Man is it gorgeous outside! I don’t know what us Nor’westers did to deserve such a perfect fall (I’m ignoring the likely possibility of climate change/global warming), but I’m taking it! So here’s a quick post for you because I’m really feeling the urge to be out in the beautiful crisp autumnal sunshine.
I can’t imagine a more perfect meal to go with today’s weather. I came across this salad while flipping through this month’s issue of Sunset. Adam and I have been eating a lot of stews lately and it was starting to feel heavy and redundant. When I spied Sunset’s fall green salad with apples nuts and pain d’epice dressing, I knew it was the perfect antidote.
For those of you in other parts of the country suffering from lesser weather, I will do my best to appeal to the weather gods to send some warmth and sunshine your way.
I’ll even do a little dance :)
Fall Green Salad with Apples and Walnuts
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
I served this with a spicy chicken apple sausage but you can easily keep this vegetarian. The original recipe called for orange juice and zest. I omitted those and replaced it with a splash of champagne vinegar.
What you’ll need~
3/4 cups walnuts
2 cups rustic bread torn into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon each, cinnamon and ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon each, nutmeg and ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon each, kosher salt and ground black pepper
About 4 cups mixed salad greens
1 tart sweet apple, thinly sliced
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Toss bread crumbs with a tablespoon of walnut oil and place on one half of a baking sheet.
Place walnuts on the other half of the baking sheet.
Bake in oven for about 12 minutes, stirring breadcrumbs and walnuts halfway through, until your breadcrumbs are golden.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Coarsely chopped cooled walnuts and set aside.
Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons walnut oil with vinegar and spices.
Toss with salad greens, apple, nuts and croutons.
I probably shouldn’t be the one writing a New Year’s Eve post. Mostly because we’re not really doing anything this year to celebrate. Last year’s imbibing lead to a New Year’s Day hangover strong enough to peel the paint of walls and a nasty vein pulsing migraine. Then and there I told myself that I would not do the same thing to ring in 2011.
Also, Adam and Champagne don’t mix. Granted there was much wine and little food (on his part) before the Cava was opened on the eve of 2010, but, again, Adam and Champagne don’t mix. Part of me wishes I could remember what on earth he was saying that night. The other part of me is very glad I can’t. What I do remember was thinking, “Who are you?” as he babbled (possibly) philosophical nonsense to, fortunately, a drunken table of friends. As I understand it, I should really start worrying when he incoherently starts rambling in German, which he barely speaks.
If that’s not enough, another one of my reasons to forgo the party festivities, is that I’ve just entered my 39th year on this glorious planet of ours, partying like a rock star on New Year’s eve is just not my bag anymore, man. Granted, one can easily partake of New Year’s celebration without said imbibing, but well, and we can all agree, it is very easy to fall into the swing of things, and before you know it, you’ve had nearly an entire bottle of wine to yourself. Before Champagne.
So this year, in lieu of braving Portland’s streets and winter weather, Adam and I will be in our jammies watching a post-apocalyptic movie starring the gorgeous Viggo Mortensen and sipping wine. In bed.
In light of my reader’s upcoming celebrations, I thought I’d share a little hors d’oeuvres treat that will win you friends and appease your enemies.
Amanda Hesser’s, The Essential New York Times Cookbook, provided the inspiration for this recipe. I didn’t change too terribly much, as the recipe is perfect as is. I traded walnuts for pine nuts and omitted the basil for an extra pinch or two of mint.
By the way, if you haven’t picked up Amanda’s book, you are missing out. I absolutely love this cookbook. Not only is it an eclectic mix of NY Times recipes spanning 150 years, her tidbits and stories make it a highly entertaining and amusing read. Lately, when I am at home, this book rarely leaves my side.
What you’ll need~
1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound, trimmed, peeled and sliced to about 1/2 inch thickness
1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of one lemon
Handful of freshly chopped mint
Handful of freshly chopped Italian parsley
Toasted baguette slices or crackers of your choice
Preheat your broiler. Brush olive oil on each side of the sliced eggplant and place on baking sheet. Make sure your rack is about 6 inches from the heat source. Broil for about four minutes, until golden. Turn slices and broil side for four minutes.
Remove from broiler and stack eggplant. Hesser’s trick for allowing the steam to finish cooking the eggplant.
Place walnuts, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in your food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth. Coarsely chop your eggplant and add to walnut mixture. Blend. Stir in lemon juice and herbs. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on crackers or toasted baguette slices and garnish with a mint leaf. Pair with, yes, Champagne.