Browsing Tag


Lisa’s Creamy Cucumber Salad

August 11, 2011
This simple little recipe made of garden cucumbers, mayonnaise, milk and a bit of salt has caused me more grief over the past couple weeks than almost any other recipe on this site. You see, I was given a difficult task by Joey: recreate his mom Lisa’s cucumber salad. This supposedly simple dish was a completely foreign concept to me, and seeing as that I have very little tolerance for anything than contains mayonnaise, I wasn’t exactly sure if what I was making tasted good at all.
My first trial was how I would have made the dish: with Cesar salad, a touch of mayo and some Italian seasoning topped with salt and crushed black pepper. I was terribly off base, as Joey soon informed me. Evidently this dish is supposed to be on the sweeter side and contain sugar. 
My second attempt was a bit closer, but I got a little heavy handed with the milk and didn’t add enough sugar. 
Third time was a charm when Joey declared that I had hit the nail on the head. And although I am probably not the person to give the ringing endorsement for this dish, Joey would argue that it’s one of the best ways to eat cucumbers in the summer, especially those of the home grown variety, which these were.
From a cook’s perspective, this sweet salad was incredibly easy to make and holds up well for days in the refrigerator. Wonderful qualities when you’re busy and looking for speedy side dishes to add to the dinner lineup. 
Lisa’s Creamy Cucumber Salad
*1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
*1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
*1 tablespoon sugar
*Dash of salt 
*Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Set aside.
*In a small bowl, combine the mayo, milk and sugar. Stir until well combined. Spoon mixture atop cucumbers and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Happy Cooking!

Raw Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil-Lime Dressing

June 6, 2011

I loved being in Austin over the past four days, but there is nothing quite like coming home and getting back into the groove of a schedule and routine. Don’t get me wrong, the food in Austin was amazing, but at the end of the day I would rather just eat at home.

The process of cooking my own food and preparing meals with ingredients from my kitchen is such a safe, soothing and relaxing process. I think that has something to do with the fact that I can be slightly type-A and I enjoy knowing what exactly goes into each meal I consume.

For almost a week now, I’ve been dreaming of making this salad. Fresh, uncooked corn kernels from good old Iowa sweet corn and tangy, juicy grape tomatoes cut with rich shards of cheese. The Basil-Lime Dressing that tops this corn salad is bright and zesty, and would make a great topper to a lettuce-based salad, too.

Raw Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil-Lime Dressing
*1/3 cup light balsamic vinaigrette
*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*Juice from 1/2 lime
*2 cloves garlic, peeled
*1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*Corn kernels from 4 ears of fresh sweet corn, uncooked
*1 1/2 to 2 cups sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
*1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese

*In the bowl of a food processor, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Blend until well-combined and smooth. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes and Asiago cheese. Drizzle dressing atop salad mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper and additional salt, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings

Happy Cooking!



Autumn Chopped Salad

November 11, 2010
Photo Courtesy of Richard Swearinger, BHG Food Editor Extraordinaire

If you’re stopping by from Pinterest, welcome! I’m happy you took the time to visit Espresso and Cream and hope you’ll stay a while. For more information about me and this site, swing by the About Me page at the top. -Madison

I love my job. Honestly, if I didn’t there would be something seriously wrong with me. To be surrounded by delicious food and stimulating people day after day is a blessing in the utmost sense of the word.

Last night was no exception.

Once a year, the food editors at my parent company get together for a round of meetings and good eats. And for the second time in a row, we have made it a tradition to go potluck-style instead of dining out. Since we have a huge test kitchen, it works out well and is much more interesting than ordering off a restaurant menu.

When food editors gather, it seems a shame not to tap into the talent and creativity, no?

The recipe I made for our potluck is the ultimate in easy and delicious. It’s actually a version of a salad that was passed down to me from my mom-queen of salad and all things healthy and delectable. In fact, it’s one of the only vegetables my uncles and cousins actually seem to enjoy at family gatherings. Not just enjoy. Wolf down and ask for more, to be exact.

I’m already looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner for the sole purpose of eating a salad similar to this. But of course, like all things my mom does, it will taste better when she makes it than when I do.

Autumn Chopped Salad
(Printable Recipe)

*6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
*2 medium pears, chopped
*1 cup dried cranberries
*1 cup chopped pecans
*8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
*4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*Poppy seed Salad Dressing (I like T. Marzetti)
*Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

*On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette) If you prefer your salad to have more dressing, feel free to experiment with the combination.

Happy Cooking!


Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

June 4, 2010

I am going camping. I’ll say it again. I, Madison Mayberry, am going camping for the very first time in my 22 years of life. For those who only know me through this site, it may be hard to understand the humor in this, but for friends and family who know living, breathing, non-camping me, it is nothing short of earth shattering. To top things off, I am recovering from a 24 hour bout with food poisoning that left me curled up in a ball on my couch for the better part of Tuesday.

Once you finish laughing, your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

My camping companions for the weekend? J. and his family- all experienced campers. For the outdoor excursion, J. and I were asked to contribute a salad and some type of sweet. Initially, I jumped at the thought of bringing my favorite lettuce salad, but the prospect of trying to keep lettuce wilt-free, and bringing multiple containers for the ingredients and dressing seemed daunting. I’m no expert, but I think ease of transport and durability is important when camping.

Pasta salad won out because it actually seems to taste better after a couple days. The flavors become richer as the dressing settles into the pasta and there is no need to worry about bruising or wilting. And it’s not just about being easy; this pasta is seriously delicious. It’s sweet, salty, light, and summery – pretty much everything you could ask for in a pasta salad. When looking at this photo, you might notice the Asiago cheese is missing. Since I still have to transport the salad, I’ve left off the cheese so I can add it in at the last minute, but you can be sure the cheese will not be forgotten. 

I’m off to pack my bags and mentally prepare to camp. My camera is coming with, and you can be sure there will be photos upon my return. Wish me luck!

Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
(Printable Recipe)
*7 oz. jar sundried tomatoes 
*3 cloves garlic
*3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
*1 cup olive oil
*1 tsp. kosher salt
*1 Tbsp. dried basil

*16 oz. corkscrew pasta
*1 pint cherry tomatoes
*1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

*In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Blend for 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Set aside.
*Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is no longer hot.
*Place pasta and tomatoes in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Top with the Asiago cheese. Serve cold.

Happy Cooking!


Broccoli-Raisin Salad

May 27, 2010
After three days of blistering hot and humid weather, I’m convinced Iowans are a very discontent group of individuals. Weather here is hardly ever deemed pleasant or even satisfactory,which I believe is a combination of outlook and cold hard facts. It seems Iowa is a bit of an extremist state in matters of the weather. My two favorite seasons, spring and fall, get only slight acknowledgment because Iowa prefers to vacillate between the dead of winter and the peak of summer. Being half Floridian, I hardly mind the occasional humid day; in fact it makes me feel at home, but I have yet to find another Iowan who shares my enthusiasm for humidity. 

So even though the calendar is telling me it’s still weeks away the weather tells me summer is here to stay. The soup I was planning to make has been shelved and the recipes using winter squash but a distant memory. Instead my mind and my tastes have switched to lighter fare, summer food, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

Like many during the summer, my appetite changes when warm weather comes knocking at the door. I am not saying my appetite goes missing (I always want to eat!). It’s more the what of eating that changes. This salad, for example, is the epitome of summer eating Espresso and Cream style. Light and bright, sweet and salty. Served cold. With raisins for sweetness, broccoli and walnuts for crunch, and feta cheese for, well, overall deliciousness and salty contrast this salad hits the spot. I’ll leave it at that.

In case you need a reminder, mayonnaise and I have a bit of a strained relationship and for a long time I thought I didn’t like pasta or veggie salads – that is, until I started making them myself. Substituting Greek yogurt for what would normally be mayonnaise is an easy, healthy swap, measuring cup-for-cup like mayonnaise but with fewer calories and loads of protein. If, however, mayonnaise happens to be your thing, the bread-and-butter of your salad eating existence, then by all means use mayonnaise, because life is too short to not eat what you love.

Broccoli-Raisin Salad 
(Printable Recipe)
*5 to 6 cups broccoli florets
*1 (7-oz.) container 2% Greek Yogurt (may substitute mayonnaise if desired)
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp. regular table salt)
*1 tsp. cumin
*2 Tbsp. honey mustard
*2 Tbsp. lemon juice
*1/4 tsp. black pepper
*3/4 cup raisins
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts
*4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

*Place broccoli in a large saucepan with 3 cups of salted water. Bring to boiling and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from stove top and strain. Run cold water over the broccoli and strain again to stop the cooking process. Transfer broccoli to a large bowl and set aside.
*Whisk together the Greek yogurt, olive oil, salt, cumin, honey mustard, lemon juice, and black pepper.
*Add the raisins, walnuts, and feta cheese to the bowl with the broccoli. Drizzle the dressing on top of the broccoli mixture and toss to coat evenly. Serve cold.

Happy Cooking!