Wintery Weekend

After the “weather bomb” that was dropped on us this past weekend, what else is there to do but stay snuggled up inside?  I was lucky enough to be shacked up at a friend’s cottage, with tasty treats, deep burgundy wines, and great tunes.  Here are some snapshots from our cozy weekend.

Simple, but satisfying. Mary’s crackers, carrot sticks, hummus, goat brie, and smoked oysters.

The highlight of our day was the meal we made, featuring this delicious Wintery salad from one of my new favorite foodie blogs 80twenty.  This blog is a relatively new find for me; I love the concept of 80% clean healthy eats vs. 20% indulgent foods.  Sounds like a good balance to me!  There are tons of great recipes like this one…

Sweet Potato, Arugula, and Pom Salad

Ingredients

– Salad –
2 large bunches of arugula, washed and trimmed (or one 5oz container, like this)
4 small sweet potatoes (about a pound), cut into ½ inch pieces
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
Half of a pomegranate, seeded (I got lazy and bought pre-seeded pomegranate)
Heaping 1/4 cup of raw hazelnuts
70g (1/2 cup) feta cheese, cut into small cubes (I left the feta out because we had already used cheese in the meal)

– Dressing –
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove, crushed garlic
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F.  Toss the sweet potato pieces in grapeseed oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Spread them evenly over a rimmed baking sheet and roast approximately 20 minutes (or until tender), giving them a shake half way through. Once they’re ready, set aside to cool.

Step 2: Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium-low heat. Cook the hazelnuts in the pan for 4-7 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from the heat when the nuts are fragrant and browned. Allow them to cool and then roughly chop. I consume the skins on for the health benefits and also because I’m too darn lazy to take them off.

Step 3: To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Step 4: To assemble the salad, place a bed of arugula into a large bowl and toss in the remaining ingredients (sweet potato, pom, feta cheese, and toasted hazelnuts), keeping some aside for garnish. Top with the dressing and then gently toss the salad with your bare hands, using your fingers to ensure even distribution. This method is much gentler on the tender greens. When the salad components are all dressed, top with remaining garnishes and eat up the deliciousness.

Tart pomegranate, hearty sweet potatoes, and spicy arugula paired with personal sized pesto filled quiche with a nutty base, and of course plenty of vino.  Pure Winter bliss.

 

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