Posts tagged #salad

Lekker: Charred Romaine & Shrimp Salad

Ey yo! Welcome back. First things first:


So now that I've properly explained why I've been a bit MIA, I have a recipe for you!

I made this Charred Romaine & Shrimp Salad yesterday for my Sunday evening dinner because up here in New York for the summer, Sunday ALWAYS mean grilling--and lucky for me the person I'm currently tongue kissing is also a BOMB grillmaster, so I'm making good use of his talents.

I guess you could do this all on the stove in a hot cast iron skillet if you don't have a grill, but by all means give it a shot outside if you can. Nothing says summer like throwing EVERYTHING YOU OWN onto the grill, basically.

If you haven't already been charring your Romaine lettuce now's the time to give it a try (I am sorry, I know I sound like a pretentious food snob when I say that but OMFG you must must try it), but what really adds depth to this summery salad is cutting that richness with a few leaves of the fresh raw stuff to give it some crunch.

Feel free to omit the tomatoes if you want; I just think it's sacrilege to not include them in a summer salad for all their juiciness and gorgeous colour when they're in season. Oh, and the extra brilliant part of this salad is that you don't even need up whip up a separate dressing: the olive oil and lemon juice takes care of that in beautiful simplicity. 

Here we go punks!

P.S. That drink's one of my clean summer faves: muddled fresh mint leaves and peeled cucumber chunks topped with ice, vodka, and Poland Spring lemon-lime seltzer. Refreshing, low-cal, and the perfectly clean accompaniment for a rich salad!

P.S. That drink's one of my clean summer faves: muddled fresh mint leaves and peeled cucumber chunks topped with ice, vodka, and Poland Spring lemon-lime seltzer. Refreshing, low-cal, and the perfectly clean accompaniment for a rich salad!

serves 2

3 whole small-to-medium sized Romaine hearts
24 small-to-medium sized cleaned raw shrimp, tails left on, threaded onto wooden skewers (I was able to find these at my supermarket already assembled for only $2 a skewer)
2 ears of corn, shucked and wiped of silk
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 large tomato, diced (optional, I GUESS)
6 slices bacon, more if you are a needlessly indulgent sod
2 fresh lemons
Olive oil for brushing
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat your grill to medium heat. Lightly oil the ears of corn and season with salt and pepper. Toss those two on the grill over the area of highest/most direct heat to get a good char on them. Now's the time to add your bacon strips directly onto the grill as well, to cook to your desired level of crispiness.

2. While that shit gets going gently brush your shrimp with olive oil on each side so they don't stick to the grill, and then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over them and season with S & P. Grill for about 2 minutes a side or until light pink and cooked throughout.

3. While your shrimp are grilling, slice 2 of the 3 Romaine hearts in half lengthwise straight down the middle, making sure to keep the end bulb intact. Trim off any browned edges and gently dust off any visible dirt or grit. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and season with S & P. These we'll grill. If the tiny inner leaves are having trouble staying put use a toothpick to stab it all together, because when all else fails be violent in the kitchen. Wash and chop about 6 leaves of the third head--this will be your raw component.

4. Once your shrimp are removed from the grill, crank it up to high heat and add the Romaine lettuce heads cut side down. Grill over high heat for about 2-3 minutes or until you've got a nice char and the leaves have slightly wilted. Remove from heat.

4. Roughly chop the charred Romaine and toss with the raw chopped leaves, avocado, tomatoes, whole shrimp, diced bacon, and roasted corn kernels you've sheared from the cob. Squeeze the juice of the other lemon over the whole thing and call it a day--the olive oil you've used to grill half the ingredients will mingle with the lemon juice to create a simple dressing that lets the other seasonal ingredients shine. Buon appetito!

Follow us on Instagram at @tigrita_thelittletiger for more food pics and general frivolity, and on Twitter at @LekkerLiquor.

Posted on July 28, 2015 and filed under Lekker.

Lekker: Quinoa Tabbouleh

No, I didn't sneeze. It's food, I promise.

TABBOULEH! Know it? It's a Middle Eastern grain salad that's been around for eons upon ages, and typically it's not one of my favourite foods. Nothing against Middle Eastern food, of course--in fact I love it--but tabbouleh usually has a consistency that is not very pleasing to my tongue. With this recipe so chock full of fresh veggies and salty goodness, though, we've got zero problems.

And yes yes I know. Quinoa (KEEN-wah, if you haven't heard the yuppies talking about it as the next big health craze for the last 5 years) is not the traditional grain to use in tabbouleh. TOO BAD; that's what I had in my fridge and I like it better than bulgur anyway because it's got more protein per serving: 8 grams per cooked cup versus bulgur's 6. This is also an excellent swap if you're gluten-free since quinoa is technically a seed, not a wheat product.

I am *also* aware that traditional tabbouleh does not contain carrots, olives, or feta cheese, but if you're going to say no to those types of things I'm not sure I want to be friends with you anyway.

So, onwards we go to this strangely addictive light vegetarian lunch or dinner option (oooorrrr just add some grilled chicken to blow that whole vegetarian thing out of the water)!

This is the only time grain salads look pretty. Not pictured: olives and feta cheese.

serves two as a full salad for lunch or dinner; add grilled chicken if you want it a bit more filling

1 1/2-2 cups cooked quinoa (I used tri-colour since that's what I had)
2 Persian cucumbers, diced small (Persian cukes are the little wee ones packaged in a tray and covered with plastic wrap; I like them because they're super crunchy with minimal seeds but feel free to use an English hothouse cucumber--the super long ones wrapped in cling wrap--as well. Regular cucumbers don't have the kind of crunch you want here.)
1 large beefsteak tomato or 2-3 smaller Roma tomatoes, diced
2 scallions, finely diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
~1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped (Why are you bothering to measure a salad? Just take a "1/3 cup" to mean "a handful.")
~1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or however much you want; I never let people tell me how much cheese I should or should not be eating dammit)
8-10 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped (Don't cheap out and use dried herbs! In this salad it's a total loss.)
8-10 leaves fresh Italian flat parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
Juice of 1 small lemon, pulp and seeds strained out
~1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked quinoa, diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, scallions, carrots, olives, cheese, mint, and parsley. Then in a separate small bowl whisk up the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined to become your dressing.

2. Toss the salad with your dressing (add a bit more olive oil if it looks too dry), and leave it to chill out in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

As I said, this dish is actually super addictive. I wasn’t a huge fan of it the first time I ate it, but after it sat in the fridge for an hour I had another serving, and the more I ate it the more I wanted to eat more of it until I was essentially just shoveling it into my piehole, grains and parsley leaves flying everywhere. I are sexy.

Buon appetito!

Posted on June 20, 2015 and filed under Lekker.

Lekker: Warm Roasted Kale, Broccolini & Chickpea Salad with Burrata

Hello hello! Last night I got back into the kitchen after almost a month away from recipe testing and let me tell you, it is SO GOOD FOR MY SOUL. There is absolutely no doubt that this is my passion in life. Cooking brings me so much joy, relaxes me, challenges me, and is the best never-ending entertainment. How fortunate that I picked a passion that is so easily practiced!

On to dinner, then. Everyone in the food world is "over" kale now, though whether it's because it's become too mainstream (cue my "snobby hipster bullshit" alarm) or just because we all got over-saturated with it for awhile I can't be sure.

Personally I can't be bothered with trends (I am still wearing distressed denim and ask me if I care) so *I* still love roasted kale like mad, and since the broccolini was looking so utterly bright green and wonderful in the shop I decided to toss this salad together. It takes about 10 minutes, tops, and manages to be warm, filling, crunchy and creamy all at the same time.

serves 2



  • 1 bunch fresh kale torn into large pieces (It looked so hardy and good in the store that I decided to work with whole fresh leaves instead of using the usual pre-washed bagged stuff as I usually do. I think this helped control some of the possible bitterness in kale, and come on, it's not hard to rinse the leaves and tear them into large pieces. Remember that kale, like spinach, cooks down tremendously so err on the side of more rather than less when estimating raw kale.)
  • 8 ounces (about one small bunch) broccolini (If you don't know, broccolini is like baby broccoli. It has longer, more tender stems and larger buds on the "tree tops." I prefer it over regular broccoli for roasting, hands down.)
  • 1 tin chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans, same thing) rinsed and drained
  • salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes or chili powder, to taste (I used about a teaspoon of chili powder)
  • olive oil for roasting
  • juice of about 1 lemon
  • 4 ounces burrata cheese, roughly sliced (Burrata is a type of mozzarella, but instead of being simply a solid ball of mozzarella it's got this delicious creamy center. It's oozy and rich and melts ever-so-slightly on top of the salad to give you the "necessary" richness for such a *healthy* salad!)



1. Heat your broiler on high. In a large bowl, toss together the broccolini, torn kale, chickpeas, salt, pepper, and either red pepper flakes or chili powder with a bit of olive oil until just coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet (you might need to use two; don't crowd the pan too much otherwise things won't roast properly) and broil for 6 minutes, tossing once at the 3 minute mark.

Like dis.

2. It'll be done when the kale is just turning brown in spots and the broccolini is bright green. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over all and top with the sliced burrata. Serve warm.

Lekker: Arugula Salad with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette

Break out of your boring Romaine-and-spring-greens lettuce rut and try my current favourite green: arugula. Well, "rocket" or "rucola", as I know it, but evidently few Americans know which end is up when you're talking about a delicious rocket salad. Hmph.

I first discovered this green when I was in Germany back in 2008. There it's treated much like spinach, so you can find it everywhere from raw salads to ravioli filling. It has a unique peppery flavour that gives it more of a kick than other more traditional greens, and a neat leaf shape. Arugula can't handle heavy, creamy dressings and should only ever be very LIGHTLY dressed--no need to drown it like your sorrows, mmkay? It's popular enough you can find it everywhere now, so give this pretty salad a try the next time you're feeling healthy, or need to detox from St. Paddy's Day weekend (hint hint). While it appears simple on the surface (and really, it is) this awesome orange muscat champagne vinegar I found at Trader Joe's makes a special vinaigrette that'll elevate your pile of greens to something extraordinary.


Fresh! Bright! Healthy goodness!

Arugula Salad with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette
serves 1

What You Need
A large handful of fresh baby arugula
A small handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I used mixed mini heirloom tomatoes for colour variety)
A sprinkling of fresh goat cheese (chevre) o'er top (Goat cheese is the perfect accompaniment to this salad by giving a nice dose of creamy richness without overpowering the greens.) 
A very small handful of fresh walnuts, chopped

For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (I know, I'm being a brat by calling for something so specific. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, try finding a similar citrus-and-champagne vinegar at a Wegman's, Publix, or Whole Foods. It's a fun change up from your usual balsamic blahness.)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Salt & Pepper, just to taste

What You Do

1. Salads are easy. It's not actually MAKING anything, it's just assembling a bunch of stuff. Toss everything in your bowl, and in another small bowl whisk up the vinaigrette with a fork. Dress lightly, and chow down. Feel good about yourself. Also feel a little bit like a bunny rabbit while you're eating it. It's okay. Bunnies are cute and so are you.

Lekker: Shrimp & Avocado Salad

I try to be pretty picky about the kinds of recipes I put up on the blog--I cook a LOT, and they aren't all winners. That's why everything I put up here is something I would make again and share with others, but this...this I could eat every day for a month and never complain.

As with most things in life, sometimes the best things are the SIMPLEST things! This Shrimp & Avocado salad is totally brainless, but so refreshing, so light, so delicious, and so applicable. I've eaten shamelessly devoured it by itself, on toasted baguette as an appetizer, on top of crunchy romaine lettuce as an even fuller salad, and even sprinkled with Parmesan in a grilled sandwich. ALL GOOD THINGS. And since I've decided that I am 17 shades of DONE with winter and forcibly moving ahead to summer (if my "bikini body" could get the memo that'd be great), it's extra perfect.

Maybe not the most pristine, photogenic salad in the world, but who cares.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad
usually serves 2 if tossed on top of some chopped romaine lettuce

What You Need
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail-off and cooked (These particular ones I found at Trader Joe's and all I had to do was run them under some cold water to thaw for 5 minutes and they were DELICIOUS.)
1 avocado, diced
1 large tomato-on-the-vine, or 2 Roma tomatoes, or a large handful of cherry tomatoes, or whatever, diced
1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber (this wound up being about 1/3 of a large English cucumber)
1 green spring onion, chopped

~2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (no stems)
~1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
~1/2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (or bottled I guess, but use sparingly since it's often stronger)
2-3 dashes chili powder
S & P, to taste

What You Do
1. Um...toss everything together? Stir really well to combine (the avocado will break down a bit and create a lovely creamy dressing with the EVOO and the lemon juice, but add more if you want to) and let it hang out in the fridge for about 10 minutes so the flavours marry, and...enjoy!
Posted on February 20, 2014 .

Lekker: Summer Shrimp & Corn Salad

Dear. God. Blogger was giving me such shit last night. I meant to write this yesterday evening whilst I was leisurely enjoying a glass of good-for-me red wine (to celebrate some good news I received about my health, lulz) but no, Google was not having it. Damn you Google and your salad sabotaging ways!

Anyhoodles, the salad I'm blogging about today is hands down my very very favourite salad for summer time. I think I've eaten it about a dozen times since June and each time I make it there's like 4 servings in it, so...yeah. It has never photographed prettily so this is the best I could do, but there is so much yumminess in this bad boy there's no one who will say no. AND I CAN ALREADY SEE YOU BOYS GOING TO X OUT OF THIS BLOG BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT A SALAD. You can just calm right down because I have fed this to meat-eating cavemen multiple times and they all loved it (hello, it includes bacon) despite the lack of bloody steak.

I'm going to write this recipe the easy way, the way I do it on weeknights. There is a blurb at the bottom about how to complicate your life, if you're into that kind of thing.

All dah pretty colors. Plus there's a ton of green all underneath that.

Summer Shrimp & Corn Salad
makes 3-4 good sized servings; I am a pig and keep this whole thing to myself and get four bowls worth' out of it. It'll keep for one night and one night only in the fridge if you DO NOT dress it.

What You Need
1 bag of chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 a large cucumber (I like the English ones, not because I'm a racist against the other cukes but these are just...better...) peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 large tomato (I prefer on-the-vine but you could even use cherry tomatoes chopped in half or Roma or whatever, just get a nice big ol' handful of tomato in there)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled (less if you like less, or leave it out if you don't like cheese, whatever)
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (if you really want to make your life simple, buy the precooked bacon and just zap it in the micro for 30 seconds to bring it to room temp)
1/2 a pound of shrimp (Note: I always buy the frozen, peeled, deveined & de-tailed shrimp because I am lazy. I'm writing the recipe as if you're doing that too. But if you are even lazier than me, buy the already-cooked shrimp or whatever the deli/fish section of your grocery store has prepared to save yourself a step)
1 cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed

What You Do
1. In a large bowl, throw in your lettuce, cucumber, tomato, avocado and feta cheese which you have all already lovingly washed and diced up into salad sized pieces. Cook your bacon in the microwave (if you didn't buy the precooked stuff) until it's to your desired crispiness, blot off the grease really really well with a paper towel, chop that up and throw it in.

2. If you didn't buy the pre-cooked shrimp, now's the time to sauté off your thawed shrimp in a pan on the stove. I use a cast iron skillet and a teensy bit of butter over medium-high heat until the shrimp are pink throughout. Season with pepper to taste. When they're done, you can cut each shrimp in half if you want (I usually do that to get them more interspersed throughout the salad but forgot in the photo above) and add those to your salad.

3. In the same pan that's still hot with a bit of grease left in it from the shrimp, toss in the corn and crank up the heat to high, stirring often to toast it. You don't haaaaaaaave to do this step but I find it brings out a little bit more of the ....corn?...flavour. Throw that in the salad bowl and you're done!

Oh, right, dressing. So, don't dress this salad if you're not going to finish it that night because it gets all soggy and gross in the fridge. But, the dressing I always make is a very simple vinaigrette with about 1/3 cup of olive oil and 2 T lemon juice with salt and pepper added to taste. Whisk it up with a fork, taste it, and adjust as necessary. 

A CAVEAT TO ALL OF THE ABOVE: I rarely use measurements when I cook. In fact, I just about made up every single measurement you see above from memory and from what I usually use. This is a salad, I don't give a flying fart in space if you want to use 8 slices of bacon instead of 6 or if you want to use the whole cucumber; just do what you like! It's your life! It's just dinner! I just put what *I* usually do because these are the proportions that *I* like.

So, that's how I usually make that salad. There *IS* a way to elevate this to supreme baller status, and it is excellent, but more work. Namely, you can grill the shrimp (instead of just pan frying them) which adds the most gorgeous colour, flavour and "summeryness". You can also grill fresh corn on the cob, OR, dry roast some fresh raw kernels in a cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat, stirring often, until they blacken and brown in spots. That's amazing too. I just can't be bothered to go tracking down fresh corn on the cob on a Tuesday night to do all that, and I can't grill for shit so that's out too. 

I suggest you enjoy this with one of the aforementioned boneheaded meat lovers so you can crow gleefully once they admit how yummy this salad actually is. A nice white wine (I like Monkey Bay's Sauvignon Blanc) pairs well for crowing, I find.

Posted on September 11, 2013 .

Lekker: Crispity Crunchity Cuke Salad

This isn't a "real" recipe. This is just one of my favourite salads of all time, one I grew up with and learned at my Mom's elbow and was inspired to eat for dinner last night as a way to get more of my delicious homemade feta cheese into my mouth (recipe coming soon).

I was looking forward to this salad all day; it's so crunchy and refreshing and light and just what I wanted after a cathartic run. Also I'm single and busy, so make no mistake I'm not making full fancy meals for myself every night. I grabbed an English cucumber from Trader's Joes and my currently-preferred olive oil (100% cold pressed, 100% organic from Spain and only $5.99 at TJ's) on my way home from work, thinking I'd use the gorgeous vine-ripened tomatoes I'd pick up from the store only a couple of days ago. WRONG! They were, already, a rotten soggy mouldy mess. I don't deal with disappointment well, so I had a beer. Then, PING! I thought to check out in the garden. My housemate TB had told me that our current tomato cycle was over, but I wandered out there anyway and I found more than enough gorgeous, bright red, PERFECT Roma tomatoes waiting to go into my salad.

I know I'm lucky. Not everyone has these luxuries and I'm well aware of my fortune in TB.

Crispity Crunchity Cuke Salad
makes 1 large salad for a really hungry chick

What You Need
1 English cucumber, peeled (it's the long slim one in the plastic wrap in the grocery store; I like it because I think it's crunchier than the traditional cucumbers, but obviously use whatever you like, this is not Nazi Cucumber)
a handful of Roma tomatoes or any other kind you like, in proportion to the amount of cucumber
feta cheese, same in proportion
olive oil
lemon juice (fresh squeezed or bottled, whatever you have)

What You Do
It's a salad with like 3 ingredients, how complicated do you think this is? Dice up the cucumber and tomatoes into cute little bite sized pieces. Toss it with enough crumbled feta cheese until you're satisfied. Dress it lightly with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and stick it in the fridge to marinate for 15 minutes while you drink another beer and pat yourself on the back for making a salad. Nom.

Sometimes, GOOD doesn't have to mean complicated.

You can see I added some diced kalamata olives here because I wanted more salinity since my cheese was much milder than I'm used to. If you're using store-bought feta cheese I would leave the olives out, because that's a LOT of salt, and bloat works for no one.