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Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

This is an easy classic salad. I usually make it as a side dish for a special dinner, but it was lunchtime, and I wanted something light but extra tasty.

Ingredients for Salad with Blue Cheese, Apple, and Candied Pecans

Simple ingredients, ready to be transformed.

Ingredients:
(Lunch salad, serves one as a meal.)
1 hearts of romaine, chopped.
1/4 cup of candied pecans.
1/2 apple, quartered, cored, and chopped.
1 scallions, chopped.
1 1/2 T blue cheese, crumbled.

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
1 T rice wine vinegar.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1 T blue cheese.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

I was feeding two of us, so I gathered doubled the ingredients above. I like this salad lightly dressed, so I didn’t bother making two batches of dressing — one jar worked perfectly for two salads.

I mixed up the vinaigrette first, so the flavors would meld, and then I chopped my salad ingredients. First, I built a crispy bed of romaine, and sprinkled the nuts and cheese over the top. I put crumbled blue cheese into the salad as well as in the vinaigrette because I love the creaminess it adds to the dressing, but I don’t want to sacrifice the tasty clumps that you get when you put it directly into the salad. It’s a win-win to have it both places. Then I chopped the scallions and the apple and added them to the salad. I drizzled the vinaigrette, tossed, and enjoyed.

Salad with Blue Cheese, Apple, and Candied Pecans

Luscious. Delicious. Ready to be devoured.

The Verdict:
I always love this salad. Sometimes I use pear instead of apple. Sometimes I use arugula. Sometimes I go for the mixed greens. Regardless, the crunchy nuts and the clean fruit work perfectly with the creamy, tangy blue cheese. I really enjoyed the super crunch of this one, with the crispy apple and the fresh romaine. I tossed the scallions in on a whim, and decided they were irrelevant. They didn’t detract or add, they were just there. I probably won’t bother with them next time, but if you really love a little extra onion crunch, go for it.

Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
The apple needs to be packed in the jar with the dressing so that it doesn’t brown. Keep the rest of the salad ingredients in a large glass or stainless steel container, and combine the dressing with the salad when you’re ready to fork toss and eat.

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Shared lunch! I love it when we’re both home at lunch time, and I can mix up a huge salad in one big bowl, and we can snuggle up and eat it together. We were out of lettuce, so I turned to my favorite lettuce stand-in, celery. I figured out a while back that celery salads are really incredible. Super crunchy, so you can go a little crazier with the beans, avocado, and other creamy ingredients. Celery also doesn’t wilt, so the leftovers are tasty, and you can play with dressing it when you make it instead of carting the dressing along. The flavor of celery works particularly well with lemon, but I didn’t have any. I didn’t even have a lime or a grapefruit to substitute, so I decided to try a simple rice wine vinaigrette instead. I added garbanzo beans, lots of mint and parsley, scallions, and an apple for a little sweetness.

Salad with Celery, Garbanzo Beans, Mint, and Apple

Let the chopping begin!

Ingredients:
(Serves two for lunch.)
1 head of celery, chopped.
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained.
1 apple, quartered, cored, and chopped.
3 scallions, chopped.
1 fistful of mint, chopped.
1 fistful of parsley, chopped.

Rice Wine Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for several days.)
1T rice wine vinegar.
3T extra virgin olive oil.
1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

This was a chopping frenzy. I started by rinsing the garbanzo beans and setting them aside to drain. I prepared my rice wine vinaigrette in a small jar. Then I turned berserker with my favorite knife. I transferred my mountains of chopped celery and apple and scallions and herbs to the big bowl as I went, adding the drained garbanzo beans just before shaking up the vinaigrette and drizzling it over the salad.

Please note that this salad serves two, and use half the main ingredients if you’re fixing it for one. Feel free to make a normal batch of vinaigrette, since it keep well for several days.

Salad with Celery, Garbanzo Beans, Mint, and Apple

Time to eat.

The Verdict:
I was surprised by how delightful the rice wine vinaigrette and apple were. They worked incredibly well — it was more delicate than the bright lemon version I usually make, and I loved it. The apple was a great addition, with it’s sweetness and the contrasting crunch. The fresh herbs brought the salad to life, and the creamy garbanzo beans made it remarkably filling, even hearty. My husband and I ate every bite. It was just that yummy.

Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
This is the easiest salad to pack to go — it is actually fine to dress it when you pack it. I like how the celery soaks up the vinaigrette. If it will be sitting for more than a few hours, the herbs will wilt, so if that bothers you, keep the dressing in a separate jar, and combine before you eat it.

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Early morning, making lunch, I scanned the fridge and the cupboards and decided to make a southwestern salad. I didn’t have the radishes I love in those, or any oranges, or jicama, but I had cilantro and pinto beans. A scallion would help round it out, and the very last of our amazingly crisp apples from my mother-in-law’s tree would make up for the deficit of sweetness and crunch.

Greens for Cal-Mex with Apple and Pinto Beans

A gorgeous bed of mixed greens.

Ingredients:
(Lunch salad, serves one.)
4 cups of mache and mixed greens (including radicchio and frisee).
1/2 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
1/3 apple, sliced into bite sized pieces.
1 scallion, chopped.
1 fistful of cilantro, chopped.
Zest of 1/2 lime.
Zest of 1/2 lemon.

Ingredients for Cal-Mex with Apple and Pinto Beans

Beautifully simple ingredients, ready to join the greens.

Citronette:
(Use only what you need, save the rest in the fridge and use within a few days.)
1 T lime juice.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1/4 tsp cumin.
1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

I doubled the ingredients listed above (for the citronette as well as for the salad) and made two lunches, one packed up for my husband to take to work, and one in a bowl for me to enjoy later in the day.

I started by rinsing the pinto beans and leaving them in a strainer to drain. Then I laid down a nice, hearty bed of mixed greens. I zested the citrus fruits over the greens. I mixed up two jars of citronette, tasted them, and set them aside. I chopped the cilantro and the scallions and tossed them in with the greens. After slicing the apple, I added it to the dressing jars so that it wouldn’t brown, screwed on the lids, and shook each jar up so that the citronette coated the apple pieces. Finally, I added the drained beans to the salads, nestled the dressing jar into my husbands large salad container, covered my salad and stuck it in the fridge, and cleaned up.

Cal-Mex with Apple and Pinto Beans

The finished salad, dressed and ready to eat.

The Verdict:
This was a fine, simple, hearty salad. I really enjoyed the apple in lieu of radishes and jicama. Not gourmet, but very tasty.

Make it a meal:
Done. It would also have worked well with black beans or leftover chicken in place of pinto beans.

Cal-Mex with Apple and Pinto Beans, Packed

Packed to go.

Pack it to go:
Done. Remember to put the apple in with the citronette and not directly into the salad!

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I’ve been sick.

No energy for mucking about in the kitchen, or traipsing through the long, long aisles and the produce maze at the Berkeley Bowl. Trader Joe’s to the rescue. Today at lunch the kids wanted frozen teriyaki chicken. Easy for me, especially since we had some leftover rice in the fridge. I heated it all up for them, and handed them each a couple of mandarins to eat with it. Then I decided that I needed to get some fresh vegetables in to my body, appetite be damned.

I found most of a heart of romaine in the fridge, and a decent avocado, and I poked around until I scrounged up enough other stuff to call it a salad. I also tossed in what was left of the rice and chicken after dishing it up for the kids. This was a utilitarian salad. This was not fancy. This was food. Random food.

Ingredients:
3/4 romaine heart, chopped.
3 large mushrooms, quartered.
1 scallion, sliced.
2 inches of an english cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
1/2 avocado, spooned out of it’s skin and directly over the lettuce.
1/2 small apple, quartered, cored, and sliced.
3 T of rice
1/4 cup of teriyaki chicken

Dressing:
There is no recipe for this. This is the laziest dressing I know. This is the dressing I use when I know I won’t really taste what I’m eating, but in case I do, I want it to at least have some flavor.
1 sprinkle of salt over the avocado.
1 splash of seasoned rice wine vinegar, try to get a wide arc without missing the bowl. I missed the bowl, but it’s okay. We have washcloths.
3 glugs of extra virgin olive oil, distributed as evenly as you can.

It all went into the bowl. First the lettuce, then the veggies, then the salt on the avocado, then the rice and chicken, and finally, the vinegar and olive oil. Then I moved it all around a bit with my fork, and mixed it up. Then I ate it.

Teriyaki Chicken with Apple and Avocado

Teriyaki Chicken with Apple and Avocado, ready to eat!

The Verdict:
Actually, my taste buds worked better than I expected. I enjoyed this. I think orange or mandarin might have been tastier with the chicken, but I really appreciated the crunch of the apple, so it was more of a passing thought than a burning regret.

I felt a lot better after eating (funny how that still surprises me). I experienced one of those moments where my post-salad self is extremely, maybe disproportionately, grateful to my pre-salad self. Fresh vegetables, even with pre-fab teriyaki chicken and without a fancy vinaigrette, always make me feel better. I like feeling better.

Make it a meal:
It was. A random, yet very satisfying meal.

Pack it to go:
If I’d been packing this to go, I would’ve mixed up a real vinaigrette, and tossed the apples in so that they wouldn’t brown. The chicken might be better off in a small tupperware or ziploc bag and added at the last minute — the sauce has a tendency to wilt lettuce.

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Going for a quick run this morning left me no time for salad prep before my husband left for work. He wasn’t fazed — he fends for himself with ease. But not doing the prep for him meant I didn’t do it at all until it was lunchtime. Luckily, I had my mother-in-law over in the morning to work with my kids, so I wound up with more time to play in the kitchen while also being a lot more awake — I was making salad at 11:30 AM instead of before 8:00 AM. Inspired by a small jar of homemade bacon bits (leftover from the kids Carbonara lunch yesterday) I decided to try my hand, once again, at making a ranch dressing that I actually like.

Playing with Buttermilke Ranch Vinaigrette

Salad ingredients, gathered together and ready to prep.

Ingredients:
(Serves one for lunch.)
1/2 heart of romaine, chopped.
2 mushrooms, quartered.
1 carrot, sliced.
1/4 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
1/2 apple, quartered and sliced widthwise.
1/2 avocado, quartered and sliced.
1 scallions, sliced.
1/8 cup of crispy bacon, crumbled.

Buttermilk Ranch Vinaigrette, Take One:
(Use what you need, refrigerate any extra and use it within a few days.)
1 T rice wine vinegar.
2 T buttermilk.
2 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 small clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 generous pinch of salt, to taste.

I doubled the salad ingredients listed above and assembled them in two separate bowls, one for my mother-in-law, and one for me. I mixed up one batch of the dressing, since I like to go light with creamy dressings, and then I started chopping. It took a while, since I also had french toast and grilled cheese on the stove for the kids, but eventually both bowls were full of salad. I made sure to cut the avocado right before serving, so it would be lovely and green when we ate it.

Playing with Buttermilk Ranch Vinaigrette, Ceramic Bowl

Here is one of the finished salads, in a kidmade ceramic bowl.

The Verdict:
Not exactly ranch dressing, but damn tasty. It’s hard to go wrong with bacon and avocado. I wanted to mix arugula in as well, since I tend to like salads with a little more green in them and I only had one lonely heart of romaine left, but my arugula had gone slimy. Trader Joe’s is great for candied walnuts. Not so good for fresh produce. I think that was actually for the best though, since the romaine worked really well with the creamy dressing. Arugula would’ve been a bit too peppery and strong, I think. I loved the apple, bacon, avocado, carrots, mushrooms… Okay, I really liked everything about this salad. Strong flavors. Salty and sweet. Excellent crunch, with lush nibbles of avocado and that creamy dressing to smooth it out. Each bite was unique. Very fun, colorful, and delicious. My mother-in-law was appreciative, and I think she really adored the little crunchy bacon bits.

Playing with Buttermilk Ranch Vinaigrette, Glass Bowl

Here is the other salad, beautifully colorful in a simple glass bowl.

Make it a Meal:
Done. I would’ve happily tossed some chicken breast in if I’d had any on hand, but it was fine on it’s own.

Pack it to Go:
This one would work really well packed to go — just make sure you’ve got a jar large enough to hold the apple and the avocado in with the dressing. Brown apples and avocados are no good, and both will stay fresh in the acidic dressing. The avocado will create more thickness in the dressing, and you’ll have less chunks on the fork, but it will still taste delicious. If you really want the avocado chunky, half an avocado, still in the skin, travels relatively well. You’ll have the one brown side, which you can trim off or ignore, but the rest of it will be perfect. Of course, if you’re packing salads for two people who will be eating at the same time and place, you can leave the avocado untouched until you’re ready to eat, and cut it into the salad at that point. And if you’re a real avocado freak (yes, like me) you can just give yourself extra avocado. This salad has enough crunch to handle all that creaminess. Your skin and brain won’t mind the extra healthy fats, either.

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