenty of space, easy to clean, and cool. Besides, it’s black with sparkles in it, just like the twinkling of stars, and always makes me feel like I am looking into the night sky.

Many of the cookies we topped with sparkling sugar. Others, we tried our hand at  drizzling on frosting, highlighting a little yellow on the moon, streaking the tale of the comet with blue.

When I despaired my lack of artistic precision, Carole (ever the supportive partner) pointed out that there is often risk of a little damage at the end of a mission, during atmospheric reentry, coming back down to earth.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Tangerine Tabouli

Tangerine Tabouli Quinoa
Tangerine Tabouli Quinoa

4 servings.

If you are using those cute little California Mandarins or other similarly sized fruits, you’ll need 10 of them: 2 for fruit and 8 for juice.




  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (for example, Trader Joe’s Organic Tricolor Quinoa), rinsed thoroughly in cold water and drained
  • 2 cups broth, stock, or water for cooking the quinoa
  • Sections from 2 small tangerines/clementines/California mandarin oranges
  • 1 ripe avocado, medium dice
  • 2 large green onions, both green and white parts, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, without seeds and ribs, minced
  • 1 cup curly parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup tangerine juice (from about 8 small fruits), or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Place the rinsed and drained quinoa and 2 cups water in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.

2 – The fully cooked quinoa grains should be soft and exploded, with the little white germ rings showing. If needed, drained off any excess water.

3 – Add cooked quinoa to a large salad bowl. Mix in the tangerine sections, green onions, jalapeño, avocado, and parsley.

4 – In a jar or squeeze bottle, combine the juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake or whisk thoroughly to make an emulsion, then mix into the rest of the salad. Serve warm or cold.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com

First seen on www.CulinaryOracle.com. ©2016 Barbara Newton-Holmes

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Egg and Calamata Olive Salad (No Mayo)

Makes 2 main course salads

Egg and Calamata Olive Salad
Egg and Calamata Olive Salad


  • 2 hard cooked eggs, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 scallion, white and green, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup Calamata olives, pitted, with 1 teaspoon of olive juice
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach or baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/2 cup Lemon or Classical Vinaigrette salad dressing

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – In a medium sized mixing bowl, assemble the eggs with a pinch of salt, pepper, celery, mustard, parsley, and scallion.

2 – In a food processor bowl, combine olives, olive juice, and almonds, pulsing 6 – 8 times, or until they are roughly chopped and mixed. Add to mixing bowl and combine with other ingredients.

3 – Combine spinach and arugula, then divide between two salad bowls or plates. Using a scoop or large spoon, divide the egg and olive mixture between the two salads. Drizzle on the salad dressing and serve immediately.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com

©2016 Barbara Newton-Holmes

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Keeping to the Beet – Salad and Variations

Beet Salad with Tomatoes
Beet Salad with Tomatoes

Beet Salad and Variations

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” Rainer Maria Rilke

Winter is the time for roots…

They keep in the dark, in cold storage, silently, modestly holding their nutritional goodness. They come from earth and carry its flavor, the fragrance of regeneration. In these darker times, I especially love carrots,  parsnips, rutabagas, and, of course, that super-food favorite of mine –  beets.

With all my rich holiday eating this past month, I was looking for something lighter a couple of days ago. I roasted three beets – washing them, wrapping them in foil, and putting them on the pizza pan from my Breville  Smart Oven Plus countertop oven (I love that oven!) at 350˚F for almost an hour.  Amazingly (I’d never used it before), the pizza pan really IS non-stick: the beet juice that leaked out and burnt onto the pan just wiped off under water.

Once the beets cooled down enough to handle, I could unwrap the foil and just wipe off the skin with a paper towel — turns out that beets are non-stick, too. Then, I stored the beets in the fridge for almost instant salads.

Beet Salad Variations

‘Twas the night before last and all through the house I was looking for beet-friendly pals. I found cherry tomatoes , sweet onions, fresh parsley, celery, and shredded carrots. But, the list is almost endless. It could have been slightly steamed green beans, sliced almonds, dates or other dried fruits, fennel instead of celery, spring onions instead of sweet onions, raw cauliflower or broccoli… and don’t even get me thinking about cheese: I was looking for something lighter.

Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing
Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing

I put together a squeeze bottle of classic vinaigrette — just oil and vinegar, salt and pepper — but out of two of my favorite bottles from Temecula Olive Oil Company: Honey Vinegar and Fresh Lime Olive Oil.

The salad was a healthy and flavorful accompaniment to cold sliced chicken with hot gravy.


Beet Salad with Avocado
Beet Salad with Avocado

Last night was even easier, since I already had the vinaigrette and another roasted beet.

Instead of the cherry tomatoes, I used half of a perfectly ripe, firm and buttery, avocado. A squeeze of the vinaigrette, after the soft cooked eggs were done and dinner was ready. 

Tonight is, of course, New Year’s Eve, so there will be lots to eat as a dozen or so of us in the building go from one condo to another, working our way up to midnight and the higher Treo realms. 

Tomorrow, we begin again in earnest for healthy eating, with sensible salads and much less meat. Good thing there are beets.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Asparagus and Strawberry Salad

Asparagus Strawberry Salad

2 servings.

The simplicity of this salad requires the best quality of ingredients, especially the strawberries.


10 – 16 (depending on thickness) organic asparagus, stems trimmed

1 – 2 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

6 – 10 (depending on size) organic strawberries, stemmed and quartered

1/3 cup lemon vinaigrette

A few grinds of black pepper

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2 – Spread asparagus on shallow baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt.

3 – Cook in preheated oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until oil is sizzling and asparagus are softened, but not shriveled.

4 – Divide warm asparagus and arrange on salad plates.

5 – Divide blue cheese and sprinkle over warm asparagus.

6 – Divide strawberries and sprinkle over asparagus and cheese.

7 – Drizzle on lemon vinaigrette so that asparagus are shiny but not drenched.

8 – Finish each salad with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com

©2015 Barbara Newton-Holmes Aug. 29, 2015

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Spicy Chicken Salad

For 2 main courses, plus leftover chicken for soup, etc.

Onion icon smallIngredients

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, butterflied: cut nearly in half horizontally to 1/2 inch from other edge, then opened up and flattened

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Dijon or deli style brown mustard

2 teaspoons Barbara’s Smokey Spicy Rub or 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

4 cups organic Red Romaine or other lettuce, cut into bite-sized, 1-inch strips

1 cup baby spinach leaves, stems removed

1/4 cup organic red or sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup organic rainbow or baby carrots, 1/4 inch diagonal slices

1/2 cup organic sweet red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized, 1-inch strips

1 cup organic beets (red or golden), roasted and sliced

1/4 cup organic pea shoots, cut in half, or lettuce sprouts

1/2 cup lemon vinaigrette, well shaken.

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

1 – Pre-heat oven to 400˚ F.

2 – Sprinkle salt on both sides of chicken breasts. Brush on mustard and sprinkle on spicy rub or chile powder.

3 – Spread chicken on a rack on a shallow baking sheet. Roast at 400˚ F for 25 – 30 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165˚ in several places. Set aside to rest while assembling the rest of the salad.

4 – Divide between two large bowls and toss: lettuce, spinach, onion, carrot, bell pepper.

5 – Arrange beets in a mound on top, garnished with pea shoots.

6 – Cut one chicken breast, across the grain, into strips 1/2 inch by 1 inch. Arrange in a mound on the  salad greens. Wrap the other chicken breast and refrigerate for use within three days.

7 – Serve salad, with vinaigrette on the side.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Chutney

Onion icon smallIngredients

For 4 servings

1 pound wild Alaskan smoked salmon, hot or cold smoked

1/2 cup English cucumber (or American, peeled and deseeded), small dice (1/4 inch cubes)

2 Tablespoons capers

1/4 cup red onion (or sweet white onion), very small dice

2 Tablespoons guava (1 small one peeled, center seeds and pulp discarded), small dice

1/4 cup green apple, small dice

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

In a jar or squeeze bottle:

3 Tablespoons lime juice

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 grinds freshly ground black pepper

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

  1. Divide salmon into 4 equal pieces (by weight, about 4 oz. each).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cucumber, capers, onion, guava, green apple and dill weed.
  3. In a jar or squeeze bottle, combine oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Shake very well to combine. Pour on to cucumber and other chutney ingredients.
  4. Spoon chutney over 1/2 the salmon, garnish with cilantro, and serve.
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Cole Slaw (Vegan)

Onion icon smallIngredients

For 8-10 servings

1/2 cabbage shredded (about 3 cups)

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

6 oz (1/2 bag or 2 cups) Broccoli Slaw (for example, from Trader Joe’s)

5 oz (1/2 bag or 1 cup) shredded carrots (for example, from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup white onion, small dice

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 portion (about 3/4 cup) Vegan Cole Slaw Dressing


In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables and fruit and nuts, mixing thoroughly. If not serving immediately, cover and keep in fridge for up to 1 day.

Just before serving drizzle on the dressing and toss to completely coat all ingredients.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

Onion icon smallIngredients

1/2 cup roasted organic beets, cut in 1/2 inch slices or chunks (see below for roasting directions, or buy from store already cooked)

2 cups organic Romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2 inch strips

1/2 cup shredded organic carrots

3 green onions (green and white parts), cut small dice (1/4 inch)

6 organic cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced diagonally, sprinkled with a little salt, dried basil, and freshly ground pepper

1 – 2 Tablespoons dry roasted sliced almonds

2 – 3 Tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

  1. To roast your own beets,
    • Trim the tops and root from each red or golden raw beet (a combination of colors is lovely in the salad). Rinse under water, then wrap each beet in foil.
    • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in a 375˚F oven for 1 hour (or until tender when tested with a fork). Remove from heat to cool for handling.
    • Unwrap each beet and, using paper towel, rub the skin from each, leaving a shiny clean beet. Slice as required.
  2. Assemble lettuce, beets, carrots, green onions, tomatoes, and almonds in a large bowl. Drizzle on lemon vinaigrette.
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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