Cooking with Oonagh - Free Recipe


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Salad with Blueberry Goats Cheese Blueberries, Bacon, Caramelized Pecans in a Honey/Vanilla Vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette is enough for 4-8 people. I think that even if you are not a lover of goats cheese (like me) you will still enjoy this salad. Apart from the vinaigrette, the quantities given are a guide line so you can adjust individual quantities to taste. But the combination of flavors and textures is really tasty.

Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar - good quality not cheapest
  • c olive oil - not extra virgin which is far too strong
  • -1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Method
1. Put vanilla and balsamic in one cup container, add salt and pepper and stir to dissolve salt.

2. Stir in honey until it seems blended.

3. Stir in olive oil and give it a good whisk. Mix will appear to thicken (emulsify). Remember you will need to give vinaigrette a good whisk before serving as it will separate on standing. Romaine, spinach, mesclun mix - whatever you fancy. I find one head of Romaine lettuce is about 3 generous adult servings.

I use 1 slice of Kirkland ready cooked, sliced bacon per person. I scissor it into small slices and nuke to make crispier without overcooking. Drain on paper towel. Use vegetarian bacon pieces if you must. Can be prepared and bagged for later in the day.

1-2 tablespoons fresh blueberries or same of Kirkland dried blueberries. I find that far too often fresh blueberries aren't sweet enough. Kirkland blueberries are moist, sweet and delicious. Add them to your cereal each day.

1x 10.5 oz 'log' of 'Celebrity' blueberry with cinnamon goats cheese. This cheese has a tang but is not very strong. You can also make this with a creamy Feta cheese. I cut the cheese into about a -3/4" slice per person. Cut each slice into smaller pieces for a mixed salad. For individual plates at a dinner party, cut slice into quarters to arrange decoratively with rest of ingredients.

Caramelized Nuts

  • c pecans or almonds
  • c sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
Method
1. In a small non stick pan (milk pan or 7" skillet) over medium heat gently melt sugar and water and cook sugar syrup until it turns to a light golden brown. Do not stir sugar syrup once it melts. The syrup will start turning a very pale gold at edges as it basically cooks into a toffee. Carefully swirl pan to mix syrup. Syrup will turn browner as it cooks. You want a nice golden brown without burning. If you can smell it and see a haze, it's burning.

BE VERY CAREFUL, BOILING SUGAR IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND GIVES A PAINFUL BURN.

Don't make this with children or animals around. Syrup will take 5-10 minutes to turn a good golden brown depending on heat of pan and how wide it is. Higher heat, wider pan will cook faster. I have burnt the toffee on numerous occasions so don't despair, and it turns to burnt in an instant.

2. Toast pecans in 350° oven for 5-10 minutes until lightly brown, while sugar is cooking. Add toasted nuts to browned caramel and gently cook almonds and caramel until caramel turns a slightly darker golden color. Take care not to burn the sugar and therefore the nuts.

3. Once cooked, immediately (toffee will continue to cook) pour onto piece of foil, cool, break into pieces and store in an air tight container for several days or until needed. Allow pan to cool and put to soak in water, any leftover toffee will melt away.

Note: Don't try making toffee during the rain, humidity or while boiling pan of water - toffee will absorb water in air and not become crisp.

Serving:

Put salad on each plate, top with pieces of cheese, blueberries, bacon and pecans. Drizzle with hone/vanilla vinaigrette. I use about 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette per person as I don't like drowning a salad.


PLEASE NOTE THAT SUBSTITUTIONS AND DIFFERENT METHODS WILL AFFECT FINAL TASTE.
© 2000-2006 Royal Temptations


Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV and on Manchester TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.
 
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