Monday, June 4, 2012
Even though Mother's Day is already almost a month behind us, I'm still trying to find time to dig into the gift my husband got me (best husband ever!). He got me 4 books - not cookbooks, but books known for their exquisite passages on food. Two are foodie books: Heat by Bill Buford and On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee; and the other two are more literary: The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola and When You Lunch with the Emperor by Ludwig Bemelmans.
Before I dive into them, I promised myself I'd finish the book I'm currently reading: Mockingjay - the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. The book's an easy read but it's slow going because I cannot find the time to read. I'll get there though.
Anybody read these books? thoughts on them? I can't wait to dive in. I think I'll start with Heat and go from there. But my summer reading list is all set.
In the meantime, I've started my weekly visits to the Scotch Plains Farmers' Market. Each Saturday, I head out with my little one in her stroller. At 5 1/2 months pregnant, I'm hoping I can make it through most of the summer walking... we shall see. But my findings at the market inspire delicious summer salads like this one...
Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Pecans
From Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin
1/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne
1 medium apple, preferably russet or Golden Delicious
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons oil, preferably a mixture of walnut, hazelnut, and/or canola
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups salad greens, preferably mesclun
1 ounce semi-dry or hard goat cheese, crumbled into pieces about 1/2 inch in size
For the pecans:
Put the pecans in a skillet and cover (barely) with water.
Bring to a simmer over high heat, and immediately drain. Return the pecans to the pan and add the oil, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the nuts brown and the sugar mixture caramelizes. Transfer the pecans to a plate to cool.
Halve the apple and remove the core. Cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stack the slices and cut them into 1/2-inch wide strips. Mix the apple strips with the lemon juice and set aside.
For the dressing:
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
At serving time, toss the greens with the vinaigrette, and arrange on individual plates. Sprinkle with the apple strips, crumbled cheese, and pecans. Serve immediately.