Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cherry Goat Cheese Salad

I adore the carefree feeling of summer. There's just something different  in the air, isn't there? Long days, lazy nights, fresh mornings, loose schedules, indescribably sweet produce...all quintessentially: summer!

This particular season seems to make me feel extra adventurous in the kitchen! I mean, I truly enjoy cooking all year long, but I think it's the re-opening of the farmer's markets here on the east coast, and then the subsequent overflow of my home garden that gets me itching to try new things using these local, delicious ingredients.

It's so much fun exploring different flavors, textures, and taste sensations, isn't it? Like there might be something life-altering waiting for us, just around the next corner of our foodie imagination! One of my favorite fail-proof canvases on which to bring my culinary visions to life is: the utilitarian green salad.
Like the season itself, summertime salads need not be fussy. Just collect any of your favorite fruits and veggies, and heap them all onto a bed of lettuce. Want to add some protein? Pile on some grilled chicken or cooked quinoa. Add your favorite cheese or other salty element, and you've got easy, seasonal lunchtime (or suppertime, or snack time) perfection! You truly can't go wrong. Here is one of my current favorite flavor combinations:

  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Goat Cheese
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Greens

Drizzle with a light vinaigrette, toss, and serve! Do you enjoy making your own dressing? If so, here is the perfect compliment (thanks to my friend Tammy for passing along this great recipe!):

Maple Balsamic Summer Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake, and serve atop your favorite salad. Store any remaining dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Do you have a favorite summertime salad combination?


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