Strawberry Pear Salad

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This is my family’s very favorite salad of late. Not only is it delicious and beautiful, it’s really easy too.
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It’s kind of a riff on the Mandarin Spinach salad I shared with you a little while back, as it uses the same dressing.

To make the dressing, you just shake the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. I’ve discovered that my family isn’t a huge fan of vinegar, so I usually cut back on that a bit, using one tablespoon instead of two.

Once you’ve made the dressing , you just toss it with torn Romaine lettuce, sprinkle in sliced strawberries, sliced pears, and top it with sugared almonds. These particular almonds are from an Aldi special buy at the holidays (my goodness, they were SO good!) but if you’d like to make your own nutty salad topping, just follow the directions on the Mandarin Spinach salad recipe. Or you could make these spiced nuts.

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If you don’t have any perfectly ripened pears at your house, you can use canned, drained pears (which is what I usually do!).

You’ll need to use fresh strawberries, though…if you use frozen, thawed berries, they’ll be way too mushy to be enjoyable. But hey, strawberry season will soon be upon us, so you can make this to your heart’s content with fresh, local berries.

I think this salad is WAY better if you toss the lettuce with the dressing rather than drizzling it over each serving. But be careful not to dress more salad than you’ll eat in one sitting, because dressed salad will wilt over time and become significantly less appealing.

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Strawberry Pear Salad

2 heads of Romaine lettuce, washed, spun, and torn
2 fresh pears or 1 15 oz. can of pears, cut into slices or chunks
1/2 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
sugared almonds or spiced nuts

Toss lettuce with dressing to taste (see below). Toss in pears and strawberries, and sprinkle nuts over top of the salad.

Dressing

1/4 cup oil (olive, canola, etc)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 teaspoon dry parsley
2 tablespoons sugar
dash of Tabasco

Combine ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until combined. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

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Joshua’s 365 post: Whatsoever is Lovely

Easy, Ridiculously Good Roasted Carrots

ridiculously good roasted carrots

I’ll give you once chance to guess where I got this recipe.

I know. That wasn’t even a challenge, was it?

Cook’s Illustrated, of course, is the source. (duh.)

I’ve been trying to add some variety to our vegetable dishes, since the whole steam-and-then-add-butter-salt-and-pepper thing gets awfully boring after a while. And raw veggies are lovely and all, but in the winter, I do tend to like my veggies hot at least some of the time.

So, I logged onto Cook’s Illustrated, browsed the vegetable section, and printed off a bunch of recipes.

This happened to be the first one I tried.

And it was, as I like to say, marvy-fab.

Steamed or boiled carrots are ok, but now I know that they just cannot hold a candle to roasted carrots. Roasting makes them so sweet, you’d swear you sprinkled on some sugar along with the salt and pepper. I could not stop eating them.

And after dinner, I made another half batch because both Sonia and I wanted more.

(Seriously, when is the last time you felt like making another batch of veggies after dinner?? That’s how good these are.)

To make ‘em, first heat your oven up to 425° F. (Yup. Won’t be making these in the summertime!)

Then peel your carrots (or don’t, especially if they’re organic). Cut them in half width-wise, and then lengthwise as necessary to make them into even pieces.

How much cutting is involved will depend on the thickness of your carrots. Just make sure they’re fairly uniform so that they cook evenly.

Toss the carrots in a bowl with butter, salt, and pepper. If you can’t eat butter, I’m sure you could use another fat, like coconut or olive oil.

Next, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper* and arrange carrots on the pan in an even layer. Cover the whole pan tightly with aluminum foil.

*I do intend to see if this can be made without the parchment, since I much prefer to avoid disposable products whenever possible.

Bake for 15 minutes, and then remove the foil. The carrots should be nice and steamed, and now they’re ready for browning.

Put the carrots back into the oven and roast for another 30-35 minutes, stirring twice, until they’re nicely browned. Your roasting time could vary depending on how thinly you sliced your carrots, so keep an eye on them.

They should look something like this when they’re done.

Plate ‘em up, and enjoy.

By the way, I really, really love having a membership to Cook’s Illustrated’s website (and no, they don’t pay me to say that. I happily hand over my subscription fee every year because the recipes and reviews are so stinking helpful.) I highly recommend subscribing, and hey, maybe someone who loves you muchly will give you a subscription for Christmas.

One can always hope. ;)

Ridiculously Good Roasted Carrots

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise if necessary to create even pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Table salt and ground black pepper

Heat oven to 425° F. In a bowl, toss together carrots, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange carrots in an even layer on top of parchment, then tightly cover the whole pan with aluminum foil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Take pan out of oven, remove foil, and return pan to oven for another 30-35 minutes, or until the carrots are lightly browned. Stir twice during cooking time.

Season with more salt and pepper if desired, and then serve.


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Lisey and I made a less lemony version of lemon bars, and the recipe’s up on Baking With Lisey. Go see!