Gyro tostada

Gyro tostada

I had a gyro recently. A tasty, different sort of sandwich. This got me thinking about making a gyro salad or frittata. I decided on a tostada. For the beans, given the Greek origin, I thought of garbanzo beans or chickpeas. But rather than hummus, which I had on my Greek tostada, I decided on the fresher alternative of simple chopped-up beans with a little bit of seasoning.

I found gyro meat at Trader Joe’s. It comes in a package with enough slices for 2 sandwiches, and I used a little less than half. It is possible to make it yourself, but I wouldn’t have gone to that much effort had I not been able to get it ready made.

For topping the tostada, tomatoes are usually included in gyros. Tatziki is another ingredient for gyros. I followed the approach I took with the Greek frittata. I put cucumbers on the frittata and then made a tatziki-like dressing by mixing yogurt with a lemon vinaigrette.

Gyro tostada

garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt
fresh ground pepper

baby spinach, chopped
gyro slices
tomatoes, small cubes
cucumber, small cubes
red onion, thinly sliced

2 corn tortillas.
oil

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
fresh ground pepper

Rinse garbanzo beans. Put the beans, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper into food processor and process very briefly to just chop up the beans.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Wipe out the pan. Put the slices of gyro meat in a hot pan for about 20 seconds on each side. Cut into smaller pieces for the tostada.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the chopped garbanzo beans. Top with the spinach. Put the gyro meat, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion on the tostada. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill, and pepper. Add yogurt for desired consistency. Spoon the dressing over the top.

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Pasta salade Nicoise

Pasta salade Nicoise

I had some haricots verts left over. My first thought was to make a salade Nicoise. And then I thought, how about trying something a little different, a pasta salade Nicoise?

Along with the pasta and haricots verts, I could iinclude the tomatoes and Kalamata olives from the salade Nicoise. Mix the tuna in and the taste of the tuna would overwhelm the other ingredients in the salad, so that should be served on the side. I also thought that serving the egg on the side would be best.

I tend to be fussy in choosing the pasta for my pasta salads. I think it’s important that it complements the other ingredients in the salad. Here, the haricots verts are very thin, so I thought it best to have a smaller pasta. I found the mini farfalla, which worked well.

With combinations like this, you know before making the salad that it will be good. But I was surprised by just how well the pasta salad complemented the tuna and egg. This really is a serious competitor to the traditional salade Nicoise.

Pasta salade Nicoise

1–1/2 cups haricots verts cut into 1 to 1–1/2-inch pieces
1 hard-cooked egg, sliced into quarters lengthwise

3/4 cup mini farfalla
10 grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
10 Kalamata olives cut in half lengthwise
yellowfin tuna in olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 clove (or 1 very small clove) garlic, pressed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon herbes de provence
fresh ground pepper

Sometime before serving the salad, bring water to the boil, put in the haricots verts, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender crisp. Drain and rinse with cold water to keep the color. Refrigerate. This would also be a good time to cook the egg.

When you are ready to make the salad, cook the mini farfalla following package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

Mix the pasta, haricots verts, tomatoes, and olives in a bowl. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Pour over the pasta salad and mix. Put on the plate and add the tuna and egg on the side.

Smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado salad

Smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado salad

The idea for this combination on a salad came from this frittata, which in turn came from different deli sandwiches. To me, smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado just go together.

I used sliced deli smoked turkey breast and kept the slices together as I cut it into pieces, giving chunks rather than lots of thin slices. I likewise did bite-sized chunks of cheese. The salad was topped with my standard vinaigrette.

Smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado salad

smoked turkey breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Havarti cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 avocado, sliced and cut into pieces
baby lettuce

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon herbes de provence
fresh ground pepper

Put the turkey, cheese, and avocado on the lettuce. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Spoon over the salad.

Kidney bean and egg tostada

Kidney bean and egg tostada

I can’t remember when or where I had the kidney bean, egg, and pickle relish salad. A long time ago. Perhaps it was a different-looking salad I picked out on a cafeteria line. In any event, beans are now suggesting tostada for me. So I’m making this bean salad as the base for this tostada.

The quantities for the kidney bean salad are more than you need for the tostada. But I didn’t know what else I would do with the remaining kidney beans and thought I could have the rest for lunch or dinner the next day.

Kidney bean and egg tostada

1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

romaine lettuce, chopped
roasted red pepper, cut into slices and small pieces
green olives, sliced
1 hard cooked egg, sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
fresh ground pepper

An hour or more in advance, mix the kidney beans, chopped eggs, mayonnaise, pickle relish, and onion. Put in refrigerator to chill.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the kidney bean salad. Put the romaine, roasted red pepper, and olives on top. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad. Add slices of the third hard cooked egg.

Asparagus chicken and penne salad

Asparagus, chicken, and penne salad

Here’s a light, refreshing pasta salad that still has enough substance to make it a meal. It is simple and easy to make and very flavorful.

The idea for this salad, like some of my other pasta salads, came from the deli section of the supermarket where I shopped back in Indiana. They had a large selection of interesting pasta salads which I looked over as I waited for meat to be sliced. I never actually bought any of the salads for a number of reasons: Most did not have meat or seafood, and I was interested in pasta salads as a main course. I’m sure their salads had too much salt. And if I made the salad myself, I could include more of the good stuff, as with this salad. More asparagus, less pasta.

I usually have clear preferences for the types of pasta to be used for each of my salads. The shrimp pasta salad needed the tri-color rotini to go with the colors of the shrimp, scallions, and green and red pepper. Farfalla seems to have the right shape to go with the pieces of romaine in the pasta Caesar salad. And for this salad, the shape of the pieces of asparagus absolutely requires the penne pasta.

Asparagus, chicken, and penne salad

1 cup cooked chicken breast in bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup penne pasta
1–1/2 cups asparagus, 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small or 1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 teaspoon herbes de Provence
fresh ground pepper

freshly grated Parmesan

Some time before serving, cook the pasta following package directions. Drain and rinse.

Put the asparagus into boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and keep green color.

Put pasta, asparagus, and chicken in a bowl and chill.

When ready to serve, whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. Pour over salad and mix. Put the salad on the serving plate and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

Green and red pepper and bacon frittata

Green pepper, roasted red pepper, and bacon frittata

This frittata was conceived as a juxtaposition of textures and flavors. The softness of the roasted red pepper contrasts with the crunchiness of the green bell pepper while the crisp bacon adds another aspect. Likewise, the mild red pepper, the stronger green pepper, and the smoky bacon offer very different flavors.

A note on the preparation. I briefly cooked the green pepper in the bacon fat for just 30 seconds. The idea was not to actually cook the pepper–I didn’t want to lose the crispness and dark green color. Instead, the purpose was to just take the edge off the grassy, mildly bitter flavor of green bell peppers. I think this worked.

Green pepper, roasted red pepper, and bacon frittata

4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup green bell pepper, sliced and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup roasted red pepper, sliced and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 eggs
vegetable oil

Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on a papper towel.

Keeping the bacon fat in the pan, while still hot, add the green bell pepper pieces and cook for just 30 seconds and remove from the pan.

Pour out the bacon fat and wipe out the pan. Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the peppers and bacon into the eggs. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Ham and cheese salad

Ham and cheese salad

A very simple salad that just sounded good.

Ham and cheese is a classic sandwich combination. So why not for a salad? And mustard is standard for the sandwich, so I did a vinaigrette heavy on the mustard.

Ham and cheese salad

romaine lettuce, chopped into smaller pieces
1/3–1/2 cup ham, cubes
1/3–1/2 cup medium cheddar, cubes
carrots, sliced
green bell pepper, cut-up strips

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1–1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper

Put the ham, cheese, and vegetables on the romaine. Whsk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and pepper. Spoon over the salad.