Gulf Coast Shrimp Salad

Crowded Earth Kitchen is spending some time on the Gulf Coast along the Florida panhandle, and the seafood here is FABULOUS. Fresh from the dock, seafood lovers can procure an impressive variety of fish, oysters, crawfish, and shrimp. We’ve opted to steam large, whole brown shrimp – a staple here along the Gulf – and turn them into a healthy salad, Florida style!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 pound fresh, whole brown shrimp

2 Florida oranges (oranges sold as “juice oranges” are the best!)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 head romaine lettuce, finely sliced

4 cups fresh spinach, washed

2 avocados, diced

Fresh, whole brown shrimp


Step 1) Squeeze juice from one orange. Combine juice with soy sauce and minced garlic. Set aside.

Step 2) Place shrimp in a steamer basket above boiling water. Steam shrimp for 6 minutes or until pink. Drain immediately, rinse in cold water, and set in freezer to chill for 15 minutes.

Step 3) After 15 minutes, wash remaining orange well and cut in half. Then, cut each half of the orange into very thin slices.

Step 4) Arrange romaine lettuce and spinach on individual serving plates. Top with thin orange slices and avocado. Drizzle with the orange/soy/garlic dressing.

Step 4) Remove shrimp from freezer. Arrange cooked Gulf shrimp over each salad and serve immediately!

Anti-Angiogenic Salad Dressing

dressing2Anti-angiogenic foods are getting plenty of attention these days, now that the mainstream medical community has embraced the cancer-fighting properties of these foods.

In a nutshell, anti-angiogenic foods contain compounds which help to cut off cancer from it’s blood supply, helping to “starve” cancer which already exists in the body and helping to prevent cancer from developing in the first place. This Continue reading

Ahi Tuna Salad

WIN_20160114_205827My local market sells small, individually sealed, frozen Ahi tuna steaks for a very reasonable price. Ahi tuna (Yellowfin tuna) is high in protein, low in fat, and packed full of B vitamins. While I generally prefer the sustainability and reliably lower mercury levels of small fish such as sardines, the delectable flavor of Ahi tuna is an indulgence I’m not ready to part with entirely. This recipe offers an easy way to enjoy this delicious fish.

A note about slicing tuna for pan searing: If you enjoy tuna a bit pink in the center, slice your tuna steak 1/3 inch thick and sear quickly. I prefer tuna cooked through, and slice my steak into 1/4 inch thick pieces. It’s up to you.

WIN_20160114_205407Ingredients (per person)

Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

3 ounce frozen Ahi tuna steak, sliced thin

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves

2 tablespoons cooked, shelled edamame (soybeans)

1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili vinegar

colorful pepper slices to garnish


Step 1) Arrange torn lettuce on a serving plate. Sprinkle with cooked, shelled edamame.

Step 2) In a small bowl, whisk together grated ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and chili vinegar to make a simple vinaigrette. Set aside.

Step 3) Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Make sure bottom of skillet is evenly coated with oil. Add Ahi tuna slices and sear 15 – 30 seconds on each side (if you like the middle pink) or up to 1 minute on each side (if you like the tuna cooked through).

Step 4) Arrange tuna slices over lettuce and edamame. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish with pepper slices.

Enjoy your Ahi Tuna Salad!

Inside Out Bloody Marys


This just might be the easiest item to prepare on your entire party buffet… and the most popular! Who doesn’t love a good Bloody Mary? Sure, the spicy, tomato based vodka beverage is tasty, but everyone knows the best part of a well made Bloody Mary is the garnish. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we ran with that idea and created Inside Out Bloody Marys. The beverage itself is shot sized and potent, accompanied by an assortment of excellent pickled vegetables. Rock On!

Ingredients (Serves 12)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) spicy Bloody Mary mix, chilled (Preservation and Co. Bloody Mary Mix 32 Oz. Jar)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) good quality vodka, chilled

1 cup of pickled mushrooms

1 cup of pickled beans (Tabasco Beans, Spicy, 16 Ounce)

1 cup of pickled okra (TABASCO Spicy Pickled Okra 12 oz. jar)

Double (3 ounce) shot glasses



OK, friends – this is easy enough to prepare even if you’ve already enjoyed a full size Bloody Mary or three. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Begin by arranging your relishes in the center of a party platter. If you want more than three options, go for it. Try thick slices of dill pickles, ginger pickled carrots, garlic stuffed green olives, rosemary pickled cherry tomatoes, etc.

Next, arrange your shot glasses on the outer edge of the party platter. Fill your shot glasses half full with chilled vodka, and top with chilled Bloody Mary mix. Serve immediately!


Heirloom Tomato Salad


Summertime is not the time for fussy recipes. No, summertime is the time for featuring fresh-from-the-garden delicacies at their understated best! Try this… slice a few sun ripened heirloom tomatoes. Top them with a few slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle¬†with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Tuck a few sprigs of fresh herbs here and there (I used pineapple mint). Serve immediately.

Really, that’s it. We’ll have plenty of time for fussy tomato recipes next winter. Today, just enjoy a simple salad in the sunshine!

Smoked Salmon BLT Salad

WIN_20150420_142745Cold and crisp meals can be delightful, particularly in summertime. This hearty salad makes a filling, high protein lunch. Add a cup of gazpacho¬†and a fruity dessert, and you’ve got a complete dinner packed full of vitamins. What could be better?

WIN_20150420_142238Ingredients (Makes 2 main dish salads)

1 head of Romaine lettuce, washed

1 large, ripe tomato, chopped

2 slices of bacon, diced

8 ounces of smoked salmon, broken into bite size chunksWIN_20150420_140847

1 cup of light sour cream

1 teaspoon taco seasoning mix


Step 1) Fry bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

WIN_20150420_141047Step 2) Tear Romaine lettuce into bite size pieces and spread over two serving plates. Top with chopped tomato.

Step 3) Stir taco seasoning mix into light sour cream and blend until well combined. Scoop mixture into a plastic sandwich bag, and cut off one corner of the bag to create a small opening. Squeeze mixture through WIN_20150420_142130the small opening in this “homemade pastry bag” to make a decorative zig-zag of dressing over each salad plate.

Step 4) Top each salad with smoked salmon and crispy bacon. Serve immediately.


Mexican Chayote Salad (Cinco de Mayo Dinner, Part I)


Cinco de Mayo is a great celebration not only in¬†Mexico, but also in Mexican-American communities throughout the United States. Celebrated on May 5th (obviously),¬†Cinco de Mayo¬†is akin for many to the 4th of July.¬†Both days offer an opportunity to celebrate heritage with family, friends, and great food. Crowded Earth Kitchen¬†is happy to help you out with the great food part! Over the next few days, we’ll build the components of a delicious Cinco de Mayo meal.

WIN_20150419_121058Today we’re beginning with a simple salad featuring chayote, a vegetable native to Mexico. Chayote is a gourd, along with melons and squash. Resembling a wrinkled pear, chayote is low in calories and high in Vitamin C. Most chayote recipes are cooked… but chayote is actually quite crisp and delicious raw. The entire fruit – peel, seeds, and all – is completely edible. We’re taking advantage of that fact by simply washing our chayote and shaving it on the side of a box grater (a mandolin slicer would work just as well). From there, all we need is a bit of acid and spice. Delicious!

Ingredients (Makes 6 side dish servings)

Two chayote (should be firm when squeezed and the size of large pears)

Juice from one lime

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Thinly shave chayote using the side of a box grater or a mandolin slicer. Toss chayote with lime juice and chili powder. Sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Green Papaya Chop Salad



Green Papaya is a fun ingredient. While ripe papaya is bright orange, soft, and a bit pungent, unripe green papaya is pale green, pleasantly firm, mild, and refreshing. Low in calories and very high in Vitamin C, green papaya is known to contain enzymes which are beneficial to the digestive system. In both taste and versatility, green papaya reminds me a bit of zucchini.

This recipe pairs the nutritional goodness of green papaya with other low-calorie, vitamin rich ingredients – brightly colored bell peppers, unpeeled cucumber, fresh lime and ginger. Fish sauce adds a layer of complexity to the flavor profile; if you’d prefer, you can blend together a bit of soy sauce and brown sugar, and use that instead. Either way, this is a guilt-free¬†dish to feel good about!

WIN_20150405_114548Ingredients (Makes 4 large or 8 small servings)

1 green papaya (8 inches long), peeled, seeded, and diced

2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced

WIN_20150405_1152241 cucumber, unpeeled but seeded and diced

1 lime

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

2 tablespoons fish sauce


Step 1) Combine diced green papaya, peppers, and cucumber. Set aside.

Step 2) Grate ginger over a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lime into the same bowl. Add fish sauce and whisk to combine.

Step 3) Drizzle dressing over the diced vegetables and toss lightly to combine. Garnish with wedges cut from the squeezed lime, and serve.

Six Meals from a $6 Turkey (Part 4 of 4): Savory Turkey Salad


Savory Turkey Salad

Are¬†we tired of turkey yet? Good.¬†We should be. That means we’ve been cooking abundantly with a nutritious, seasonal food, just as cooks have been doing throughout human history.¬† The difference is, we have freezers now, so¬† we don’t actually have to eat turkey for days or weeks in a row in order to¬†be economical and health conscious cooks.

After making three turkey soups, turkey Stromboli, and turkey bread pockets, you should still have a little bit of turkey left.  Pull it out of your freezer some night, let it thaw in your refrigerator, and make this simple salad for lunch!

Ingredients (Makes 1 entrée salad)

1 cup cooked, chopped turkey

1/2 cup chopped apple

1/4 cup shelled, roasted walnuts

2 tablespoons diced celery

2 heaping tablespoons vanilla yogurt

1/4 teaspoon crushed herbes de provence

2 cups spinach leaves


Combine all ingredients except for spinach leaves.  Toss with a fork until well combined.  Arrange turkey mixture over a bed of spinach leaves.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon peel.  Done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed saving money and stocking your freezer with our Six Meals from a $6 Turkey series!¬† Next time on Crowded Earth Kitchen… dessert!

Salade de Betteraves Marin√©es (Marinated Beet Salad)


Americans just don’t have the same respect as the French for the humble beet.¬† This is unfortunate, as beets are as versatile as they are nutritious!¬† If my previous beet recipes such as Janine’s Pink Soup didn’t convince you, perhaps this one will.¬† Today’s simple salad recipe begins with plain ol’ boiled beets and – hang with me for a moment, ok? – lets them loaf around in a delightful marinate for a few hours.¬† The marinade imparts a fantastic flavor on the beets, and also serves as a build-in dressing for the salad.¬† So easy, so delicious.

WIN_20140913_153005Ingredients (serves 4)

8 cups mixed baby greens

16 spears of asparagus (or substitute green beans)

3 fresh beets

1 cup raw walnuts

1/3 cup olive oil

2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon crushed herbes de provence

1/2 teaspoon grey sea salt

lemon zest (to garnish)



Step 1) Remove tops ONLY from three fresh beets, and simmer the whole beet bulbs in water for 45 minutes or until beets are fairly easily pierced by a fork.¬† You don’t want soft/mushy beets, but they shouldn’t be rock hard, either.¬† Think “al dente” like pasta.

Step 2) Remove beets from pot and place in ice water for a few minutes to cool.

Step 3) While beets are cooling, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbes de provence, and sea salt. Set aside.

Step 4)¬†Trim ends from¬†asparagus spears (or green beans). Blanch them by placing them in boiling water for 1 minute only… remove quickly and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Step 5) Peel beets (the skins should slide right off when you rub them), slice them into 6 or 7 pieces each.  Place beet slices in a shallow bowl and cover with a little more than half of the marinade.  Set in refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.

Step 6) Place asparagus spears (or green beans) in a second bowl and cover with the remainder of the marinate.  Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Step 7) After enough marinading time has passed, assemble your salads.  Toss walnuts and greens together and arrange on four plates.  Top with beet slices and asparagus (or green beans).  Drizzle with a bit of the marinade, and garnish with lemon zest.  See? Beets really ARE delicious!

Easy Peanut Cabbage Slaw


This salad is ridiculously easy to make and very nutritious, featuring a whole head of Savoy cabbage.  Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage are well respected for being high in fiber, anti-cancer phytonutrients, and a wide range of vitamins including K, C, and B6.

You’ll notice chopsticks in the photo, above. ¬†If your children usually eat with a fork, try serving this dish with chopsticks… the long, thin slices of cabbage are relatively easy to pick up, and (in my experience anyway) the novelty of chopsticks can be enough to compel reluctant cabbage eaters to try a few bites. ¬†The pleasing peanut flavor with just a bit of zippy tang will keep them engaged!

Ingredients (makes 1 large serving bowl of salad; at least 8 cups)

1 head of Savoy cabbage

1/2 cup of thin sliced carrot

1/2 cup of thin sliced daikon or other radish

1/4 cup of real peanut butter (nothing hydrogenated, just peanuts and salt!)

1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup of chili vinegar (just white vinegar infused with a sliced Thai chili pepper)

1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts


Step 1) Slice cabbage very thin and toss in a large bowl.  You could use a grater if you prefer, but I like the texture of slices (think onion rings) better.

Step 2) Whisk together peanut butter, sesame oil, and chili vinegar in a medium size bowl.  It will take a minute of careful whisking, but these ingredients will give you a smooth, delicious dressing.

Step 3) Drizzle dressing all over cabbage and toss lightly until cabbage is evenly coated.  Add carrot and radish; toss again.  Garnish with peanuts and serve!


Apple Pie Salad


What can I say?¬† I had a stubborn¬†sweet tooth just before lunch today.¬†¬†While the more logical part of my brain knew that¬†something green and leafy was the more sensible option, my sweet tooth¬†had a hankerin’ for a big slice of apple pie complete with a buttery crust and sharp cheddar cheese.¬† We compromised.¬† This salad takes only five minutes to prepare, offers buttery apple slices and cinnamon croutons,¬†and won’t¬†send you spiraling down into an afternoon sugar coma.¬†¬†You’re welcome.

Ingredients (serves 1 sweet tooth and its owner)

1 teaspoon butter

1 slice whole wheat bread, cut into crouton shapes

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 apple slices

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 generous cups baby leaf spinach


Step 1) Melt butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat.  Add bread pieces and cinnamon.  Saute bread for 2 minutes, flipping pieces after 1 minute, so that both sides are golden brown.  Remove bread croutons from pan and set aside.

picture575Step 2) Add apple slices to the same pan and cook for two minutes, flipping slices after 1 minute, so that both sides are golden brown.  Remove apple slices from pan and set aside.  Turn off burner but do not rinse pan yet!

Step 3) Arrange baby spinach on a serving plate.

picture576Step 4) Add balsamic vinegar to the pan (yes, the same pan, which is now coated in apple-butter-cinnamon deliciousness!).¬† Turn burner to high for about 3 seconds, just enough to heat the vinegar.¬† Remove the pan from the heat and gently scrape or “deglaze” the bottom of the pan.¬† This releases all of the apple-butter-cinnamon deliciousness into the vinegar and makes a fantastic vinaigrette dressing!¬† If too much vinegar evaporated, simply add another tablespoon of vinegar to the pan.

Step 5) Drizzle vinaigrette over baby spinach.  Sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Arrange apple slices and croutons on top.  Enjoy!

Caramelized Pear Salad


I adore pears of all varieties, for they are both delicious and amazingly nutritious.¬† Pears are high in fiber, low in calories, and are a good source of Vitamin C.¬† Further, pears contain a class of phytonutrients, or natural¬† plant-based chemicals, called “flavonols.”¬† Flavonols have anti-inflammatory properties, function as antioxidants in the human body, and have even been associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.¬† Sounds good to me.

picture223 (2)For this simple, ten minute salad, I used a few cute little Seckel pears.  Seckels have a yellow-green color with occasional streaks of pink or red, are juicy and sweet when ripe, and are about the size of a kiwifruit.  Feel free to use whatever variety of pear you prefer!


Ingredients (makes 2 entrée size salads)

6 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and dried

2 large or 4 small ripe pears, any variety, sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped raw almonds

4 ounces chevre goat cheese


Step 1) Melt butter in sauté pan over low heat.  Add brown sugar.  Stir over low heat for one minute.

Step 2) Add pears.  Begin caramelizing over medium heat, loosening the pears often with a nonstick spatula.

picture225Step 3) After two minutes, add almonds to sauté pan.  Cook one additional minute, then turn off heat.

Step 4) Divide spinach between two plates.  Top each plate with half of the caramelized pears.  Drizzle pan drippings (delicious!) over each plate.

picture226Step 5) Divide goat cheese in half.  Spoon bite size pieces evenly onto each salad.


The creamy tanginess of goat cheese pairs wonderfully with both the sweetness of caramelized pears and the crunch of almonds.  Enjoy!