Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Rice Salad Plate

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces by Kathy Maister

I discovered this wonderful dish when it was served to me on a Finn Air flight. I loved it so much I developed my own interpretation!

This rice salad is garnished with mandarin oranges and pecans, and is served with hard cooked eggs, herring (from a jar) or salmon, and rye crackers or bread with butter. It is a fabulous lunch or a light supper.

This dish requires very little cooking, and it can all be done in advance. For 4-6 servings you will need about 3 cups of cooked rice and 4-6 hard cooked eggs.

(You can make your own rice or you can use any leftover plain white rice you might have from an Indian or Chinese take-out meal that you had the day before.)

Make the dressing for the rice first.


½ cup plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)

2 tablespoons of rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of dried dill

Rice Vinegar has a very mild flavor. You could use plain white vinegar, but I would definitely use less. (Maybe only 2 teaspoons!)

Add the rice to the dressing, then add:

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

3 tablespoons of chopped green onion

And a sprinkle of salt and pepper

This all can get done in advance.

When you are ready to serve your rice salad, be sure to assemble each plate in the kitchen, and present the plate as a done deal. Don’t put all the separate bits into serving dishes and let everyone help themselves. Each plate should have lots of eye appeal!

Put a spoonful of rice on the plate.

Garnish with some drained, cold, mandarin oranges and some pecans.

Cut the hard cooked egg into wedges and add to the plate.

Drain the herring from the jar and add that too!

Use some of the leftover parsley for extra garnish.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!


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Ploughman’s Lunch

print recipe card posted in Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Cold plates from around the world make a great lunch or light supper. Many require little or no cooking. In fact you can put together a delicious Cold Mediterranean Plate with all store bought ingredients like hummus, stuffed grape leaves, feta cheese, olives and some pita bread.

One of my favorite cold plates is the English “Ploughman’s Lunch.” Many years ago, my English husband introduced me to a this delicious meal along with a “Shandy” (1/2 beer and 1/2 lemonade) to wash it all down.

The great thing about a Ploughman’s lunch is that is takes less than 10 minutes to prepare!

It consists of a bit of mixed salad, crusty bread and butter, a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese, and Branston pickle, which is a sort of relish or chutney. Many Americans have never heard of Branston pickle. But if you look in the international section of the grocery store I’ll bet you’ll find it, nestled between the “mushy peas” and PG Tips tea.

Branston Pickle was first introduced in 1922 by Cross and Blackwell, in England of course. The actual recipe is still a secret! It has this really unique spicy, sweet, tangy flavor, that when combined with cheddar cheese and bread, you have yourself a little bit of heaven. You can vary proportions to your taste. Substitutes are allowed but watch out if you have any English people at your meal!

When I serve this at home, the only difference is that I usually stick to just the lemonade to wash it down. Otherwise, a siesta would be on the menu as well!



Be sure to also check out my recipe for Cold Rice Salad Plate. Everyone loves the unique blend of flavors in this recipe!


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How to Cut a Pineapple

posted in Fruits by Kathy Maister

You can buy either whole pineapples or pre-cut fresh pineapples in the produce section of the grocery store. In my grocery store it costs almost $2 more to buy the precut pineapple.

The mighty pineapple is really easy to slice, as long as you have a big sharp knife.

Start by removing the top

Then the bottom

With the pineapple sitting firmly on the cutting board, start slicing off the outer layer of skin.

Then cut it into slices.

Trim out the very center as it tends to be very tough to chew.

The juicy, sweet, and tangy flavor makes it a great addition to fruit salads or fruit kabobs.

If you are making a gelatin fruit salad (Jell-O!) you have to use canned pineapple. The natural enzymes in fresh (and frozen) pineapple do not allow the gelatin to set.

Be sure to buy pineapples that have crisp green leaves and feels uniformly soft to the touch. Specific soft spots means the pineapple has started to go off.

Pineapples do not continue to ripen, or get any sweeter off the vine. Uncut, kept at room temperature, the acidity levels will decrease.

Be sure to wrap up leftovers tightly in plastic wrap. They should last about 3 days in the refrigerator.

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