Category Archives: recipes

SALAD DAZE: Seven Summery Salads

I’m constantly inspired by the local seasonal ingredients around us to create fun, fresh salads to keep lunches interesting and add a cool component to dinners. Try some of our favorite salads we’ve been loving this summer. Most of these recipes are built for 2 4 people as a side or entree salad. Adjust your ingredients if you’re feeding a crowd.

Summer Squash Salad

I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick off the list with our favorite summer salad, with summer squash taking center stage. It made its debut here a few years ago. It’s crunchy, herbacious and satisfying. Try slicing the squash into ribbons for a fun twist but sliced thinly is superb. Click here for the recipe.

My version of Summer Squash Salad

Farmer’s Market Power Salad

It’s lettuce season. It’s corn season. It’s blueberry season. It’s squash season. It’s cucumber season. One visit to the farmer’s market and you’re on your way to this banging power salad. Simply add cooked quinoa and your favorite dressing. This month, I was gifted Oleamea Olive Oil so I used that. It’s organic extra virgin olive oil sourced from Aydin, Turkey, and I have to say, I’m impressed. It’s fruity and clean and the Everyday Extra Virgin used here made a perfect Shallot Vinaigrette. The premium Extra Virgin will be beautiful on caprese and with fresh bread. Typically, this salad would include freshly chucked corn in its raw form, but feel free to use cooked. I had leftover skillet cooked corn so I simply used what I had. But, raw corn on a salad? 100% yes do it. With the squash salad above? That too.

Ingredients:
Salad greens (I used arugula, mâche and tender romaine here)
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup RAW corn or cooked if you prefer
1/2 zucchini quartered
1/2 cucumber quartered
1/2-1 cup cooked quinoa
Place greens and other ingredients in a large bowl
Dressing:
1/2 shallot chopped
1 clove garlic grated
1/4 cup vinegar (champagne or white wine is great here)
Juice of half lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Oleamea)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together, adding lemon juice, s/p to desired taste.
Disclaimer: After being contacted by their representatives, I was gifted a set of Oleamea Extra Virgin Olive Oil to give honest feedback as well as taste test for our Holiday Gift Guide. You can find Oleamea at The Fresh Market in North Carolina or online.

Triadfoodies House Side Salad aka Greens & Parm


If you’re fortunate enough to find some locally grown mâche in your area when its in season, I highly recommend adding them to your salad rotation. Great alone or combined with other salad greens, mâche (this from Daffodil Spring Farm in Valle Crucis) comes in these pretty rosettes and are a bit nutty, like watercress or arugula without the peppery bite. They complement every salad I’ve had them in. This salad, with any green or combo of greens I have on hand, is our go-to with entrees all year long, especially with pasta. But in the summer, you know we’re adding tomatoes. The two ingredient dressing is a must-try. You don’t even need a bowl…just drizzle oil & vinegar style. Super simple!

Ingredients:
Seasonal greens like mache, spinach, butter lettuce, romaine
Cherry Tomatoes, halved, optional
1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino, shaved or grated
Dressing:
1/8 cup white balsamic dressing (I like Batistini Farms)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
You can simply drizzle the vin and EVOO over the greens adding more of either when necessary. Finish with s/p and cheese.

Everyday Cucumber and Tomatoes Salad

Inspired by Chef Vivian Howard and her cookbook, Deep Run Roots, this memory triggering salad reminds me of dinners at my Grandma’s. The cookbook re-introduced this perfect salad to me and provided the ratios too. Enjoy the colors and crispness with BBQ, ribs, burgers, fried chicken or really any dish. It adds the perfect amount of acid and freshness to your meal. And as she states in DRR, the recipe is highly adaptable for adding all kinds of seasonal freshness, from watermelon to corn to blueberries and peaches. You can add a boiled egg and call it brunch and I’ve happily done so.

Ingredients:
1 tomato quartered or cherry tomatoes (use ends from a tomato sandwich..no waste!)
1 cucumber, halved
1/4 red onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Per Howard’s book, combine the cucumber and onion with the sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Allow to marry for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and allow to mingle again for another 20 minutes to four hours. Best served at room temperature.

Speaking of cucumbers and salad….

Everyday Cucumber Salad

Here’s another version of a cucumber salad, taking notes from Chef Howard’s recipe but adding some garlic with options of changing up the dressing for a different flavor profile. Note: Add sesame oil and rice wine vinegar in place of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil and you have the perfect dressing for an asian inspired cuke salad. Add a chili flavored oil with white balsamic or sherry vinegar for some heat and pair with seafood. Persian, Piccolino or English cucumbers are best here but use what you’ve got. Feel free to add mâche, watercress, avocado or onions here for even more flavor, but they are not necessary, because…well it’s a cucumber salad.

Ingredients:
1-2 Cucumbers halved
Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt/pepper to taste
Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over cukes and give them a toss. It’s okay to do this a little while before you eat as the cukes have time to quick pickle in the dressing.

Asian Cabbage Salad w/ Ginger Dressing

Okay, so this stunner with all the colors of summer is absolutely simple to make. You can use any number of veggies here. Mr. foodie doesn’t love cucumber (lol that this post has several salads with cukes) so I didn’t add it here, but cukes would be delicious and I might say necessary. As for the dressing, you can make your own as I provide a recipe here, but I will offer no judgement if you use a favorite brand from the store. Been there. Done that. Makoto forever! And Little Black Dressing Co. too.

Ingredients:
1/2 purple Napa cabbage, shredded thinly
1/4 head Romaine lettuce, shredded thinly
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 bell pepper sliced thinly
Red onion, carrots, cukes optional
Dressing:
2 tbs. fresh ginger, grated (jarred is okay ..it really is)
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tbs. soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup sesame oil (or combo of sesame and neutral oil)
1 -2 tsp. sugar or honey to taste
sesame seeds (optional)
Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except oil, sugar and seeds and whisk. Slowly add the sesame oil, tasting as you go. If you like it less sesame-y, begin adding the neutral oil like olive oil. Sweeten to taste. Add sesame seeds if desired.
Toss the salad and pour dressing over. Serve immediately.

Summertime Pasta & Corn Salad

Who doesn’t love a pasta salad with a light, yet creamy dressing? This herby salad has it all. Better still, you can make your own creamy dressing (think Greek yogurt, cilantro or other herbs, lime, s/p) or just use your favorite ranch. I used a Sriracha Ranch from a local restaurant, F.A.R.M Cafe in Boone. The dressing from the squash salad above would be fab with this. The salad is terrific the next day.

Ingredients:
1 lb cooked pasta (I used trottole, but any spiral or shaped pasta will do)
1 cup cooked fresh corn (the sweeter the better)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh cilantro
Handful fresh chives (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste
Your favorite creamy dressing.
Cook pasta, drain, add the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and toss. Pour enough over to cover well but not drench. You can always add more, right? Toss and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy these summery salads. Any one would be great with the addition of some protein to turn it into more of an entree. If you try them let me know!

“Lusty” Mustard Pepper Burgers + Giveaway

Hi, friends!
The past couple of weeks I’ve been collaborating with Lusty Monk Mustard, coming up with different creations like this Chicken Schnitzel. My friends at NC’s Lusty Monk have jumped on board for a giveaway of their trio pack of mustards! Keep reading for the recipe and how to win.

Way back 150 years ago when I worked at the Village Tavern in Reynolda Village in Winston Salem, my favorite burger was called the Mustard Pepper Burger. All I know about it is that it had a peppery kick and the bun was spread with dijon. It was kind of like an au poivre meets Dijon and very simple with lettuce, tomato and cheese if you wanted it. It’s no longer on the menu but it was such a good burger, I decided to make my own with Lusty Monk Original Sin mustard. I tried this recipe a number of times and the last time, I got it just right.

Mustard is inside the mixture with a pepper crust

The burger meat (I used local Shipley Beef) is “marinated” with the mustard, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and plenty of pepper. The mustard inside the meat mixture is key and there needs to be a crust of pepper on the burger. I like to sear this burger in a cast iron skillet so I don’t lose any pepper and because it makes such a good crust, plus at the time of this posting we were 25 degrees with gusts of 20 and that’s not grilling weather. Once the burger is cooked, place on buns and top with a bit more mustard and your choice of fixings. It really doesn’t need much in the way of toppings. Honestly, I never want mayo on a burger unless it’s a patty melt but something about mayo is good with this Lusty Mustard burger. Let me know if you make this and what you think. If you do make the Lusty Mustard Pepper Burger, tag me on Insta!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
2-4 tbs. Lusty Monk Original Sin mustard (the more you use, the kickier it is)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper (enough to make a crust)

4 quality hamburger buns (potato or brioche)
Toppings of choice (lettuce is good here and I like a spread of mayo on this burger)

Instructions:
Mix the ingredients for your meat mixture and allow to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. When time to cook, patty the meat out to your desired size. We like 1/3 pound burgers. Crank your skillet to a high heat and add a little oil to prevent any sticking. Sear the burgers on either side until desired doneness. Add cheese if you want. Muenster or Swiss are good here but you don’t need cheese. Remove from heat to a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Build your burger with more mustard and toppings of choice. Enjoy!

Fun note: My hubby added the sweet Into Temptation mustard to his burger and really liked the contrast of the peppery crust and spicy kick of the original.



We’re giving away a trio pack of Lusty Monk Mustard featuring Original Sin (a grainy dijon), sweet IntoTemptation (a grainy honey) and Burn in Hell (a spicy Chipotle). Want to win? Comment below and for additional chances to win, head over to my Facebook and Instagram and comment how you’d love to use these mustards. I’ll draw a winner next week, March 5.

Chicken Schnitzel w/ Sweet Mustard Sauce

We’re really enjoying playing around with NC’s Lusty Monk Mustard. Keeping following along as we get creative with this delicious local condiment that can be used in so many ways. Head over to Instagram to enter a giveaway for a trio of their flavors, Original Sin, Sweet Temptation, and Burn in Hell.

I just love a crispy schnitzel. Be it chicken, veal or pork, if it’s fried perfectly crispy, I’m here for it. This schnitzel pairs perfectly with the creamy, slightly sweet and spicy mustard sauce and it’s like grown up chicken tendies wtih honey mustard dipping sauce and that my friends, is another blog post that is a throwback to a childhood favorite. In case you missed it, we have Corn Dog Minis here.
Note: I bread my schnitzel or fried cutlets a bit differently. Lately, I do not dredge in flour. It gets perfectly crispy without the flour and the crispy coating actually sticks better to the chicken if you don’t do it. But if you’re a diehard believer in the flouring first, by all means, you do you.

Ingredients:

4 chicken cutlets, about 1/3 inch thick (or as many as you need). I took chicken breasts and sliced it through the middle horizontally along its equator.
1 egg
1 cup Italian or seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Italian seasoning, garlic, smoked paprika or favorite seasoning combo
Salt/pepper
2 tbs Lusty Monk Sweet Temptation Honey Mustard
1 clove grated garlic
1/4 -1/2 cup cream
1/4-1/2 cup broth
Brandy, sherry or white wine (optional)
Micro greens, parsley or chives for garnish

Instructions:
To prep the chicken, cut the chicken breasts into cutlets. You can even pound them with a mallet a bit to get them to about 1/3 inch thick. Whisk an egg in a shallow dish and place the breadcrumbs in two separate plates. Season the chicken with salt & pepper then dredge both sides in egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs then panko.

Heat a skillet with a good bit of olive oil. You’ll want enough oil for the chicken to sit in the oil and not be totally covered, but nearly. Once the oil shimmers, carefully place the chicken in the skillet, flipping once the bottom side is golden brown. Once completely golden on both sides, set aside on paper towel or wire rack and give it a sprinkle of salt.

For the sauce:
You can prepare the sauce before and keep warm or if you feel good about your multitasking skills while the chicken cooks, you can quickly bring it together. Add a touch of oil to a skillet, add garlic and stir a few minutes until fragrant but not browning. Next, add the mustard. Add your 1/4 cup brandy or wine, about half the broth and allow to cook down. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer until thickened. Do not let it boil too hard as I find that it can make a grainy mustard bitter. Loosen, if necessary, with additional broth.


To serve, plate the chicken and top with sauce. Garnish with micro greens, parsley or fresh chives. Serve with a beautiful veggie, spaetzle or mashed potatoes.


Corn Dog Minis w/ Lusty Monk Mustard

The following is the first in a series of posts featuring NC’s Lusty Monk Mustard. I was gifted a set of mustard to give some new recipes a go. We are so thankful to Lusty Monk to be invited in on the fun.

It might make me a grown child, but I love hot dogs, fixed all kinds of ways. I love corn dogs just as much. Here’s my once a year do-it-myself treat featuring corn dogs using local corn meal, with Lusty Monk Mustard waiting close by for the dipping. Actually it’s so yummy, I might do this more than once a year.

Ingredients
2/3 cup flour plus another 1/4 cup for dredging
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (I used Old Mill of Guilford)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper (I like it speckled)
sprinkling of onion powder, garlic powder or any seasonings you desire
1 cup milk
1 package of regular hot dogs, cut into thirds or fourths (smoked sausage is also great)
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Instructions:

Preheat oil in a pot or pan. You’ll need about 3 inches. When the oil sizzles with a tester of batter, it’s ready. About 350 degrees is what you’re aiming for.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk. You want the batter to be almost pancake like, not too thick but not runny. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets.

Toss the hot dogs or sausages in the 1/4 cup flour until lightly coated. Then dip into the batter ensuring even coverage and shaking off excess.

Note: There are a number of ways to do this and I find a fork is great. But if you skewer the ends and you’re using sausages, they make these perfect round balls (you can see in the photo) which I love. Longer skewers allow you to place them in the oil and pick them up by the stick.

Place a few in the hot oil and cook until completely golden brown. You may need to turn them a bit for even cooking. They might look a bit rustic. I wasn’t going for perfect ovals here. But the sausages did get round like hushpuppies and they were super cute!

Place cooked doggies on a paper towel lined plate. You may need to keep warm in an oven while the rest of them fry, if they make it that far.

Serve with ketchup and/or mustard …we recommend Lusty Monk Mustard’s Original Sin, which is a grainy, almost dijon like mustard with a great kick of heat.

About Lusty Monk:

Our fellow mountain-dwellers are located in Candler, NC, just outside of Asheville. It’s made in small batches and I love the grainy, course texture and spicy kick. Perfect with pretzels, on a hot dog, on sandwiches. You can choose from Original Sin, Temptation (a spicy honey mustard) or Burn in Hell ( a chipotle version of Original Sin and my personal favorite). Lusty Monk can be found in the Triad and High Country and in 22 states nationwide. You’ll find them in the refrigerated section at markets like Earth Fare (Boone), Town & Country Meats (Greensboro), Canteen Market (Winston-Salem), Over Yonder (Valle Crucis). Check their website for locations. You can also order online.

Stay tuned for more ways I’m using Lusty Monk as we dive into the sweet and heat of this amazing mustard.

Red, White & Blue BFR Beef Burgers

I’ve once again partnered with BFR Beef to test and recipe develop burgers for your next burger feast. All opinions are my own. 

This recipe  would’ve come at you well before your July 4th grill out, but I didn’t get my hands on these beautiful BFR Beef burgers until the day before, so bookmark this recipe for 2021. As a matter of fact, these burgers are delicious any time and I hope you try them as soon as possible this summer.  You can order BFR Beef online or shop at High Country Food Hub. You can read more about the food hub here. Essentially, it’s an online farmer’s market featuring multiple farmers and producers all across the High Country. It is my go-to for shopping and has been a life-saver during the time of stay-at-home orders.

My last post showcased Browns Farm Ridge’s Beef Osso Bucco and how lovely they cooked up for a nice Sunday dinner.  Daniel at BFR asked if I’d like to test out their ground beef for grilling and well there’s only one correct answer. BFR sells ground beef in bulk but for added convenience you might be like me and love the pre-pattied options. You can get them in 4 oz patties for a thinner, diner style burger (or to double up like I did), or a thick, 7oz portion for a bigger burger. Nothing wrong with either. I opted to make 2, 7 oz thick burgers for the kids (yes, the kids) and 2, 4oz burgers each for mr. Foodie and myself (yes, I can eat that much, no shame here). We wanted double red, white, & blue burgers and they did not disappoint. The burgers were juicy and full of flavor, which I would wholeheartedly expect from my recent experiences with BFR Beef. These are pretty straightforward and besides the ketchup, the whole ensemble is done on the grill. You can sub out other ingredients for your red and white here (tomato instead of bacon, blue cheese or swiss cheese instead of onion or blue cheese for another “blue” …really the blueberry ketchup is all kinds of awesome so I’d keep it in there no matter what).

Red, White & Blue Burgers 

Ingredients:
Beef patties, portioned to your desired thickness
Bacon, 1 slice per burger (okay you can do more if you want, no judgement)
Onion, sliced into rings, as many as desired per burger
Blueberry ketchup (recipe below)
Hamburger buns, one per person

Anytime before, prepare the ketchup and allow to rest.

Prepare the onions by slicing. Place onion rings on a medium size piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil, salt & pepper. Heat grill on high, and cook burgers until desired doneness. Thinner burgers, of course, take less time. Top with cheese if you like and allow to melt. While the beef is cooking, grill your bacon on the opposite side of the grill if possible at medium high temperature, until crispy.  Next to the bacon, add the onions on foil and cook until very lightly caramelized. They’ll just hang out there on the foil and do their thing.

For serving:
Smear a good bit of the blueberry ketchup on the top hamburger bun. Once everything is finished on the grill, place the burger on the bottom bun, place onions on the burger, then bacon on top of the onions. Add the blueberry coated top bun and there you have it….a Red, White & Blue Burger.

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Smoky Blueberry Ketchup (adapted from Saveur)
2 lb. fresh blueberries
1- 1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Place over high heat and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35-40 minutes until thick, stirring occasionally. Taste along the way and adjust seasonings if needed.  Once thickened, remove the sauce and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Fun fact: a blender works better for a smoother puree but for burgers, chunkier is fine. This ketchup is great with sweet potato fries and anything pork.

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If you make this burger, be sure to let me know and let us know what you think!

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Microfoodie approved!