I know, spinach salad is not the most exciting item in the culinary world. I admit it. But this one got two very enthusiastic thumbs up from the husband, who prefers to reserve his excitement for things like a juicy T-bone steak, or falling-off-the-bone barbecue ribs. Every component helps the other one shine. Give it a try.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the salad:
a bunch of spinach leaves, preferably baby spinach
a handful of walnuts, lightly toasted with a touch of salt
one or two Bartlett pears, peeled and thinly sliced
feta cheese, crumbled, amount to taste
pomegranate seeds, sprinkled with abandon

for the dressing:
3 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
a touch of mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. I actually prefer to add everything but the oil, so that the salt dissolves well into the vinegar. Whisk the oil, make a nice emulsion and reserve.

Add the spinach leaves to a platter, place all other components on top. Add the dressing, toss the leaves very gently to coat.  Serve right away.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I confess to having a problem with pomegranate seeds. I cannot stop grabbing the cups full of them, sold at Dillon’s.  I know, who needs to buy that when you can get the fruit and whack it yourself? I can tell you one thing, if you could watch me performing the maneuver of getting seeds off the fruit, you would understand why I avoid doing it. Yes, I’ve tried every single “easy and efficient” method published in magazines, books, and websites. Even the one describe as “The Ultimate Trick for Pomegranate Seeds Removal.” Thanks, but no thanks.  But, whatever your method of choice, try this salad, it is really delicious, and elegant enough for company. The juicy pears, the salty feta, the nutty nuts, well… you get the picture.

ONE YEAR AGO: Karen’s Four Hour French Country Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: The Siren’s Song of the Royal Icing

THREE YEARS AGO: Blog-worthy Roasted Butternut Squash

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate Currant Sourdough Loaf & Roasted Beet Hummus

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flax Seed Sourdough

SIX YEARS AGO: Spanakopita Meatballs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pain de Mie au Levain









No hesitation to jump on the preparation of this salad: from the moment I saw the post at Fer’s site to enjoying it as our dinner only 20 hours  elapsed.  Keep in mind that most recipes sit on my “to make soon” folder for months, not hours.  Some have been waiting there for a decade! The protein quotient of this salad was increased by the addition of seared scallops on top, with a delicate drizzle of this amazing dressing.  One word: awesome.

Scallops, Orange and Avocado Salad
(adapted from Chucrute com Salsicha, original recipe from Bon Appetit)

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 jalapeño
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
2 oranges, cut in segments
mixed greens
6 large sea scallops (optional)

Simmer orange juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp.  It should take a little over 5 minutes. Let cool.

Roast jalapeño directly over a gas flame, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides.  Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds, then finely chop.

Whisk shallot, vinegar, reduced orange juice, and the jalapeño in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in vegetable oil, then olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

Toss avocados, orange segments, salad greens,  and vinaigrette in a bowl.  Serve with seared scallops on top, if so desired.

ENJOY! (I know you will….)

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  You might be tempted to use store-bought orange juice for the dressing, but fresh is best, since it will be concentrated by cooking.  Also, I wimped out and used only half the jalapeño, but it would be even better with the whole pepper.  Go for it and you won’t be disappointed. What a great twist the charring of the jalapeno!  I do that all the time with bell peppers, but had never seen a recipe applying the same treatment to a much smaller (and hotter) pepper.

For the scallops, I used a sprinkle of Mycryo to help get that nice sear, but use whatever method you like.  Just do not over-cook them.   The salad will stand on its own without the scallops, it is very flavorful. Great combination of ingredients, plus a dressing that will be made often in the Bewitching Kitchen.  I can see it would be wonderful spooned over a thick piece of grilled salmon…

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads

THREE YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version


One of the gifts we’ve received during the holidays was a super special box of Royal Riviera pears from Harry and David.  Inside the box, a little card with a recipe for a salad that would make the pears shine.  They ship the pears slightly unripe, with instructions on the best way to store them as they reach their peak, and also on how to tell when they get there.  We had to wait for a little less than a week, then enjoyed the juiciest pears ever!   The salad? It was so good that we made it again a couple of days later… Come to think of it, that in itself is a huge endorsement, because I tend not to crave salads during the cold months of the year.

Rogue Valley Salad

(recipe adapted from Harry & David)

for the dressing:
2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup walnut oil (I used less)

for the salad:
1 head butter lettuce, washed and dried
1 large Royal Riviera Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4  cup Rogue Creamery or other blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup  toasted walnuts

Make the dressing: Mix together the first five ingredients. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil. Chill for 20 minutes.

Gently tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Arrange on four chilled plates. Top with fans of pear slices. Sprinkle blue cheese evenly over the pears and lettuce and top with nuts. Drizzle the dressing generously over the salad, and serve at once.


to print the recipe, click here


The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of walnut oil, I used a lot less than that but kept the other amounts the same. I like my salad to be just barely coated with dressing and prefer it a little less oily. Also, considering the price for walnut oil, I rather use it with a little less abandon.  😉   On my second time preparing this recipe, the dressing was similar, but instead of walnuts I used very thinly sliced celery.  I mixed the celery with the dressing as it chilled for 20 minutes and then incorporated both into the other components.  Two pears were consumed in the name of this delicious salad, the others we enjoyed late at night, usually watching nice movies…  Like the trilogy:  Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.  I highly recommend those, Julie Delpy is simply superb!

ONE YEAR AGO: Keema Beef Curry

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin with Soy, Ginger, and Lime

THREE YEARS AGO: No-Fuss Coffee Cake

FOUR YEARS AGO: Swedish Limpa

Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!

This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks: Secrets of Success, by Michael Bauer, who is a restaurant critic for “The San Francisco Chronicle”. In this wonderful book, we encounter 300 recipes of “signature dishes” from San Francisco restaurants. More than providing the recipe, he shares little secrets used by the chefs: small details that often mean the difference between a good and a great meal.

At some point in my life (ca. 1989)  I left my heart in the Bay Area, 😉  so buying this book and cooking from it was a nice way to fight my withdrawal symptoms.

This recipe comes from chef Fabrizio Laudati (owner of an Italian restaurant called Panta Rei). It was offered as an appetizer in his previous restaurant, Baraonda, that no longer exists. I find it perfect for a summer dinner: it’s light but substantial enough to fill you up, especially if you serve a good loaf of bread with it. In this case, the recipe will feed 2 or 3 happy people.

(serves 6 as an appetizer course)

Para receita em portugues, veja o final desse texto, na proxima pagina

for the shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T butter

for the vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t balsamic vinegar
2 t grapefruit juice
1 garlic clove, minced (I omitted)
salt and ground white pepper

for the salad
3 ounces mixed baby greens of your choice
2 heads Belgian endive, separated into spears
2 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments (see my comments)
1 t minced fresh Italian parsley

To prepare the shrimp, combine the oil, the grapefruit juice and the garlic in a bowl. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepperand refrigerate everything for 6 to 24 hours.

To make the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients until blended.

Place the greens, endive and grapefruit segments in separate bowls, adding the vinaigrette to each bowl and tossing the ingredients. Make sure to save any grapefruit juice that runs out of the segments.

Heat a skillet that will hold all the shrimp over high heat. Add the shrimp and the marinade and stir them until the shrimp are cooked and the sauce slightly reduces, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and toss the shrimp until it melts, then remove it from the heat. Add the reserved juices from the grapefruit segments to the skillet and stir to blend.

For nice presentation, assemble the salad by placing the endive spears in a circle on individual plates. Add a grapefruit section on top of each spear,and pile a mound of greens in the center, topping the dish with two hot shrimp and another grapefruit piece. Drizzle with a little of the sauce; sprinkle with parsley.

Bon Appetit!

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