Well, the month of June is finally upon us. Many people seem to think that this is a time of rejoicing for teachers (summer is approaching, not too much time left to work). However, I think it is the most stressful time of year. We all try to fit in field trips, which require a LOT of planning. There are report cards to be written, checked over, tweaked and then finally printed. There are leaving ceremonies to plan, special afternoons to get ready for and not enough time to teach all the things that still need to be covered! It’s really quite overwhelming.
And so, instead of trying to work harder to get things done, I escape to the kitchen. This has been my story my whole life. During exams in university, all my friends were guaranteed large plates of cookies or muffins or elaborate dinners at my house. If you visit in the next little while, you will probably have to leave with some of the extras, because we just can’t eat it all ourselves!
To start off the slight kitchen madness, I made an amazing salad for dinner. This recipe serves 4 and since I’m the only one in my house who will eat lettuce, I made a plate for dinner tonight and packaged up the rest for myself for lunches this week. The only problem with that is that it uses a lot of containers since you really want to keep everything separate until you are ready to eat it. But this salad is worth the effort. The contrasting flavours and textures of toasted walnuts, blue cheese, warm pears and a light dressing are just too good to pass up!
Warm Pear and Walnut Salad (adapted from a Canadian Living magazine)
This salad could be served as an appetizer or main course. I had mine with Beanitos chips on the side, but really, it’s up to you!
What you need:
1 Tbsp butter
2 ripe pears
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar*, separated
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 cups spring mix lettuce (no need to measure – just use as much as you want!)
1/4 cup walnuts**, toasted
3 1/2 oz. blue cheese, broken into chunks
What to do:
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Core and thinly slice the pears. Add the pears to the pan and cook for a minute or two. Add 1 Tbsp of the vinegar and the brown sugar and move around the pieces until they are coated. Continue to cook for 2 minutes or until the pears are tender (I used rather hard pears and it took more like 8 minutes).
Whisk together 2 Tbsp of the vinegar, the olive oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. This is the salad dressing.
To assemble the salad, place lettuce on a plate. Then top with the warmed pears, toasted walnuts, blue cheese and drizzle with the dressing. Enjoy!
*I used rice wine vinegar
**The original recipe called for hazelnuts but I love walnuts and they work here. I’m sure other nuts would also be delicious.