Salad Days

nectarine saladThere’s just something about the tender-green of baby kale coupled with the sweet tang of nectarines that I’ve been finding extremely satisfying of late. This crisp salad is a mouthful of summer and delicious enough to tempt me away from evening writing projects.

bellafinaDinner arranged, the challenge of pairing was presented — the sparkle of the dish was heightened with a Prosecco, perfect for a balmy twilight.

My choice of the Bellafina Prosecco was a happy accident, an impulse purchase that had then been absentmindedly shoved into the back of the refrigerator. Maybe it was actually kismet, as the flavors of stone fruits, lemon cream, and almonds were harmonious with the varying sweet and lush flavors of the salad. The wine’s orange bitter finish was paradisiacal with the kale. Isn’t it marvelous how good food and great wine always seem to find each other?

Nectarines & Baby Kale Salad

two handfuls of baby kale
1 nectarine, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 avocado, cubed
a sprinkling of tamari pumpkin seeds
a sprinkling of shredded coconut (Leftover, perhaps, from your coconut shrimp?)
drizzle of poppy seed dressing

Toss everything together and serve right away, appreciating the crisp, refreshing qualities of both the salad and the Prosecco.

Paneer Salad

paneer saladIt seems like everyone in the western United States is talking about our current heat wave. Heck, even the BBC are posting about it. I guess I’ll add my voice. This cold ocean loving gal hates the heat. When it gets hot, my desire to cook plummets into the negatives.

It becomes salad season, but of course, always tweaking with recipes and enjoying the creation of something new, I sometimes just go with whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.

Not having a plan, and not having much of a drive to even eat, I decided to play with flavors as they popped into my head a couple of evenings ago. The heat wave may not have rolled over the area by that point, but believe me, I could feel the atmosphere readying itself. I decided to attempt to craft a salad around paneer and stone fruit. I don’t know where the inspiration came from, exactly, but it ended up being a tasty dinner for a couple of nights.

Paneer Salad

serves two

You’ll need:
2 nectarines
2 cups baby spinach
7 oz paneer
Garam Masala to taste
2 TB crème fraîche
1 TB Gewürztraminer vinegar

Warm up a grill or grill pan. Slice nectarines then sprinkle with Garam Masala. Grill nectarines, turning after a couple of minutes or when grill marks become brown. While nectarines cook, cut paneer into small squares and sprinkle with more Garam Masala. Remove nectarines from grill and replace with paneer, following the same steps as the fruit.

In a bowl, combine crème fraîche, Gewürztraminer vinegar, and a few more sprinkles of Garam Masala. Mix.

Fill two bowls with the baby spinach. Layer grilled nectarines and paneer on top and drizzle with the crème fraîche mixture. Serve while nectarines are still warm.