Monday, November 8, 2010

Spiced Pecan & Apple Greens

Winter fell today in stages of progressive coldness. First, a very wet and heavy rain initiated the ground for what would be a day's worth of additional dampness and wetness. Snow ultimately succeeded and it's nearly bed time with the white stuff still descending its blithely little way down! Yeesh! Any bitterness towards the unruly weather ebbed as soon as I took one look outside and saw fluffy whiteness. 'Well I'll be', I thought to myself, 'This, I actually really like. This snow, can stay', were my exact thoughts.
Even minus the ski pass, snow still excites me.

Which, food wise, I'm allowing myself now, today, tomorrow and for the next few months to indulge in winter foods that taste like Christmas itself: ruby red grapefruit, gingerbread cookies, cranberry-anything, caramelized pears, orange-flavored cookies and cakes, and so forth. Pecans also fall into this category and tonight for our green salad portion of the meal, we had this deliciously satisfying one that for me may turn into a go-to salad for holiday potlucks. I find it elegant enough to dress up any meal and stand next to a roasted goose if that's your taste OR it's casual enough to munch on in a Tupperware while you wrestle through a day's work. I was very impressed by the piquant combination of the spicy pecans and mild feta, crunchy apple and lightly sweetened dressing. All in all, a good salad experience: no soggy messes, no odd-looking pieces of mysterious mushroom. Straight forward, festive for the holidays, and another lovely use for pecans other than that peee-caan pie.

Apple & Spiced Pecan Salad
{Keeping Up Cookbook, 83}

6-8 cups mixed greens (romaine and red leaf worked fabulously- no iceberg please)
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large red delicious apple, diced (or two small)

1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
dash of Tabasco
1/2 cup veg. oil

Spiced pecans:

3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, chopped

Over medium heat, melt butter in a pan and add sugar, spices, and salt. Add pecan pieces and continue to stir well and often. Cook for an additional 2-5 minutes, until the sugar has caramelized and the nuts look a shade darker. Remove from heat, and spread the pecans out on a plate to let cool.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients (blender works well too). Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients with the dressing and the pecans (although I would wait to chop and add the apple until the last minute). Serve immediately.


No comments: