Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Salad with Fresh Raspberries and Sweet Spiced Almonds

This salad is just the thing for a warm summer evening. Definitely worth making if not for the sweet spiced almonds alone. In fact, even if you have other dinner plans, make the almonds just because. I think this recipe is meant to be a side salad, but since this was going to be our main dinner, we added a lot more of the almonds and raspberries to our plates. I normally wouldn't put that much effort into a side salad anyway, especially for just the two of us.

CSA Week 5 recap:

In our box this week: 1 head red lettuce, 1 bunch celery, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 1 pound zucchini, 3/4 pound Romano green beans, 1 pint cherries, 1/2 pint raspberries

I was delighted with all the fruit in the box this week! We used the raspberries (and lettuce) right away in that fabulous salad pictured above. We didn't do anything special with the cherries, just ate them up, plain. We had more lettuce leftover for salads for lunches as well.

The cherry tomatoes were used in a lazy weeknight dinner. I tossed together some penne, feta, pesto, and sauteed cherry tomatoes and garlic tops (we just had to buy them one more time before they were gone for the season). That might sound like the opposite of lazy, but I should mention that the pesto was the last of my stash that had been frozen from last summer, and the penne was actually frozen as well; I had cooked way too much pasta a few weeks ago and it had been a few days and we hadn't eaten it yet, so I threw it in the freezer to give us more time, since I loathe wasting food. Turns out, you can do that to pasta.

We ate one of the cucumbers with some homemade wanna-be Tzatziki that was just ok. I didn't really use a recipe, I just threw some stuff together. It served it's purpose as a vehicle for eating cucumber. I just checked the fridge and we still have one more cucumber hanging out in there for next week.

Most of the celery was used to make a huge batch of beef stock. We used beef soup bones, celery (stalks and leaves), carrots, onion, dried mushrooms, parsley, whole cloves and black peppercorns, and made a delicious stock that we froze in small batches.

The remaining couple stalks of celery were minced and added to a yogurt-based tuna salad. We toasted a couple of English muffins, added a scoop of tuna salad, and topped with a little cheddar cheese. Then we broiled them for a few minutes. It made a great lunch!

I was not familiar with Romano beans at first, but apparently they can be cooked just like green beans, and the taste is very similar. I trimmed the ends, and cut them into 2 inch pieces. Then I roasted them in the oven along with some potatoes (we had a couple fingerling potatoes leftover from last week). It went great with Salisbury steak.

Joe claimed the zucchini right away and later on in the week made some delicious zucchini bread. I had it for dessert most nights with a few melted chocolate chips on top.

Whenever I eat zucchini bread, I'm reminded of the first time I was introduced to it - at an old woman's house near Salem, OR. I was very little, and my mom drove my sister and I down there to visit her. I'm not sure how my mom knew her, but she lived alone and liked to have visitors. She made us dinner and served zucchini bread as an appetizer. I remember how it was warm and smothered with melted butter. I don't think I even knew that zucchini was a vegetable yet but I remember asking for seconds and thirds. Also, I remember that we visited the state capital building while we were down there and I bought a miniature deck of playing cards at the gift shop.

Why can I remember random stuff like that but have trouble remembering what I did last weekend?

Salad with Fresh Raspberries and Sweet Spiced Almonds
adapted from Cooking Light - May 2008
makes enough for two dinner salads (with some extra dressing) or four side salads

The actual salad calls for chopped chives, not as part of the dressing, but tossed with the greens and berries. I didn't have any, but I did have a shallot, so I minced it and included it in the dressing. I'm sure it's not the same flavor but it worked for us.

5 cups salad greens (whatever you have, or whatever you like)
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1 small shallot, minced
3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
1 recipe Sweet Spiced Almonds, below

Put the salad greens in a large bowl (large enough to toss the salad). Set aside. Wash the berries, gently pat dry with paper towels, set aside.

Combine the shallot, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the oil while stirring with a whisk to emulsify it.

When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad greens, tossing gently to combine, then pile the greens onto plates. Top with the berries and almonds.

Sweet Spiced Almonds
adapted from Cooking Light - May 2008
makes about 2 cups

1 cup dry roasted unsalted almonds, chopped
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a medium bowl, combine the almonds, sugar, and spices. Add the egg white and stir to combine. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake for about 10 minutes, stir, then bake another 15 minutes or so, until the mixture is crisp. Transfer foil to a wire rack to cool.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week (but they're so good you'll eat them up long before then).

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I"m loving all of these summer fruits and veggies! Raspberries being one of my all time favorites. Usually they don't get past me eating them right out of the package, but perhaps if I purchased extra I'd be able to make this salad! I'm with you, those nuts sounds somewhat addicting!!


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