BLOOMIN In the KITCHEN: Arugula Apple Fennel Salad

January 2, 2011 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, salad

img_2703A colorful salad with a refreshing twist!

My friend Liz makes a wonderful fennel salad with currants, red onions and granny smith’s. Looking for an exciting new salad to serve over the holidays, I borrowed her idea and switched juice sweetened cranberries for currants and added arugula for a burst of color and flavor.

I love the contrast of tart and sweet, the crunch of the fennel and apples and how “clean” the flavors blend. With a splash of lemon juice and olive oil, it’s loaded with everything I look for in a great dish: fresh, healthy, organic and yummy!

3 fennel bulbs ~ cut into julienne
4 granny smith apples ~ peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups arugula ~ torn into small pieces
1/2 cup juice sweetened cranberries
1 large red onion ~ sliced into thin rings
Vinegarette to taste: Juice of 1 lemon and approx. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (ratio: 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil)
Sea salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 hours).

*Organic ingredients really “cleans” up this dish

Blog: Cleaning up Holiday Recipes

Arugula & Beet Salad

April 7, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, salad

img_1531 Bored of the same ole’ salad. Color it up with red and golden beets and add punch with fresh spring arugula!

2 red beets
2 golden beets
extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch arugula
1/2 cup pine nuts
crumbled goat cheese
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 recipe Lemon Dijon salad dressing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim tops and bottoms off of beets and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Wrap beets separately with foil and roast in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until a knife is easily inserted through the center. Let cool. Peel skin off of beets and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place pine nuts on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for approximately 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool. In a bowl, toss arugula with the salad dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Place individual portions of arugula on separate salad plates and top with beet slices, alternating golden and red beets. Drizzle a small amount of the salad dressing on the beets to lightly coat. Sprinkle pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese on top to taste, reserving the same amounts for the other salad plates. Serves 2 to 4.

RECIPE: Lemon Dijon Salad Dressing

Black Bean Salsa Salad

img_1520 Quick, easy and healthy with a latin flair when you’re on the go but don’t want to forgo a delicious meal.

The cupboards were bare the other day except for a can of black beans. Luckily, in the fridge I also had half of an avocado, some tomatoes, a few spigs of unwithered cilantro (the rest had wilted) and an opened jar of peach salsa, but any good quality salsa will do. With some blue corn tortilla chips (also found in the cupboard), I had a great lunch with lots of tex-mex tastes and textures.

1 15 oz can organic black beans
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1 avocado
12-16 oz salsa
1 cup grape tomatoes
chopped cilantro

In a saucepan,  add the beans, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and olive oil and stir over medium heat until liquid is absorbed and beans are softened. Set aside to cool. Peel and chop avocado into 1 inch squares. Halve the tomatoes. Using half quantities, line the beans, salsa, avocado and tomatoes in rows in a shallow bowl, making sure the salsa and tomatoes are not next to each other. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and salt and pepper to taste. Repeat the rows to make a second bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

Asian Spiced Scallops & Kale Salad

March 3, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, salad


Leafy greens and scallops go Asian in this zesty dish!

Great lighter dinner or a lovely lunch. Or serve the scallops as the main attraction over rice and have the kale salad on the side. Either way, you’ll enjoy the healthy benefits of a dark leafy green this spring and scallops which are local to my coastal community.


1 lb. sea scallops
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 teaspoons Asian spice mix (or make your own by combining 1 teaspoon each of curry powder, cumin, tumeric, garlic powder, cinnamon, allspice, star anise, nutmeg plus 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, sea salt & black pepper)

Kale salad:

1 bunch kale
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup wheat free soy sauce
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the scallops. Combine the Asian spice mix, lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil in a bowl. Add the scallops and marinate for 1/2 hour.

Wash and dry the kale. Cut tough veins from each leaf and chop the kale in 1 to 2 inch strips. Combine the lemon juice, soy sauce and olive oil in a jar and shake vigorously till combined. In a bowl, toss the kale with the lemon-soy dressing till each leaf is coated. Refrigerate till ready to serve (salad can stay up to several hours in the fridge as the leaves soak up the dressing without wilting).

Remove the scallops from the marinade but reserve juices. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron skillet or heavy pan over moderate high heat, being careful not to allow the oil to get too hot and smoke. Sear the scallops on both sides till cooked throughout (approx. 2-4 minutes each side depending on size and heat temp) but do not overcook which makes them tough and rubbery. Remove the scallops from the pan.  Add the marinade to the pan and quickly heat juices till syrupy.

Toss the kale salad with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Plate each dish by pooling some sauce on the plate, add a bed of the kale salad  and place 4 to 5 scallops on top or serve separately.

Mango Walnut Chicken Salad

February 24, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, salad

img_1269I get bored with the same old salad for lunch. Here’s one that will not only look colorful on your plate but will perk up any midday meal.

2 boneless breasts of organic chicken
1 mango
5 oz organic spring mix or baby romaine lettuces
3/4 cup walnut halves
crumbled goat cheese to taste
salt & pepper to taste
Lemon-Dijon dressing

Boil chicken breasts in water for approx. 20 minutes or until just cooked inside (or use leftover chicken cut in pieces). Let cool and chop in bite-sized pieces. Cut mango into one inch pieces or smaller by cutting the fruit in half along the center pit. Score the flesh of each half with criss cross cuts avoiding cutting into the skin. Turn the skin inside out and cut off the pieces. Trim any fruit remaining around the pit and cut into pieces as well.

Wash and spin dry the lettuce and place in a bowl. Sprinkle salt to the salad a few minutes before serving and toss. Add the mango, chicken, walnuts and goat cheese and toss with Lemon-Dijon dressing (recipe below) to coat. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.  Yum! Serves 4.

Recipe for Lemon-Dijon Dressing

Lemon Dijon Salad Dressing

February 24, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, salad

img_1434I love this dressing and have been making it for years, as long as my brother Ken can remember who dubbed it “Barb’s famous Dijon dressing.”

Creamy from Dijon mustard without using heavy mayo’s. You can substitute apple cider vinegar but I’m partial to the the lemony taste. Drizzle this dressing on most any salad.

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Extra-virgin olive oil

In a glass jar with a lid - I save old Dijon mustard jars - add the lemon juice and mustard. Put the lid on and shake vigorously to mix thoroughly. Add olive oil so that the dressing is 1 part juice and 2 parts oil. With lid on, shake vigorously again till mixed throughly and a creamy consistency. Refrigerate any unused dressing in the same jar and shake before each use.

Note: I don’t add salt or pepper to the dressing but “salt the salad” before I put on dressing. Complete with freshly ground pepper.

Simple Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing

February 3, 2010 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Bloomin in the Kitchen, What's New, salad

img_1243Tired of processed bottled dressings and the same ole oil and vinegar but don’t want to take out too many ingredients to make something tasty for your salad?

Try this simple lemon-ette with a garlic punch that simply uses garlic powder instead of mincing up a bunch of raw garlic.

Juice of 1 lemon (or organic lemon juice)
Extra-virgin olive oil - approx. 1/4 cup
Sea salt
Garlic powder
(preferably organic - it tastes fresher)

In a glass jar with a lid - I save old dijon mustard jars - add the lemon juice and olive oil so that the dressing is 1 part juice and 2 parts oil. Use less oil if you like more of a lemony zing.  Set aside.

Place greens in your serving bowl and sprinkle with sea salt and a few shakes of garlic powder (not garlic salt) to taste. Toss. Let sit for 5 minutes - any longer and the greens will start to wilt. By the way, salting the salad before the dressing goes on is “the secret” from my sister-in-law Sherry who makes the best salads. I took it a step further and added garlic to the greens instead of having the garlic powder clump up in the dressing.

Shake the lemon-olive oil dressing in the jar and add enough to coat the greens evenly. Toss again. Reserve the remaining dressing for another day. So simple, yet so yummy and people ask me all the time, what dressing do I use because they love it!