Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Fling: Spring Salad

Hello, Whatever Dee Dee Wants readers! I’m so happy to be with you today!

My name is Sarah and I’m the voice behind Adventures of Our Fami-Ly. At my blog you will find craft ideas, family friendly recipes, sewing projects, furniture makeovers, faith encouragement, and stories about my wonderful family. I’d love to have you anytime ‘cause there’s always more room in the Fami-Ly!

Thought you might like to put a face to a name.

Did you know that meteorologically it’s already spring? I know that in some areas of the country it doesn’t feel like it yet, but believe me it’s coming!

Spring, spring, glorious spring!!! 

Besides the allergy woes it brings to my nose (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!) it’s one of my favorite times of year—it only takes a backseat to fall.

When I think spring food I always think of wonderful salad.  Light, fresh, and tasty, a spring salad is always a great addition to any meal.

So today I’m going to share with you a delicious spring salad that is easy to prepare and pretty gorgeous to look at too.

pear and goat cheese salad recipes

Here are the ingredients you will need for this divine dish:

pear and goat cheese salad ingredients

And for the dressing:

pear and goat cheese salad dressing ingredients

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  No, we’re not going to bake the salad but we are going to toast some almonds! (If you by pre-roasted almonds you can skip step 1 and 4). 

Step 2: Cut or tear up your greens.  Do you cut or tear your lettuce? I used to be a tear-er but not I like to cut it.  It seems to get more uniform sized pieces and it’s faster!

pear and goat cheese salad chop lettuce

Step 3: Chop up two of your pears (save the third for later!).  These pears are going to be put in the salad raw.

*Beginners Tip: To have nice semi-uniform pieces first cut the pear down the middle and take out the core.

pear and goat cheese salad core pears

Flip the pear over and cut horizontal slices all the way down the pear.

pear and goat cheese salad slice pears

Then cut the pear vertically.  You will have quickly and neatly chopped your pear!

pear and goat cheese salad chopped pears

Step 4: Put your sliced raw almonds in a baking dish and put them in your preheated oven.

pear and goat cheese salad toast almonds in calphalon pan

Cook for 5 minutes, shake the pan/turn the almonds over, then cook for another 5 minutes.  You’ll start to smell that wonderful nutty aroma and you’ll know they are done.  Be careful not to burn them!

pear and goat cheese salad toasted almonds

Step 5: While your almonds are toasting cut or crumble your goat cheese.  You can buy this pre-crumbled but I feel it’s much more moist when you buy it when it’s still whole.

pear and goat cheese salad crumbled goat cheese

Hmmm I wonder what that mystery black dot is?

Step 6: Take your third pear and cut it into long slices.  We are going to cook these pears so we have a warm, soft, and sweet addition to contrast with the crisp raw pears.

Step 7: Place your sliced pears into a pan and sprinkle a little brown sugar on top.  You don’t want to add too much sugar since the pears are already naturally sweet.  The sugar is just going to help caramelize the pears a bit.

pear and goat cheese salad pear and brown sugar

Step 8: Cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes turning the pears halfway through.  The brown sugar will start to bubble and the pears will get soft.  Basically when your kitchen smells like heaven take them off the fire.

pear and goat cheese salad carmelize pears

Step 9: Dressing time! To make this simple vinaigrette you will need olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of sugar.  Find a container to hold your dress.  I like using these little bottles from Ikea since I can pour the dressing right through the top.

pear and goat cheese salad salad dressing mixer

Add equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your bottle and then a pinch of regular table sugar.  Then, whisk or shake the ingredients together.  Taste it and add more oil or vinegar to your liking.

Step 10: Assemble your salad! Mix the raw pears and most of the goat cheese in with the lettuce and the warm pears on top with a garnish of goat cheese.  Sprinkle on your toasted almonds.

pear and goat cheese salad

Doesn’t that already look divine?

pear and goat cheese salad recipe

Lastly, drizzle your homemade dressing on top.

pear and goat cheese salad easy recipe

This is such a yummy salad that not only tastes great but looks pretty fancy too.  And if you’re not used to putting fruit, nuts, and cheese in your salad don’t be afraid! These ingredients do go together!

Plate it up and serve to all those hungry bellies who have been smelling the almonds toasting and the pears caramelizing.

pear and goat cheese salad on a plate
                    Happy Spring!

Thank you Dee Dee for giving me the opportunity to share this recipe in your Spring Fling series! It’s been so much fun and I hope to see you all over at Adventures of Our Fami-Ly real soon.


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