Posts tagged ‘Salads’

March 20, 2016

Gochujang Stir-Fry Sauce & Other Obsessions


At any given time I have a handful of food obsessions rolling around in my head. I find ways to incorporate them each week in my cooking and I often spend down time poking around online for creative ways to use them. Some fall off the list, others stick around and new ones are always finding their way to my dinner table. When the whole family loves them like I do, everyone is happy. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case… said the lentil salad I keep making.

My current obsessions…

Frisée – A crisp frisée salad with radicchio, farm picked diced apples and a little crumbled blue cheese could be one of the best salads. Skip the apple and cheese, and toss in some crispy pancetta or bacon lardons if you “Parlez-vous français.” Top with a poached egg and voilà! A Salade Lyonnaise. My recent dinner at the très chic restaurant La Chéri, in the Philadelphia Art Alliance building, included a delicious Salade Lyonnaise and too much French white wine I’m sorry to admit (nice segue to my next addiction).


Version 2

French White Wines – Extra dirty martinis and sazeracs no more… I don’t know what’s happened to me in the last 6 months but my alcohol tolerance has plummeted to its lowest levels. I’m sad to report my days of cocktails before having wine with dinner are over. I have however, found a new love of French whites. Our dinner at La Chéri introduced me to Vouvray, a refreshing white wine with a hint of effervescence. Sancerre and white bordeaux are also on the list. Here are a few delicious bottles. Sophie Bubbles is not impressed.



Lentils – To me, lentils are a perfect food. I love these lentils with chorizo and making lentil soup with sausage and spinach, and I even love canned lentils for this quick cold salad. I could go on and on. Below is Ottolenghi’s Mejadra, an ancient rice dish with lentils and fried onions (I could eat the whole bowl). It’s from his Jerusalem cookbook. If you love Middle Eastern food, check out his cookbooks. Love!


Gochujang – Gochujang is a Korean fermented chile paste. I’ve used it to make stir-fry, fried rice and chicken lettuce wraps. It’s spicy but not overpowering. You definitely need to mix it with other seasonings like sesame oil, soy sauce and fresh ginger. It has a wonderful umami type flavor. If you’re interested in learning a little more, Bon Appetit has a nice article about gochujang. Here’s the stir-fry sauce that I always make, adapted from Eating Well magazine. It’s an easy weeknight dinner with a spicy kick. Yum!


Gochujang Stir-Fry Sauce


  • 1/4 cup gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir-fry any combination of veggies and protein you like. Pour the stir-fry sauce over the ingredients in the pan and stir until everything is coated and the sauce is heated through. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over brown rice.


** I’ve found Gochujang at some Wegmans and at Mekelburgs in Brooklyn.

August 26, 2015

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad


We love this Mexican grilled chicken salad. It’s fairly easy for a weeknight and definitely a healthy choice, it’s become part of our normal dinner rotation. The tomatoes and corn from our local farms have been so delicious this summer and they usually have a nice array of peppers too. Now is the time to make this!


To help with your weeknight dinner planning, you could grill-up a double batch of boneless chicken breasts using your favorite BBQ rub or mine (All Purpose Red Rub). Make chicken fajitas the first night using half of the chicken breasts, and then use the left over grilled chicken for this salad. You could also substitute steak or shrimp, or use an assortment of different grilled vegetables to make it vegetarian.



Quantities in the ingredients list below are a bit loosey goosey. I generally take the biggest platter we have and fill it up. Three of us eat most of it, with enough left over for a couple of lunch size portions. Not very precise, but you can’t really mess this one up. Just use any combination of the ingredients listed below that you love, and serve it with the dressing on the side… voilà! Or shall I say Olé?



  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1- 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • About a cup of shredded carrots (or more if you like)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-2 grilled red bell peppers, seeded and skins removed – sliced in strips
  • 1-2 grilled poblano peppers, seeded and skins removed – sliced in strips
  • 1 large grilled jalapeño pepper, seeded and skin removed – sliced in thin strips
  • 1 bunch of scallions, ends trimmed and grilled whole
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Cooked BBQ boneless chicken breasts (1 per person)***

Place the chopped romaine lettuce on the bottom of the platter and pile all the other ingredients on top.



For the dressing… this is very complicated so pay close attention:

  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup of sour cream (I use light)
  • A few shakes of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 of a fresh squeezed lime
  • Pinch of kosher salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve on the side with the salad. So easy! If you’re lucky, your container of sour cream or salsa will only be half full and you can just add the other ingredients right to the container and shake it up. Fancy schmancy stuff!

Crushed tortilla chips are a delicious final topping. Yum!

*** To make the chicken:  pound each breast to an even thickness. Not thin, just even them out. Sprinkle each breast liberally with BBQ rub and grill until properly cooked through to 165 degrees. 


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