A Favorite Summer Salad

Salad, Vegetable Recipes

Hi all! I hope you are having a wonderful summer wherever you are. Doesn’t it seem like the season is evaporating so quickly?

This summer, I found a favorite salad combination: arugula, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, walnut, peaches/apples/nectarines (pick one or use all of them), with fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice- based dressing mixed with olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, green onions, and cayenne peppers.

Summer Salad by Tiny Chili Pepper

Arugula has this wonderful peppery taste that I like so much. The selection of bountiful summer fruits add natural sweetness to the bite. Salty feta cheese, crunchy walnut, chopped green onions, and cayenne peppers liven things up with their distinct flavors. Oh, and the dressing! It enhances the peppery, tangy, sweet, and refreshing taste of this salad. Such a great companion for grilled fish/shrimp/sea scallops, turkey sandwiches, or even steak.

Summer Salad with Grilled Turkey Sandwich by Tiny Chili Pepper

Here’s the list for the salad (serve 2):

  • 3-4 cups of arugula (you could also add radicchio or other greens that you prefer)
  • ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup of walnut (chopped or not, you decide 🙂 )
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 peaches/apples/nectarines (sliced)

For the dressing, mix the following in a bowl:

  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ½ tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 2 cayenne peppers (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Optional: you could also add a little bit of dill to the dressing

Combine the arugula, walnut, cheese, and fruits in a big bowl and mix with the dressing. Serve immediately. My mouth is watering as I type up this recipe 😀

What’s your favorite summer salad? Do share.

Thanks for reading!

Recipe inspiration came from: Arugula, Watermelon, Feta Salad by Ina Garten

Sandwich Enthusiasm


My Corned Beef Sandwich with Baby Arugula, Horseradish, and Spicy Mustard

I discovered my sandwich enthusiasm at Piatto Pronto deli a while back. I used to frequent this deli (on Clark and Olive) a lot when I lived in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The shop made me fall in love with hot sandwiches and paninis. I learned how they got to be so good when made with fresh ingredients and exciting combination.

I remembered walking a few blocks from my apartment to Piatto Pronto’s door to pick up a sandwich one warm spring evening. The owner waved and smiled at my arrival. From behind the counter he asked, “What would you like to have tonight?” I looked at the menu board on the wall and did not see what I came for that night.

I usually get turkey or chicken. But tonight I am craving a corned beef sandwich. Do you make those too?” I asked.

Ha! A corned beef sandwich! Of course. I just didn’t expect to hear such a request from a petite woman. But sure. I can make anything.” He replied. I just smiled.

What else do you want on it?” he asked.

I wanted a big flavor, something that kicked. So I said, “Horseradish. Everything else is up to you.” 

“Horseradish! You surprised me again!” He laughed and then proceeded like an artist creating a masterpiece. I’ve always loved this respect toward food preparation. It felt like an art—that food could be more than just something to wolf and make our stomachs full. That goodness, joy, and excitement exist in food preparation and enjoyment. A few minutes later he handed me the sandwich. The result? A superb meaty and hot sandwich made of fresh ingredients with a punch for less than $7.

(Note about Piatto Pronto: Expect a line during lunch or after-work hours. Perfect for take out. Small outdoor seating area available in warmer months.)

The deli inspired a couple of sandwich creations. One day I happened to be in the mood for sandwiches. So I gathered the following from the market:

  • A large Ciabatta bread
  • ½ pound of sliced corned beef
  • ½ pound of sliced honey roasted turkey breast
  • Baby arugula 
  • Baby swiss cheese
  • (I had horseradish and spicy brown mustard in the fridge)

The steps I did:

  • Cut the Ciabatta bread in half, sliced one in half horizontally (keep the other half for the turkey sandwich), and separated the top from the bottom. 
  • Then using a bread knife I spread a dollop of horseradish and spicy mustard on both top and bottom bread. 
  • Layered the bottom bread with baby arugula, slices of corned beef, cheese, and more baby arugula. 
  • Placed the top of the bread on the stack and cut the whole thing into three smaller sandwiches. 
  • Heated a non-stick pan (panini press works too) over medium heat, placed the sandwiches on it, and pressed gently with a lid for a minute or two. (Did the same combination for the turkey sandwich.)

I have done the same combo using Asiago bread too, which worked quite well.

Jeff and I loved the combo. The tangy and spicy horseradish and mustard along with the peppery baby arugula added extra kicks to our corned beef and turkey sandwiches. I think we’ve found our favorites!

Arugula, Radicchio, and Heart of Palm


In my previous articles, I raved about chef Anne Burrell’s braised short ribs and celery root and potato puree. Another great side the chef did to accompany her amazingly delicious short ribs was Roasted Acorn Squash and Portobello Mushroom Salad with Radicchio, Apples and Pumpkin Seeds. What a great combination! Unfortunately I simply did not have enough time that night. So I added that salad to my next-to-try list.

Burrell’s salad recipe, however, inspired me to do a different combination. One that took less time to prepare: Arugula, Radicchio, and Heart of Palm salad.

Here’s how I prepare my simple but flavorful salad:

  • Mix olive oil, apple vinegar, salt, black and white pepper powder, and a half of a teaspoon of minced garlic in a cup (the mixture fills half of a cup)
  • In a salad bowl, a handful of baby arugula, one small radicchio (cut into thin long strips), and a can of (3-4 sticks) of heart of palm (cut to medium chunks)
  • Drizzle the salad with the dressing and top with grated Parmesan cheese

The soft and delicate heart of palm smoothly balanced the peppery arugula and spicy radicchio while the Parmesan cheese added its natural saltiness to the salad. A great side to the braised short beef.

Serves 2

Serve with:

Special Braised Short Ribs Dinner – Going Gourmet at Home

Celery Root and Potato Puree
For complete recipes view the source of my inspiration:

The Secret to Short Ribs : Secret of a Restaurant Chef : Food Network