Monday, November 29, 2010

Salad Days: Beets, Pears, & Clementines

Salad days: What does that phrase even mean? For us, it means eating seasonal produce and putting more green than ever on our plates. In this post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas world we are living in, it just seemed right to eat a little lighter than usual. So we had salad for dinner both Friday and Saturday night after our big Thanksgiving feast on Thursday.

Here in the South, we can grow delicious greens in the fall and winter, and at the market, farmers are selling arugula, watercress, mesclun, and the like right now. In addition, the fall has some really wonderful produce to offer like beets, clementines, and pears.

I keep my salad dressing pretty simple in order to allow the flavor of the ingredients to shine through. You want a good olive oil to add some richness, a nice vinegar to add some acidity, and something to add a bit of sweetness and balance. It's simple to adjust this basic champagne vinaigrette recipe to fit almost any salad. If your greens are more bitter than you like, add more honey. If you are using citrus in your salad, back off the vinegar by half. It's important to taste to see how all of your ingredients go together and adjust your dressing accordingly.

Champagne vinaigrette:
Whisk together equal parts olive oil and champagne vinegar, add a spoonful of local honey, one diced shallot, salt, and pepper. This dressing can be enhanced by adding herbs such as thyme or a few strands of lemon zest.

Beet, Arugula, and Almond-Pepita Granola Salad:
2 cups small beets (peeled, quartered, sautéed in olive oil over medium heat until soft)
arugula (cleaned, dried)
8 sprigs fresh chervil
2 tablespoons granola (it's good, trust me)
4 thin slices aged white cheddar

Spinach, Pear, and Bleu Cheese Salad:
champagne vinaigrette
2 pears (sliced and placed into the dressing)
spinach (cleaned, dried)
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2-3 ounces blue cheese (crumbled)

Marinated Clementine and Pea Tendrils:
champagne vinaigrette
4 supremed clementines (sliced and placed into the dressing)
pea tendrils
2 slices of aged goat cheese

P.S. I'm running the Memphis Marathon in less than a week. As St. Jude Heroes, my brother, brother-in-law, and I are raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Every dollar I raise will be matched up to $2000. So if you can donate to a worthwhile cause, or if you want to learn more about why I run, please click HERE. No amount is too small. Thank you for reading!


allison@TheBaconEatingJewishVegetarian said...

These all look fantastic!
I love combining pears and cheeses. I'll have to try the bleu salad soon!
Thanks for a great blog.
I'm new here, but definitely bookmarking.

Kimber said...

Looks SO delicious! Gorgeous.

coelhandmade said...

Thanks for reminding me to eat light! It will be easy with these great recipes.

Nick Hansen said...
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Jacky said...

Looks lovely. I need some new vegetarian recipes! Will look forward to trying this :)

John Hern said...

Looks very delicious!

Simon said...

I can't understand people who love salads. I agree that salad is tasty and everything is ok with it. But you can't feel full eating only salads? or can you?

Mel said...

Love the blog - just found you through blogs of note. Am veggie and often run out of inspiration. My hubby is not and so I need to keep mixing it up for him!

Marlo said...

I just found your blog and I am loving it! I personally am a salad freak! I could eat different variations of salad all day long. You just have to know how to make them right. and you my friend... You've got the ticket!

x said...

Great blog idea! Always so hard to find veggie recipes, so thank you!

Chefwife said...

I am your newest follower. Searching for tips on my raw month in January for

shear indulgence said...

throw some goat cheese in with beets and you'll be thanking of my favorite ways to spice up a salad is with beets and goat cheese :) looks delicious!!

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Perdita Tinsel said...

Pears and blue cheese are a delight! Thanks for that recipe. :)

Meeling said...

Looks and sounds fantastic!

The beet and arugula one is a must try!!

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María said...

Me gusta el blog :)
Soy tu seguidora número 1000! :)
Tiene todo muy buena pinta.
Saludos desde Barcelona.

SeePhiladelphia said...

this looks yummy! great blog! good luck on the running

Aaron said...

As if I wasn't already famished! That first picture alone made my stomach grab me by the collar and tell me to go to the fridge, NOW :)

evileye said...

the pictures make me feel hungary..

emily said...

yum! beets and goat cheese is one of my favorite combos!

Renee Quail said...

Awesome blog - quite yummy! Best of luck with the marathon, St. Judes is one of my favorite charities.

ranie said...

Wow so amazing, I want to learn how to cook. Thanks for the blog.Keep up the good work.