Thursday, May 5, 2011


Maybe it’s the weather or lack of time that makes it difficult to cook a complete meal.  In both cases, salads are a natural, allowing quick assembly and colorful presentation.  Often the cooking process is little more than boiling some water for pasta, grain or blanching a vegetable.  To satisfy the appetite and for delicious versatility, bulk salads up with fresh vegetables, fruits, flavorful cheeses or a handful of nuts.  This tasty salad, plus three combinations below, is simple to prepare and easy on the budget, too.


6-1/2 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts with liquid     
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 rounded tablespoon country-style mustard
1/3 cup chopped marinated sun dried tomatoes
8 ounces tricolor pasta, cooked al dente
½ cup pine nuts
1-1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite cheese
1-1/2 cups celery root, cut matchstick style
1-1/2 cups chopped green (or yellow) pepper

In large salad bowl, mix first 4 ingredients together.  Add remaining ingredients, toss and serve.  Serves 4 - 6.  If you’d like, add chunks of albacore tuna or grilled chicken.

Creamy BLT Salad:  Cook 8 ounces fusilli pasta until al dente. While warm, toss with ¼ pound chopped cooked bacon (or prosciutto), 2 cups cherry tomato halves, 1 packed cup fresh chopped basil (or baby spinach), 1/2 cup chopped walnut halves and 1 4-ounce log fresh goat cheese, crumbled (we like soft unripened chèvre, from Woolwich Dairy).

Cool Green Bean Salad:  Blanch and immediately cool 1/2 pound skinny string beans.  Chop and combine with cooked couscous (enough to serve 4), 1 large can albacore tuna (drained), ½ cup slivered almonds, 1/4 cup chopped marinated sun dried tomatoes and 2 cups (small cubed) Jarlsberg. Whisk together ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ½ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon mustard and, to taste, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Tip:  If you don’t care for couscous, use cooked, cool potatoes instead.

Blueberry Penne Pasta:  Cook 8 ounces penne pasta until al dente.  While warm, toss with 1/2 cup each coarsely chopped pecans or almonds and grated Jarlsberg, 1 packed cup baby arugula, 1-1/2 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup golden raisins (or chopped dried cherries).  Toss with “Cool Green Bean” vinaigrette, adding a touch of honey to it.

Story and recipe courtesy of Jarlsberg, a semi-soft part-skim milk cheese with large “eyes” and mild, mellow-nutty flavor.  A product of Norway, Jarlsberg is traditionally produced and aged, completely natural and an excellent source of protein and calcium.  Substitute Jarlsberg in almost any recipe calling for cheese—you’ll love the delicious results.  

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