Tag Archives: Goat Cheese

Exotic Winter Salad

Life is chaotic. Life is complicated and confusing. It’s crazy. Really. Sometimes we get caught up in things we’re “supposed” to do so much so that we forget about the things we like to do – which, incidentally, tend also to be the things that are good for us, at least in moderation. But then OSU makes it into the college football championship, and you have friends over and you make food for them, and you remember how much you like to cook, and how you’re only going to get better at it if you keep cooking. Okay, so maybe the general lesson breaks down there, and this is actually all autobiographical… but you get the point.

After a longer-than-intended blogging hiatus, I’m sharing something I dreamed up for lunch today: an exotic, wintery take on a simple salad. In general, I like salad. Even more than that, I know it’s good for me. During the summer, I could live on nothing but salads and be perfectly content. But then winter rolls around and it gets cold and dark and I start sucking in carbs at the rate of approximately one loaf of bread and two boxes of pasta per day (just kidding… but only barely). So here it is, a salad that feels like it belongs in winter. A salad that doesn’t remind you of summer in a depressing way, but that also makes you want to eat your fruits and vegetables. Because yes, it’s got both.

Ingredients (makes 4 salads)

4 cups chopped lettuce (I used romaine because that’s what I had, but baby spinach would work well too)

1 large persimmon

1 pomegranate (or 1 cup of arils – but I recommend starting with the fresh fruit)

4 oz (1/2 cup) crumbled goat cheese

1/2 cup almonds (I prefer slivered for salads, because they’re easier to eat with a fork, but that’s a personal preference)

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Directions

Pretty self-explanatory. Lettuce, fruit, almonds, cheese. If you’re using a fresh pomegranate, cutting it open can be a little messy if you’re not an absolute pro, but it’s so pretty and red and sweet that I enjoy it anyway. Here are some good instructions if you haven’t mastered the art of pomegranate-cutting yet. Cut your persimmon up just like you would a tomato.

I decided not to use any dressing on mine. I thought the juices from the pomegranate and the softness of the cheese were perfectly sufficient. If you’re attached to the idea of dressing as the finishing touch to a salad, though, I’d go for just a touch of a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

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What do you think? One of the great things about salads is that it’s really easy to tweak them by adding or removing ingredients depending on what you like and what’s in your fridge? What else might you put on a “winter” salad?

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Pear with Broiled Goat Cheese

Wow. October has been a busy month. A really, really busy month. A lot of it has been busy for no reason, but we also spent a weekend away camping (it snowed, but that’s a story for another day), and I made a crazy-quick trip to Princeton and New York for a conference. I’m hoping things will calm down for a while now, or at least settle into somewhat of a routine. I function best when I have a real, weekly routine… and it feels like I haven’t had one of those for months.

I imagine you know where I’m going with this. Cooking real food is hard when you’re busy. It’s also hard when you’re in a funk because you don’t have a routine that tells you “now it’s time to cook dinner.” The recipe I want to share today isn’t a complete dinner (although we made it that, one night), but it is super tasty and fancy enough to serve at a dinner party without taking too much effort. It is exactly what it sounds like: pears, topped with goat cheese that has been broiled. Sometimes simple is best. And there are practically an infinite number of variations you could create, if you mix-and-match your fruit and cheese. (But do so responsibly, I beg of you. Cheddar cheese and peaches don’t go together. They just don’t).

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings as an appetizer)

2 pears (I used red bartletts)

6 oz goat cheese (the cheese I used had cranberries in it)

Directions

In several ramekins, broil the goat cheese on high, about 6 inches from heat source.  Broil it until it begins to brown and bubble, 8-10 minutes. Don’t be scared to let it get a little dark around the top/edges. The caramelized, warm cheese really makes this dish!

Slice the pear. I quartered each pear, then cut 1/4 inch thick slices – you want them work like crackers for the cheese.

When the goat cheese is cooked, top each slice of pear (you should have about a teaspoon of cheese for each slice).

Serve while the cheese is warm!

What do you think? What other combinations of fruit and sweet cheese have you tried?