Why this blog??

Why this blog?? I often find myself stressing over what to make for my family for dinner. We live a busy life and some meals need time to prep, cook and let's not forget shopping for everything you need. I love cookbooks and websites, but there are so many recipe's at times it is overwhelming. The recipe's I will be posting are things I actually made. I will tell you if they are easy or more time consuming. I will also tell you if they are good. Most of these are recipe's I have made for years and continue to make because they are easy or quick and my family loves them and i know yours will too! I will also try to at least once in a whlie try a new recipe I've found on line or in a book and honestly rate it. I always encourage others to send me their favorite recipe's as well! I am a mom... not a chef. But I am a mom who enjoys cooking for her family and making a somewhat healthy meal (some days more healthy than others:) ) In each recipe I will share how I recommend serving it, any substitutions I can think of that are also good, or ways to prepare ahead of time to make the cooking part seem quicker! I am not a photographer, as you can see... most of these pictures are taken from my phone camera, so may not be the best! I love to hear from others who have made these recipes and what they have done to change the recipe... please post comments! Thank you! To "like" me on facebook, go to this link... It's What's Cookin

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Arugula Salad with Manchego and Caramelized Walnuts

I'm not kidding when I say this... this is by far the best salad I've EVER had... better than any restaurant I've ever been to as well!! The ingredients are a little more pricey than regular salads, but it is very worth every penny. I first learned to make this in a cooking class (Whisked Away- Phoenix), and I served it for a dinner party over the holidays. Everyone RAVED about it and wanted more salad... they didn't even care about what I was making for dinner!! The recipe came from Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar and yields 6-8 servings.

This salad is great on it's own as a lunch or part of a meal... or you can add chicken, steak or even salmon to make it a complete meal. I like it just the way it is though!!

I made the caramelized walnuts the night before and just stored them at room temp in tupperware.

* 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1/2 cup walnut oil (this smells amazing!)
* 3 T Champagne vinegar (This can be hard to find)
* 8-10 cups arugula
* 2 Fuji apples, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced (can use any tart, hard apple... Red delicious...)
* 6 oz Spanish Manchego cheese or sharp white cheddar cheese, shaved (I LOVE manchego)
* 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, sliced
* 1 cup caramelized walnuts (recipe below)
* 2 medium shallots, minced

1. Whisk oil and champagne vinegar in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature and rewhisk before using).

2. Boil Balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup- about 4 minutes (until syrupy and thickened... not blackened) Remove from heat

3. Toss arugula, apples, half of cheese, dates, walnuts and shallots in large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat (you may not need it all). Season salad with salt and pepper.

4. Mound salad in center of a platter (or on each plate). Drizzle balsamic syrup around salad(s). Sprinkle remaining cheese atop the salad.

Caramelized Walnuts Recipe:

* Nonstick vegetable oil spray (pam)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 T balsamic vinegar
* 1 1/2 cups walnuts

Preheat oven to 325. line heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray foil with nonstick spray. Combine sugar and vinegar in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves into vinegar, about 3 minutes. Add nuts and coat. Transfer mixture to baking sheet.

Bake until nuts are deep brown and syrup thickens and coats nuts. Stir occasionally. Takes about 10 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet. Break nuts apart. (can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store airtight at room temp)


I got the dates and walnuts from Costco and the champagne vinegar and walnut oil from Safeway.
After roasting nuts 
Boiling down balsamic to reduce into a glaze 

chopped shallots, dates and apples

Toss in bowl

I placed salad on large platter

drizzle balsamic over top and top with rest of cheese (picture I took at cooking class)

A picture from when I made it the second time.

1 comment:

Star Spangled Mamas said...

This looks so yummy!!!!! As soon as I am back cooking in the kitchen this is on my list!!!!!!