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Salads for my friend, Debra

May 22, 2012

I spent a leisurely afternoon in the Adirondak chair on my front lawn, reading a new recipe book that my friend Kristin had recommended to me this spring.  I was contemplating getting in to the kitchen to whip something yummy up, but the lure of the sunshine was too great and I remained seated.

As I pondered some new dishes, I turned to thinking about a couple of friends of mine, now living in Guatemala.  Debra and I had previously worked together on her study of Spanish and became good friends over the years.  She is the one who inspired my version of “Hilachas Guatemaltecas”, her favorite dish of her adopted land.

Debra is a self-admitted novice in the kitchen, and after a pleasant gathering among friends last summer, her husband Earl asked if I would share a couple of my recipes with him.  Without hesitation, I wrote out the recipe to a pasta salad he had enjoyed as well as a recipe for a salad dressing which is just delicious and not at all over powering—both of these recipes would be great this time of year now that the summer heats are on the way, and farmer’s markets are back in town.

Gregory and I had been to a restaurant a few months prior to this party that I mention and they were serving a chicken salad sandwich “for adults”.  I thought to myself, “This would be great as a pasta salad too!”  So here is how I created the salad for the party.

Waldorf Pasta Salad


Chicken, chopped, about 1 cup

cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half (about 1 cup)

red grapes cut in half (about 1 cup)

apple chunks (1 large apple or two medium apples, peeled and chopped)

1 stick of celery, chopped

Pasta (about 1 cup)–any small pasta will do.  We like Bowtie pasta, so I use that.  Just cook up the pasta, run it under cold water to cool it off, drain, and stir in to the rest of the mix.

Add Ranch dressing to taste  (I like mine a bit more moist)

For the sandwich version, eliminate the pasta and use a little less dressing or substitute the Ranch for mayo.  Serve on good sour dough or other bread of your liking.

I also love a good salad dressing for greens, and our friend Lyn had asked me to make a dressing for the party.  Sometimes, I think that vinegar is too over powering for a salad, so I make a vinaigrette (which is at its base an acid and an oil) which uses lemon juice instead

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing


1 teaspoon of honey (I often make mine without the honey but I had some I was trying to use up)

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (don’t use a traditional American yellow mustard like French’s.  I tried that once to disastrous results)

juice from one lemon (I often use a bottled lemon juice instead of being bothered with a fresh one)

roughly the same amount of olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender (you could substitute the same amount of an Italian seasoning mix, or if you go to a spice store, pick up some Herbes de Provence which has lavender in it)

Shake well and serve

One Comment leave one →
  1. Carmencita permalink
    May 31, 2012 2:18 pm

    Oh my! I must try that salad dressing, the lavender sounds wonderful!

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