Harvest Chopped Salad

Back in September, I posted about the chopped salad that was my top choice for my birthday dinner. Since then, I’ve been overwhelmed at the amount of attention that post got! I guess the internet was hungry for the funky-but-delicious combo of smoked salmon, dried sweet corn, cranberries, and arugula (among other ingredients) topped with a creamy pesto dressing.

Writing about–and eating–the Stetson Chopped Salad got me thinking of other variations on the theme of salad ingredients layered neatly in rows. I mean, really, you can’t go wrong with a chopped, layered salad. It’s just so dang appealing, with its colorfulness, its order, and its symmetry. This Harvest Chopped Salad featuring apples, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon, and blue or goat cheese is the product of these recent salad daydreams.

It couldn’t have come at a better time, either.

Not long ago, I started volunteering on a monthly basis as a cooking demonstrator at my local Natural Grocers. It’s a fun volunteer activity, but it’s tougher than you might think coming up with recipes that are 1.) gluten-free (Natural Grocers keeps a gluten-free kitchen), and 2.) conducive to demonstration. When you watch the Food Network, you don’t really notice that TV allows for time-lapsing cooking, or simply producing a finished version of something that took who-knows-how-long to cook or bake. In the real world, it’s not that easy. Like, if I’m demo’ing a recipe with roasted vegetables, uhhhh, what do I talk to my audience about for 45 minutes while the oven does its job?

Awwwwwwkwaaaaarrrrd.

So for the purposes of my October demonstration, the Harvest Chopped Salad is a saving grace. And maybe it will be for you, too, some autumn weeknight. There may be quite a bit of slicin’ and dicin’, but this recipe requires no lengthy cook time and can get dining-ready in no more than 30 minutes.

In fact, this recipe seems to be such a winner that I was contacted by someone at Natural Grocers’ corporate office to ask if it could be featured on their website! Of COURSE, I said! (Link coming soon.)

If you live in the Phoenix area, join me for my demo (and samples!) of this yummy fall main dish this Thursday, October 19th, at 6:30 at the Natural Grocers at 2151 E. Baseline Rd. in Gilbert.

 


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Harvest Chopped Salad
A hearty fall salad that's as tasty as it is pretty!
Instructions
  1. On a large platter or five individual plates, spread romaine in a single layer.
  2. Cover with layered rows of bacon, pecans, crumbled cheese, diced apple, diced pear, and dried cranberries.
  3. Serve with purchased poppyseed dressing drizzled on top or on the side.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe, loosely based on this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats.

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Vanilla Chai Granola

A friend of mine recently posted a bit of a rant on Facebook about food blogs that make you scroll through 6,000 pictures and an 800 word banal anecdote before you can actually get to the recipe. I get it. Certainly, recipes are the main reason people visit food blogs…at least, I assume so. That’s the reason I visit food blogs, anyway. We’re not here for the story of how your dog is so adorable and that somehow relates to this casserole, or how you spilled all your Worcestershire and were forced to make this sauce with soy sauce instead. (“But it turned out AMAZING!”)

The truth is, though, as a food blogger, sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch to come up with anything meaningful to say about, say, a salad that just came together on a weeknight and was good enough to share. Cause that’s kind of the whole story. And people end up trying way too hard, when maybe the recipe can speak for itself.

Sorta the case with this Vanilla Chai Granola. All I’ve really got to say is: it’s tasty, easy, and goes great with some Siggi’s vanilla yogurt¬†and some strawberries in a breakfast parfait. Other than that, I could see it as a unique topping for a fruit crumble or a simple start to the day with a splash of milk.

So since I’m not talking your ear off about the recipe…can you forgive a couple extra pictures? ūüėČ

 


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Vanilla Chai Granola
A mixture of warmth and sweetness make this Vanilla Chai Granola a special breakfast treat!
Course breakfast
Servings
Ingredients
Course breakfast
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, pecans, and almonds.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine canola oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, coriander, and salt.
  4. Pour oil mixture over oat mixture and stir to coat, then do the same with the spice mixture over all.
  5. Spread in a layer on the baking sheet and bake about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

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Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie

Did you know that you can still actually enter pies to be judged at the state fair? There are many things I do not wish to be judged on (my fashion sense, the way I drive when my kids are late to school, the fine lines creeping across my face, to name a few), but if you must judge me, by all means, judge me by my pies.

This pie, specifically. I’m seriously considering entering this Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie in the upcoming Arizona State Fair Culinary Arts Exhibition in October. It may just be me and a bunch of old ladies from far-flung regions of this great state–places with goofy names like Tuba City and Why–people who still think of the state fair as an opportunity to display their skills instead of an opportunity to see Snoop Dogg in concert and eat fried Twinkies. But I’d kind of like the chance to showcase this gem of a pie, because it is deeeeelish.

Admittedly, “Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie” is a bit of a mouthful–literally and figuratively–and initially, sounds like a rather odd combination of flavors and concepts:

Streusel? On top of blueberry pie? Which is a custard?

But don’t let that deter you.

This is one special pie. Its mix of creamy blueberry custard with sweet, crunchy streusel is truly unique and has been a crowd-pleaser for its originality every time I’ve served it. If you’ve ever seen the movie Am√©lie,¬†you may remember¬†the title character’s delight¬†at cracking the crust of a crime br√Ľl√©e with a spoon to access the smooth custard underneath.

This pie offers a similar tactile pleasure, as its crunchy layer of streusel topping gives way to velvety custard beneath. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way the cinnamony top complements the blueberry filling.

So what do you think? State fair-worthy? What pie would you enter in your state fair?

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 276
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4.5g 22%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 204mg 9%
Potassium 91mg 2%
Total Carb 39.9g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 7%
Sugars 24.8g
Protein 3.5g
Vitamin A 5% · Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 2% · Iron 8%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Recipe analyzed by 
Print Recipe
Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie
A crunchy layer of streusel gives way to velvety blueberry custard underneath in this truly unique pie.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
For the crust and filling:
For the streusel topping:
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
For the crust and filling:
For the streusel topping:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pie crust to a diameter of 10 inches and place in the bottom of a 10-inch pie plate.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, egg, sugar, vanilla, 2 Tbsp. flour, and salt. Fold in blueberries. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake 25 minutes. (You may want to cover the edges with foil or a crust shield to prevent excessive browning.)
  3. In the meantime, prepare streusel: in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour, then work the butter in with a fork or your fingers. Stir in pecans.
  4. After 25 minutes of baking, sprinkle streusel over the top of the blueberry filling. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until the filling is no longer jiggly and the topping is nicely browned. Cool 30 minutes before serving, or serve chilled.
Recipe Notes
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Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak

Pecan Crusted Skirt Steak

It is finally election day. Having slogged through the most miserable, acrimonious election cycle in the history of the USA, I’d say we all deserve a reward. I wish I could offer something truly useful, like a magic wand we could wave to start the whole thing over with candidates we actually believe in.¬†But in the absence of a magic wand, how about¬†a big old-fashioned steak dinner?

This easy skirt steak is adorned with an irresistible¬†honey-sweetened, buttery-crunchy pecan topping, and it comes with the added benefit of possibly putting us into a food coma and making us forget our electoral woes. Our family enjoyed it recently as part of a spontaneous dinner-for-lunch when we had steak to use up one Sunday afternoon. It was so unexpectedly fancy to have a steak meal for lunch–especially one this pretty–that I got out the good china and set the table with candles. It apparently made quite the impression on my five-year-old daughter, who is still talking about it weeks later. (Not sure if it was the table setting or the steak she remembers most, but for me, it is definitely the steak.) Even my husband, when he saw I was going to blog about this recipe, said, “Ohhhhh, yeah. That was SO good.”

So, my friends, let’s eat, drink, and be merry, for today we vote. May God bless this food to our bodies, and this nation whose future we are determining.

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Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak
Instructions
  1. Heat broiler on high and position oven rack about 6 inches from broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray generously with baking spray.
  2. Season the steak with about 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
  3. In a food processor, pulse the pecans, butter, honey, rosemary, salt, and pepper a few times until combined.
  4. Broil the steak 3 minutes on each side. Spread pecan mixture on top and broil an additional 1-2 minutes, until pecans are lightly toasted.
  5. Allow the steak to rest 5 minutes, then slice against the grain.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Fine Cooking.

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