Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Rice Salad LRGrade 3 class at my daughter’s school are preparing for International Day next month and they chose Argentina to represent and talk about. Part of the celebration, they proposed to serve a rice salad on that day, with Chimichurri sauce. Since I always volunteer to help with the food, I came up with my own version of the recipe and took a picture of the end product. I’m super happy to document it in my blog and share it with you, hope you will like it.
If you like to add more ingredients, my advice is to stay away from juicy ingredients and stick to solid ones like chorizo, ham, pickles, green onions, …

Ensalada De Arroz Con Chimichurri
Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • 3 cups long grain rice, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cucumbers, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple vinegar
  • Freshly ground Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients.
  2. In a small mason jar combine all of the dressing ingredients; shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Orzo Mozzarella Salad

OrzoMozarrellaSalad

This recipe is inspired from the salad of my awesome friend Sandrella.

I have a lot of awesome friends but none of them has her get-up-and-go astonishing characteristic. None of them is the gym freak to drive 1 hour in the morning, because this is where her favorite PT trains. None of them travels 4 times a year with 3 kids on different adventurous vacations. None of them runs her overseas business while baking her children sophisticated cake recipe or spending the day driving them from and to activities or play-dates.

I congratulate you my friend, not only because your food has been labeled as inspirational, but also because your vitality is contagious.

I surround myself with friends who have great sense of humor, extraordinary dreams and great ambitious. This helps to focus my energy in a positive direction. Being positive attract positive people, they somehow gravitate toward me.

In Oprah’s book What I Know For Sure, I like her chapter on gossip. She first talked about a truth Maya Angelou passed on to her: “I’m convinced that the negative has power—and if you allow it to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over,” she said. “Those negative words climb into the woodwork, into the furniture, and the next thing you know, they’re on your skin. A negative statement is poison.”

Oprah writes: “We live in a culture obsessed with gossip—who’s wearing what, who’s dating whom, who’s entangled in the latest sex scandal. What would happen if we declared our homes, our relationships or our lives gossip-free zones? We’d probably be surprised at how much time we’d free up to do the work that’s most significant—building our dreams rather than tearing down others’. We’d fill our homes with a spirit of truth that would make visitors want to kick off their shoes and stay awhile. And we’d remember that while words have the power to destroy, they also have the power to heal.

I did this salad on Saturday for some of my beautiful friends. We had dinner, chatted and laughed out loud. No one was making any effort to incorporate humor into the atmosphere, the energy was there, circulating light and carefree.

Always find the best in others, it’s necessary to living the good life.

 And now back to some serious talk of ORZO MOZZARELLA SALAD and this is how I make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, full or halved
  • 12 mini mozzarella balls
  • ¼ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano

Preparation:

  1. Cook orzo pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water.
  2. In a bowl, combine orzo, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and black olives. Toss with pesto until ingredients are completely coated. Add olive oil, salt and oregano and toss again.
  3. Decorate with pine nuts and serve.

NOTE: I made my own pesto: Slice very thin a quarter cup of fresh basil. Crush basil inside the mortar with 1 tablespoon of pine nuts and 1 garlic clove. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan and stir.

 

White Beans Salad

White Beans Salad

Hello World! Isn’t it a beautiful day or is it just me! Kids are at school, which makes it much easier for me to concentrate on blogging and to stare at my screen and finish typing one whole sentence without being interrupted.

As much as I look forward for the school bus arrival in the afternoon, I SOMETIMES look forward for its departure the next morning. I must sound like a terrible mom, but it’s only when they’re at school that I enjoy my time guiltlessly! I can sense a lot of like-mindedness here, yes?

I can train 2 hours at the gym instead of 1, and when I go with Serge, I know that in between the reps we can leisurely chat, make plans or even exchange stories about Kaia and Axel.

Yesterday’s main topic was “beans”! Since meat is not right up my alley, Serge makes always sure that I’m at least having my share of pulses instead.

It’s kind of obvious, with so many healthy recipes on my blog, that I love healthy food, such as beans. They are very popular in my kitchen especially around this season with every grocer I visit, displaying elegantly his Aysha Khanum beans boxes. As the summer comes to a close, Aysha Khanum or shell beans (a.k.a Cranberry beans) are harvested. Beans inside the pods are now ready and plump. One variety is white while the other is white and blotched with red color; for the record, those red spots disappear once the beans are cooked.

During the last days of summer, I buy a lot of fresh shell beans, divide them in portions and freeze them for winter. It’s so easy to do; the pods open right up, releasing four to five beans each, I place all uncooked in freezer bags. The advantage is that they cook much faster than dry beans and taste much better.

My kids favorite white bean recipe is Fassolia bi Lahme, kind of a bean stew cooked with red sauce, meat chunks and served with rice on the side. I prefer the white bean salad, that probably you don’t need a recipe to make it, but I couldn’t help but share, especially after gazing at this gorgeous photo that I enjoyed styling while Serge was setting his camera and lightings. While on the surface this dish seems so simple in reality delivers some serious flavor!

P.S My Instagram account is @oryanmaya

White Beans Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups / 450g white or cranberry beans
  • or 1 can 450g of cooked white beans (washed and drained)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley, to garnish

Preparation:

If using fresh shell beans, place them in a pressure cooker and cover with water (the water should come 1 to 1½ inch above the beans level). Cover and lock the lid. Let it cook over high heat for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for further 10-15 minutes. Release the pressure and wait for the cooker to cool entirely. Open carefully and drain. Alternatively use regular saucepan, cover with water and cook until beans are soft and tender.

If using dry beans, soak overnight and cook as per previous instructions inside a pressure cook, but for about 50-60 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and drizzle over the beans. You can adjust the dressing to taste.

Garnish with parsley and serve with Lebanese pita bread and spring onions.

Chef Emile’s Vegetable Salad

IMG_4430MayaOryan

Last year, my daughter’s class, Grade III, at school had to present POLAND on International Day. I, of course, offered my help to cook Polish food to be presented at our stall. Some moms signed in their name in my group before I even announce myself as a contributor. Thank you for your trust;-)

Well my menu and especially the salad, turned out to be a hit as people kept on coming back for more.

I thought the best is to serve something cold like salad and cake, as it’s going to be a lot of people coming at the same time for tasting after the dancing show. There were 1200 visitors and maybe 12 stalls. Salatka Jarzynowa is a traditional Polish salad that is served during holidays. It is prepared with root vegetables like carrot, potatoes and celery root. This salad is best prepared one day before as it needs to mature and tastes really better the next day. This was really convenient as part of the savory menu.

The best version to make it is my dad’s recipe; I did mention that my dad was a chef and I sure learnt from him a lot of cooking. His recipe has always been a star dish! It’s so consistent that we can eat this alone. I remember how he decorates it with shrimps or cold cuts, and always place it side by side with the turkey on Christmas. This year’s dinner was at my sister, and dad showed up with THE SALAD and they were both more than welcome.

Emile’s 2 important tips are: to prepare the vegetable salad with only vegetables that are not juicy, and to never skip the honey in the dressing.

I hate when one’s look at this salad and tells me I don’t eat potato salad, am like it’s okay to venture once, it’s not only potato … my genius dad taught me how to add Emmenthal cheese, ham and apple and this is the tastier salad you can ever eat!

My last request, please don’t open cans and throw in this salad, it only tastes better when you make it with fresh ingredients. How long does it take to chop little vegetables and let it boil for 10 minutes.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe and consider making it during holiday celebrations. As I said, it is best to prepare one day before serving.

For a fancier look, store it in a round container in the fridge, and just before serving, turn it upside down on a flat round plate and decorate with salami, cheese, salmon or shrimps.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh potatoes, diced and cooked al dente
  • 1 cup fresh carrots, diced and cooked al dente
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) peas, cooked
  • 200g Emmenthal cheese, diced
  • 200g Ham or turkey ham/ slices of ½ inch thick, diced
  • 200g Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 2 tbsp gherkins pickles, sliced (optional)

Dressing:

  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation

  1. To cook the potatoes, boil water and cook potatoes 7-10 minutes until cooked but still hard.
  2. Cook carrots and peas same as potatoes, and each one separately. Please don’t cook all together in same pot because the time of boiling varies for each one.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine cheese, apples and pickles. Add to potatoes, carrots and peas.
  5. Mix all the ingredients of the dressing and toss in the salad. Combine well gently. I use a rubber spatula not to mash the vegetables. Refrigerate.

Chicory salad – Hindbeh bi Zeit

MayaOryan-Hindbeh Bi Zeit

Lebanese meze is rich in vegetarian dishes. It is an array of sampling size dishes, mostly falling into the same “healthy” bracket, as most recipes contain vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fresh herbs and seeds.

The most popular dish is hummus, but there are also fattoosh, tabouleh, baba ghanouj, fateh, falafel, shankleesh, fatayer silik, Loubieh bi Zeit and many more. So if you prefer vegetables over meat, it’s definitely worth visiting a Lebanese restaurant where vegetarian dishes are served in abundance.

Hindbeh bi zeit is one typical example of salad also falling in the meze category and using simple fresh ingredients. It can be quickly prepared at home. If you can’t find chicory in your region try to look for dandelions, both will result a light and simple salad, tangy with lemon juice and garnished with crisp onions.

Chicory salad – Hindbeh bi Zeit

Serves 4 – Preparation Time 20 minutes – Cooking Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh green chicory, washed and chopped coarsely
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil, to taste

Preparation

  1. In a large pot, heat oil and add onions to fry. Let cook until golden. Reserve some for garnishing.
  2. Add the chicory and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Season with salt. Let cook, on low heat, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and drizzle with lemon juice.
  5. Serve at room temperature with olive oil and lemon wedges.

Another variation of the recipe  you can add sugar while frying the onions or make caramelized onions instead. You will love this salad with toasted pine nuts as well; sprinkle a handful at the end of your preparation.

Mukimame, Peas and Two Beans Salad

MayaOryan-PeasMukimameSaladIt’s really sad to see august, my favourite month of the year, ending and kiss the summer good bye.

My family and I spent amazing time this summer, we had my brother visiting from Canada with his family, my parents celebrated their 50 Gold Anniversary, our holiday trip included this year Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and The Netherlands and work was bountiful 🙂

Many bloggers keep a journal of their vacation and I really envy them for that as I never found the time to write; I was out day and night partying till 3am every day. The Nightlife in Lebanon is one of a kind. At night, when kids go to bed, my husband and I sneak out to ride the bike and join friends. Whether it was clubbing, dining, camping,… we did it all. I love winter for The Christmas season but after that it’s just a countdown to summer.

IMG_1245

While in Strasbourg this year I tried many specialties, but what grabbed my attention (and taste buds) was a salad that has nothing to do with the Alsatian food.

We had some of that chunky salad and then the next day we came back for more. I tried to guess the ingredients and this is my own version. Enjoy!

 

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red beans, cooked
  • 1 cup white beans, cooked
  • 1 cup green peas, cooked
  • 1 cup mukimame, cooked
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, diced
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

In a bowl, combine red beans, white beans, peas, mukimame, feta, bell pepper and pine nuts. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad. Stir gently until all ingredients are well coated.

 

 

Orzo Summer Pasta

OrzoSaladbyMayaOryan

Today feels like summer and all I can think off is a refreshing, healthy summer salad. An Orzo Salad wins the listed options hands down. It is simple, light and packed with lemony flavors (and contains pasta… what’s not to love about it?) 😉

I love Orzo (look for it on the pasta aisle), when tossed with Feta cheese, red onions and cucumbers it makes a beautiful hearty dish that keeps well in the fridge. It can be served as a side meal or it can be The Meal. Pull me a bowl out of the fridge on a hot day like that and I’m in heaven!

This whole scenario activated my drool glands; I rushed into the kitchen and like an artist in the making, I mixed cucumbers, red bell pepper, mukimame (shelled edamame), Feta and a touch of thyme leaves for fun.

Looking at my bowl and thinking you gorgeous creature, I’m so ready to dig in and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 cup mukimame, cooked
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, picked and washed

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

1. Cook orzo pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water

2. In a bowl, combine orzo, mukimame, cucumbers, feta, bell pepper, and thyme leaves.

3. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad. Stir gently until all ingredients are well coated.