Saturday, March 1, 2014

(a day after) Friday Faves

I know.  It's Saturday.  But yesterday, I decided that working out, getting a mani/pedi and partaking in a three martini lunch with the BFF was more fun important than getting this post up!  Judge away.

Favorite Eats:

Ohhhh this salad.  

I made this the first time for New Year's Eve dinner and have been making it at least once a week since and we are yet to get sick of it!

Fresh, buttery lettuce....creamy goat cheese....tart grapes(or pomegranate seeds)....crunchy, sweet and spicy nuts....Yum.

This is also great with a little sliced ribeye or flank steak on top.

Our Whole Foods sells the BEST locally grown lettuces and I use those if they're available, but if not mixed baby greens work great also.  If you're chopping your own lettuce, you can do this ahead....wash and spin them dry and then line them down a strip of paper towels and roll it into a cylinder, store in a zip lock and pop into the fridge until you're ready to use.


Can we talk about salad dressing for just a minute?    Have you ever checked how many grams of sugar are in a bottle of dressing off the shelf?  I get convenience, but I guarantee you that you can make better tasting/healthier dressing than you'll ever buy in the grocery store.  I make enough of this dressing for a couple of salads and it takes me all of about 5 minutes to pull together.  And once you have the ingredients in your pantry it'll save you a ton of cash.

This Pomegranate Vinaigrette is always a huge hit.  I get asked for the recipe every time I use it.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1/2 medium shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (you can find this in most grocery stores or make your own)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (This one is absolutely the best I've used.  Yes, it's expensive but it will last a long time)
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper

I put everything into a mason jar and shake it up, but you could also put into a bowl and whisk together.

And these nuts are addictive.  I found this recipe floating around my kitchen when we came home from Bali in October......when my mom had been dog sitting.  I assume it's one of hers since I don't recall seeing it before!  I set this out as a cocktail munchie and they disappear instantly but I mostly use them on top of a salad.  They're the piece de resistance!

Vanilla Pecans/Walnuts

16-20 oz. Pecan or Walnut halves (I use 50/50)
Generous 1/2 cup Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Corn Oil
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F.
In large bowl, combine sugar, corn oil and vanilla.  Set aside  Blanch nuts one minute in boiling water.  Drain.  While still hot, put in bowl with the sugar mixture and toss thoroughly.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing every 5-10 minutes to prevent sticking and burning.  Meanwhile combine the remaining spices in a large bowl.  When nuts are done, immediately put in bowl with spice mixture and toss thoroughly.  Spread in an even layer on either a clean sheet pan or some parchment paper until completely cool.  Don't put in sealed container until completely cool or they will all clump together.  Store in sealed container.

 If you want to turn a good salad into a great salad, here are a few tips:

Salt and Pepper your greens when they first go into the bowl.  Don't wait until everything is assembled and then S&P.   It's just like other cooking....season as you go!

Never pour the dressing directly on top of the greens.  I either pour enough for the whole salad into the bottom of the bowl before adding the greens, or pour the dressing down the sides of the bowl and then lightly toss everything together.

Don't toss the greens with the dressing until right before serving.

And for heavens sake, don't overdress.  You want a light nice coating not a drowning!!

Favorite tunes:

Favorite Reads:

Favorite links:

The South's best bartenders and their go to hangover cures!

This will make you reconsider mobile home living

The smarter way to shop JCrew!

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