Herbed Watercress Pistachio Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Herbed Watercress Pistachio Salad! Everyone knows leafy greens can supercharge your diet. But not everyone is crazy about kale and arugula. Ask my husband. The strong pungent flavors of the former can step aside, as far as I’m concerned. Watercress is the new sheriff in town. Its delicate leaves reveal a slight hint of horseradish or wasabi, but with a crispier texture. To combat the bitter tang, simply add a nice citrus fruit along with the ancient royal pistachio nut. Did you know the Queen of Sheba found pistachios so delightful, she declared it was forbidden for commoners to harvest pistachio nuts for themselves? Alas, I digress. Watercress is the star attraction. Rich in vitamins, iron, calcium, and folic acid, its roots thrive in creek bottoms where clear running water encourages natural growth. Most farmers cultivate it in very wet ground providing constant moisture. Ask around at the Farmers Markets. It sells quickly to those who desire it.

HERBED WATERCRESS PISTACHIO SALAD

Ingredients:

1 bunch watercress, roots trimmed

8 leaves fresh basil

8-10 leaves fresh mint

20 leaves Mexican tarragon

1/2 cup mandarin orange slices

1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pistachio nuts, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 drop orange extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Arrange watercress, basil, mint, and Mexican tarragon on a platter. Tuck mandarin orange slices and red onion pieces throughout. Sprinkle toasted pistachio nuts over all. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, orange extract, sea salt, and pepper. Slowly add olive oil while continuing to whisk. Dressing will emulsify. Before serving, drizzle salad dressing evenly over salad.

Mandarin Orange Side Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Mandarin Orange Side Salad! Whenever I serve this colorful side salad to my guests, they rave about the dressing. I create my own version of infused garlic oil, but it can be purchased at your local grocery. Dark, leafy watercress can also be found at the area Farmers Market this time of year. A little bit goes a long way in adding a surprisingly light peppery taste. When partnered with oranges and tomatoes, it refreshes the palate for the next course. If you like a tastier and fresher alternative to an ordinary garden salad, give this one a whirl.

MANDARIN ORANGE SIDE SALAD

Ingredients:

1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup watercress

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

18 mandarin orange segments

1/4 cup bacon pieces

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Instructions:

Divide the romaine lettuce, watercress, cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges, bacon, almonds, and cheese evenly between 6 salad bowls. Serve chilled with dressing. (See dressing recipe below.)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup garlic vegetable oil

3 tablespoons wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Instructions:

Combine garlic vegetable oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, sea salt, dry mustard, and onion. Whisk well until blended. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter W

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Watercress Bacon Dinner Salad! If you like salad, you will find yourself saying, “OMG, I want a second helping!” My husband and I can literally eat this dinner salad until we think we will burst! And then we’ll have one bite more! (P.S. Spring is the best time of year to pick up watercress at the Farmer’s Market.)
Ingredients:

3 Eggs

7 slices Bacon

1 Vidalia Onion, Small

1 cup sliced Mushrooms

10 ounce package Grape Tomatoes

6 ounces Watercress

1 heart of Romaine Lettuce

1 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

5 Tablespoons Reserved Bacon Grease (*or substitute with olive oil)

3 Tablespoons Garlic Wine Vinegar

2 teaspoons Honey

1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Instructions:

Cook eggs: cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 20 minutes. Drain off water and add ice on top of eggs. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Remove 5 tablespoons grease and set aside. Use 2 tablespoons of grease in a separate skillet over medium heat. Slice thin the Vidalia onion, then add to skillet. Cook slowly until onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add mushrooms to the same skillet. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. Cut bacon into pieces. Peel and slice eggs. Mix romaine and watercress in a large bowl. Arrange onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bacon on top. 
Hot Bacon Dressing: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, vinegar, honey, and Dijon to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk mixture together and heat thoroughly.

Pour hot dressing over the salad; toss to combine. Arrange eggs over the top, add croutons, sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese, and Voilà! Dinner is served!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter M

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Mandarin Orange Side Salad! Whenever I serve this colorful side salad to my guests, they rave about the dressing. I create my own version of infused garlic oil, but it can be purchased at your local grocery. Dark, leafy watercress can also be found at the area Farmers Market this time of year. A little bit goes a long way in adding a surprisingly light peppery taste. When partnered with oranges and tomatoes, it refreshes the palate for the next course. If you like a tastier and fresher alternative to an ordinary garden salad, give this one a whirl. 
MANDARIN ORANGE SIDE SALAD
Ingredients:

1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup watercress

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

18 mandarin orange segments 

1/4 cup bacon pieces

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
Instructions:

Divide the romaine lettuce, watercress, cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges, bacon, almonds, and cheese evenly between 6 salad bowls. Serve chilled with dressing. (See dressing recipe below.)
Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup garlic vegetable oil

3 tablespoons wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 

1/4 cup red onion, chopped
Instructions:

Combine garlic vegetable oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, sea salt, dry mustard, and onion. Whisk well until blended. Refrigerate one hour before serving. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter W

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Watercress Bacon Dinner Salad! If you like salad, you will find yourself saying, “OMG, I want a second helping!”  My husband and I can literally eat this dinner salad until we think we will burst! And then we’ll have one bite more! (P.S. Spring is the best time of year to pick up watercress at the Farmer’s Market.)


Ingredients:

Eggs

7 slices Bacon

1 Vidalia Onion, Small

1 cup sliced Mushrooms

10 ounce package Grape Tomatoes

6 ounces Watercress

1 heart of Romaine Lettuce

1 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

5 Tablespoons Reserved Bacon Grease (*or substitute with olive oil)

3 Tablespoons Garlic Wine Vinegar

2 teaspoons Honey

1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Instructions:

Cook eggs: cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 20 minutes. Drain off water and add ice on top of eggs. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Remove 5 tablespoons grease and set aside. Use 2 tablespoons of grease in a separate skillet over medium heat. Slice thin the Vidalia onion, then add to skillet. Cook slowly until onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add mushrooms to the same skillet. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. Cut bacon into pieces. Peel and slice eggs. Mix romaine and watercress in a large bowl. Arrange onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bacon on top. 

Hot Bacon Dressing: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, vinegar, honey, and Dijon to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk mixture together and heat thoroughly.

Pour hot dressing over the salad; toss to combine. Arrange eggs over the top, add croutons, sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese, and Voilà! Dinner is served!