Category Archives: salads

In search of bolognese

Today we venture south to Bologna, a medieval looking city with a center that’s more Chicago State Street than Little Italy.

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Bologna is referred to in a number of ways. La Grassa (the fat one) celebrates the first bolognese sauce that originated in the city. La Dotta (the learned one) refers to the university that was founded in 1088. And La Rossa (the red one) illustrates the red terracotta medieval buildings with their miles of porticoes and apparently some left-wing politics as well. (source)

We arrived by train and after checking out our very modern accommodations at Hotel Metropolitan, ventured out to check out the open markets.

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We quickly realized there were far less tourists in Bologna than Venice and after an hour or so roaming the streets surrounding the main piazza, far more American retail stores.

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We stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe near the museum and had our first really memorable meal of the trip. Perhaps not as much as this kid who enjoyed a foccacia sandwich larger than his entire torso. Bon Appetito!

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Matt enjoyed a tagliatelle with bolognese and I had a salad with poached egg, asparagus and peccorino cheese with a side of bread and wine, naturally.

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That afternoon, we boarded the San Luca Express for a ride along the portico that led up to the Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca overlooking the city. We had originally planned on walking the trip but after hearing it would take two hours to walk the world’s longest portico, we both decided riding was the best decision of the day.

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If the views from the top of the city weren’t breathtaking enough, a walk inside the basilica will do it.

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It was at the top of San Luca that we had our first aperitivo on the trip. Partially pictured: the tiny round teeter-totter that was the seat at this quaint pizzeria.

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Our stop in Bologna was quick, but we were grateful to experience the University town before heading down to Florence for the next few days and falling even more in love with this beautiful country.

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Ciao!

Panzanella Salad

Considering I’m a true adult now and all, I figured I should start expanding my salad repertoire and get a little fancier.

Just kidding. I just had some rock hard bread that I didn’t want to go to waste.

Truth is I love carbs as much as the next runner gearing up for a big race, but when it comes to my salad, I’d rather have a side of bread to accompany it than to have it mixed in. But this. This crunchy, grainy goodness is worth a try.

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Panzanella Salad

  • 1 C mixed greens (arugula, spinach, etc)
  • 2 C cubed day old bread (I used half of a loaf of Trader Joe’s multigrain ciabatta)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 C cucumber, sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 TBL feta cheese
  • 2 TBL thinly sliced red onion

Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 TBL champagne or cider vinegar
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced (can sub garlic powder)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, basil and feta. Set aside.

In a skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bread cubes and toss until crispy and brown.

Whisk vinaigrette in a small bowl.

Toss all ingredients together and let sit for 10 minutes or so to let flavors combine.

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A great lunch for a warm summer day. Enjoy!

Tabbouleh Salad and Sangria

Before I share with you a super easy salad recipe that goes great with blazing hot weather, I want to give you a quick rundown of some observations from the weekend.

Bridge runs are for the birds

On Saturday mornings, we like to take Finn down to a park along Sarasota Bay where he can play with other pups, swim and run around for the 15 minutes it takes him to be completely exhausted and ready for a nap.

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🎶down by the bay🎶

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If I’m not rolling solo, Matt and I like to take turns going up to the Ringling Bridge and running it for a quick and ridiculously exhausting workout. I thought the humidity and heat would be the toughest part about running in Florida but bridge running in hot and humid temps might just be my worst nightmare. So if you’re looking for a quick workout, go find a long bridge and run across it.

Not all movie theaters have two entrances.

Matt and I went to see Tammy this weekend and after arriving at the show during the previews we were faced with the dilemma of choosing which side of the theater to enter and find a seat. We hesitated briefly and both decided left would be the way to go. As Matt so eloquently pointed out, “All of America goes right.” So we opened the door to the left and walked into a utility closet. We laughed. Harder than we did for most of the movie so go ahead and save your $10 and wait until it comes out on DVD.

Ice Deli should exist in every city that I live. 

Need I say more?

Summer is meant for cold salads.

After making and eating Matt’s birthday cake all week, I’ve been sort of lazy on the cooking front. Loads of butter will do that to a girl. And whenever I’m feeling lazy as a cook I make a big batch of quinoa or other grain salad and eat it for every meal until it’s gone. You should, too.

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Tabbouleh (bulgur) salad

  •  3 Cups cooked bulgur (I use the 10-minute bulgur from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 C tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 C cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 C red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C celery, chopped
  • 2-3 TBL crumbled feta
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Parsley, chopped
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt/pepper

Cook bulgur according to package directions. Let cool.

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Chop vegetables. Add to bulgur once it is cool. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

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Eat it straight from the bowl, put it on a bed of spinach with a little balsamic vinegar or serve it with a piece of fish for a complete meal.

And while we’re on the lazy front, I was messing around this evening and tested out a two ingredient sangria recipe for you. It was pretty tough. It took me about 30 seconds to pull a bottle of merlot out of the fridge and consider what would happen if I poured some San Pellegrino Limonata into it. By golly it worked. Chop up some apples and you have an individual serving of a decent sangria on your hands.

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Two recipes so easy you’ll have no excuse to cook this week.

Summer meal planning

Oh hey there. Me again.

I’ve been meaning to share our meal plan this week with you but apparently I can only get my stuff together to make one of them happen at a time. Now don’t assume I’m a super planner who writes down her weekday meals every Sunday or anything. I want to be that girl I really do, but in reality I’m more of an I saw this recipe in Cooking Light and we should try it tonight type of girl. To make things a little more complicated, I’ve also been known to avoid running to the store last-minute for things that a recipe calls for. If I can substitute or wing it and avoid the trip, I will. Even if the grocery store is 2 minutes away.

But enough about my grocery issues. Here’s what our meal plan looked like this week:

Monday-Black Bean Burgers with a Kale and Kiwi salad
Tuesday-Sun-dried tomato chicken tenders and heirloom tomato salad
Wednesday-Crock-pot Pulled Pork and peach relish
Thursday-Sweet & Sour Chicken and Broccoli
Friday-BLT pizza and spinach salad (actual- fresh oysters and lobster bake at our local seafood spot)

So let’s talk about Monday’s Black Bean Burgers today. These are rich enough in flavor that even a beef lover can enjoy them. And I say that because I like beef but I really like these burgers too.

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Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 15 oz can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 C onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C spinach (I was out of cilantro)
  • 1 TBL garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg

In a large mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork. Add onion, spinach, garlic, soy sauce, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Make a small hole in mixture for egg. Whip egg and blend it into bean mixture.

Divide into 4-5 patties and grill for 4-6 minutes on each side on medium heat or until crispy. Note: these can fall apart easily so be careful if you are using a grill or cook on a pan in the oven at 425 degrees for 8-11 minutes.

Sriracha Aioli

  • 1/4 C light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice

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Serve on whole wheat hamburger buns and garnish with a dollop of sriracha aioli and a kale salad with kiwi, blueberries and a white balsamic vinaigrette.

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Classic Greek Salad

When it comes to the salad game, I’m pretty traditional. Most days, I settle for a classic mixed greens salad with cucumber, tomato and a balsamic vinaigrette of some sort and I never get tired of it.

Every once in a while though, a girl needs to mix things up. So now that Greece is out of the World Cup (yes I know the U.S. is too) I am able to re-introduce international foods into my diet without backhandedly supporting opposing teams. It will however, be a long time before I can look at a Belgium waffle the same way again.

Just kidding. I love waffles.

Anywho, I’ve got a Greek salad recipe for you today. Simple. Classic. Sour. All things that make up a great salad in my opinion. Why I feel the need to tell you it’s in my opinion when it’s written by me on my blog I don’t know. Maybe you like sweet salads? If so that’s cool. You just won’t want to eat this one.

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Classic Greek Salad

  • 1 bunch Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 C chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 C red onion, sliced
  • 2 TBL crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 TBL chopped pepperocinis
  • Handful chopped and pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 C chopped tomatoes

Add all of the above ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Toss. Set aside.

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Greek Salad Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 4 TBL red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 TBL olive oil (I use less but it just depends how you like your dressing)

In a small bowl, whisk garlic, mustard, vinegar and spices together. Add olive oil and whisk until combined.

Dress salad lightly and then add more as needed. Plate and serve.

Enjoy!