Well, hello there. It's been a while. I had a very busy summer of moving house and then I let it all hang and unfold as it should through the Fall to the smell of algae and the light of the horizons over the lake out my window. I am so happy in my new neighbourhood. It's a magical place filled with antique chandelier shops, vintage dress boutiques, a vibrant and still thriving video store (!), a cheese shop, an eco meat shop, multiple bakeries, some grotty coffee shops filled with miscreants and characters who talks to themselves, but it's lovely and alive and I feel at home. I often snap the leash on the dog and we head out into the world and it takes us 3 hours to make our way back. There's just so much to see.
A favourite fall salad. Red spinach is a beautiful thing. It's made up of little vibrant leaves strung together on a very weedy, reedy, chewy, sweet stalk. I've never seen anything quite like it before in the lettuce world and I've been around my greens, as you know. They were piled high in gentle, puffy stacks at the Chinese grocer and even when I grabbed moundfuls and stuffed them into several clear plastic bags, I didn't seem to make a dent in the cloud . It's chewy and sweet and herbaceous but subtle. Add in some chopped Chinese celery and you're talking. It's like regular celery but more narrow, less celery tasting, and it looks like thick stalked parsley.
I threw in some candied nuts because they are sweet and crunchy and round out the flavour perfectly.
This is great as a very simple lunch eaten with a hunk of bread and some grassy mountain cheese or with dinner and a side of pork and rice.
Candied Pecans or Walnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or light vegetable oil: safflower/sunflower/grapeseed
2 tablespoons organic sugar or light brown sugar
1/2 cup raw pecans
Set a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the butter or oil and the sugar until they have melted together, toss in the pecans, and stir to coat. Cook through for about 1 minute. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper / waxed paper and continue cooking in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
When I make lunch at home, I pour dressing from a glass jar where I've already prepared the dressing (honey jars are perfect!). But this recipe will make enough for 4 side servings.
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or whole grain mustard (or really any authentic mustard you enjoy that has a kick and a bite to it)
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (or any light tasting vegetable oil like sunflower, safflower, grapeseed)
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
salt and pepper