Monthly Archives: April 2013

Spring Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts & Chicken, & Pear Mustard Dressing

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ImageYou know some of us bloggers – you hear nothing for weeks then boom! Blogger frenzy! I’m just in a salad/low calorie/lose a few pounds mode, so I am making a lot of soups and salads. Spring always provides some good fresh ingredients, like pears! When you buy what’s in season, you sometimes end up with a 10 pound bag of whatever from Costco, and that’s exactly what I had, along with a huge container of fresh baby spinach. I used a similar recipe from Whole Foods, but made some subs and changed it up a bit. ENJOY!

Spring Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts, Feta and Cucumber

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 Anjou pears
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon deli-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 pound spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 4 ounces low fat feta cheese
  • 1/2 large english cucumber, sliced
  • Optional: shredded rôtisserie chicken
Chop 1 pear and slice the remaining two. Put chopped pear, oil, vinegar, mustard and honey into a blender and purée. If needed, stir in 1- 2 tablespoons water to thin for a pourable dressing. Put spinach, onion, walnuts, feta, sliced pears, cucumber and dressing into a large bowl and toss gently to coat. Plate and top with a toasted walnuts and handful of shredded chicken. Serve immediately.
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White House Kale Salad

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My garden is overflowing with kale – I’m not complaining! It just gave me more incentive to try a new version of kale salad. This recipe was served at the White House to the Obama’s on Thanksgiving and was written up in the Washington Post. I made it a couple nights ago (it’s perfect for spring time) and it was BOMB! We had some leftovers, which made an amazing lunch the next day – not too soggy and the flavor maybe even better. Having not been acquainted with fennel, it was really a nice addition and not too overpowering. And don’t leave out the fresh jalapenos! I also used regular toasted almonds spiced with cumin and smoked paprika, since marcona almonds are not available at my local market.

White House Kale Salad

6 servings
MAKE AHEAD: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Whisk to recombine before serving.

Ingredients:

For the dressing

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • Juice of 2 medium lemons (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 2 bunches young kale, washed and spun dry, stacked and cut into thin slices
  • 1 bulb fennel (fronds, stems and outer layer removed or reserved for another use), cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, white and light-green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or cut into slivers
  • 4 ounces spiced marcona almonds (one cup; see NOTE)

Directions:

For the dressing: Combine the shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad: Place the kale in a large serving bowl. About 10 minutes before serving, add the dressing to taste and toss to coat evenly. (You might not use all the dressing.)

Add the fennel, radishes, jalapenos, scallion, cheese and almonds, tossing to incorporate.

Serve immediately.

NOTE: Spiced marcona almonds might be hard to find in a store, but you can make your own. Whisk an egg white in a medium bowl, add 1 cup of marcona almonds and toss to coat. Combine 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika in a separate medium bowl. Add the almonds and toss to coat. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Cool before using.

Stacked Crassulas!

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One of my favorite succulents is called Stacked Crassula. My sister-in-law, Ruth, gave me a one a few weeks ago, and I just repotted it. Stacked Crassula are very hardy and require very little care, and make a great companion to other potted succulents because of their pyramid like appearance. I like how some stand straight and others meander over the side of the pot. Here they are combined with Flapjack or Kalanchoe luciae and blue senechio in an old fashion tin french flower pot. This cost me NOTHING! The gift combined with other slips from the yard – done!