Grape “Salad”

Usually when you read salad, you think of leafy greens and a dressing of some sort, maybe some croutons or other  vegetables too. Something healthy. But in the Midwest, salad is a looser term. It generally means a bunch of stuff thrown in a bowl with something liquidy to bind it all together. Often they use ingredients that my gourmet self wouldn’t dream of eating, like one of my favorite “salads”, Cheesy cheese, it has Velveeta! But when you add lots of butter, corn and Ritz crackers to it, even the snobbiest of foodies can’t resist. One of my sister’s favorites, is a combo of apples, Snickers and Cool-Whip. Don’t judge until you try it!

This grape salad may not look the prettiest but it sure tastes amazing! you can use any type of grape, but I prefer large red skinned grapes. You could probably  make this a little healthier by substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream, but I’d recommend trying the original first.

1# Grapes, rinsed and taken off the stem

1/4C Cream cheese, softened

1C Sour cream

Toasted pecans, chopped

Brown sugar

In a large bowl stir together cream cheese, sour cream and a pinch of salt until smooth. Fold in the grapes and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.  Generously sprinkle with brown sugar and toasted pecans and serve.

Radish, Avocado and Grapefruit salad

I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe using radishes for the Beet n’ Squash U recipe challenge for about a month now and I’ve been having a hard time. I tried making a creamy radish salad dressing, it tasted good but it looked like Pepto-Bismol. I then tried roasting the radishes which was good but not great. The other night I was making fajitas and wanted a side dish. I started thinking that radishes are used in a lot of South American cuisines and so are avocados, and hey I have a grapefruit  on the counter; let’s mix them all together.

Happily it worked out very well! I really like the different textures and all the bright colors and flavors. This works great as a side dish with fajitas, it’s also great on top of grilled chicken or mixed with some cooked lentils.

2 Large radishes, or 3 small, thinly sliced

2 Grapefruit, supremed/segmented (see my recipe for oranges with red wine syrup for instructions on how to supreme citrus fruit)

1 Avocado, diced

Dash of Cayenne pepper

A little salt and pepper

Toss all together and serve immediately.

Tomato Vinaigrette

Tomato Vinaigrette

My tomato plants are going crazy right now; thank you organic fertilizer! As an alternative to whole tomatoes on a salad I’ve decided to incorporate them into the vinaigrette. This way you can get the bright flavor of ripe tomatoes in every bite. The vinaigrette is great on lettuce, but would also be good on mozzarella with fresh basil for a variation on the classic Caprese salad.

1 1/2 C tomatoes*

3T olive oil

3T balsamic vinegar

1T basil

1 Lemon, juiced

1 tsp Brown sugar

Place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you dislike seeds you can strain this through a sieve for a smoother salad dressing.

*I put cherry tomatoes whole, in a Pyrex measuring cup and I roughly chopped the larger tomatoes to get the 1 1/2 cups of tomatoes.