Garden-Fresh Basil Buttermilk Dressing

Summer may officially be over, but some of our garden vegetables happily are refusing to acknowledge it as they continue to provide us with a daily abundance of fresh produce. Among our favorites are beautiful multi-colored tomatoes, not only gorgeous to behold but luscious to enjoy.

Likewise our herb gardens continue to thrive producing sturdy plants of vibrant green flavorful offerings to enhance our food. Basil a favorite of so many has become the ingredient of choice along with a few other seasonings to combine with fresh buttermilk as a special dressing for lovely sliced tomatoes.

A winner with many of our sisters and special guests, why not give it a try?

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Garden-Fresh Basil Buttermilk Dressing
SERVINGS
1cup (4-6 servings)
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cup (4-6 servings)
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
5mins
READY IN
15mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Whisk buttermilk and mayonnaise in a bowl
  2. Transfer to a blender and add garlic, onion salt, and scallions. Blend until the scallions resemble finely minced pieces
  3. Add chopped basil and blend a few seconds more to combine
  4. Transfer back to the bowl and refrigerate (covered) overnight to allow flavors to develop
  5. Serve drizzled over freshly sliced tomatoes and enjoy!

Blackberry Balsamic Salad with Crispy Fried Goat Cheese​ and Grilled Chicken​

We continue to enjoy the harvest from our gardens over these summer months. This week we had an abundance of beautiful lettuce, so we expanded our repertoire and tried out some new combinations for our guests at Bethany. The crisp, salty, creaminess of the fried goat cheese paired with the sweet and pungent combination of the blackberry balsamic vinaigrette is the key here. Summer is a wonderful time to experiment with all sorts of combinations in a salad. “The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter’s pallet can duplicate nature’s artistry.” Have fun creating, eating, sharing, and enjoying nature’s storehouse!

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Blackberry Balsamic Salad with Crispy Fried Goat Cheese​ and Grilled Chicken​
SERVINGS
4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
10 mins(30 mins marinate)
READY IN
30 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  1. Mix everything well​ in the blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.​
Fried Goat Cheese
  1. ​Dredge the goat cheese slices/balls in the flour
  2. Dip in the beaten egg
  3. Dip in panko
  4. Fry in oil over medium heat until lightly golden brown before setting aside on paper towels to drain.
Salad
  1. Marinate the chicken in half of the vinaigrette for 30 minutes to over night before grilling over medium-high heat until​ golden and cooked through, about 2-5 minutes per side​. Set aside to cool and slice.
  2. Assemble the salad and enjoy!

Note: Best enjoyed while the fried goat cheese is still warm from frying!

Blueberry, Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

“​​When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the Angels eat.” —Mark Twain

​Have you ever wondered how to pick that perfect watermelon? Well, I have! Faced with a bin of green striped beauties, I never quite​ know​ where to start. ​L​et me share some tips with you that I recently discovered​, and then​ go and​make this delicious ​and refreshing ​Watermelon, ​Mint, ​Blueberry and Feta Salad​ — a great side dish for a hot summer day.

1. When viewing watermelons, the first thing that sticks out are those weird white spots. However, these spots​,​ called field spots​, are quite natural. The field spot is the area where the watermelon rested on the ground. While every watermelon has a field spot, the best watermelons have creamy-yellow or even orange-yellow spots. Go for the gold.

2. The webbing of a watermelon indicates the amount of times that bees touched the flower. The more pollination, the sweeter the watermelon is.

3. Watermelons have genders. The “girl” watermelons are more round and stout​ — these​are the sweeter ones. The male are oblong and tend to be more watery.

4. The ​best watermelons are average-sized. Don’t go for too small or too big, but just right.

5. The tail of a watermelon indicates its ripeness. Go for the watermelons that have dried tails for the best taste.​

​6. ​Tap the underbelly of the watermelon. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound. Under-ripe or over-ripe melons will sound dull.​

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Blueberry, Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad
SERVINGS
8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
20mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and diced red onion.
  2. Add the diced watermelon, blueberries, mint and feta cheese to bowl. Gently toss to coat.​ Serve immediately.

Spring Citrus Mint Vinaigrette

Now that the warmer weather is definitely here, most people are wanting lighter meals and a menu that includes more salads. With this in mind we wanted to come up with a light “Warmer Weather” salad dressing. This was a first attempt that most of us felt succeeded at doing just that.

First we chose a light olive oil and a mild rice vinegar as our base. To this we added a touch of spring from our herb garden by blending in a bit of fresh mint and several tender young green scallions. Into this, a little onion salt, some frozen orange juice concentrate, and just a hint of lemon zest gave our mixture just the right touch of brightness we were hoping for.

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Spring Citrus Mint Vinaigrette
SERVINGS
1.5cups
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cups
COOK TIME
PREP TIME
5minutes
READY IN
5minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients together. Toss with your favorite salad greens and veggies.

Tuscan Tortellini Salad

Once we opened Villa Via Sacra, our mission house in Barga Italy, it
took no time for warm friendships to spring up between our Community
family and the locals. Their interest in Gregorian chant resulted in
weekly gatherings at the villa where, over foaming mugs of Cappuccino
and crunchy biscotti, together we studied studied Latin neums and
learned how to sing authentic Gregorian chant. In return the local
women invited the sisters into their kitchens where they
generously shared their own secrets to preparing authentic Tuscan
food.

Since then our menus at the Convent, Bethany retreat house and
Paraclete retreat house definitely reflect our close association
with the life in Barga. This summery salad, although it involves
little cooking, incorporates many of the typical Tuscan flavors and is generously flavored with many of the seasonings regularly used there.

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Rating: 2.8
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Tuscan Tortellini Salad
SERVINGS
6People
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
People
COOK TIME
10-11minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
20-21 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large serving bowl.
  2. Make dressing: Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  3. To bowl, add prosciutto, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and dressing and toss until well combined.
  4. Garnish with Parmesan.

 

 

Salad Bar!

Who doesn’t want to sit down to a fresh, colorful and crispy salad topped with your favorite dressing?  The simplicity, the beauty, the different textures all combine to make this lunch time treat such a pleasing and healthy option.

Recently we served this for a retreat, and it received such rave reviews that we thought we’d share our salad bar ideas with you.  We haven’t included amounts, because you can make as little or as much as you want.  As a guide, people would probably want to plan on 1 Tbsp. of toppings per person.   It’s also the perfect “to go” meal – just prep all the toppings, throw them in zip-lock bags or containers and then dish up before serving.

We hope you enjoy some of these ideas as much as we do.

Salad Bar Suggestions:

Lettuce – a blend of iceberg, romaine, bibb and red leaf is nice

diced ham
diced turkey or chicken
hard boiled eggs
cheese – Havarti, swiss, cheddar – all recommended
crumbled gorgonzola
tomatoes, wedged or grape or cherry tomatoes
roasted beets, julienned
avocado
cucumber
celery
olives
grated carrot
broccoli and/or cauliflower flowerets
peas
chopped scallions
sliced red onion
colored peppers
garbanzo beans
cooked lentils
diced cooked bacon
cooked quinoa
sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
chia seeds
toasted nuts – such as walnuts or pecans
croutons

An Assortment of Homemade Dressings – click on the link for the recipes

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
English Garden Salad Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Salad Bar!
SERVINGS
However much you want
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
However much you want
COOK TIME
0
PREP TIME
1 hour (or less)
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing
  1. Makes 1 cup (250ml), about four servings If you can’t get buttermilk, mix one part milk (whole or lowfat) with one part plain yogurt (regular or lowfat) to approximate the taste. Any kind of blue cheese, domestic or imported, should work well.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the blue cheese with the salt and pepper with the back of a fork until the pieces of cheese are finely broken up.
  3. Stir in the chives, sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice or wine vinegar until well mixed.
  4. Add a few drops of red wine vinegar. Taste, and adjust any of the seasonings to your liking and if the dressing too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. *Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
  1. Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.
English Garden Salad Dressing
  1. Combine all but the oils in a bowl and whisk. Slowly whisk in the oils to combine.
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a glass jar with a lid.
  2. Replace lid on the jar and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined.