Organic Mixed Greens with Avocado, Seasonal Fruit and Clove-Infused Balsamic Reduction

You know you’re really hooked on your stove when you can’t even make a SALAD without turning it on. After a spate of cooking that has seen me sweat and slave, martyr-like, in front of the oven while outside the Okanagan sun beat down onto the Gypsy Roller’s fibreglass exterior, I was quite please with myself for deciding to post this recipe, a simple end-of-Summer salad… until I realized that lo-and-behold, I’d used the bloody stove on to make the dressing! I’m a hopeless case, it’s official. I suppose I could have opted to seek out a big ol’ bottle of Kraft Ranch and throw a few glugs of  that atop my organic greens, but I’m trying to build my blog’s readership and not keep it hovering eternally around the zero mark, and I don’t think “Salad with Kraft Ranch Dressing” would have much allure amongst those who follow food blogs. And besides, I refuse to let any Kraft product (apart from Kraft Dinner and oh, the box of crackers I keep stuffing my hand into as I write this) pass my lips.

Another obvious option would have been to make a dressing in the blender, but mine is currently boxed up in the storage locker as the RV has approximately 1 square foot of countertop space. This I’ve awarded to my coffee maker because as I’ve stated so emphatically in previous posts, I’m about as effectual as the dead guy in “Weekend At Bernie’s” without a constant stream of caffeine entering my bloodstream. Plus I figured the blueberries and cantaloupe I came across at the farmers’ market would work well with a balsamic reduction, something I hadn’t tried my hand at before. So in the scorching heat to the stove I marched once more (cue Pomp and Circumstance), all in the name of a dressing for my lunchtime salad. How noble! I’m sure when Winter arrives I’ll be struck by a preposterous urge to make gazpacho or something equally inappropriate to the temperature outside.

I used cantaloupe and blueberries in my salad as they’re in-season in the Okanagan right now, but other fruit – strawberries, blackberries, pears, grilled peaches – would definitely work nicely as well. Beets would also have been a tasty addition. I actually had some golden beets buried in my produce drawer and forgot to use them. Duh! Next time I guess…

Recipe: Organic Mixed Greens with Avocado, Seasonal Fruit and Clove-Infused Balsamic Reduction

Makes 2 side salads or 1 big one!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic mixed greens
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cantaloupe, sliced
  • 1/4 cups natural sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Clove-Infused Balsamic Reduction:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
 Method:
Prepare balsamic reduction: Put balsamic vinegar, honey, pepper and cloves in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until liquid forms a syrupy consistency, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.
Assemble salad: Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a mixing bowl. Add mixed greens and toss until leaves are coated with oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place greens on a plate and arrange avocado, fruit and cottage cheese (if using) on top however you like. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of salad and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Eat!
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