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Friday, July 26, 2013

Please join me at Carolina Bon Vivant!


Up until the first couple of months of 2012,  I blogged here at Another Marvelous Meal about meal planning, family dinners and other culinary adventures .  At the point that I quit posting, I was busy confronting some pretty unpleasant realities and dealing with a potentially disastrous transition from seemingly-happy-family-of-four to single-mom-with-two-teenaged- boys.  A year on, I am relieved that we have a new normal that is not all that different from the old.  We still have family dinner almost every night and Meatless Mondays at least some weeks.  I don’t meal plan nearly as thoroughly as I once did, but there’s food in the fridge and no one is starving.  When I really don’t feel like cooking, I drag the boys into the kitchen and we all make dinner together.  They are not exactly enthusiastic, but they have learned some basic skills for which I am sure they will one day thank me.  And I’ve made the difficult decision to start over with a new blog.

My new blog, Carolina Bon Vivant, is about moving on and enjoying the good life in the Carolinas. I’ll still be blogging about family dinners, entertaining and culinary adventures. But there are also more restaurant reviews and posts about weekend getaways, road trips, shopping,  hiking trails, drives and vistas, farmer’s markets and roadside stands, events and festivals, some decorating tips and whatever else strikes my fancy. 

Please come over and join me at Carolina Bon Vivant!

Blog site:  http://carolinabonvivant.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carolina-Bon-Vivant/522173991158813

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/carolinavivant

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/carolinabonvi/boards/

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chopped Salad with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

I had intended to make a salad with blue cheese dressing for dinner one night last week in San Francisco. B is a huge fan. He enjoyed the traditional iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and bacon at Buckeye Roadhouse on Sunday. Later in the week, we spent an afternoon at Point Reyes National Park. B and I were both a little disappointed about the trail to the St. Andreas Fault. As improbable as it seems, we both thought we were going to see an actual crack in the ground! The plan had been to have some local oysters for lunch. But, we were running out of day so stopped by the Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station and bought a baguette and several cheeses, including a wedge of Point Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese. I assumed B would eat a little of the blue cheese, leaving the rest for us to use in a salad. Not so.

Fortunately, the overrun cheese drawer in my fridge at home held a wedge I had bought a few weeks earlier at Earth Fare. Tonight, this salad from April's Food and Wine was the perfect accompaniment to tonight's grilled chicken.

Chopped Salad with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 romaine hearts, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 Fuji apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons thinly shredded basil leaves
Directions:
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast them for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are golden.
  2. Let the nuts cool, then coarsely chop them.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the shallot with the Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until smooth. Add half of the blue cheese and whisk until the dressing is creamy.
  4. Add the lettuce, fennel, carrots, cucumber, apple, avocado, basil and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad well to coat with the dressing.
  5. Top with the remaining blue cheese and serve right away.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes

I rarely follow a recipe exactly, but saw no reason not to follow this one. The toasted walnuts are a must -- I'll likely increase the quantity next time. The cheese was pungent, the avocado creamy. The lettuce added crispness, the apple sweetness and the carrots a nice crunch. The fennel was completely lost, and I am not sure the cucumber added much. I'll cut that out or decrease the amount next go-round. That said, this is a dandy salad that would work well with simply spiced and grilled pork, chicken or beef.

This post is linked to It's a Keeper Thursday.