Greek Salad


A simple Greek Salad is another perfect side to the Goat Meatball Kabobs from last weeks post.   As is often the case these days, when I cook there are leftovers.  Rather than simply repeat the meal, I try to switch it up a bit  so I seems like we’re having something entirely different. This is where  today’s Greek Salad come in.  The flavors are light, bright and fresh against the rich meaty goodness of the Goat Meatball Kabobs.  If you don’t have any Goat Meatballs, it’s a great lunch on it’s own or a side salad with any grilled or roasted chicken, burger etc.

The recipe is one I had almost forgotten about from Phase One of our South Beach diet days.     It was so good that in those South Beach days I often took it to potlucks in the neighborhood or work and no one ever suspected it was “diet” food.   It’s also perfect for the season as it highlights the bounty of cucumbers and tomatoes coming from my garden.

If you don’t have the lettuce, the salad of just cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and feta with the lemon, olive oil and oregano vinaigrette is awesome as well.


Start by whisking the lemon juice, oregano and salt  and olive oil together in a small bowl. Hold back on the salt if your planning to add olives, pepperoncini or other salty ingredients. 


Add the thinly sliced onion and set aside.  This little soak will take the sharp edge from the onion and give the oregano some time to hydrate.


Tear and spin the lettuce.  A salad spinner is your best friend if you love crispy greens in you salads.


Peel and seed the cucumber.  If your using an English cucumber (those long skinny ones that come wrapped in plastic in the grocery store) you can skip the seeding step.   A spoon is the best tool for removing the watery, seedy center from “American” cucumbers.


Cut tomato or tomatoes into bite size pieces.  Even if you’re using a large tomato I don’t recommend removing the juice and seeds because that’s where most of that great tomato flavor resides.


Place the lettuce, cucumber, tomato and feta and any other optional ingredients you like in a large bowl.  Pour the vinaigrette over the top and give it a good toss.   


Lunch is on the table! 


After I sat down to enjoy this one I remembered that I had some leftover olive oil toasted ciabatta slices and added them to the mix as well to turn this one into Greek Panzanella

Greek Salad

by: M.B. Einerson

Adapted from The South Beach Diet Arthur Agatston, M.D. 2003

 Servings: 2 as a light lunch entrée or 4 as a side salad

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice (usually ½ of a medium to large lemon)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano (Turkish is best for this salad)
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt (optional if you’re cutting back on sodium-there is plenty in the feta)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion (1/4 of a medium onion)
  • 4 cups crisp salad greens (approx. 8 romaine leaves, torn into bite size pieces)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced (if your using an English cucumber you can skip the seeding part)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped or 1 ½ to 2 cherry or grape tomatoes halved ( I usually go high)
  • ½ cup (3 oz.) crumbled feta cheese (reduced fat if you want to keep the calories from fat low)
  • Garnish with Kalamata olives or Pepperoncini Peppers (optional)
  • If you want to make it a bit more filling as a lunch you can add cubes of French Bread or Ciabatta rubbed with a bit of olive oil and toasted and the salad becomes a Greek “Panzanella”

Whisk the oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt in a small bowl.  Add the sliced red onion and let it marinated while you prep the remaining ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumber, tomato and cheese.  Pour the dressing/onion mixture over the salad mixture and toss until coated.  Garnish with olives and/or pepperoncini if desired (just remember these will also add to the sodium level in the salad.

Kalí óreksi!


French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad


At long last my table is filling with the bounty of locally grown produce.  To celebrate I’m going to make  French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad.  The recipe comes from one of my favorite non-profit organizations Local Matters and stars green beans grown in my front yard along with new red potatoes and crispy romaine lettuce from my Great River Organics CSA market bag.

This post will give you a bit of an idea of a few of the things I enjoy besides cooking in my kitchen and writing for this blog, but rest assured they don’t fall far from the tree.

The first is as a volunteer for Local Matters (  This local non-profit does incredible things in the Columbus community and beyond to positively impact our food system and I’ve been volunteering with them for over 5 years now.  The first thing that got me hooked as a volunteer for them was the fact that they were going into pre-schools  and teaching kids and teachers about  recipes like this that came from various parts of the world.  So fun and rewarding to see food that didn’t come through a drive-through or from a box bring a smile and request for more!

In the time since I first started volunteering with them,  the number and types of programs Local Matters offers has grown dramatically. They literally reach from garden to table  and the impact they have on individual’s food choices and culinary skills among the myriad of other things is truly amazing.   My joy in volunteering for them however doesn’t stop at the important work they do.  It gives me the chance to work alongside  wonderful like-minded individuals such as their executive chef Laura Robertson-Boyd who first shared this recipe with me.

My other main ” volunteer”  gig is as a bag packer for Great River Organics CSA (http://www  Each week my husband and I get a first  peek at the goodies that will be delivered to a growing number of individuals in the Columbus area who choose to eat produce that  is locally and organically grown by a group of farmers that care about providing superior products, rewarding those in the time-honored profession of farming and respecting our environment.   In the literal sense we work for food because at the end of our shift we go home with some of the best produce to be found in Columbus.   Having grown up on a family farm where most of the food on our table came from our garden and pastures, I love the challenge/opportunity of creating great meals from the things that Great River Organics and I grow.   The other bonus of this gig, like my Local Matters work,  is that it allows me to work with yet another group of amazing people.  One of them is so amazing that she invited us to join a group of her friends on a cultural and culinary adventure to Italy last year.  I’ll save this story for another post(s)!

But back to the subject of this post.  This week I was able to harvest just enough green beans from my front-yard garden (I’m slowly but surely replacing things that are just ornamental with plants that either the bees and I enjoy) to go with the lovely new red potatoes and romaine lettuce from my Great River Organics bag.   Lunch just doesn’t get much better than this – at least until the vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn come along!

As with many great recipes, the list of ingredients is short which means that each one gets to shine and the quality is extra important.  So head to the farmers market or your garden and choose the freshest produce possible.  In my case I only have to step outside my front door for the beans.

New red skin potatoes get a medium dice, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. 
Then into a a 425° F oven or 400°F convection oven to roast until just tender and lightly browned.  They will tend to stick a bit to the foil, so use a gentle touch to stir/ flip them about half-way through the cook time.  Resist the temptation to eat them all as soon as they come from the oven.   
While the potatoes are roasting, blanch and shock the green beans.  Don’t forget to salt the blanching water and have your bowl of ice water ready for the shock.  I like to use a salad spinner as my shocking vessel because it allows me to drain the beans easily and give them a spin to remove the excess water.  Beans are ready for the plunge into ice water when they are bright green and tender to the bite.  
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Next the vinaigrette.  Today I’m using a country style Dijon because it’s what I have in the refrigerator.   My personal favorite brand is Maille, probably because I had the good fortune to visit Dijon many years ago and bring home a pot of fresh mustard.  So each time I use this mustard I’m reminded of the beauty and great food to be found in the French country side and the wonderful people I met there.
The process of making a vinaigrette is simple.  Whisk the mustard and vinegar together,  then  slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to whisk.   At end,  season with a little freshly ground black pepper.  
Finely mince a shallot (if you don’t have a shallot some onion will do) and sauté in a bit of olive oil until translucent.
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Toss in the green beans and potatoes and heat until just warm.  Add the fresh tarragon or parsley ( tarragon is definitely the classic flavor for this dish, but try as I might, it is just “not my favorite” so I substitute flat leaf parsley).   Add the vinaigrette and give it another toss to combine. 
Plate on a bed of sturdy lettuce and lunch is served.  
 Bon Appétit and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad

by: M.B. Einerson

Barely adapted from a Local Matters recipe by Chef Laura Robertson-Boyd, Executive Chef 

 Servings: 2 main course or 4 side dish

  • ¾  lb. of redskin potatoes, medium dice
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lb.  green beans, snapped into ½ inch pieces (haricot vert are classic for the dish but any fresh green bean will be fine)
  • 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small to medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves or flat leaf parsley (optional)


  • 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly grd. Black pepper
  • 4 cups Romaine or other sturdy lettuce, torn (optional but highly recommended )

Pre-heat oven to 425°F.   Toss diced potatoes with 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.  Spread in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until just tender and lightly browned.   Stir once, half-way through the cooking time.

Blanch green beans in salted boiling water until just tender and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  This is called blanch and shock.

In a bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Sauté the shallots in 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil in a skillet that will also hold the beans and potatoes.  When the shallots are translucent, add the cooked beans, roasted potatoes and a pinch of kosher salt.  Heat until just warm.  Add the fresh tarragon or parsley leaves.  Stir in the vinaigrette.  Serve warm or at room temperature on a bed of lettuce.

Bon Appétit

Aunt Mary’s (Grandma Alice’s) Potato Salad


For years this recipe has been in my Tried & Liked recipe file titled Aunt Mary’s Potato Salad.  It wasn’t until I asked permission to use it in this post that I learned that it was actually my mother-in-law’s recipe.  Where she got it will likely go unrecorded, perhaps it was once on the back of a Miracle Whip jar.   What I do know for sure is,  that for my money this is the quintessential American potato salad.  I have many potato salad recipes in my files and while many of them are very good, this is the one I always go back to for picnics, potlucks and when I’m simply craving potato salad.  So on this Memorial Day out came this classic recipe once again.  Thank you Grandma Alice!

Now in the last few years I’ve lightened it up a bit by switching out some of the Miracle Whip for low-fat cultured buttermilk.  I don’t think Alice would disapprove however as she is the daughter of a Land O’ Lakes butter maker and buttermilk Is an ingredient  she loves.  She and her son have been known to drink it by the class full.

I’ve also traded the sweet paprika garnish for the more flavorful smoked Spanish variety.   Other than that it’s the same recipe I’ve been making for going on 30 years.

OK so early on I tried to mess with it.   Our home is one of those split into the Salad Dressing camp and the Mayo camp.  I’m definitely on the Mayo side of the fence in everything but this recipe.  So,  if you are a mayo person as well,  let me save you some trouble-just use the Miracle Whip.  I also tried to get fancy and use Dijon mustard-again great stuff but not in this one, trust me.

The ingredients are mostly pantry/refrigerator staples.


Start by hard boiling the eggs – I always make a few extra for the munchiers in my family.  While I’m making potato salad I usually stir up some tuna salad as well.  Yes ,there are many ways of properly hard boiling eggs-my favorite is the egg timer.  It turns out perfectly cooked eggs every time (just as long as you keep don’t try to do too much multi-tasking and keep an eye on it).  Also note that older eggs are easier to peel than super fresh ones.


 Next start cooking the potatoes.  For potato salad you need a waxy potato that will hold it’s shape when cubed.  I like red-skinned, but Yukon Gold’s work well also.  They are a bit less waxy than red skinned potatoes but have an excellent flavor.

The important cooking technique is to start them in cold water.  If you put potatoes into hot or boiling water, the outside will turn to mush before the inside is cooked.  Add the salt either at the beginning or after the water comes to a boil.


The eggs are done when the “timer” turns completely dark-so you do have to keep a watchful eye on it.


Immediately pour off the hot water and add cold water from the tap until the eggs are cool to the touch (the egg timer will help you out here as well).  Then peel the eggs by tapping them against the side of the pot under water.  The water going into the shell will aid you in achieving a beautiful smooth egg.


The potatoes are done when you can easily slide a sharp knife into the center with little resistance.


Pour the potatoes into a colander and cool under cold running water. 


While the potatoes are cooling you can start to chop the veggies.  The size of the dice is up to you.  Some people like the celery in bigger chunks so it is easier to pick out!  I usually slice the stalk in half lengthwise and then cut into pieces about 1/4 inch wide.


Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cube into bite size chunks.  The original recipe calls for peeling them as well, but I like the flavor, fiber and ease of leaving the peeling on.


The original recipe also says the onions are optional, but I almost always add green onions/scallions.  The relish for this one is sweet (I’ve tried to use dill because I love it in other dishes, but it doesn’t work in this one).


Gently mix the celery, onion and relish with the potatoes.


Mix the Miracle Whip, Buttermilk (optional), Yellow Mustard, Salt and Pepper.  


Pour the “dressing” over the potato mixture and add the sliced or chopped eggs.  Yep, I love gadgets that work and like my egg timer an egg slicer does a fine job here.  I leave the slices whole and let them break up as I stir them in.  Don’t forget to save one or two for the garnish.


The dill in my “garden” is going great guns at the moment so I’ve added a bit of that for a bit of fresh flavor.  


Like the dill,  my chives are also in abundance so instead of parsley (which the bunnies and chipmunks have lunched upon) they become the extra bit of green on top to contrast the red of the paprika.


Coming soon –  Brisket a great side to the potato salad!


Thanks again Grandma Alice for sharing this one.


Aunt Mary’s (Grandma Alice’s) Potato Salad

by: M.B. Einerson

 Adapted from the original by Alice Einerson and perhaps her mother before her!

 Servings: 6 to 8 large

  • 7-8 medium red skinned potatoes
  • 2 tsp. salt for cooking potatoes
  • 5-6 hard boiled eggs, sliced or chopped
  • Onion, finely chopped – yellow or green-optional (not – it always goes in mine)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped as you like it – some would consider this ingredient optional!
  • ½ cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 ½ cups Miracle Whip – in recent years I’ve started to go with a 50/50 blend of Miracle Whip and cultured Low fat buttermilk but no substitutes for the Miracle Whip!
  • 2 Tbsp. Yellow prepared mustard
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill, chopped (optional)
  • Fresh chives or parsley, minced or snipped
  • Sweet or Smoked Paprika

Place potatoes in a pot large enough to hold potatoes and cover with an inch or so of cold water.  Add 2 tsp salt and bring to a boil.  Boil 30-35 minutes until just tender.  You can check by poking a paring knife into the potato.  If it goes to the center with just a little resistance, they are done.  Pour the potatoes into a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking.  To peel or not to peel?  The original recipe specifies peeling, but I like the flavor, fiber and other nutrients that come from the peel, so I save a bit of work and leave it on.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cube into the size you prefer.  I leave it on the chunky side because that’s the way I like it.

Add the onion, celery and pickle relish and mix gently.

Combine the Miracle Whip, (buttermilk if you’re using it), mustard, salt, dill and pepper.  Pour over the potatoes.  Add the eggs, reserving some for garnish.  Mix gently.  Garnish with additional dill, chives or parsley, paprika and reserved eggs.