Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pecans

 

A classic Southern salad you won’t soon forget.

½ cup pecan halves
½ medium onion, sliced
About 6 cups fresh spinach
2 cups strawberries
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Spread the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool and chop coarsely.

Wash the spinach well and dry. Remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl.

Remove the hulls, the leafy stem, from the strawberries with a paring knife. Slice the strawberries and add to the spinach with the pecans. Add the onion to the salad with the goat cheese. Toss well. Grate the orange zest and sprinkle over the salad.

Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small bowl (this should yield about ½ cup). Whisk in the salt, dry mustard, and vinegar. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Add just enough dressing to the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

Rosetta Stone

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Today in history —> On this day in 1799, French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard found the Rosetta Stone in an Egyptian village. The stone was inscribed with hieroglyphics and Greek script in 196 BC but was lost during the Medieval period. After its rediscovery, it prompted widespread excitement as scientists raced to be the first to decipher the ancient text. It was eventually translated by Jean-François Champollion, a French scholar, in 1822!

The inscription, by the way, is about the divine status of Ptolemy V.

#RosettaStone

Grilled Pineapple, Peaches and Plums

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Pineapple
Light brown sugar
Peaches
Vegetable oil
Plums
3 pounds good-quality lump charcoal

Cut the pineapple into wedges or spears. Press the cut sides into the brown sugar. Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and lightly oil the peach halves. Lightly brush oil onto the plums.

Set up the cooker for direct cooking: Open the top and bottom vents. Pile 2 pounds of the charcoal in the bottom. Load a charcoal chimney one-quarter full of charcoal and light it. When the coals in the chimney are glowing, dump them on top of the pile already in the cooker and close the lid. Adjust the vents as necessary to establish a steady temperature between 350to 375 degrees for direct grilling.

Open the cooker and spread the fruits evenly over the charcoal, cut side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they soften and are nicely marked. Pull the fruits off the cooker and arrange on a large serving tray.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Trout Amandine

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When I think of trout amandine one thing comes to mind my family’s summer vacations to Glacier National Park as a child and relishing this dish at Many Glacier Hotel

½ cup whole milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 trout fillets (5 to 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup sliced almonds
Juice of 1 lemon

Add the milk and the flour in separate bowls.  Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the fish in the milk, shaking off the excess. Then lightly dredge both sides of the fish in the flour, shaking off the excess.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. In two batches if necessary not to overcrowd the pan, cook the fish until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, around 3 minutes per side.

Remove fillets and ass the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom, until the butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the almonds, and cook until warmed through, usually 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place a fillet on each plate and spoon the sauce over the top.

 

 

Cathead Biscuits

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2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, chilled and cubed
2 cups whole buttermilk

* Use White Lily brand where available

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees with one of the racks in the middle of the oven.

Grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour (both all-purpose and cake flour), kosher salt, and the baking powder. Sift in ingredients if desired.  As an experiment make two batches one sifted and the other not to determine your preference.

Take your cold butter And cut into small cubes with a sharp knife.  Take the butter between your forefinger and thumb and make a pushing motion. This makes thin sheets or ribbons of butter that will fold into the dough perfectly and then rise in the oven in beautiful layers.  Some bakers call this snapping butter.

Add the buttermilk and fold in very gently.  Do not overmix! Scoop the dough into your pan or skillet, making sure to keep the dough scoops right next to each other on the pan. A large ice cream scoop is ideal for this.

Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fluffy.

 

 

 

Southern Pie Spice

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1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground dried ginger
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground dried lemon peel

Add all the spices to an airtight container and shake to combine. Store for up to a year.

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Death

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Today in 1822 one of my favorite poets and playwrights died Percy Bysshe Shelley. (b. 1792)

An excerpt from “Prometheus Unbound”:

Death is the veil which those who live call life:
They sleep, and it is lifted: and meanwhile
In mild variety the seasons mild
With rainbow-skirted showers, and odorous winds,
And long blue meteors cleansing the dull night,

And the life-kindling shafts of the keen sun’s
All-piercing bow, and the dew-mingled rain
Of the calm moonbeams, a soft influence mild,
Shall clothe the forests and the fields, aye, even
The crag-built desarts of the barren deep,
With ever-living leaves, and fruits, and flowers.