You know, sometimes you give and you give and you get nothing back. I've come to accept that it's just a part of life. You've heard of that anecdote, "Life's not fair," right? Well, it's true. Sometimes life can hand you a bucket full of sunshine and other times you want to stuff yourself into a closet and never come out. Yeast makes me feel that way sometimes...The last couple months, with all the free time I've been having, I wanted to give myself a bit of a challenge: yeast (well maybe not a bit, more like a mound). First, it was Jim Lahey's groundbreaking no-knead bread. Did I mention I met the guy while at his bakery in New York? Yep, it was amazing and he was incredibly kind and witty. Even though the bread was incredibly easy, I still managed to mangle it a little by over baking it. Hmph!
Next, it was lion house rolls. Upon first meeting, it charmed me with its warm buttery bliss. But, the next day it dried out like a river in the summer. Dry, dry, dry. Tears were shed. Anywho, then it was on to this epic 7 grain bread that received more than merry reviews from the plenty of folk at Allrecipes. It came out beautifully yeasted, nice and toasty brown on top but the flavor was less than satisfactory. After all this... I have come to the conclusion that yeast and I are not friends. No siree.
After all of that mess, I've decided to take a break from yeast for a while. It was necessary. During this break, whaddaya know? Life brought me something delicious, addicting and all kinds of good. The dressing is my favorite part; slightly tangy and just a bit creamy. This salad is filled to the brim, but don't let the crowd of ingredients scare you! They all fit together wonderfully.It was funny, as I was shooting the salad, I noticed so many other things in my garden that exhibited the same color palette as the salad. It was awesome. Please enjoy!
Granny Smith & Gouda Salad
Yields: about 4 - 6 servings
Original recipe here.
For the green apple vinaigrette:
1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsn. Dijon mustard
3 tbsn. honey
3 tbsn. minced shallot
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2/3 cup vegetable oil
For the salad:
8 oz. smoked gouda, cut into matchsticks or cubed
1 large granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 red delicious apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 cup candied walnuts
10 oz. fresh baby spinach (I used baby greens), about 8 lightly packed cups
salt and pepper, to taste
*smoked turkey can be added for a heartier salad
To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and whiz until well combined. With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in the oil until slightly emulsified and combined, set aside in the refrigerator until use. To make the salad, toss the gouda, green apple, celery and onion in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat lighly. Toss the spinach in another large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly. Season the spinach to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the spinach on top of each plate. Top with some of the gouda-green apple mixture, then sprinkle with some tomatoes and walnuts. Lastly, arrange the red apple slices around the salad and serve.