Friday, August 31, 2012

Old Settlers’ Baked Beans

How can you have a cookout without baked beans? Aren’t they as “American” as “Mom, apple pie and baseball”?

Baked bean recipes with fanciful names abound — Cowboy Beans, Bonanza Beans, Western, Chuck Wagon and Calico Beans, to name a few. I love all those names because they add the rugged imagery of an earlier time to the “grub” even though I know that individuals in the Old West did not have access to all the convenient ingredients and appliances that we use in these so-named recipes today.

I’ve experimented with various combinations for a recipe that I believe is worthy of the title “Old Settlers’ Baked Beans.” I hope you not only like the moniker but the dish itself. CJK

Old Settlers’ Baked Beans
(Carol Jessen-Klixbull)

8 slices bacon
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ham, diced

1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz.) Great Northern beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. chili powder

Spray inner crock lining of slow cooker with no-stick spray.

Cut the bacon slices into 5 or 6 pieces each. Fry them, drain off grease and set aside.

Crumble ground beef in skillet, lightly brown over medium heat and drain off the grease. Stir in ham and half of the cooked bacon (reserving the rest for garnish) and transfer to slow cooker. Add the onion, garlic and beans to the slow cooker.

Mix remaining ingredients together in small bowl. Pour mixture over beans and stir all ingredients together. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Top with remaining cooked bacon before serving.

Yield: 16 to 20 servings

If preparing in the oven:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray large baking dish with no-stick spray. Assemble ingredients as described in slow cooker version. Bake for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If beans become too thick before serving, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. If the mixture is too thin before serving, turn the oven up higher or bake longer.

A note from Carol: This recipe makes a great side dish for holidays or special occasions and with nearly two pounds of meat in the ingredient list, it is a tasty entrée any time. The chili powder and dry mustard add a pleasant heat and spiciness creating a dish that resembles a milder-tasting chili — without the liquid.

I mentioned in the introduction for this Labor Day cookout collection that the recipes would be fun and easy. Letting a slow cooker do the “baking” at this still-hot time of year keeps the heat out of the kitchen.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farmers’ Market Corn Salad

This satisfying salad serves a large number of people, making it a good choice for potlucks and picnics. And, it easily switches roles — it’s also great when served as a dip with corn chips or scoops. CJK

Farmers’ Market Corn Salad
(Sheila Ballweg-Pulju)

3 cans (15 oz.) whole kernel corn, well-drained*
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 red onion, chopped
1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped finely
1 to 2 small carrots, shredded
1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Fritos® chili cheese corn chips, crushed

Mix first seven ingredients together and chill for at least 2 hours. Immediately before serving, blend in the mayonnaise. Garnish with the crushed corn chips.

Yield: 12 to 15 servings

A note from Sheila: It’s fun to use veggies from our garden or the farmers’ market for this gluten-free salad that seems to appeal to most everyone. At times I’ve used canned *Mexican corn with red and green peppers for a little extra color and flavor but it’s not necessary as these peppers are ingredients in the salad itself.

A note from Carol: A member of St. Boniface Parish in Cold Spring, Sheila is no stranger to FFF. She’s shared a number of wonderful recipes including a rich, decadent chocolate truffle tart, classic red velvet cake, her mother’s lemon bars, distinctive maple salmon and a refreshing and perky Thai cucumber salad.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ladybug Appetizers

Little red bug, oh so cute,
Here’s a black spot for your suit…
   Susan Paprocki

Unlike flies or ants, these insects will be welcome “guests” at your Labor Day picnic. The charming little appetizers — imitating the well-loved and respected ladybug — are sure to start off your gathering on a light-hearted note. I’d call them “glee-licious”! CJK

Ladybug Appetizers
(Janice Karels)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
Black food coloring
2 tbsp. sour cream
1/2 tsp. snipped chives
1/8 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. garlic salt or powder
36 butter-flavored crackers
72 fresh chive pieces (1 1/2 in. long)
18 pitted black olives, halved lengthwise
18 small cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Remove 1 tbsp. cream cheese and place in small plastic bag. Tint cream cheese in plastic bag with black food coloring and set aside.

To remaining cream cheese, add sour cream, chives, parsley and garlic salt, mixing well. Spread cream cheese mixture on crackers. On each cracker, arrange two chive pieces for antennae, one olive piece for head and two tomato pieces for wings. Barely clip corner of plastic bag and pipe spots of tinted cream cheese on wings.

Yield: 36 appetizers   

A note from Janice: I first tasted these when my daughter made them for a bachelorette party. They are cute! She has also served them at potlucks and bridal and baby showers.

A note from Carol: Janice and her late husband Steve, parents of five adult children and 10 grandchildren, have been longtime members of St. Mary Parish in Mora.

She originally shared these adorable appetizers in “Loaves & Fishes and Other Great Dishes,” the 2008 cookbook published by her parish. Three other recipes from the book have been featured on FFF: Dilled Spring Potato Salad, Layered Cabbage Salad and Crunchy Pea Salad. Call St. Mary’s office at 320-679-1593 to order a copy for $10 plus shipping and handling.

(Photos by Nikki Rajala)

Mix in the fun at your end-of-summer cookout

Although summer isn’t officially over until 10:49 a.m. Sept. 22, the arrival of Labor Day weekend seems to signal the informal end of this sultry season. Perhaps it’s because kids return to school, the much-lauded State Fair closes and the leaves of trees begin to turn kaleidoscopic colors and fall off their branches.

Camp-outs, baseball games, rodeos, a dip in the lake, bringing in docks, storing away boats and closing up cabins are on the agenda for many this upcoming holiday weekend. And, lots of families, friends and neighbors are looking forward to gathering for one last ‘end-of-summer’ picnic or cookout.

If you’re starting to think about what to serve with the hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks or other foods you plan to grill or barbecue, continue to check back in with FFF the next few days. The upcoming recipes for Ladybug Appetizers, Farmers’ Market Corn Salad, Old Settlers’ Baked Beans and Over-the-Top Rice Krispie Bars are oodles of fun, really easy and sure to be a hit as we turn the unofficial corner into the cooler days of fall. CJK

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love is the priority

“Never let a problem to be solved 
become more important than 
the person to be loved.”

— Barbara Johnson

Saturday, August 25, 2012

West Africa desperately needs help

This article by Tony Magliano, an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist, originally appeared in the July 20, 2012, edition of The Visitor.

Imagine being very hungry nearly all the time. Imagine telling your children to wait until the end of the day to eat a very small meal. Imagine eating every other day.

Imagine not eating at all. 

Very sadly, over 18 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region – an area between the Sahara Desert and the African tropics — do not have to imagine severe hunger; they are either experiencing it, or getting very close to it.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Food and nutrition crises in the region have grown in frequency and severity in recent years, mostly driven by sporadic rainfall, insufficient local harvests, high food prices and insecurity. As a result, people’s resilience has been eroded, undermining their capacity to respond to what have become recurrent emergencies.”
Nine Sahel countries — Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Cameroon and northern Nigeria — are facing severe food shortages.

Desiring to hear a personal firsthand account of the crisis, I called the Republic of Mali and spoke with Catholic Relief Services’ country representative Timothy Bishop.

Bishop told me that “Unlike the United States, almost everyone in Mali farms. And if the crops don’t grow, families don’t eat. It’s that simple.”

He said normally during the time leading up to the September harvest, Mali’s population experiences a hunger period — the “lean” season — when people eat fewer meals. But since last year’s sporadic rains and subsequent poor harvest, countless families have used up their food reserves and are facing a severe hunger crisis.

Bishop told me that currently over 3 million people in Mali are suffering from severe hunger. He added that “Mali’s government is absolutely doing a lot to help, but its resources are very limited. If adequate international assistance is not forthcoming, countless families will be reduced to begging and eating tree leaves. And some may starve.”

Catholic Relief Services’ country representative in Niger, Bill Rastetter, emailed me saying, “Few people have more than the minimum, and many don’t have even that. There will be no one answer for the entire region (Sahel), or even one country.  The results will vary, and many people will continue to be in need.”

Please make a difference by sending as generous a donation as possible to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, Md. 21203-7090. Kindly earmark your check for “West Africa food crisis relief.” Donations can also be made online: type “West Africa food crisis relief” in the Special Request Box or by phone: 1-877-435-7277.

Bishop asked that we also contact our congressional delegation urging them to ensure that Mali, Chad and Mauritania be placed on USAID’s Food for Peace priority country list. In order for these suffering nations to receive long-term U.S. food assistance, they must be added to this list.
Additionally, Catholic Relief Services is asking us to urge our two U.S. senators and congressperson to oppose any amendments that further cut international food assistance in the Agriculture Appropriations bill, and support increased funding for long-term Food for Peace programs. Cutting this assistance will not balance the federal budget, but it will cause suffering people to starve to death!

As disciples of Jesus, we know these words of his all too well: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” However, knowing this essential teaching is simply not enough, we must tirelessly act on it! Tony Magliano

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mapping the path to peace

“If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.”

Norman Borlaug
Father of the Green Revolution 
1970 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frozen Fruit Dessert

Watergate pistachio salad. Candy apple salad. Cherry pie salad. Snicker® apple salad.

I smirk when I think of “salads” such as these — each composed with a full container of whipped topping, perhaps a box of instant pudding, a can of pie filling or up to six chocolate-coated caramel peanut nougat candy bars. Don’t take me wrong — they are yummy and I enjoy a serving of them when they appear at a potluck or family get-together. But calling them “salads” brings out the grins and “snickers” in most of us.

Maybe because they bear the salad label, we enjoy a more-or-less guilt-free helping (or two) of them with the main meal and still give ourselves permission to freely sample from the dessert table at those special gatherings we all love so much. I’m sure someone has figured out the psychology behind it. But, what’s the fun in that?

I’ve seen a number of frozen fruit salad recipes this year that fall into the category I’ve been discussing. It’s been a hot, muggy summer and I can imagine they’ve been much appreciated — cool and refreshing — perhaps doubling as a dessert at a picnic or cookout.

I’ve experimented with the concept this summer, too, and come up with one I’ve received compliments on. I’m not going to call it a salad, though. I’m going to classify it as a dessert because that’s how I served it. (Feel free to “brand” it in the category that works best for you.) Smiles. CJK

Frozen Fruit Dessert
(Carol Jessen-Klixbull)

Photo by Nikki Rajala
1 cup heavy cream
2 bananas, sliced
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries (do not thaw)
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen peaches (do not thaw)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
2 (1.85 oz.) chocolate bars, broken and divided
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained

Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Whip the cream until just before stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the bananas, pineapple and frozen strawberries and peaches and set aside.

Beat sugar and cream cheese together with a mixer. Mix in one cup chopped pecans and about 1 1/2 bars of the chocolate pieces. Gently fold into the whipped cream mixture. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Score the dessert into *desired number of pieces. Cover and freeze — for several hours, overnight or for a few days before serving.

Remove from freezer 1 to 1 1/2 hours before serving. Cut pieces along scored lines and garnish with the rest of the chopped pecans and mandarin oranges. Shave the rest of the chocolate bar on top to complete the garnish.

Yield: *12 to 24 servings

A note from Carol: There is no hard and fast list of ingredients in this recipe — almost any fruit would be delicious in it. Pitted Queen Anne cherries, maraschino cherries, sliced golden or green kiwi fruit, diced mango, halved red or green grapes, craisins or golden raisins, flaked coconut, pieces of angel food cake or miniature marshmallows might also be great additions. For me, the components vary each time I make it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Monet’s muse

“The richness I achieve comes from 
Nature, the source of my inspiration.”

— Claude Monet

“I perhaps owe having become
 a painter to flowers.”
— Claude Monet

Claude Monet (1840-1926), a founder of French impressionist painting, 
created this garden and lily pond in Giverny, France. (Photo by Nikki Rajala)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Keep calm and garden on

“I’ve learned everything 
about gardening by 
trowel and error.” 
— Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One hundred cheers for Julia Child!

If Julia Child were still living, today would be her 100th birthday.

This beloved “first lady of cooking” fervently began sharing her extensive knowledge of French cuisine with the American public through the 1961 cookbook she co-authored with two French women, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Dubbed “a pioneer of cooking shows,” she laid the groundwork for today’s infinite number of culinary programs with PBS’ “The French Chef,” which premiered in 1963.

Julia Child
August 15, 1912 — August 13, 2004
Julia’s enthusiasm for life — and cooking — was infectious! Her charming, cheerful, unflappable disposition and great sense of humor created an extraordinary kinship between her and her television audiences. She was prolific well into her older years, continuing to write several other cookbooks and books and entertaining us “Julia-philes” with numerous TV series during the 1970s, 1980s and, surprisingly, into the 1990s.

To commemorate the centenary of her birth, celebrations around the country have taken various forms including many special events and food-related adventures. A panel of chefs and culinary experts has compiled a list of her 100 most-loved recipes, which wasn’t easy, since she had written over 3,700. You can join in the celebration by cooking one of her recipes in her honor this month.

PBS is throwing an online “party” for Julia where you’ll be a welcome guest — find her recipes, watch their video collection, read her lively quotes, take the JC quiz to discover your “inner Julia Child” and much more.

Google has dedicated today’s Google Doodle to this esteemed culinary queen and at least four new books written about her this year can be added to the lengthy list that already exists. “Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child,” and “Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats” are slanted towards adults while “Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child” and “Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat” will appeal to all ages.

“We should enjoy food and have fun,” Julia once said. “It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.” I so agree. Bon Appetit! CJK

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Troubles solved and salsa too!

“Gardening is cheaper 
than therapy and you 
get tomatoes.” 

— Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Raindrops on roses — and rows of green beans

“Weather means more when you 
have a garden.  There’s nothing 
like listening to a shower and 
thinking how it is soaking 
in around your green beans.”
 — Marcelene Cox

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Green Bean Salad with Asian-style Dressing

A few years ago when Michelle Kent found herself in the enviable “predicament” of having lots of fresh green beans in her garden she found a delightful solution — a recipe for Green Bean Salad with Asian-style Dressing. It’s become one of her favorite recipes since then.

“It’s a refreshing summery salad,” Michelle said. “It’s so good when you have green beans straight out of the garden. A special memory I have is taking it to my grandma’s house for a meal. She wasn’t able to spend much time in her garden anymore and she really loved these green beans.

“I’ve served them with grilled pork chops, steak or chicken — just about any meat. Several times I’ve stir-fried chicken or beef and tossed the green beans and dressing with noodles to make a lo mein.”

My husband and I sampled this recipe this weekend and we agree with Michelle. The green beans are terrific with the dressing, which is nicely balanced; light, tangy and pleasantly piquant. The blend of freshly chopped garlic and gingerroot provide a characteristic flavor that you cannot obtain another way. And, there’s a pleasant little mystery with your first bite — when your mind unravels the taste puzzle, you discover it’s the distinctive taste and aroma of toasted sesame oil that brings it all together. CJK

Green Bean Salad with Asian-style Dressing
(Michelle Kent)

3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced (about 1 tbsp.)
2 tsp. toasted sesame seed oil*
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
2 green onions, finely chopped (about 2 tbsp.)

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegars, soy sauce, garlic, gingerroot and sesame oil. Add canola oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring until golden. Transfer to a small bowl. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook beans until crisp-tender, about four minutes. Transfer beans to colander and rinse under cold water. Drain beans well. In a large bowl, combine beans and green onions with dressing and toss well. Sprinkle salad with toasted sesame seeds. Salad can be served chilled or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings

A note from Michelle: *Toasted sesame seed oil can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

It’s important to blanch the green beans for only a short time so they remain slightly crisp for this salad.

A note from Carol: An avid gardener, every summer Michelle raises a large garden where she grows potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, sweet corn, green beans, cucumbers, basil, parsley and pumpkins. She and her husband James were members of Immaculate Conception Parish in Sedan, Minnesota, until it closed in 1998. The couple and their four children became parishioners of St. Donatus in Brooten at that time. Michelle and James have continued to care for the Immaculate Conception cemetery, of which James is the trustee.

Michelle originally shared this zippy “Green Bean Salad with Asian-style Dressing” in Brooten’s St. Donatus Parish’s centennial cookbook titled “Fruit of the Spirit.” (Contact the parish office at or 320-346-2431 to order copies of the cookbook — $10 each plus $5 for shipping.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Benedictine Sister Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck is a cheerleader for quinoa. But, she’s not the only one. Even the United Nations lines up on her side — declaring 2013 the International Year of Quinoa.

In fact, this influential organization has designated quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) a “super crop” due to its potential to feed the hungry poor of the world. It’s drought resistant (able thrive on three to four inches of annual rainfall) and grows well on poor soils without irrigation or fertilizer. Its seeds are prolific — one half pound of seed can plant a full acre, yielding 1,200 to 2,000 pounds of new seeds.

It’s amazingly nutrient rich! Researcher Philip White summed it up perfectly back in 1955 when he said, “While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom.”

Quinoa is a source of complete protein. It has an unusually high ratio of proteins to carbohydrates, since the germ makes up about 60 percent of the grain. (Wheat germ comprises less than three percent of a wheat kernel.)

It contains all the essential amino acids — in a healthy balance; is the highest of all grains in potassium and a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium. It is gluten-free and easy to digest, making a significant difference for those who are gluten intolerant and anyone who is sensitive to wheat or other grains in the grass family. Quinoa flour is a great substitute in wheat-free and gluten-free baking.

Because it isn’t a member of the grass family it is not a true cereal grain and is referred to as a pseudocereal. With a subtle nutty taste, its tiny grains are a flavorful alternative to white rice or couscous. There are over 120 different varieties of quinoa but the most commonly cultivated and commercialized species are white, red and black. Products made from quinoa include flour and baking mixes, breakfast cereals, pasta, granolas, breads, crackers and beverages.

“Everything about quinoa is just a win-win,” Sister Mary Rachel told me. “Its versatility speaks for itself. It’s got so many pluses. This salad showcases it beautifully — what a wonderful way to get protein without worrying about meat at summer potlucks and picnics.”

Red, Black or White
Quinoa is Dynamite!!!

Have you noticed I’ve become a quinoa cheerleader, too? C’mon — join in — there’s lots of room in this cheering section. And, there’s no dearth of “dynamite” recipes either. CJK

Black Bean Quinoa Salad
(Benedictine Sister Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck)

1 cup quinoa (raw)
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 1 bunch cilantro, chopped 
3 green onions, sliced
1 red pepper, diced

1/3 cup lemon or lime juice 
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. chili powder, optional

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted*

Place prewashed quinoa and two cups of water (or stock) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed —10 to 15 minutes. (When done, the grain appears soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.) Cool or chill, if time permits.

Combine salad ingredients. Thoroughly mix dressing ingredients; add to salad and garnish with pumpkin seeds. The salad may be served chilled or at room temperature.

Yield: 8-12 servings

A note from Sister Mary Rachel: It’s a lovely, flavorful salad — tangy, a little chewy and slightly nutty. *The toasted pumpkin seeds add a delightful crunch to the dish. I sauté them in a little butter or olive oil until they are golden brown. Or, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat, if you prefer.

And, this salad actually does double duty — it also makes a great hot dish! Make the salad as above, including the dressing, but not the pumpkin seeds. Consider adding (raw) chopped sweet potatoes or “kicking up the heat” with other spices such as curry, red pepper or Tabasco sauce. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes in a greased casserole dish. Garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds before serving.

A note from Carol: Benedictine Sister Mary Rachel, a native of Cold Spring, has been a member of St. Benedict’s monastery for 54 years. She has worked in the healthcare field since 1965 and is interested in natural healing and alternate forms of protein.

Her Black Bean and Quinoa Salad recipe is featured in the “Saint Benedict’s Monastery Cookbook, Volume II,” which was published last December. The spiral bound, 126-page book is a terrific collection of treasured recipes from the Benedictine Sisters in St. Joseph, Minn., and sells for $8.95 plus shipping and handling.

To purchase a copy of this cookbook or the three others printed by the monastery, stop by the Whitby Gift Shop and Gallery at the monastery in St. Joseph, the bookstores at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph or St. John’s University in Collegeville or the St. Scholastica Convent gift shop in St. Cloud.  It’s possible to order online as well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Salmon Salad with Papaya Dressing

Hawaii is known for its paramount beauty, shady palm trees, 
sun-kissed white sandy beaches — and 
luscious tropical fruits… 

Cindy Sanchez thinks back to the succulent papayas she sampled on those mid-Pacific islands every time she prepares this ambrosial salad. “I wish I could go back there to get the really great papayas — those were amazing,” she reminisced. “Sometimes it’s hard to find good papayas, mangos and avocados. But when they are in season, this is a great summer salad! It’s colorful and very pretty. And, I’ve never heard of any one not liking it.

“You can use either salmon or chicken for this recipe,” Cindy explained. “I’ve eaten it with grilled chicken but have really loved it with salmon so that’s all I use when I make it. The salmon is still warm from the grill — you can put the whole filet on the salad or break it in pieces.”

Mmmm… this salad won’t replace a trip to Hawaii but it’s likely to create some very special memories of its own. (I can’t wait to taste it!) CJK 

Salmon Salad with Papaya Dressing
(Cindy Sanchez)

1 cup canola oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar*
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. minced onion
2 tbsp. papaya seeds

1 head butter lettuce
1 bunch spinach
3/4-1 lb. salmon filet, grilled
1 mango, peeled and cubed                       
1 papaya, peeled and cubed (save seeds for dressing)
1 avocado (peeled and cubed immediately before serving)

Blend all the dressing ingredients (in a blender) until the papaya seeds are the size of coarsely ground pepper.

Place the greens on a platter and top with salmon, mango and papaya. When ready to serve, add the avocado and drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Yield: 6 servings

A note from Cindy: *I like to use some of the smaller bits of the papaya to sweeten the dressing so I tend to use a little less sugar than is called for. The dressing can be used for other salads as well.

I usually use butter lettuce with the spinach — it’s leafy and tender — but other lettuce varieties would work as well.

A note from Carol: Cindy (Stepan) Sanchez is originally from Brooten. She shared this enticing recipe in Brooten’s St. Donatus Parish’s centennial cookbook titled “Fruit of the Spirit.” (Contact the parish office at or 320-346-2431 to order copies of the cookbook — $10 each plus $5 for shipping.)

Cindy and her husband, Rafael, have been members of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Aurora, Colorado, for 35 years. They have two adult daughters and one granddaughter, Sofia, who is three years old. Cindy’s parents, Ruth and the late Oswald (Ozzie) Stepan, have been parishioners of St. Donatus since 1953.