Hey Y’all…. The world’s slowest blogger checking in here in the new year!
I’m telling ya, my Ma Hocutt was so right all those decades ago when she would tell me “when you’re my age, the years just fly right on by.” I AM now her age at that time, and I’m not sure 2013 actually had all 365 days, because it whizzed by so fast, I’m still at about day 237 or so.
The holidaze have been that for me, a pure DAZE. For starters, I woke up Thanksgiving Friday morning to an unidentifiable pshhhhhhhhhh sorta noise. After lying in bed for another 20 minutes, I decided to get up and see what it could be. OMG, I stepped into a couple of INCHES of water, in my kitchen. Talk about waking up f.a.s.t. Before I could utter “what tha h…” my eyes were sucked upwards, where a drizzle was falling out of both ends of the light fixture! Still hearing that noise, now AMPLIFIED, I jump back up the 3 steps and, with dread, follow it… thru my bedroom and bathroom into the big room I call my office….
SQUISHHHHHHHHHH…. Underfoot as soon as I stepped onto the carpet. I turned and went into the big walk-in closet, still following that unnerving sound… and find the ceiling about to fall in, while what appears to be spigots wide open on each end of that light fixture pouring water! Now keep in mind, I came to find all this from arising from peaceful slumber.
Fast. Immediate. Decisions. I ran to the breaker box to shut off Niagara Fails! I sat on the kitchen steps, wanting to SCREAM. CURSE. CRY. But no time for any of that (yet). I hit the jackpot with quick “wake up” calls to neighbors to get a plumber’s name and number. He arrived within 20 minutes. A silly pipe had broke up in the attic (not weather related). While he was on the way, I had to do an online search to locate the number to my insurance company since it was A EARLY and B) a holiday weekend and C) who keeps that no. quickly available (I do NOW)! I hate to jinx all this, but they have been THE BEST. They had folks here within an hour and a half with those ginormous fans (18!) and dehumidifiers (6). It sounded like a jet airplane revving up for takeoff in my house, and I have NO IDEA how (or why) I stayed in the house that first night. I was a nomad (with my newly adopted rescue dog June Bug) for about a week until I told my insurance company “I NEED A HOTEL ROOM!” He kindly obliged and hooked me up with nice folks who found a local hotel that’s pet friendly where June Bug and I stayed for about a week, until all that NOISE was gone, and kitchen was ‘somewhat’ back together. Only 5 little hours of gushing water did a LOT, a WHOLE LOT of damage.
I said all that to say this… my flood happened at THE worst possible time… the start of my “busy season!” Holiday parties and events back to back… but somehow, I made it through and now on the backside, with “RE”construction to commence this coming week. I’m excited about the spiffing up my kitchen will get and will come back to share that soon.
This salad was a big hit at several of the Christmas parties this year… and also last week at a Girl Scout Cooking Class I had fun doing… and again yesterday at Flowers Plantation’s Health and Wellness Fair. I promised folks there I’d get this posted “in the next few days” with a disclaimer of being “THE world’s slowest blogger!” So here it is in record time, my Wondermous Winter Salad.
Cooking what is in season, with local goodies whenever possible and CLEAN and NEKKID… that’s what you’ll find here… because “Undressed Tastes BEST!” This salad of awesomeness makes you feel like you’re doing something SO great for your body and your health, from looking at it, to eating it. And guess what ~ you ARE!
So you want to throw together this beautimous salad? It doesn’t get much easier than this…
WONDERMOUS WINTER SALAD
…with Maple Balsamic Mustard Dressing
Let me start by saying you don’t have to have all of these exact ingredients. Fling open your refrigerator and pantry and see what you have to use for your starter, then grab a few goodies to spiff up just the way you want it! Use different grates, slices, chops, shreds and such for added “personality” to your salad.
The salad in this picture has:
- several kinds of lettuce
- 3 kinds of cabbage (shredded savoy because I like the ‘ruffly look’ along with some fine grated purple for specks of color, and a bit of regular green cabbage, because I had some on hand)
- “Cuties”…. those fun little winter Clementines (these are seedless and so easy to peel, so get your kiddos to do that part)
- pomegranate… because they are pretty, seasonal and add great crunch and texture!
- a handful of sugar snap peas… because I had them in my produce drawer (just do a quick blanch in boiling water for one minute, then drain and cool rapidly with cold water)
- sprouts… because, again, I had some in my produce drawer and it also looks pretty (and why not one more layer of flavor?)
- carrots… long shreds, because of the color, and it’s FUN!
- little cubes of roasted butternut squash… because I had some (sweet potatoes and beets are great too)
- thin slivers of red onion… for flavor and color (cut really thin with my inexpensive $19.95 mandolin)
- a handful of dried cherries (or any dried fruit is good)
- and 3 kinds of seed… sunflower, pumpkin and my FAV, toasted sesame seed!! (I keep a jar by my stove and use almost like salt for added flavor, especially for my personal chef clients that want no added salt)
Just toss everything together, saving a few pretties for garnishing the top like in the picture. Drizzle with dressing as served to keep the salad from flopping and getting all soggy.
MAPLE BALSAMIC MUSTARD DRESSING
Now y’all know by now I do most of my cooking by just THROWing stuff together to come up with something dee-lish on the other side! However, I did try to jot down a few measurements to make this dressing, but please, DO feel free to throw your own ingredients together to suit your fancy. Use what you have on hand. If you don’t have garlic oil, use whatever oil you prefer and have. Use honey instead of maple. Use any kind of mustard you have… I purposefully didn’t note what kind I used so you’ll pick your own. Don’t be afraid. Just throw stuff in a jar, shake your booty (and it) around the kitchen, and have yourself some FUN!
- 1 cup garlic olive oil
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Clementine (or tangerine or orange) juice
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup (or honey or molasses)
- 1 heaping tablespoon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- LOTS of freshly ground black pepper
Put all into jar and S.H.A.K.E.
Twisted: For an Asian twist, shake in 1 tablespoon sesame oil and toasted sesame seed!
So you’ve never exactly know how to peel and eat a pomegranate? Here’s a quick minute and a half video that will show you how easy it is!
Video from Chatelaine Magazine!
Now, run grab yourself a few of these seasonal goodies before they are gone, and savor the season!
Do come back and tell me all about what you threw in your winter salad…