Fig, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad

You can’t go wrong with figs and blue cheese!  For the longest time I stayed as far away as I could from blue cheese, because I didn’t like the smell.  I’m not even sure how I came around to it, but I’ve come to like it in small quantities and with the right flavor pairings.  Things like honey, balsamic reductions and other sweet things complement blue cheese or gorgonzola quite nicely.

Fig, Pecan & Blue Cheese Salad

Serves 2

4 figs, quartered

1 oz. pecans, toasted

2 oz. blue cheese

4 cups arugula and spinach mix

dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp best-quality balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp honey

salt & pepper

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and honey until emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle dressing over bowls filled with salad ingredients.

*Variation: Candy or spice the toasted pecans:  While warming on the stovetop in a skillet, add either sugar or chili powder to season.

Chickpea & Sesame Dip

Chickpea and Sesame Dip (from Patricia Wells’ Salad as a Meal)

1 can chickpeas

*she recommends home-cooking chickpeas; the recipe is in the book

2 garlic cloves

4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp tahini

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/4 C cilantro leaves

1/8 tsp paprika

Drain and rinse canned chickpeas.  Put chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, cilantro and 1 tbsp of the sesame oil in a blender or food processor.  Add water to reach desired consistency.  Garnish with remaining tbsp oil and paprika to serve.

National Spinach Day

Today is National Spinach Day!  Who knew???  And of course, today is one of the RARE days I don’t have a giant tub of it sitting in my fridge.  (Last time I was at Wegmans they were out of the all-baby spinach, so I settled for an arugula, radicchio and spinach blend, and I’m almost all out!)

Otherwise, I’d be eating green ALL DAY.

Check out WHY spinach is such a powerhouse food!

I use it almost every day in salads, on sandwiches or just IN things, like soups or smoothies.

In the interest of time (I have things I need to do today!), here are some links to some basic spinach recipes and some of my favorites!

Basic Sauteed Spinach

My favorite Spinach and Strawberry Salad 

Berry Spinach Smoothie (it’s not green!)

Baked Spinach

Creamed Spinach–Andrew’s favorite!  Serve with steak 🙂

Gotta go…must get the dog on a walk before I head off to school!  Bring on the green 🙂  (At least when I started this post I was wearing a green t-shirt…)