Country Spoon

Garden to Table in Cayuga County

Category: Salads

Olive & Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Summer is not officially here yet, but it is heating up! This pasta salad is the perfect cool down side dish for any meal with refreshing lemon and herbs… Come on summer!

Olive & Mozzarella Pasta Salad:

1 lb. farfalle pasta – tricolore adds additional flavor of spinach and tomato!

1 c. grape tomatoes – quartered

1/2 c. kalamata olives – quartered

1/2 c. black olives – sliced in rounds

1  1/2 T. capers – drained

1/2 c. bocconcini mozzarella – quartered

1 t. dijon mustard

1 T. red wine vinegar

1/2 lemon – juiced

freshly cracked black pepper

fresh chives

fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain and rinse slightly – set aside.  Meanwhile, prep grape tomatoes, olives and mozzarella.  In a small bowl, combine dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice to make the dressing. In a large serving bowl, stir together warm pasta, dressing and mozzarella. Add tomatoes, olives and capers and toss to combine.  Garnish with fresh herbs to taste and freshly cracked black pepper.  Serve immediately or chill for several hours.  This is perfect for hot days in the kitchen, make ahead in the morning when it is cooler and enjoy later!






Grilled Vidalia Onion Stack

Let the grilling begin!  Super sweet Georgian Vidalia onions are in season and become even sweeter on the grill.  Delicious with tangy feta cheese, fresh tomato, basil and to make it even more irresistible – crispy bacon! Enjoy this simple and full flavor salad as a side or a light main course. 

Grilled Vidalia Onion Stack:

Serves two stacks…

1 large Vidalia onion

1/2 c. herbed crumbled feta cheese

1 tomato

4 strips of bacon (optional)

several fresh basil leaves

1 t. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat gas grill to medium high heat.  Start by preparing the onion – slice off the root end and thinly slit one side of the onion, this will allow you to easily peel off the outer layer.  Slice onion in 1/2 inch slices.  Lay onion slices on a plate and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Grill onion slices on each side for 10 minutes, or until browned.  Meanwhile, fry bacon to desired crispness and slice tomato.  Once onions are finished grilling, assemble stacks starting with a slice of onion on the bottom followed by a sprinkle of feta cheese, a slice of tomato, a basil leaf and a slice of fried bacon halved.  Repeat layers twice (for two stacks) or until everything is used.






Asparagus & Avocado Salad

Freshly springy in every bite, this salad is simple but will keep all your tastes satisfied.  Creamy avocado with fresh asparagus and grape tomatoes make for a perfect palate of deliciousness. Happy spring…. finally!

Asparagus & Avocado Salad:

1 lb. delicate asparagus – lightly steamed

1 just ripe avocado – pitted and cubed

1  1/2 c. grape tomatoes – halved

1/2 lemon – juiced

1 T. good olive oil

1/4 t. sea salt

1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper

Remove any thick stems of asparagus.  A trick a friend of mine taught me is to hold a spear of asparagus on either end and bend – the asparagus will snap off just above the woody part.  Steam asparagus for about 5 minutes.  Immediately submerge in ice water to chill – this helps to retain the bright green color and to stop the cooking.  Slice asparagus spears in half and place in a large bowl followed by cubed avocado and grape tomatoes.  Add the juice of half a lemon and drizzle with 1 T. olive oil.  I like to use basil infused olive oil for this… Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Endive with Pears & Gorgonzola


Crisp endive and sweet red pears topped with tangy crumbled gorgonzola and a zesty dijon vinagrette all nestled in a bed of delicate curly frisee – a beautiful and festive salad fit for any celebration. Serve as a stunning salad course or a light dinner with some warm crusty bread… a perfect way to ring in the new year.  Happy holidays everyone! 

Endive with Pears & Gorgonzola:

2 endive heads

2 bunches frisee – curly endive

2 red pears – Anjou or Bartlett

3/4 c. gorgonzola – crumbled

2 t. whole grain dijon mustard

1 lemon – juiced

freshly cracked black pepper

Rinse endive and frisee and let drain.  Remove frisee leaves from core and add to a large shallow bowl. Remove leaves from endive heads and arrange in a circular pattern on top of frisse. Slice pears and continue the pattern with the endive. Crumble gorgonzola on top of pears and endive. In a small bowl, combine mustard and the juice of one lemon. Drizzle over the salad and top with freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill up to 2 hours.

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad

With open baskets and plates, it begins … Tomato Season! Cherry tomatoes always seem to be the first to really come on. At first one or two will ripen and you almost don’t even want to pick them. Then, on your next walk to the garden you see glints of color all over and they have exploded. This year I planted a new variety – a black cherry and it is delicately sweet and a beautiful dark plum color.  My favorite way to enjoy a cherry tomato is right off the vine while picking – just don’t eat too many or you will end up with a stomach ache! A close second favorite is combining them in a cold salad with tangy feta, kalamata olives and fresh basil. 

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad:

1 pint of cherry tomatoes – halved

cracked sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

a handful of kalamata olives – quartered

1/2 c. feta – cubed or crumbled

baby basil leaves

In a small bowl combine the cherry tomato halves and kalamata olives and season with cracked sea salt and black pepper.Top with feta and basil leaves.  The small very delicate basil leaves work well for this and require no chopping. Chill for about 20 minutes and stir to mix in the feta and basil. This is delicious served over grilled meat, especially grilled salmon and chicken.


Fried Green Tomato Stack

Still green on the vine and still so tempting… tomatoes are by far my favorite crop and they can be eaten even before they turn that juicy red color. When I was younger I worked at a farm market and one day I was given the job of picking the frying tomatoes – the green tomatoes that have turned a lighter very pale green around the girth,  just on the verge of ripening.  I came home the first day after picking, hands green and sticky with tomato film, went out to our family garden and picked some that matched the 100s I had picked that day. I started with a simple batter and fried them up for my parents… Every year my recipe changes slightly, but it always starts with a good crisp crust. 

Fried Green Tomato Stack:

1/4 c. panko – Japanese style breadcrumbs

1/4 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 c. cornmeal

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 or 2 large green tomatoes – thinly sliced

3 eggs – beaten

1/4 c. good olive oil

1 T. butter

1/2 c. sour cream

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

5 or 6 cherry tomatoes – diced

Basil leaves

Thinly slice green tomatoes and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Beat eggs in a shallow dish. Combine both breadcrumbs, cornmeal and flour in a separate shallow dish.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat.  Dip slices of the tomato first in the egg, then in the dry mixture and repeat once for a double batter. Add slices to the hot pan and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes per side until nice and golden and crisp. Remove from pan and let cool slightly. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, cayenne pepper and diced cherry tomatoes. Place one fried tomato slice on a plate, top with a dollop of the sour cream sauce, a fresh basil leaf and repeat 2 more times to create the stack. This makes a great lunch or even a salad course for dinner.


Bacon Blue Coleslaw


For a midsummer’s eve harvest dinner with local food and wine, a good slaw always receives a warm welcome… Bacon, blue cheese and a lime dijon vinaigrette make this coleslaw a refreshing and flavorful addition – especially straight from the garden.

Bacon Blue Coleslaw:

1 head of white cabbage – chopped

2 medium carrots – shredded

3 banana peppers – halved and sliced

6 strips of bacon – fried and crumbled

1 c. walnuts – toasted and chopped

3/4 c. blue cheese – crumbled


1/4 c. mayo

1 lime – juiced

2 T. white wine vinegar

2 T. whole grain dijon mustard

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper

2 T. freshly chopped chives

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, banana peppers, bacon, blue cheese and walnuts. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, lime juice, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and chives. Pour over coleslaw and mix together. Chill for 1 hour before serving.
We enjoyed this coleslaw in our friends’ 1900s barn with Treleaven’s new Cabernet Franc release, grilled streak, local swiss chard with garlic and potatoes, Keeley’s homemade cheese and her husband’s amazing bread, scones, pain au chocolat, and a chocolate spelt merlot cake. It was a potluck to savor and a setting to remember… looking forward to our next harvest feast.