Thursday, July 10, 2008
Fruit - Nut - Cheese
My sister went on a fourth of July vacation with her In-laws this past week. Her husband's family is a huge family blessed with several fabulous cooks. Each night of the vacation, all of the home chefs took their turn at sharing their creations with the others. My sister relayed a story back to me about one of the recipes that included a pearl of cooking wisdom from one of her sister in laws, Jaime. Jaime made a salad one night that everyone couldn't stop talking about. The entire family found it so delicious and their constant praise prompted Jaime to share her salad secret with the rest of the family. She said that every great salad must contain a "fruit, nut and a cheese"!
It sounded so simple yet so insightful. As my sister delivered this hot recipe tip I quickly replayed all of the salads I have ever prepared in my head and matched their ingredients to their reception. Jaime was right! Every salad that I have made in the past and managed to impress with had in fact included those three special ingredients. I have several recipes that I use for salads but decided to share a simpler one that I created when I was in a time crunch during a dinner party one night. If anyone remembers the Coq Au Vin dinner party you will remember that I didn't even have two free seconds to get fancy with the salad. So I quickly threw together the "three magic ingredients" (before I knew they were called that) with some spinach leaves and everyone loved it.
Goat Cheese, Candied Pecans and Spinach Salad
2 bags of baby spinach leaves
2 Granny Smith Apples, seeded and sliced (The Fruit)
1/2 bag of candied pecans, I used Trader Joe's (The Nut)
1 8 ounce log of goat cheese, crumbled (The Cheese)
Salt and Pepper
1. Mix spinach leaves with goat cheese and apple slices. Salt and Pepper to taste. Top with your dressing of choice. (See Below)
My Favorite Homemade Dressing
Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Using a glass jar with a tight lid, combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper, and shake well to blend. Add the oil and parsley and shake.
Now that I am privy to this successful salad secret I am inspired to make another salad using a new fruit, a new nut and a new cheese. Any suggestions? Plus, making a salad gives me a reason to use the beautiful soda glass salad bowl given to us by Forrest's Grandma Gottung!