I haven't been doing much cooking lately because my job has been intense, and the kids' school activities are consuming a lot of our time and energy.
Over the weekend, I got some beautiful strawberries from Costco. I think that Driscoll brand berries (all types) are usually very high quality and flavorful. In my experience, they're worth the little extra price that you pay.
I decided to make my favorite salad as a side for tonight's dinner. This salad has an awesome balance of flavors and textures: sweet fruit, crunchy nuts, a mixture of crisp greens, and a sweet and tangy salad dressing. I never have any leftovers.
Spring Mixed Strawberry Almond Salad
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
(click here to print)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried chopped or minced onion
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. poppy seeds
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat for a couple of minutes or until the sugar dissolves. You can also do this in the microwave, if you prefer, but watch it closely and make sure your cup is large enough so it doesn't overflow. Cool. (I pour it into a pyrex measuring cup and put it in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
1 lb. fresh strawberries
1 lb. Spring Mix or salad greens of your choice
Combine almonds, sugar, and sesame seeds (if using) in a small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar caramelizes and coats the almonds. Turn nuts out onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment to cool. Guard the nuts zealously or munchkins will eat them all when your back is turned.
Wash and spin dry 1 lb. of Spring Mix or the lettuce(s) you prefer.
Slice 1 lb. of fresh strawberries.
Just before serving, combine strawberries, sugared almonds, salad greens, and some of the salad dressing. Toss well and serve immediately.
If you have a small family, you can halve this recipe. Or keep the extra ingredients (separated) in the refrigerator and toss it together later.