Tag Archives: salad

Friday with Friends


Well hello my lovelies!

It’s officially summer and it’s officially warm outside and officially the start of a what I hope to be a very fun few weeks!
We had our first house guests in our house this past weekend! It was so much fun, too. I’m sure some of you may have seen the progression of sloppiness on Instagram, but perhaps there should be a story or background to the fun.

Two of our best friends came over for the night and it was a beautiful night out so we took full advantage of sitting outside and wining and dining.

And do you see that yummy looking dip on the left side of the picture? That’s was my contribution to the spread of the appetizers we had before REB made his brother’s warm pasta salad. Delicious!

Now let’s talk about the dip! It was a black bean, corn and avocado salad that I had in Chicago a few weeks ago. It was so delicious so I searched the Pinterest board and saw a pin for it and decided to make it for the start to the weekend. I changed up a few things to our tastes, but it was absolutely delicious.

I did a lot of prep work the night before to save some time.

Can we take a second to look at the beautiful colors? This is one of the reasons I love summer for this reason! It helps to make this the night before because then you can add the avocado right before serving and they won’t turn brown. I added more lime juice on top just to be sure it wouldn’t turn brown. You can never have enough lime juice in a salad like this.

Bottom line: this dip was delicious and so fresh and light. We served it up with pita chips and tortilla chips and the evening was so much fun. I can’t wait to start having more people over! Entertaining is going to come so much easier with the extra space!

What are your favorite summer time dishes?

Recipe adapted from Once Upon A Chef

5.0 from 1 reviews

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dip, Appetizer, Vegetarian
Serves: 8
  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (frozen, then thawed)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 avocados, scored and scooped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 4-6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (zest 2 of them first!) — this took about 2-3 limes
  • Drizzle of olive oil to desired consistency
  1. Combine the black beans, corn, red bell pepper and cilantro in a bowl and mix.
  2. Add the garlic, lime zest, cayenne pepper, shallot, sugar, salt and lime juice and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours, or over night.
  4. Right before serving, score and scoop avocado into the salad, give it another squeeze of lime to help keep them green, and sprinkle some cilantro on top and you’re good to go!

Back in Paris

Believe me, the photos from the trip are coming! I got through a lot of photos today from our first stop: Paris. I can’t stop thinking about Paris. I have been there before when I was 18 or 19 with my sister for three days. We packed too much into those three days and couldn’t really enjoy the city. For this trip with REB  we spent five days there, which yes, isn’t that much longer, but it was much more relaxed. We were able to see a lot of the city and got really comfortable there.

France isn’t exactly a country that caters to vegetarians, but we were able to find plenty of food to satiate our palate. One of the best meals, that we still talk about two weeks later, is the salade chevre chaud aka warm goat cheese salad. We had a lot of this salad at various cafes in Paris, but one cafe near our hotel served it best. Le Bosquet cafe on the Ave. Bosquet in the 7th district made THE best warm goat cheese salad we had while we were there! In fact, we went there twice just for this salad.

I’ll have an entire post about the food we had during our honeymoon (and yes, the food alone warrants its own blog post lol) but for now, here’s the goat cheese salad we tried to recreate here.

It’s not exactly how the cafe made it, but we came pretty darn close. It was crispy, creamy, fresh and full of flavor!

It was also super easy to make! It brought us back to that cafe on our last day in Paris before we went to the next stop. It makes me remember the 7th district and how badly I would live there ;)

So I can’t be the only person who has memories of the food they eat on vacation. What about you?

Warm Goat Cheese Salad:
•One round piece of goat cheese, cut long ways (to make two rounds)
•Two slices french bread
•Mesclun salad mix
•2 tablespoons honey
•1 tablespoon olive oil
Salad Dressing:
•1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
•2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
•S&P to taste
•1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
•2-3 tablespoons olive oils whisked in

Preheat oven to 350. Toast the two slices of French bread in the toaster (but not to darken them). When they pop up, place them on a baking sheet and drizzle a little honey and olive oil on each piece. Place one round of goat cheese on each slice of bread. Drizzle the rest of the honey on top of the goat cheese. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the bread it nice and toasty.
In the mean time, add the mustard, red wine vinegar and lemon or lime juice to a bowl and mix it up. Then whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can make this dressing as salty or mustard-y as you like. Toss the salad mix with the dressing. You may not have to use all if it. Use enough to dress the mesclun but don’t soak it or it will be too soggy.
Place some salad mix on each plate. When the bread and cheese are done, place one piece on each salad. Drizzle honey on over the top and serve!

Tomato Bread Salad

I’m hanging on to every ounce of summer. I love fall, don’t get me wrong. It’s my favorite season, but there is one thing I absolutely love about the summer. I love eating fresh fruit and vegetables, but I especially love it in the summer time when you know it was grown fresh near you. So delicious.

REB and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in town, Zingerman’s Roadhouse and I had the most amazing salad there. They feature it on their summer menu each year, and each year we’ve gone, they’ve been sold out of it! So when I found out it wasn’t sold out, I had to have it! It was just as delicious as it sounded and was described to me. And it was light!

I recreated the dish after figuring out what ingredients they used (and what I could taste). I can in no way take credit for this dish, and I know it isn’t exact, but this variation was just as delicious. And the secret? Heirloom tomatoes!!

What you’ll need:
•3-4 heirloom tomatoes (I bought some orange, a huge red one, some green), cut into bite-size pieces
•1 Roma tomato, cut into bite-size pieces
•1/2 loaf sourdough bread (day or 2-day old is best), cut into 1-inch cubes
•1 cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (leave the skin on!)
•10-12 cherry mozzarella balls, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
•1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed (don’t get the kind in oil)
•10 basil leaves, chiffonade
•2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
•2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•S&P to taste

Preheat your oven to 300ºF.

What I found best was to let the bread sit for a day or two, then cut them into 1-inch pieces (you’ll only need about half the loaf). Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, toss and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. I’m not sure if this is what Zingerman’s did, but I figured if it was fresh bread, it would just fall apart with the dressing. By toasting it lightly, it kept its shape and still sopped up the delicious dressing.

In a large salad bowl, add tomatoes, mozzarella and cucumber together. Add the capers, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, basil, and toss well. Add the bread in last, toss lightly. The heirloom tomatoes do it all for me. No, scratch that. The capers. I love capers. I could eat capers all day long, I love them so much. But the tomatoes are the star and they are so juicy and delicious.

Drizzle olive oil on top before serving and enjoy!

Caprese Salad

The colors of Italy never looked so good! This super simple, and very popular salad is one I love anytime of year. However, having this salad in the summer with fresh ingredients is how I like it best.

What you’ll need:
•1 tomato, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
•Fresh mozzarella, sliced in to 1/4-thick slices
•9 fresh basil leaves
•Balsamic vinegar
•Olive oil
•Sea salt
•Freshly ground black pepper

You’ll need three slices of tomato and three slices of the fresh mozzarella. Layer tomato, mozzarella, two basil leaves until you have a little stack.
Take the remaining basil leaves, roll them up, and slice them (chiffonade) into ribbons. Sprinkle that on top, along with a splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. It’s as simple as that!

I got the bleus

I might be one of the only people who doesn’t like bleu cheese. I mean, I don’t hate it, but I prefer other cheeses. Give me cheddar, mozzarella and gouda any day over the bleu. When I ate meat, I was the girl who dunked her Buffalo wings in ranch. Bleu cheese is just so pungent and sour-tasting. For some foodies, they can go on and on about how it “melts” and “crumbles” and the “tang” can be the element that makes the dish. Not for me.

I never could wrap my head around eating a food that has mold on it. When I was younger, my mom would put Mr. Yuck stickers (remember those? If not, this might jog your memory) on things I shouldn’t touch or eat. OK, maybe it was used for poison and not bleu cheese, but still. Maybe she should have put it on that cheese because it has mold on it…and mold is bad, right? Right?? I was told it was. Apparently not, though, because many people devour bleu cheese on a daily basis.

REB, B, JoP, and many other friends of mine looooove bleu cheese. I know for a lot of recipes melting it over meats or vegetables is the way to go. And yes, in the past I was lectured by my roommates on how Buffalo wings just aren’t the same unless eaten with bleu cheese. I may not be joining a 12-step program to accept this cheese, but I am trying to open my palate to it (in moderation, of course).

Yesterday I made a harvest salad (We call ‘em Michigan salads here) with field greens, dried cranberries, walnuts, raspberry or balsamic vinagrette and…bleu cheese. I ate the salad and when I was finished, looked down in my bowl and saw that I ate everything but the bleu cheese. There was a beautiful pile of them on the bottom of my bowl.

I made the same salad tonight….

And it was divine (not really a religious experience, but it was good). And look! Four little crumbles of bleu cheese are there, and I ate every single piece. I kind of cringed…but I still accepted it. Step 1, complete. Next foods to conquer: Portobello mushrooms and eating olives whole (I just can’t do it!)