Fall into Salads

by Jeanne

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It’s curious to me  how and when we notice changes in ourselves. These type of events tend to sneak up on us.  Maybe the contrast is so stark, the moment right, the attitude dropped.  Who knows.  But, I never thought I’d become one of those Californians who returns after being gone for a spell, craving greens. Bowls of heaping salad. Seriously, I grew up in a non-salad New England household.  So maybe the moment was realized given all my recent business travels and the highs and lows of eating on the road. You do start to miss the creature comforts of home.

This preference was more notable while having lunch in a large banquet hall at our annual national conference in Southern Florida.  My dining companions, from the Pacific Northwest and I kept pushing what looked like a spring mix (yes in October) around our plates.  “It’s sad looking isn’t it?” We politely grimaced. “It’s lost its vitality.  Please, could you pass the bread?”  Aren’t we on this coast fussy?

Upon my return from Florida and another side business trip to Sacramento I headed straight for my favorite greens provider, Heirloom at the SFFP farmers market.  A big mixed greens bag–fava, red lettuce, and arugula. The question to me was what to compose the salad with.  I wanted the taste of fall, my favorite season–and not because it heralds my birthday but for the apple picking, the crisp air and the sweaters.  So this vinaigrette is a tribute to the tastes of autumn.

Easy Maple Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

pinch of black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 cups salad greens

1 pear or apple, unpeeled, cut into pieces

1/2 cup (3 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil; set aside.

Arrange the mixed greens on individual plates and top with the pear and cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

4 servings

NOTE:   If you don’t want to get all bothered with salad for four this vinaigrette keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.  So shake it up in mason jar and a generous handful of greens and about a teaspoon of dressing will be just what the greens need.

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