Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Best Salad

I love good food.  (Not a shock to anyone.)  Thankfully, I also like to cook good food, and over my many years of adulthood, I've accumulated a few really good recipes.  Some of them are for fancy things that come out only for holidays, like the perfect creme brûlée, and others are for everyday things, like ridiculously easy pulled pork.  But I love them all in their own ways.

In case there are other people out there who also like to cook really tasty things, I'm going to share some of my favourite recipes on the blog.  It's kind of like public service.  You're welcome.  The first of these, because it is what I made for supper tonight, is a really tasty salad.

When M and I were first dating, she invited me for dinner, and she made a veritable feast of lasagna, French bread, and this salad.  While I was really impressed by the fact that she had made bread from scratch (something that would later drive me nuts when it happened in our kitchen), my favourite part of the meal was definitely the salad.  That night, I raved over how tasty the homemade dressing was with the salty cheese and nuts and dried fruit.

She promptly waited two years before she make it again.

After she finally made the salad for me a second time, I declared it the official salad of our household.  "What do you want for dinner, Solitary?" would inevitably be answered with "Saaaaaalaaaaad".  I was addicted.

When we separated for the first time last summer, I am not certain whether I was more sad about the end of the relationship or the loss of the salad recipe.  As soon as we reconciled, I made her bring back the recipe book, and I copied the recipe into my computer.  So now I can always have the salad.

(I feel like I have perhaps built the salad up to be more than it actually is.  Do not expect miracles.  But it is a very good salad.)

The recipe for this salad comes from the Simply in Season cookbook, which is published by the Mennonite Central Committee and which focuses on using local, seasonal ingredients.  While I don't agree with MCC's policy of preventing us gays from working or volunteering for them, I do love their salad.

Solitary's Favourite Salad:

Mix together the following:
  • 1/3 cup oil (I use canola oil, but you can use any neutral oil.  I think.)
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (Start with 1/2 a tbsp and increase to taste.)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
I tend to squeeze all the juice from a lemon, measure it (last time was about 3 tbsp), and then add proportional amounts of the other ingredients to make a big batch of dressing.  I've never had it go bad on me.

Once you have the dressing, use your imagination to make your favourite salad combination.  You will need the following components, but the exact combination is up to you:
  • Some sort of green (lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, etc.)
  • Some sort of soft and salty cheese (feta, goat, blue, etc.)
  • Some sort of fruit, sliced into bite-sized pieces (apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
  • Some sort of dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, cranberries, raisins, etc.)
  • Some sort of nut, preferably toasted (pecans, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, etc.)
Toss the greens with the dressing, and then put the other ingredients on top.  Tah-dah!

I am clearly not a food blogger.  But that ugly photo shows the really tasty salad that I made for supper tonight, which contained kale, blue cheese, blueberries, and pine nuts*.  (I forgot the dried fruit.  Am now sad.  But it was still tasty.)  The dressing is a permanent fixture in my fridge, so it took about five minutes to make.  I have a very large head of kale, so this will be part of my supper every night this week.  And because of the many possible combinations, it will be a different salad every night.

Make this salad**.  Mmmmmm.

*For the record, I am not a ridiculous spendthrift who just tosses expensive pine nuts into all of my recipes.  These are very reasonably priced Costco pine nuts, which I keep in my freezer so that they will last forever.  And I was using up some extras that I had toasted when I made pesto in the summer.  I'm preventing food waste by eating leftovers!

**Bonus points to anyone who makes this salad and posts a picture on Twitter/their blog.  Especially if their photo is better than mine.  (Almost guaranteed.)


  1. Looks yummy except for the kale part. :-)

    1. I don't generally love raw kale, but somehow the dressing takes away the bitterness. I'm eating the kale mostly because it's apparently really healthy.