Thursday, October 9, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

Just in case you have been wondering what has happened to me and whether you should send help because I fell down a well... You see, it was like this: my husband came home from an out-of-town trip and got sick. So while he was lying on his death bed, er was sick with the common cold, I was tending to the poor dear while trying to not get catch his cold. During this time our meals consisted mostly of grilled cheese sandwiches and canned soup. Now, I have to admit that my Go-To Comfort meal is a mug of creamy tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, but it's hardly worth blogging about.

And because life wasn't exciting or challenging enough, my husband's desktop computer died. Now this in and of itself is no biggie as my husband can use his company laptop computer to check his emails on, but then my daughter's laptop computer died. Cue the end of the world, please. My husband, being the ever helpful soul that he is, immediately suggested that my daughter take my laptop computer to her college classes so she could take notes. I calmly explained to my husband that one woman without her computer was a bad thing, but two women without their computers? You don't want to go there. No, really. Whew, crisis averted. So, we worked out a compromise: I get my computer when the daughter is at classes or football and she gets it when she is home. Something about college class work being more important than blogging...

Well, now that the excuses are out of the way, on with the show.

A sure sign of the changing of the seasons is the shift back to my lovely sunset views. And what do you know? My favorite tree even has leaves this time of year.

I have been searching for a new salad dressing to make for myself. Unlike my husband and daughter who can quite happily exist on one dressing for the rest of their lives, I like to mix it up and try different dressings for my salads.

I decided to make a raspberry vinaigrette this time. I played around a bit until I got something I was happy with.

1 cup canola oil

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

1/3 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all together and chill. You may want to add more or less honey, depending on your tastes. I have to admit that I like the fact that this dressing is a bit sour and has a bite to it.

Now, I just need a salad for this dressing.

Watching my favorite food sitcom, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, I knew I had to make a correct version of the Arugula Salad with pears and Gorgonzola that Sandra Lee semi-ho'd. As a child I hated pears: hated the texture and hated the sickly-sweet taste. Then, I grew up and found out that fresh pears were nothing like their evil canned cousins. Fresh pears have the texture of an apple and are milder in flavor than an apple. In short, they are a delight in a salad. The canned stuff? Don't go there. Just don't.

I opted to use baby spinach in place of the arugula and I added red onion to the dish to give it some bite. I purchased organically grown d'Anjou pears at my regular grocery store. Pecans and Gorgonzola cheese round out the ingredient list.

I don't care if the package says that the spinach is washed and ready to eat. After the recent food scares, do yourself and your family a favor and go ahead and rinse the spinach and pat dry.

Pears are incredibly easy to prepare: wash, cut in half lengthwise and then half again and then trim out the core from each quarter. Slice each quarter into thin wedges.

The finished salads. So easy to make and easy on the eyes. I allowed each member of the family to add their favorite salad dressings at this point. The raspberry vinaigrette lent a nice tart note to this salad, while the crisp pears and the creamy Gorgonzola complimented the mild spinach and the nutty crunch of the pecans.

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