Tuesday, September 23, 2014

fall harvest salad with maple vinaigrette and honey-glazed pecans

The time is here.  It's Fall, ya'll, and I love it, love it, love it!  This season is rejuvenating, exhilarating, and worth celebrating with all things food.

Before I get to the fantastic salad I threw together to honor the ushering in of this grand (and my favorite) season, I need to apologize for being absent for a while.  Quite honestly, I've been cooking up a storm and even taking pictures of the finished results, but I've also been brainstorming about how to update the site and make it easier to navigate - doing a remodel, if you will - and through my research have found that it's going to take quite a bit of work and time.  Foolishly, I'd hoped I could do it quickly and come back with all of these new recipes and a new look, but I haven't figured out a way to do so, so I'll continue as usual for now.  The food's the best part anyway, right?

This past weekend was a busy one.  Between my husband and two boys, there were four football games, a 9-2 Saturday event I worked for school, church services and loads of laundry.  I did get our front porch semi-decorated for the season, just so I'd have a little "happy" to enjoy each time we pull into the drive, and our back patio also received the last of the mum and pansy planting.  I was so hoping I could finish a wreath I'm working on for the front door, along with the ottoman I decided to start recovering (20 days ago, but who's counting?!?), but as Scarlett said in her sweetest southern way, "Tomorrow is anotha' day…"

And so I did manage to get this salad put on a plate as a part of our Sunday lunch and fell in love.  In love, I tell ya.  Honey-glazed pecans, cranberries, goat cheese and a homemade maple vinaigrette drizzled over a smattering of chopped apples caused this beautiful mixture to scream, "fall!"  The combination is nothing new, except in the Green household.  I'm sure you've had similar salads just as I have.  But now that it's made its way onto our table, it'll be a regular.

Stay tuned for the return of SOUPer Saturdays, beginning this weekend.  I'm having a hard time deciding which soup to post, as I've accidentally come up with two we've really enjoyed.  Do I go with creamy and cheesy or southwestern-y and tomato-y?  Ahh... so many decisions; so little time.  

one year ago: maple-cornmeal drop biscuits
two years ago: orange-cinnamon french toast

Fall Harvest Salad
serves 2-4
For the salad:
  • 10 ounce'ish mixed baby or field greens
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions (white parts only)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 5.5 ounce small log goat cheese, crumbled (I used herb goat cheese)
  • 1 apple (Honeycrisp or Gala are wonderful for this), cored and chopped
For the pecans:
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Kosher salt
For the dressing:
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped, fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 "swirls" of maple syrup 
~ Heat oven to 350 degrees.

~ Place all salad ingredients in a bowl.

~ Spread pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until 


~ Put honey in small saucepan and add roasted pecans.  Heat and stir until mixture is 

    foamy.  Remove from heat.

~ Spread pecans on parchment-lined baking pan to cool, separating with a fork.  Sprinkle 

    with salt.

~ For the dressing, put all ingredients in a glass jar with lid and shake.  Obviously, you can 

    use a bowl, but I love doing it this way, because it's a cute serving option and leftover can 
    be easily stored.  You'll have more than you need for this salad.  

FYI's -

  • The pecans are super-sticky but SO worth it.  Just have a couple of utensils at the ready; one to pick up with and the other to get the pecan onto the salad.
  • I find it's better to "dress" the salad before serving.  Place all ingredients in the bowl, pouring the desired dressing over the top and gently "turning" the ingredients with tongs.