Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe Swap: Autumn Salad

It's just too hot to cook! Do you find yourself saying that often over the summer? I do, and we usually end up cooking everything on the grill on hot summer nights.

The latest Taste of Home Cooking Recipe Swap featured recipes you can turn to when it's just too hot to cook. I submitted my Foil Pouch Cilantro-Pepper-Corona Chicken and was given a recipe for Autumn Salad with Homemade Dressing from the blog Kate's Recipe Box. I have to admit - I was hesitant about it at first. I am not a fan of fruit and nuts mixed with my food. In dessert, sure, but not in a salad or main dish.

I also wasn't sure about the fall feel of the salad, and the fact that pears aren't in season right now. When I went to the market to get my ingredients, I couldn't find any pears that were close to ripe at all. So for this salad I drained and chopped canned Bartlett pears and it worked just fine. The other change I made was to use blue cheese instead of feta.  

The verdict? Yes, I really enjoyed this salad!! I already told my sister that I'm making it for Thanksgiving. I will make a few small changes* just to suit our tastes a bit better, but I would also recommend this salad as the recipe is written below.

Serves 2
3 to 4 c. chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium pear, chopped
1 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pecans
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (I used blue cheese)
2 T. Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (recipe below)
2 t. Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Combine lettuce, pear, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta in a large bowl. Toss with dressing.

Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
Makes about 1.5 cups
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cider vinegar
4 1/2 t. grated onion
1 T. ground mustard
1 t. poppy seeds
1/2 t. salt
1 c. vegetable oil
In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Slowly add oil, while whisking briskly. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
1 t. ground mustard (when I grabbed my ingredients to make this I realized I was out of ground mustard. I used 1 tsp Dijon mustard instead)
1 pinch salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and mustard powder. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

* Changes I will make the next time include changing pecans to walnuts (just a personal preference) and using either less poppy seed dressing or none at all (balsamic vinaigrette only). The poppy seed dressing added just a bit too much sweetness for my tastes.

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it! It really would be the perfect Thanksgiving salad.

  2. Oh I think I totally have this same recipe bookmarked on my Google Reader. Thanks for the reminder and great review. Can't wait to try it!