All Tossed

With spring’s arrival, I'm inspired to toss up a fresh seasonal salad. Now is the time to really enjoy spring greens when they are sweet and at their peak; later in summer the flavors tend to bitter a bit with the heat. Whether you are preparing salad for two or planning your Mother's Day brunch, here are few tips + recipes to make plating up your spring salad even better.

Be sure to do the prep with your delicate spring lettuce; submerge leaves in cold water repeatedly until there is no evidence of soil or sand. Then give those leaves a good spin, so your homemade vinaigrette will easily coat your leaves. Wet leaves repell the dressing.

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Good Stuff Pick - OXO Salad Spinner

George's Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Makes 2 1/2 cups | Know Your Fire Cookbook

1 Tablespoons chives

1 tsp chopped parsley

1 tsp capers or chopped green olives

1/2 tsp lite soy sauce

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton

1 recipe Basic Vinaigette (recipe to follow)

Combine the chives, parsley,capers or olives, and lite soy sauce with the cream and half the cheese and blend well. Add the vinaigrette and stir in the remaining cheese. Let the dressing stand at room temperature for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.

George's Basic Vinaigrette

Makes 2 cups | Know Your Fire Cookbook

"Use whichever vinegar appeals to you: If using balsamic, cut the amount in half." 

1 1/4 cups virgin olive oil

3/4 cups vinegar

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat with a fork or a whisk to blend. Or place the ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake until they're well blended.

Allow the dressing to sit at room temperature for 24 hours to develop the flavor.

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There are four main kinds of lettuce to choose from: Butterhead (Bibb), Crisphead (Iceberg), Looseleaf (Cutting) and Romaine. 

Looseleaf

Looseleaf lettuce make colorful tender leaf salads in chartreuse, deep green and bronzy reds. 

Crisphead

Crisphead lettuce contain curved, overlapping leaves which form crispy, firm round heads. Inside, creamy white leaves are tightly packed. Deep green outer leaves are delicious too.

Romaine

Romaine lettuce contain elongated, thick leaves which are crisp and savory.

Butterhead

Butterhead lettuce is the largest and best-flavored group of lettuces. Tender leaf lettuces form a tightly folded head with delicate buttery flavor. Typically smaller heads than other types. 

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White Bean Casserole as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Join me CreateTV George Hirsch Lifestyle Sat March 9th 6AM/6PM + Sun March 10 12PM

This easy to prepare hearty soup makes for a wonderful mid-week dinner or rustic weekend starter. I have even prepared gallons of this warming soup for tailgates. For a creamier soup, puree half.   

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White Bean Casserole

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 Tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 

1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

3 cups chicken broth 

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 

3 links Italian or smoked sausage, pre-grilled and sliced  

2 cups Kale, washed, dried and chopped 

Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup or sauce pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender, do not brown. Add the potato, sausage, broth, beans and basil. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Bring soup back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add pepper to taste. 

For a creamier soup, pulse half of the soup or puree in a food processor. Bring soup back up to a boil until well blended. 

Optional Substitution for Kale: Spinach, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Rabe

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