Monday, November 9, 2009

Meatless Monday: Organic Mixed Greens with Apples, Walnuts & Chevre (Goat Milk Cheese)!

Hope all you lovely Divas had fabulous weekends filled with fabulousness!

I know mine was!

It began with the Adorable Monster's first birthday.  For this blessed event, I whisked him off to the Laurel Canyon dog park where he had a blast, rolling around in the dirt, humping other smaller, unsuspecting dogs (ball surgery has not deterred him in the least) and generally acting like a maniac.  You gotta love him!

I also attended a fabulous workshop, hosted by my BDFF Kate, where I gave a talk on Domestic Divas and brought a batch of my freshly baked Apple-Walnut Corn Muffins (CLICK HERE for recipe) and hit up the Hollywood Farmers Market as always, stocking up on tons of goodies including grass-fed rack of lamb from Healthy Farmily Farms CSA, local yellowtail, organic pea tendrils, baby shitake mushrooms, organic mustard greens, organic blueberries, organic walnuts and much more!  I'll be cooking some amazing recipes and sharing them all, so stay tuned!

Today for Meatless Monday, I'm sharing one of my favorite winter salads.  As I explained at the workshop yesterday, making a hearty salad is one of the best ways for busy women who feel they don't have the time to cook dinner to still prepare themselves a healthy dinner.  There are endless variations on the salad, and they can be served as a side dish to a bigger meal or prepared in a bigger portion and eaten as an main course!

This salad makes use of the wonderful organic apples that are at the peak of their season right now!  Choose whatever variety floats your boat.  I toasted walnuts and threw them into the dish for a dose of healthy fats and protein, but almost any nut from hazelnuts to pecans to almonds would taste fabulous.  Finally, I crumbled in some award-winning chevre from one of my favorite local producers, Soledad Farms, and tossed it all with organic mixed greens and a balsamic vinaigrette.  For the dressing, I used Villa Manodori aged balsalmic vinegar (CLICK HERE to read my article about it) and Ruben's Mission local olive oil made from the first press of hand-picked estate-grown olives (CLICK HERE to read about it).

Note: For a fun twist on this salad, try substituting pomegranate seeds for the apple!  

Organic Mixed Greens with Apples, Walnut & Chevre (Goat Milk Cheese)
Serves 2 people

4 cups organic mixed greens
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 apple, chopped
2 tbsp chevre (goat cheese)
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the walnuts in a pie dish in an even layer and toast in the oven for 4 minutes.  Remove, allow to cool and then chop.

To make the dressing, pour the balsamic vinegar into a bowl with the minced garlic.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the apples, walnuts and organic mixed greens into a salad bowl.  Crumble the goat cheese on top (note:  if you place the goat cheese in the freezer for a few minutes, it will make it easier to crumble).  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until evenly distributed.  Top with some freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!

Businesses Mentioned:

Soledad Goats
6501 Backus Rd.
Mojave, CA 93501

Producers of award-winning goat cheese (literally the BEST fresh chevre I have ever tasted), they can be found selling their artisanal cheeses at the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sunday.  Stop by their booth for a free sample and I promise you won't be able to leave without bringing some home with you!

Source for Ingredients:

organic mixed greens from Kenter Canyon Farms (Hollywood Farmers Market)

chevre from Soledad Farms (Hollywood Farmers Market)

organic apples, organic walnuts, organic garlic & Ruben's Mission olive oil from the Hollywood Farmers Market

Music on Tap:

Sufjan Stevens - The BQE

One of the most unique, talented and fiercely independent musicians around today, I've been in love with Sufjan Steven's work since I first heard Michigan many years ago when Kuzak was still attenidng in college in that very state (Sufjan is also an alum).  While Seven Swans remains my favorite of his albums, this brand new one, a symphony-like opus commisioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, and that's a great thing when it comes to Sufjan!


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