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
Courtesy Me


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!


Joelen said...

I agree with her tip! Fruit, Nut & Cheese makes for a great salad... and your sald looks wonderful!

Gabriela Divine said...

Your salad looks and sounds like it turned ou quite succulent. One of my favorites is a Mediterranean fruit salad with thinly sliced apples, pears, toasted pecans, and crumbled Feta cheese; tossed with a honey/apple cider vinaigrette dressing. Recipe to follow...

Woody said...

I at the leftover goat cheese with a spoon for the next 3 days. It was a good salad.

Tiffany said...

I can attest that the salad was great since I was at the coq au vin dinner party. Thanks for the recipe!

Another combo you might want to try is dried cranberries/grape halves/pears (all three or just one), gorgonzola and pistachios. I stole this from the Signature Cosi salad and it's delicious.

allison said...

I went grocery shopping a few days after I read this. While I waited in the mile long line I noticed the Southern Living Magazine at the check-out had a recipe for a watermelon, goat cheese, and candied pecan salad!! I think everyone may be on to the "three magic ingredients"!
Trey said for me to tell you: "You don't win friends with salad"- Homer Simpson

ooowee cher dat tase goo said...

Ha! Sing it with me!

::you don't win friends with Saalid, you don't win friends with Saalid::

Someone's got a birthday coming up. happy birthday and happy new year b!