Warmer weather calls for easy dishes that come together quickly and take advantage of what’s fresh and may be even growing outside your door. For a pasta salad that practically screams TAKE ME TO A PARTY! look no further than this easy recipe. 🙂 And for a simple summer supper at home, just halve the recipe and enjoy.


good handful of fresh parsley, chopped coarsely
2/3 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
zest of 2 lemons (and juice of 1 lemon)
Optional: a couple of thyme sprigs

Pasta Salad
1 pound pasta, cooked/drained (I used bite-size rigatoni; double elbows would be great, too)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 pound ciliegine (small, cherry-sized fresh mozzarella), halved
1/3 pound peppered salami, sliced about 1/4″ thick, then cubed–about two slices
1/4 cup basil (I used a combo of Genovese and lemon basil), chiffonade

Whisk together dressing ingredients to let the flavors meld. Just before I started cooking the pasta, I let the tomatoes hang out in the dressing a bit.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Right before you’re ready to add the pasta, combine dressing, tomatoes, mozzarella, salami and basil–mix well. Drain pasta, add to other ingredients, making sure everything is coated/combined. Serve warm. Leftovers go in the fridge, of course. GNAM GNAM GNAM. Mangia! Mangia!




Kattys chicken curry salad

Nothing like a cool sandwich on a hot day. It’s a tasty way to use up leftover roasted chicken to boot! I make chicken curry salad all the time and thought you might enjoy it, too. Well, except for my friend Pamela, who hates raisins. 🙂

trust issues
Not a raisin fan? You could use a similar amount of seedless grapes, quartered. No more trust issues. And we all live happily ever after.


½ pound roasted chicken (leftover, cold) cut in small pieces
half a red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to plump them (or sub seedless grapes, quartered, if you prefer), then strained

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¾ teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon sesame oil
¾ teaspoon hot curry powder (or whatever curry powder you have is fine, too)

In a medium bowl or pitcher, whisk together dressing ingredients till smooth. Add chicken, pepper, pecans and raisins and stir to blend thoroughly. Enjoy as a sandwich or on top of your favorite greens for a salad.


The year is 1976. It’s the summer before my ninth birthday. There I am, smiling away (not much changes, right?) in Nanny and Poppy’s backyard on Silver Lane. In front of me is a freshly made batch of Nanny’s potato salad, still warm.


Dig our tablecloth on the picnic table, by the way. Is that a stylish touch or what? We weren’t wealthy, but we always had at least three things: each other, good food and a little bit of style.

My mom has that funny expression on her face. And that’s my uncle Greg on the other side of the table. It’s the first time I ever had Nanny’s potato salad. I remember liking it so much, we took some home. The next day, my mom dished out some out for me. Cold. “Aren’t you going to heat it up?” I asked.

So, that’s where it starts. Warm potato salad. It’s not just my childhood memory of how I think things should be. Thirty-seven years later, warm potato salad still sounds right to me.

I recently learned of Salad Olivier–a.k.a Insalata Russa or Russian Salad. How about that? Potatoes and carrots and peas and diced pickles! Doesn’t that sound good? Well, aren’t you going to heat it up? 🙂 It’s traditionally served cold, but it sure tastes great warm with the best wurst from Noack’s to go with! And, by now, you know the drill. Of course we’re gonna crinkle-cut those carrots.



2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, diced
2 cups frozen peas
3 carrots, peeled and crinkle-cut
1/3 of a large sweet onion, finely chopped (sauté in bacon grease or olive oil if you’re short on bacon)
about 1/4 cup of pickles, diced (I used Vlasic Stackers Zesty Dill—3 Stackers slices, very zesty indeed!)
black pepper to taste

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 a fresh lemon, squeezed
¼ cup parsley, minced
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons Penzey’s horseradish powder (yes, a random ingredient, but I like it–so add it if you have it!)

First, saute the onions. It’s handy if you’ve already made a trip to Noack’s. In addition to the best wurst, they also have killer bacon. Save the bacon drippings from breakfast and sizzle up the onions till nice and soft and golden. Set aside.

Now, may I suggest boiling the potatoes in a large stockpot of salted water? It’s really preferable to filling them to the brim of a pan that’s not quite big enough and watching them boil all over the stovetop. Oh, not like I know from personal experience or anything. Cook just till fork-tender and drain.

Meanwhile, same as the potatoes (badadas), boil the carrots till fork-tender. Add 2 cups frozen peas to the pan when the carrots are almost done—just throw ‘em in for about a minute or two.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Then fold the sauteed onions, warm potatoes, carrots and peas into the dressing. Don’t delay–serve right away with your favorite wurst. Or eat it cold if you must. Just heat up my portion, OK?


Let’s surry down to a stoned soul picnic with the family. ♫ Red yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine. ♫ I can only get there in my mind’s eye now, but if I could make it happen, I would definitely bring this potato salad. Warm. On a picnic table with a tablecloth, capisce? See you there!

Janey and Nanny

Janey and Nanny

With a heatwave on the horizon here in the Land of Steady Habits and mint growing like mad, I was on a mission to make the most of my secret garden. Shh, the wabbit is hiding behind the mint–don’t tell anyone!

Luckily, I was smart enough to pick the mint earlier today while it was sunny and gorgeous out. I stored it in this lovely, made-especially-for-me vase (thanks to my #1 taster) before it started to rain. Makes quite the pretty bouquet, no?

Anyway, as we’re headed for plenty of heat and humidity over the next few days, what better time to share this recipe for Thai-like (laab-like, larb like) chicken salad? I added extra things I like–red bell pepper, jalapeno, chopped cashews, green onions–and subtracted much of the fish sauce. A little fish sauce goes a long way for this kat–perhaps for you, too.

Adapted from Bon Appétit

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 pound ground chicken

2 limes–zest of one lime, juice of both
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili paste

1 small Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 jalapeño, minced
4 green onions, sliced
4 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of cashews, chopped
2 cups fresh mint leaves
spring mix

Prep the salad
Rinse mint leaves, chop the vegetables and cashews.

Make the dressing
Combine lime juice and zest, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of chili paste and fish sauce in a medium bowl.

Cook the chicken
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon chili paste. Cook just about a minute or so, then add chicken. Break up meat with your spatula as you go, until chicken is completely cooked.

Put it together
Add cooked chicken and sliced onion to dressing. Grab a handful of spring mix and a generous handful of mint per plate. Sprinkle cucumbers around perimeter. Place a quarter of the chicken/onion/dressing mixture atop greens. Sprinkle with bell peppers, green onions, jalapenos and cashews. Note: the chicken can be made ahead and served cold, but I like to serve it warm.

Stay cool through the heatwave! Trying this salad will help! 🙂


In the dead of winter, it’s hard to think about BLTs. ’cause as much as bacon’s the star in that sandwich, where is it without the supporting role of a nice native tomato? I loathe the cold and lack of sun this time of year. Apparently, tomatoes do, too, since they don’t grow here now (well, nothing does, that’s part of the problem, but I digress).

Luckily, grape tomatoes always taste good. Sure, they are sweeter to me straight off my deck in the summertime, but no matter where they come from, they never disappoint. And working them into a sexy salad is a fun way to get your off-season BLT fix. I should mention, I invited avocado to the party by making a little bacon guacamole. It’s more of a formula than a recipe. Let me show you how.

for two, or barring someone to share with me, I eat the whole thing myself 🙂

spring mix (or whatever lettuce combo you like best)
2 slices of your favorite bacon, cooked and chopped (mine comes from M’town’s Meadow Meat)
1 ripe avocado
a wedge of lemon or lime
a handful of grape tomatoes (maybe 5-7, depending on size, doowutchyalike)
a slice of sweet onion, diced
a kitchen teaspoonful of mayo (i.e. grab a teaspoon from the silverware drawer and don’t be shy)
Kosher salt to taste

Cook the bacon, drain, set aside to cool and chop.

Meantime, chop a slice of sweet onion and cut up the grape tomatoes–add to a medium bowl. Dice the avo and add to the bowl. Squeeze the lemon or lime over the top. Add chopped bacon and mayo; add salt to taste.

Plate your spring mix (or lettuce)–spoon the bacon guac over the top. Toss together–it’s your dressing, so enjoy it!

Counting the days till spring (45!), I remain, your friend,
The bacon-loving Kat >>^..^<<

This past weekend, I stumbled upon Bella Gusta, a new olive oil and vinegar store/tasting room in West Hartford Center. They sell infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars–varieties of which I’d never seen or dreamed of–all yours for the sampling! I was drawn to chocolate, grapefruit and jalapeno vinegars, but came home with espresso. Talk about espresso love!

I’m sure the possibilities are endless, but my first experiment was vinaigrette: deep, dark, dense and delectable! Now I really need to come up with a sexier salad to serve it with.


¼ cup hazelnut oil
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup espresso balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons coarse ground mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Whisk mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Drizzle in oil, whisking continually till incorporated, then slowly whisk in vinegar. Serve over your favorite sexy salad. You’ll be CRAZY about it!

As mentioned previously, my love for all things almondy knows no boundaries, so it should come as no surprise I’m sharing a recipe for almond vinaigrette. I found it in The Hartford Courant last year–“Taking Vanilla Beyond Sweetness.” So delicious, you’ll find yourself dipping leaves in the bowl of dressing to sample it as you’re making it. And maybe even licking the plate when you’re through with your salad…

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar

Whisk mustard, syrup, salt, pepper and both extracts in a bowl. Add canola in a fine stream, whisking continuously till incorporated. This step emulsifies the dressing and keeps it from separating. Next, slowly whisk in the vinegar. Yields 3/4 cup.

I was out of white pepper–if you don’t have it handy, black pepper is fine, too. And, boy, this is particularly fab drizzled over local produce.

Have you ever seen a lemon cucumber?

The lemon cucumbers came from a friend’s garden. Tomatoes, of course, are plentiful out on the deck.

My summer salad post wouldn’t be complete without a nod to one of my favorite local farm stands, where I get whatever isn’t growing on my deck!

Berruti’s, home of the best corn I’ve had this year, as well as perfect peaches and lots of lovely lettuce!

Montauk corn from Berruti's

 Happy weekend!

The sexy Italian salad!


It is hot as you-know-where here in the Land of Steady Habits, so, in an attempt to beat the heat, I headed to the shore yesterday. That didn’t work so swimmingly, but while in Old Saybrook, I stopped in at Fromage on Route 1 to buy some new treats for Katty’s Kitchen:  hazelnut oil and champagne vinegar.  How did no one clue me in sooner about such deliciousness?! 


Inspired by my Foodbuzz friend PachecoPatty and her very tempting Grilled Chicken with Herbs and Arugula Salad with Raspberries, I knew I could really beat the heat by making a salad with these fine ingredients, some tasty goat ricotta salata (yum!) along with some prosciuttini and sopressata from Public Market. 

I found a lovely champagne vinaigrette recipe from Southern Living and simply swapped out the olive oil for hazelnut oil. I also didn’t measure nearly that much salt–just a series of grinds from the salt mill to taste. 

mesclun and arugula

 Here’s what I picked for the salad, fresh from the deck: 

two lettuces–Ruby Red and Black Seeded Simpson
flat-leaf parsley
lime basil–if you don’t have some in your herb garden, please add to your shopping list immediamente!
hot & spicy oregano 

Then I added:
sliced avocado (a.k.a. “the fancy avo fan”)
goat ricotta salata
kalamata olives 

Growing up in an Italian restaurant, we always made antipastos and chef’s salads semi-artistically; thus my little ring of prosciuttini atop the sopressata around the perimeter of the plate. Please tell me you know about prosciuttini–peppered ham. My very favorite, both in salads and in Italian combos. 

Nothing beats a freshly picked salad on a hot, hot day. In fact, I might need to have one right now! Ciao! 

Lettuce please you? 🙂


chicken salad

chicken salad over avocado

How ’bout we dress things up with a new twist on an old, much-loved family recipe? My mom gave this to me on a recipe card labeled “Dressing for Potato Salad” from Nanny/Ma. And how I loved Nanny’s potato salad! It’s a classic. The original recipe can be used to make potato salad for 5 pounds of taters!

I thought I’d change it up ever so slightly by subbing rice vinegar for white vinegar and adding celery seed and a little sesame oil. I really enjoyed it both in my chicken salad and blended into broccoli slaw as a side dish.

1 cup mayo
½ cup rice vinegar (white vinegar if you want to do it the original way)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Add ½ cup dressing per pound of meat. Don’t forget to try this dressing on broccoli slaw, too!

I  added ½ cup of golden raisins and ½ diced pecans to a pound of chicken tenders I had roasted with salt, California seasoned pepper (Penzey’s) and rosemary. I served it over ½ a sliced avocado and really liked it…which is a good thing since I’ll be having it for lunch AGAIN. 🙂

I’m still working on my avocado fan. It is one of many self-assigned development opportunities. Let’s face it, it tastes good even if it isn’t picture-perfect. I learned I was supposed to present the avocado fan bottom up and fanned over the top. What did you expect from amateur hour? The good news is, this is definitely another sexy salad.

My not-so-fancy avocado fan–a work in progress!

Wait, wait! I did it! I made a fancy avo fan. Lookie here!

avocado fan

I did it! I did it!

Just goes to show ya, you can do anything when you put your mind to it. Thanks, coach!

Katty’s note: 1/2 cup of dressing is just the right amount for a 12 oz. bag of broccoli slaw. 🙂

The sexy salad takes an Asian turn!

Can you stand another sexy salad? 🙂 Warmer weather calls for more green lunches–or green dinners! This tasty potsticker salad is an easy meal you can throw together quickly without sacrificing a bite of deliciousness.

Pick up your favorite dumplings. In my neck of the woods, I’m very happy with Stew Leonard’s. They make pork, chicken and veggie–pork being my personal fave. Of course, if you have the time and talent to make your own, so much the better.

Next, make sure you have your favorite salad fixin’s on hand and dinner is just a squeeze, stir, chop and saute away!


¼ of an orange, squeezed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½  teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon sriracha (or hot sauce of your choice)

Start with spring mix, baby romaine or lettuce of choice, then add any of these:
diced red pepper
crumbled bacon
seaweed salad
sliced cucumbers
grape tomatoes
diced avocado
shredded carrots
chopped cashews or peanuts

Steam or pan-fry the dumplings and arrange them across the top of your salad. Drizzle the orange sesame dressing over the salad bed, then add a bit of ginger-soy over the dumplings. Make it your own…and make it part of your warmer weather dinner rotation. You can’t go wrong with a sexy salad.

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