Friday, January 12, 2007

Apple and Blue Cheese Salad

As much as I would like to live a life filled with decadent disregard for things like calories and extra pounds, a life packed with things like porchetta and chicharon and chocolate truffles, the reality of it all is that, sigh, I do have to think of these things (sometimes!). Truth be told though, I am not always the fat-gobbling, calorie-consuming Braveheart that I sometimes paint myself to be. Oh, that is definitely a big part of who I am, but I also love vegetables and fish and food that won’t kill you. I guess at the end of the day, I can say that I am an equal opportunity eater: everything gets an equal opportunity to be eaten by me.

After all of the holiday’s feasting, it was time for a little restraint. Not the restraint you would equate with suffering and deficiency, as this salad does not in any way evoke either. It was just time to eat a little lighter…something both my tightening jeans and taste buds where telling me. Yes, it happens…even to a voracious pork lover like me…I was in the mood for a salad.

I threw this salad together based on ideas and inspiration from the salad recipes in Donna Hay’s The New Cook. She has so many wonderful-sounding salads! In fact, the dressing I use here is hers as well (from her magazine, Spring issue 23). So this salad basically sprung from the crossroads of: her recipes, what I had available, and a surfeit of apples from the Christmas season.

Apple and Blue Cheese Salad
  • a bunch of red and green curly lettuce
  • a bunch of arugula
  • 2 apples, chopped into cubes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced as thin as you can manage
  • a small hunk of blue cheese (depending an taste)
  • a knob of butter
  • a pinch of brown sugar and freshly cracked black pepper

- Wash your greens and dry with a paper towel (I have a salad spinner but I find myself rolling the greens in a paper towel more and more often instead).
- Melt butter in a pan, once it’s clear and bubbly toss in apples and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and pepper (to taste). Let apples cooked a little until the sides are a tad caramelized.
- Arrange lettuce on a plate, top with arugula, then the onions, then apples.
- Crumble blue cheese on top and drizzle dressing over everything (or, if you are like my mother, serve the dressing on the side).

Herb Dressing
(from Donna Hay Magazine, Spring issue 23)

  • ¾ cup basil leaves
  • 2 ½ tablespoons rinsed capers
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Process in a food processor until just combined (I used an immersion blender).

That’s not all we had! We also enjoyed a strawberry yogurt smoothie with our salad.

Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup natural yogurt
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • ice
  • honey to taste

- Blend everything but the honey in a blender.
- Taste.
- Add honey to sweeten, if needed.
- Makes 3 glasses.

I so enjoyed this meal! The different components of the salad seemed to interplay perfectly with one another: the apple, the onion, the blue cheese…even the dressing. I really liked that I had pan-seared the apples first (fyi, Donna did it with pears). I was quite pleased with myself, and am now happily thinking up of all kinds of salads I can make for me and C (who is an absolute vegetable lover by the way). The smoothie was good…but could have been better as our strawberries weren’t that sweet…hence the honey.

Is this the end of fatty foods for me? Hardly. Only the beginning of more variety!


Katrina said...

Now that I'll be spending most of my time at home, I have to stop my nasty habit of picking up the phone (or worse, buying instant noodles) every time I get hungry. I've promised myself that lunches will be all about salads. Thanks for the idea, Joey. Sounds easy enough for a non-cook like me. What other cheese do you think would go well with this? I still can't get myself to like blue cheese.

canDIshhh said...

Everything you make looks super good! :) C sure is lucky to have you! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katrina! I work at home so I know how tempting it can get to just grab something convenient :) I think a goat's cheese/chevre/feta would go well with this salad too :) Or, after sautéing the apples you can put slices of kesong puti in the pan, sear those, and then use that instead...

Wow Candishhh...thanks loads! :) You are too, too kind! :)

Tanna said...

Really like the crossroads of recipes! Have to try the dressing. We seem to have pears left from Christmas.

christine said...

Joey, you are a girl after my own heart!! That looks deelish! I am a sucker for salads that have fruit and cheese. I haven't tried apples in my salads yet, usually its mandarin oranges and kiwi lately. I want to try this now!

And I love yogurt smoothies, but I usually make mine with orange or apple juice instead of milk. Now I wanna try your way and compare. :)

Barbara said...

Lovely salad Joey. I'm thinking pear would work well also.

oggi said...

That salad looks so good, I have to try it right away!

paz said...

Yum! I love the sound of your salad. What nice combination!


Marketmanila said...

Amazing how nearly every food blogger is eating the same kinds of things just about now. I feel like I was ready to explode from the holidays so I too have been hitting the salads. And the smoothies...with a bit of whey thrown in and made with skim milk... Your apple and blue cheese salad looks terrific!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Tanna! Thanks! :) Yes, pears would be great...most of the recipes I was looking at did have pears and not apples...the only thing was I didn't have any (pears) :)

Hi Nens! Somehow I thought you'd like this :) Apples are nice because aside from being refreshing, they are also crunchy :)! Will definitely try that (and mandarin oranges too...yum!)

Hi Barbara! Thanks :) Yes, pears were used in most of Donna's recipes...will try that next when I see a nice batch in the market :)

Hi Oggi! Thanks...let me know how it goes if you do try it :)

Hi Paz! Thank you :) I loved how the apples tasted with the blue cheese...

Hi Marketman! I hear ya! After the holidays the food was just coming out of my pores! It actually made me crave for lighter things (when I usually do the opposite) for the smoothies, this was the first I ever made! Definitely not the last though :)

in-JeN-iosiTy said...

joey!!!! when i saw your post, i instantly copied the recipe---i love blue cheese and this salad is a great way to enjoy my favorite roquefort! hmmmm can't wait to get home and try this out.

that smoothie is another must try!

Honeybee said...

Ohh, that looks good! I love the combination of the slightly caramelised apples and the blue cheese. I came upon you blog by chance and I'll make sure to check back, it looks all very yummy!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jen! Thanks! Let me know how it goes if you do try it out :)

Hi Honeybee! Thanks for dropping by! It really is a good combination...and caramelizing the apples in sugar and pepper gives it a nice sweet kick :) Hope to see you here soon!

Midge said...

Hi, Joey! Seems like everyone's got the same post-Holiday dilemma: how to lose all that extra poundage!

Salads are a brilliant way to go and I've been eating tons of greens of late. Try this: mixed greens, arugula, shredded crabsticks, diced mango or peach, flaked almonds, and a low-cal raspberry vinaigrette. (I use the one from Goolai, actually; so flavorful!)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! You said it! :) That combination does sound yummy...thanks for passing it along! And I also like Goolai's raspberry vinaigrette :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Your apple and blue chees salad sounds yummy. Glad I clicked on your blog.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Leah! Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked it! :)