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My first year! A review

Wow! I can’t believe that I have been blogging for a little over a year now!  I decided to start blogging because I wanted to share with people.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading, and I promise to post more in my second year, now that I have gotten the hang of it 🙂

I just want to do an overview of the past year, thematically.  So here is the round-up of Food, Travel and Fun!




Did I miss anything? Can’t believe I did all this!


Essential Pépin: Composed Salad

To celebrate the release of Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook, Essential Pépin, we are challenging Canadian home chefs and bloggers to cook up their own French meals with recipes from the book. Participants will receive a copy of the book* and one lucky chef will win a KitchenAid® Artisan Series Stand Mixer**, courtesy of KitchenAid® Canada!

This arrived in my email late last week and I was intrigued.  Other than chefs on Food Network, I am pretty ignorant of known chefs. I would love to receive the cookbook so I can expand my culinary knowledge.   I was happy to see that the three recipes for entry were actually quite simple.

I choose to do the Composed Salad because it was close to what I normally do for a salad.  We were allowed to add any other vegetable, so I choose beets.  I found candy cane and orange at St. Lawrence Market on the weekend, and had some regular red beets from a stop in Flesherton Market over Thanksgiving weekend.  I love roasted beets, especially with goat cheese, so I knew this salad would work.

Composed salad with roasted beets and herbed goat cheese

Jacques Pépin’s recipe 

Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Pecans
Serves 4

A composed salad consists of greens and any of an almost endless variety of other ingredients, from cooked vegetables to fruits, nuts, poultry, lamb, beef, fish, or shellfish, arranged on a plate or platter, rather than tossed. In this one, I add cheese, apple, and caramelized pecans to tender greens. The combination makes an ideal summer supper or lunch main course or elegant dinner first course.

1/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of cayenne

1 medium apple, preferably russet or
Golden Delicious
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons oil, preferably a mixture
of walnut, hazelnut, and/or canola
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups salad greens, preferably mesclun
1 ounce semi-dry or hard goat cheese,
crumbled into pieces about 1/2 inch
in size.

For the pecans:

Put the pecans in a skillet and cover (barely) with water.
Bring to a simmer over high heat, and immediately drain. Return the pecans to the pan and add the oil, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the nuts brown and the sugar mixture caramelizes.
Transfer the pecans to a plate to cool.
Halve the apple and remove the core.
Cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stack the slices and cut them into 1/2-inch wide strips. Mix the apple strips with the lemon juice and set aside.

For the dressing:

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
At serving time, toss the greens with the vinaigrette, and arrange on individual plates. Sprinkle with the apple strips,
crumbled cheese, and pecans. Serve immediately.

Want to enter? Check out the Facebook page, contest closes Sunday, December 4.

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