05 May

Waldorf Salad

May: National Salad Month

We enjoyed our weekends walking around New York City, less than an hour’s train ride from where we once lived in Woodbridge, New Jersey. There is so much hustle, bustle, excitement and variety in the Big Apple. One time, we just happened upon a parade (one of several but can’t remember the occasion). Then it started to rain. We sought shelter at a famous jewelry store nearby, which gave Islander an opportunity to browse at all the baubles. Looking like a drenched rat, with a dangling button that she forgot to sew on her $14 K-Mart coat (originally $78 but deeply discounted on an off-season sale!), she was ignored and mostly got snooty stares from the salespeople. Well! We continued walking around Manhattan when the rain subsided, passing by the front of the famous Waldorf-Astoria, the scene we most remember from the first “Coming to America” movie. Recalling the recent rude experience from the jewelry store, we did not dare enter the luxury hotel.

Besides the Eddie Murphy film, we know the Waldorf-Astoria for its Waldorf salad—something that Islander’s Mommy would make for the family. The original salad comprised of only lettuce, celery, apples and a mayonnaise dressing—cheap ingredients for a not-so-cheap hotel. Over the years, lemon juice, grapes or raisins and walnuts have become popular additions, elevating the salad to something as iconic as the hotel after which it was named. The recipe that follows is close to what her Mommy used to make.

So if you have a beer budget but champagne tastes, try this easy and affordable Waldorf salad, especially during National Salad Month.


Ingredients (Original)

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 big apple, chopped
  • 2 cups lettuce (optional torn into smaller pieces)


  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup grapes, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted


In a mixing bowl, stir in the mayonnaise (with lemon juice, if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped apples (and grapes, if using) in the bowl.

Add the celery and mix well. Toast the walnuts, if using. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a salad plate. Put the apple mixture on top of the leaves. Garnish with parsley and walnut pieces, if using. Serve chilled. Yield: 2-4 servings.


  • The mayonnaise dressing is probably what makes this salad “rich”, if not for the cheaper ingredients. For a lighter dressing, combine two tablespoons of mayo plus two tablespoons of plain yogurt instead. Or substitute the mayo for all yogurt.
  • Search our blog for more salad recipes for National Salad Month.

Lavender-Lemon Scones

May 30: National Scone Day

This post is dedicated to Nan N., Islander’s BFF and bridesmaid from a quarter century ago, whose favorite color and scent is lavender. The hue is a delicate shade of purple and the smell is beautifully relaxing—all kind of mellow, just like Nan. So it is sweet reunion whenever we go home to Hawaii knowing she will be there for us no matter what. There is no drama, just a secure and stable feeling to have in a friend when there is so much change, quick paces and extremes in life. Everyone needs an even-keeled friend like her and we are blessed with the simplicity yet deep bonds of a relationship we share.

This lavender-lemon scone is also well-balanced. Sometimes the floral notes of the lavender might overpower another strong flavor like lemon/citrus. But not in this scone. The lavender and lemon complement each other well. It makes our kitchen smell so delightful while it is baking, too! The glazed topping sweetens the scone like a crowning glory (an ode to Nan’s fascination with royalty). These scones are an elegant addition to a teatime table.

Cheers to true and long-lasting friendships! Cheers to lavender-lemon scones on National Scone Day!


(Adapted from Tea Time Magazine)

For the lavender-lemon scones

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
  • Zest of one small lemon (or 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cold heaving whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces. Use a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the dough until it resembles peas.

Add the lavender and lemon zest to the flour mixture. In a measuring cup, beat the egg into the cream.

Stir the vanilla into the cream-egg mixture. Pour into the flour mixture and lightly combine until a dough sticks together. Transfer onto a clean, floured surface. Pat together to form a ball, then flatten gently into a disc. Flour the rolling pin and roll the dough to ½ inch thickness.

Use a 2 ¼ inch round cutter to cut out the scones, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes (the scones will have a pale brown top when done). Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

For the glaze topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4-6 teaspoons milk


In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the milk and mix until smooth and creamy.

Spread the glaze over the top of each cooled scone. Optional: sprinkle 3 pieces of dried lavender on top before the glaze sets. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container (best eaten within a day or two).


  • For more scones recipes, click on our Themes Menu tab and scroll down to the scones section.

Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

May 29: National Biscuit Day

Living in Texas, we enjoy the Southwest flavors at local restaurants that serve Tex-Mex and downhome country cooking. On a road trip to Gonzales and Shiner, somewhere between San Antonio and Houston, we stopped for lunch at a saloon-looking café. The free appetizer included jalapeño cheddar biscuits. Like the free Cheddar Bay biscuits given at Red Lobster, we got full just eating them before our meal! They were so carb-o-licious that we wanted to bake a batch of these biscuits as soon as we got home. They taste terrific on their own as a snack or as a side dish when we cook oven fried chicken or chicken fried steak. Turn up the heat and add a little spice to life on National Biscuit Day by baking jalapeño cheddar biscuits!


(Adapted from Fox 11 News)



  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1, 2 or 3 jalapeños, seeded, deveined and chopped finally (depending on preferred heat level)
  • ½ – 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for the top


In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter pieces until there are pea-sized crumbles.

Add the jalapeños and cheese. Pour in the buttermilk and gently stir until moist.

Dump on a clean, floured surface and press the dough together. Roll out to 1 inch thickness. Use a 2 inch round cutter to cut out the biscuits. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


  • We like White Lily brand self rising flour because it is light and soft. Be careful about overworking the dough, though, or the biscuits will get hard.
  • When cutting the round shapes, avoid twisting. Just lift the biscuits out of the dough and place on the prepared baking pan. This helps the biscuits rise higher.
  • For softer and less crisp biscuits, place the cut outs close together and pull the biscuits apart after baking.






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