Pomegranate and Grilled Haloumi Salad

It is autumn and that means pomegranate time! I love pomegranates but I hate getting the arils (seeds) out of them. I pretty much have avoided them unless I was willing to shell out the cash to buy the arils in a package. Then to be honest they are often slimy and not so great. But lo and behold I discovered recently that cutting open a pomegranate doesn’t have to look like something was butchered in my  kitchen! I can’t believe I didn’t know this until a couple of weeks ago–how did I miss this? This would have saved my children and myself a lot of anxiety every autumn when they wanted my to buy whole pomegranates and I would try my best to avoid it or get really crazy with bibs and aprons and tons of paper towels to contain the flying red juice. Sorry kids! Click here for detailed instructions on how to accomplish this feat and keep your hands their natural color.

I got this recipe idea from the wonderful chef my husband hired for my birthday recently. She made this incredible little appetizer of crostini, grilled Haloumi cheese and pomegranate seeds. The flavors were so incredible and so autumn-like! So today I was trying to come up with an interesting salad with pomegranate seeds and then I thought about the warmed Haloumi cheese and voilà, this is what I came up with. Hope you all like it as much as we did!

Pomegranate and Grilled Haloumi Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Vibrant pomegranate, fennel, tomato, baby lettuce and Haloumi salad is full of wonderful autumn flavors .

Credit: adapted from Haloumi, Pomegranate and Rocket Salad on Taste.com.au 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 180 grams Haloumi Cheese, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 12 ounces of mixed baby lettuces
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, reserve some fronds for garnish
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded (see this page for excellent instructions)

Procedure

  1. Mix first four ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to emulsify it. Set dressing aside.
  2. Place the greens and fennel slices in a large serving bowl.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pine nuts to the dry pan and toast for a few minutes. Careful they burn fast! Remove pine nuts and set aside.
  4. Add a little cooking spray to pan and heat up again. Add the Haloumi slices and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until slightly browned. Remove from pan and place on top of salad.
  5. Heat up the tomato halves in the hot pan for just a couple of  minutes, adding a little salt and pepper and spread them on top of the Haloumi on the salad. Add the pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts and serve with the dressing on the side (or toss if you prefer).
  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

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October 25, 2017

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Beautiful pomegranate arils
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Slicing the fennel
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ingredients
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Cooking the Haloumi
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The finished salad
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Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata

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Pretty warm day here in the Bay Area. I decided I would make crab cakes Crab Cakes and a tomato, corn and avocado salad. This was based on what looked fresh at the grocery store today. Just a quick salad that I threw together, no actual recipe, but I tried to capture it the best I could in the recipe below. Enjoy!

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Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Healthy and quick spring/summer salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size
  • 1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (approx)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and sliced off the cobb
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta salata cheese, very small dice
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Procedure

  1. Combine the tomatoes, avocado with lime juice, corn and ricotta in a medium bowl. Try to add the corn while it is still hot or warm, it warms up the rest of the salad and makes the flavor more intense. Mix well.
  2. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and olive oil and mix well.

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May 10, 2017

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Artichoke Hummus

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So easy and so delicious! I got the recipe from Feed Me Phoebe and I have made it several times. The first couple of times I used Great Northern beans instead of Garbanzo beans and I have also used marinated artichokes instead of water-packed artichokes, but I think it is healthier with the water-packed artichokes. I have also added a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach in the past, which I would have done today, but I am out of spinach! The hummus is great any of these ways. Below is the basic recipe, pretty much unchanged from Phoebe Lapine’s recipe.

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Sublime with a Himalayan Pink Salt Lentil Chip

Artichoke Hummus

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Super quick and healthy hummus with items easily found in a pantry.

Credit:  Feed Me Phoebe 

Ingredients

  • One 15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • One 15-ounce can artichoke hearts in water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (one lemon)
  • kosher salt
  • pinch or two of paprika
  • one or two tablespoons of water
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil

Procedure

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor and puree until fairly smooth (I like it a little bumpy still). Taste for seasoning.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with crudités and lentil chips (or the more traditional pita chips). Enjoy!

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May 9, 2017

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Mushroom Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

Wow, ten days have passed since I last posted a recipe! My daughter was home for spring break and she was bored so she decided she would do a lot of the cooking, so Helpful! But she doesn’t follow recipes or want to participate in my blogging project, so I haven’t had much to post. Thank you again Melissa Clark and New York Times Cooking for this recipe! This is a very healthy and hearty vegetarian soup that can be bulked up further with lentils, grains or sausage (no longer vegetarian then) if one desires. We decided we just wanted a warm vegetarian soup that wasn’t too heavy, so we left it as is except we added a can of chopped tomatoes and some broth to the recipe.

Mushroom Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Rich and Hearty vegetarian soup that has a lot of add-in options

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms such as shiitake, cremini, oyster, etc. medium dice
  • ½ lb shallots, finely diced
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped (use a little less if dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice
  • one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • fresh lime juice, to taste (I cut one lime and served the wedges with the soup so people could squeeze in as much as they wanted at the table)
  • plain yogurt, for serving (optional)

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread out chopped mushrooms and shallots on a large lightly oiled sheet pan.  Sprinkle vegetables with a little salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes and then stir. Roast for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have substantially shrunk and most of the liquid has evaporated. You can alternatively do this in the pot you are going to make your soup in by sautéing the vegetables.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a little olive oil to just barely coat bottom of pot, after that is heated add the mushrooms and shallot mixture, tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice. If you like a little more spice, add a little more of all spices as I did. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in can of tomatoes including the liquid, 4 cups of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook gently for at least 20 minutes. I simmered for over an hour because I had the extra time. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Using a blender or food processor, coarsely purée 1/2 of the soup and add back to unprocessed soup. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in bowls with a squeeze of fresh lime, sprinkle of thyme and an optional dollop of yogurt. Enjoy!

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March 26, 2017

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Simmering soup before spinach was added.
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Finished soup (I forgot to add the spinach).

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