Pasta e Fagioli to warm up quickly for noon meals. But no matter the temperature outside, we also love green salads.
This salad made its first appearance at our Moore Christmas gathering. It was a novel way to use the ubiquitous cranberry during the holidays. Though cranberries aren't in the produce case any longer, you can often find them in grocery or discount store freezer cases any time of the year. And, if you can't find fresh cranberries, you can top this salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, poppy seed dressing or another favorite fruit-friendly salad dressing.
I also served the salad for our immediate family's Christmas celebration. But with presents to open and fun to be had, I didn't get any photos taken.
Beforehand, we ate at Avi Seabar and Chophouse. I had a similar salad, topped with grilled salmon. (I should have taken a photo of it, too. Too late now!) Let's just say it cost a lot more money than the salad I made at home. (The salmon, however, was better than I can make here. It probably wasn't discount salmon that came from the frozen food case. Just keeping it real, folks!)
Still, with a little effort, you can make a restaurant-quality salad at home for a fraction of the cost. Enjoy!
Winter Pear Salad
with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Favorite Family RecipesSpring mix salad, bagged or boxed
Pumpkin spiced pecans (see below)
Feta cheese crumbles
Cranberry Vinaigrette dressing (see below)
Use as much of the ingredients as you need for the servings you need. Combine all the ingredients and toss with vinaigrette to taste. (Or you can serve the dressing on the side and have people add their own dressing to taste).
Pumpkin Spiced Pecans1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl until blended. Add sugar mixture and pecans to a small skillet and heat on medium heat until sugar is melted, stirring constantly as the sugar starts to melt. Be careful not to burn. As soon as the sugar is melted onto the pecans, pour pecans onto foil or parchment paper to cool. Once cool, store in airtight container or plastic bag.
Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
Combine cranberries, orange juice and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Pour cranberry mixture into a blender. Add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth.
The dressing with be thick and creamy. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add small amounts of water (or orange juice), 1 tablespoon at a time, until of desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Depending on how many people you are serving, you won't use all the pecans or dressing for one salad. Refrigerate leftover dressing and store extra sugared pecans in a sealed plastic bag.
I doubled the recipe for dressing, knowing that I could use it for other salads, too.