Growing Out On A Limb

Leave a comment

Quinoa l’Orange Salad

I first saw this in an Oxygen magazine but never snapped a pic and put it in my recipe collection here.  I seem to crave it so I’ve made it several times since.

It’s really simple to make, really clean, and fresh-tasting… it tastes like summer to me for some reason.  And of course quinoa is super healthy.  The picture doesn’t make it look like much but it’s definitely worth a try!


The original recipe is here (and below).  I usually just zest and juice an orange to get the juice and the rind called for in the recipe.


2 cups water

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 Tsp fresh grated orange rind

1/4 tsp sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add quinoa.  Return to a boil and simmer until water is absorbed, approximately 15 mins.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add tomatoes , celery, and parley to a bowl.  Mix together with quinoa.

Whisk together remaining ingredients to make the dressing.  Pour over salad and toss well to combine.



Leave a comment

Ultimate Potato Salad

I told Brian that I hope he likes this recipe because this is it… my potato salad recipe for the next 20 years.

I still love the classic potato salad that came with every pot luck I ever attended growing up (and there were many) – it is comfort food.  But this is a tangy, chunky take on that that definitely takes it up a notch.

I rarely have scallions but throw in fresh or frozen chives instead.  I often use dried herbs instead of fresh and bottled lemon juice instead of fresh… it just depends on what I have on hand.  I also changed the recipe slightly to include more potatoes (because it is really creamy) and more eggs (because they’re protein and I like them!).  It’s a pretty forgiving recipe.

Original recipe is here, from Tyler Florence.


2-2.5 pounds potatoes

3 or 4 large eggs


1/2 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced

2 Tbsp capers

2 cups mayo (I definitely recommend the Real mayo)

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup dill pickles, finely chopped

1/4 cup dill pickle juice

1/2 small red onion, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 bunch dill, chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

Freshly ground black pepper


Peel and boil the potatoes.  When cool, cut into rough chunks.

Hard boil the eggs.

Stir together the mayo, mustard, pickles, pickle juice, onion, scallions, capers, parsley, and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Peel the eggs, grate or chop, and add to the bowl.  Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the dressing.

Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil before serving (ok, I rarely remember to do this but I’ll note it here so I might remember one of these days!).


Leave a comment

Caprese Salad

This isn’t much of a recipe at all but one of our favorite flavor combinations in this house (at least for the adults)… caprese salad. 

Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, a splash of extra virgin olive oil… it doesn’t get any simpler or better than that. 

Of course this is good year round but it is smack-your-lips scrumptious when your tomatoes are fresh out of the garden.  Your basil should also be fresh (not dried) and your mozza the fresh packed-in-water kind.  I do believe italian children are told stories of italian gods whose only job is to smite anyone that uses kraft cheese on caprese salad – just don’t. 

Sometimes we splash a little balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes too but that’s a taste preference.  For every person who claims it isn’t a true caprese salad with the vinegar, there is probably another voting for it with the vinegar. 

Leave a comment

My summer crush – Greek Panzanella Salad

I have made this salad twice now (three times if you count the double batch as two).  It combines so many of my favorite things:  olives, feta, cucumbers, bread.  How could it be wrong? 

I will say this:  The intructions say to mix the bread with the salad and set aside for 30 mins and yes, this is absolutely necessary so the bread soaks up some of the dressing.  However, if you are like me and making this ahead to have in your lunch, I would plan to keep the bread separate and add it before each use.  Otherwise, the bread gets a little too soggy (for me). 

I will also note that I never put a full teaspoon of salt in the dressing but that is a matter of taste again. 


  • Good olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil



Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.

Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Original recipe from here:  Gotta love Barefoot Contessa!