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Posts from the ‘Salads’ Category

don’t be turning your nose up so quick…kale salad

Kale is a Super-hero among vegetables, a phyto-chemical-antioxidant-rich green dragon, repairing DNA damage to cells, boosting immune systems, helping prevent macular degeneration, and even blocking the growth of cancer cells. It does all this weighing in at a measly 35 calories per raw cup!  Kale is a super-hero you’ll want to befriend.

Is all that enough reason to pal around with a vegetable hero that tastes nasty? No, not in my book. I could rave about this kale salad but I’m going to quietly step aside and let Dr. Andrew Weil do the talking. He and chef Sam Fox opened True Food Kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona, and that restaurant has since blossomed into five others across the country. (Their mission: to serve food that promotes the diner’s well-being while being uncompromisingly delicious.) This is their Signature dish. (shocking, no?) This is the dish on their menu, year-round, that nearly everyone asks for. This is the dish that so many people enjoyed and went on to duplicate in their own kitchens that farmers all across the Phoenix area started pulling out other crops and planting instead, Tuscan kale. (It goes by other names too: Lacinato, cavolo nero, Russian kale or dinosaur kale.)

KaleSalad-5

Here’s a story Dr. Weil tells:

Not long ago, a mother with a son and a daughter about seven and five came up to me in the Phoenix restaurant. ‘Tell Dr. Weil what your favorite thing to eat here is,’ she said to the girl, who was too shy to answer. Her brother spoke for her, ‘Kale salad! Kale salad!’ he said with great enthusiasm. {That made Andrew Weil very happy.} If folks in Arizona, which is hardly a bastion of veg-heads, can learn to love raw kale, it is only a matter of time before true love for it blooms across the land!

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This is one of those rare salads that gets better as it sits, better the next day than it was the day before. Any bitterness present in the kale is softened by the lemon and salt in the dressing. With a pinch of red chile flakes, a scattering of crunchy toasted bread crumbs and shavings of Pecorino Romano, this is a salad you are almost 100% guaranteed to love, and I mean love.

You can assemble this salad in minutes and enjoy it for two days. He says it serves 8…I say 4.  (Perhaps because it’s possibly twice as good as he says.)

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Kale Salad

Extra-virgin Olive Oil - ½ cup

Freshly-squeezed lemon juice -  ¼ cup

Garlic - 3 cloves mashed – 2 may be enough for you

salt - ½ teaspoon

Kale - 2 bunches – about 14 ounces, 400g.

Grano Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – ½ cup finely grated

Toasted Whole-wheat Bread Crumbs – 2 Tablespoons (or perhaps a bit more)

Grano Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese shavings – for garnish

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A NOTE on the quantities – I find that the amount of dressing is more than sufficient to dress these leaves. I hold about ¼ of it back and drizzle on steamed vegetables. But make the entire amount…it may be different for you.

KaleSalad-8

Remove the ribs from the washed and patted dry kale. Slice into ¼-inch shreds. Read more

possibly the best spinach salad

As good as your pita may be, occasionally your pita will grow stale. Once you’ve tasted this salad, you’ll make sure that occurs regularly! Pita, past its prime (which happens quite quickly) makes delicious croutons!

BabySpinachSaladOttolenghi-5

Today’s will be a very quick post, on an extraordinary salad. (Another recipe from chef Ottolenghi. Forgive me, I can’t help myself.) This ranks amongst the best salads I’ve eaten, anywhere, ever. In flavor and texture, perfectly balanced. Sweet, tart, spicy heat, soft and crunch. The onions, macerated in vinegar with the dates, now softened and sweetened. The pita & almonds, browned together until crispy, then scattered with spice. The spinach, crisp, green, fresh. Dressed simply in olive oil & lemon.

A salad greater even than the sum of its parts.

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NOTE on Sumac: If you don’t have Sumac (get some!) you can find it on line. It’s red like paprika or chili powder, tart like a lemon or cranberries. It sits on many Middle Eastern tables like salt and pepper do on ours. After you’ve made that depression in the middle of your hummus, and filled it with olive oil, sprinkle sumac! You’ll find other uses for it too…it brightens up so many dishes,  but if nothing other than to use in this salad, you’ll be happy you and sumac met!

baby spinach salad with dates & almonds & pita croutons

from Yotam Ottolengthi

serves 4 (or so) as a first course 

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1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

3.5 ounces (100 g) pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise

2 Tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil (separated)

1/2 cup (75 g) whole, unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons sumac (see NOTE)

½ teaspoon chili flakes

5 ounces (150 g) baby spinach leaves

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

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Into a small bowl measure the vinegar and drop in the onion and dates. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes, then discard the vinegar and set aside the rest.

In the meantime, heat the butter and 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, drop in the broken pieces of pita and the chopped almonds. Cook, stirring all the while, until the pita is golden brown and crunchy. Remove from the heat and scatter with the sumac and chili flakes. Stir and set aside to cool.

BabySpinachSaladOttolenghi-1When you’re ready to serve, toss the pita/almond mix and the spinach into a large bowl.

BabySpinachSaladOttolenghi-2Add the marinated dates and red onion, the last tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt.

BabySpinachSaladOttolenghi-3

Read more

beet & goat cheese salad with toasted hemp & sesame seeds

If it’s Wegetables, it must be Vednesday.

Confession: with waning light this time of year, in order to photograph in natural light, I’ll often prepare some dinner-ish item and eat it all by myself for lunch. If it’s a salad of sorts I’ll usually dress just enough of it to satisfy my lunch appetite, save the rest and share it with the guinea pig when he gets home. You’re getting the picture…this time of year, I’m my own guinea pig. (To be perfectly honest, I don’t mind the job. And today, I flat out loved it. I halved the recipe and ate it all. Drop the “guinea”, keep the “pig”…thank you very much!)

Ever taste hemp seeds? – ok maybe that’s the wrong question – Have you ever bought packaged hemp seed at the grocery store and used your debit card to pay? Toast these little things and they’re about the nuttiest nubbins  you’ll ever eat. Plus, as if taste weren’t enough (and let’s be honest – it really isn’t) they’re jam-packed with nutrition (especially Omega-3’s and -6’s, so super good for your heart and brain!) Add them to your cereal in the morning, your muffins or other baked goods, into your soup, into your … well, whatever!  (I swear to you, these do not taste like hay…or even like grass!)

If you can buy your beets with the greens still attached, that’s a good idea for 2 reasons – decent looking greens means the beets don’t belong to last month, and braised beet greens are the bee’s knees.

You can use a mixture of fresh greens for this salad, but the bitters are so delicious with the sweetness of the roasted beets and the creamy tang of the goat cheese. And then you’ve got all that nutty goodness going on. My goodness, this is good!

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with Toasted Hemp & Sesame Seeds

BeetGoatCheeseSaladHempSeed-1enough for 4

for the salad

small to medium beets – 8

hemp seeds – 2 teaspoons

chicory, or baby arugula, or add a bit of radicchio or spinach – about 7 oz. total

goat cheese – 12 to 16 slices

a handful of mustard greens and water cress

sesame seeds - 2 teaspoons toasted

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for the dressing

red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar) – 1 Tablespoon

Dijon mustard – 1 Tablespoon

Hemp Seed Oil – Or Walnut Oil – 1 Tablespoon

Olive Oil - 3 Tablespoons

Parsley, coarsely chopped – 2 Tablespoons

Salt & Pepper to taste

BeetGoatCheeseSaladHempSeed-2

Preheat the oven to 375° F. (190°C.)

Prepare the dressing. Mix the vinegar and the mustard together and then add the oils. Stir the parsley in and then season with a good grind of pepper and a sprinkle of salt.

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baby spinach, orange & feta salad

I’m pretty much a lousy patient. For starters, I’m notoriously bad about calling the doctor in the first place.  Give it a day or two, it’ll pass. I’m sure of it. (That gene’s on my mother’s side.) Frequently I’ll forget and need reminders nagging to take my medicine, or I’ll fail to drink enough water when I do. And that whole “bed-rest” thing…that’s for someone who’s, you know… sick!

I made an exception this time. Allow me to boast (I may never have another opportunity like this one again) – this time I was an exceptional patient. (Except for that whole wasteful bed-rest thing.) I’ve been fighting (well, not me alone) a very nasty infection. I’m pleased to announce : we’ve won! I took my medicine. I drowned myself in fluids. I ate my spinach. And you should too! (How quickly we turn smug and start to nag!)

Baby Spinach Leaves, Orange & Feta Salad 

in a Walnut-Citrus Vinaigrette

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Baby spinach leaves

Orange – especially Blood Oranges if you can find them! - thinly sliced

Feta Cheese, crumbled

Pea shoots or seed sprouts

Olive Oil & Walnut Oil

Juice of fresh Lemon

Freshly-Ground Black Pepper

Toasted Walnuts – Optional

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For each share of salad, about 2 cups of beautiful baby spinach leaves, washed, dried, tumbled into a bowl; peeled and thinly sliced orange, dropped on top. (Reserve as much of the fallen juice as you can.) Vinaigrette – couldn’t be easier. Equal amounts of olive oil and walnut oil. Equal amounts of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and orange juice. (Start with equal parts oil & citrus juice…adjust to suit your taste.) A few grinds of black pepper, and pinch of flaky salt. Stir, drizzle, toss. Read more

roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad

Another vegetable dish, fit for a feast, made before the rush ~ and one that likes the temperature of the room, right where you set it.

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In the fall, my mum buys big burlap bags of nuts and over the course of the winter she shells them, roasts them then puts them away, mostly for baking. Her house still smelled of an alder wood fire and roasting hazelnuts when I showed up. It was a very lucky day for me to have a sweet long visit with my mom and to walk away with my pockets bulging nuts. My luck didn’t end there because I’d just bought a beautiful organic cauliflower and (several) pomegranates without a plan. And in my newest cookbook, a dish that paired them all together. Kismet! Somedays, things just can’t get much better.

One more recipe from the sumptuous new cookbook of Yotam Ottolenghi (Jerusalem) and then we’ll give the poor man a rest.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad

(serves 4 as a small side)

1 head Cauliflower, broken into small florets (1½ lb, 660 g)

5 Tablespoons Olive Oil – divided

1 large Celery Stalk, cut on an angle in ¼-inch slices

5 Tablespoons Hazelnuts, their skins on (30 g)

1/3 cup Parsley Leaves, picked

1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds (from about ½ medium pomegranate)

generous ¼ teaspoon ground Cinnamon

generous ¼ teaspoon ground Allspice

1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar

1½ teaspoons Maple Syrup

Salt & Pepper to taste

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Preheat the oven to 425°F 220ºC

Read more

so what’s in a salad?

Fresh-air markets, booths and stalls stretching for blocks and blocks, wooden tables piled high with newly-picked fruits and vegetables.  Luscious juice-sweet fruits, all round-body shapes and colors. Rustic root or bright green vegetables some with the earth still clinging to them. Farmers in aprons, their hands, soil-worn and calloused, paring off samples for us to taste. And we held out our hands and we tasted, and we bought what we couldn’t resist. But we’d made some kind of cosmic mistake! We had no kitchen to take our booty to, no salad bowl, no wooden tongs. No aprons of our own. So it happened that everywhere we went, my longing for brilliant color tossed in a bowl grew. We had some nice salads while away, but they weren’t the salads of home. And  the salads of home are the foods I miss most of all when we’re away.

So here, for you (and for me) brilliant color in a bowl. (and between us, so delicious it’s startling!)

Once again, as is usually the case with salads around here, a list of ingredients but no amounts. I’ll give some rough guidelines, but you know how you like your salads from home, so no one will be as good a judge as you …

 

Brilliant Winter Green Salad with Pomegranate, Apple & Almonds

Baby Spinach – or Arugula  (which do you prefer, mild and green, or slightly bitter? Or maybe a mix of the two.)

Apple, cored and sliced

Pomegranate seeds (see a previous post for the most ingenious way to remove these wonderfully tart & crunchy little seeds)

Basil – leaves laid out on top of one another, rolled tight like a cigar and sliced thinly

Slivered Almonds, toasted brown

Shallot, sliced thinly and sauteed to a toasty brown in a bit of oil

Soft, mild goat cheese – Optional

Vinaigrette (see below)

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Thinly slice the shallot and drop it into a small medium-hot skillet to which you’ve added a small amount of oil. Stir occasionally until browned. Remove to a paper towel.

Toast the almonds – in a 350° oven for perhaps 15 minutes. Check frequently. (The last bit of browning goes very quickly.) About the last 5 minutes you might (might!) want to place the shallots in the oven along with the almonds to dry and crisp them a bit more. 

Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. (See previous post link above. You’ll also find another delicious salad there.)

Toss all ingredients into a bowl (reserving a little of the seeds, nuts and shallots for sprinkling on top.) Toss with a little vinaigrette. Taste to see if amply dressed. Drizzle more as desired. Sprinkle bits of brilliance on top.

Would you like me to taste it for you and tell you why it’s so good?

Even this time of year, most markets will still have fresh crisp baby spinach leaves. These leaves taste mild and green and like Health itself. (Arugula, a little or a lot, but only for those who like the mildly bitter. I do!) Crisp sweet-tart apple, toasted almonds tasting of the hearth, threads of fresh basil winding throughout (these you nearly taste in your nose), crunchy smoky bittersweet bits of shallot, bursting tart seeds full of juice…and then…if you like this sort of thing…mild and creamy, exquisite white cheese of goat.

I . love .  this .  salad !

Read more

noodled & tangled Thai salad

Oh what a tangled web we weave

when first we practice to conceive

a noodled salad of garden things

kitty-kimboed together,  dressed with zing!

Once scattered with nuts it’s declared as  g o o d

Pray tell – who then shall make it – for

clearly, easily, anyone could!

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by Wilma Shakespoon

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Today’s Wegetable Vednesday offering:

An entire vegetarian meal, loaded with raw fresh vegetable goodness, textured and colorful, brimming with citrusy, nutty & Thai chili flavors, tossed into a bed of cushiony yakisoba noodles.

This recipe can be endlessly adapted to whatever is fresh and overflowing from your garden, or whatever inspires you at the produce stand. (Maybe you’ll add slivers of sweet or snow peas, or thinly sliced cabbage or radishes. Or you might decide to even replace the cherry tomatoes with red grapes. You could also add cubes of fried tofu or cooked chicken breast  if it pleases you.)  The dressing you will love,  just as it is.

Noodled & Tangled Thai Salad

Serves 4 as a meal

Simply cut the vegetables into sticks as thin and long as you can, or use a mandolin which will make quick & neat work of it.

  • 1 package of yakisoba noodles
  • 1½ cups very thinly sliced matchstick carrots (or grated into long slivers)
  • 1½ cups zucchini (prepared as carrots above)
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into match-sticks
  • ½ – 1 cup Jicama (grated into long pieces)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half if large)
  • 4 tbsp (¼ cup) Peanut Lime Dressing  (recipe follows)
Garnish:
  • ½ English cucumber thinly sliced or thinly matchsticked
  • chopped toasted unsalted peanuts
  • lime wedges
  • chopped or torn cilantro

Prepare the noodles as you like – if dry, you can either boil and simply strain, or strain and then quickly stir fry in a touch of oil (sesame or coconut are good…just go light.)  OR, if you’re using pre-cooked Yakisoba noodles, quickly stir fry. Noodles can be warm or room temperature or chilled. All are equally good.

Place cooked noodles in a large, shallow serving bowl or platter.

Pile the carrot, zucchini, jicama, red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes (and/or any other vegetables) on top the noodles and drizzle with dressing. Toss.

Garnish with the cucumber, peanuts, lime, and cilantro.

You may want to drizzle with drops of sriracha sauce if you love the heat, and some might like an additional bit of tamari or soy. But most, including kids, will like it just as it is.

This dressing is delicious… Read more

green beans in summer

Keeping it simple, keeping it cool.

Fresh, crisp green beans, lightly and barely cooked then chilled. Drizzled with walnut oil. Scattered with toasted walnuts and fresh thyme leaves. Sprinkled with crunchy salt & crumbles of blue cheese. Served with anything off the grill or as one of a trio of summer salads. Simple and cool, like lemonade and a run through the sprinkler, just what we need, just as we need it.

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A few secrets to beautifully cooked green beans: 

Lots and lots of water…a big pot full of roiling, boiling water.

Lots of salt…way more than you think you’d need.

quick cooking.

And, unless you’re serving immediately, a good ice-cold bath & toweling off. (the beans, I mean … but it might be just what you need too.)

Why so much water? Because when you drop the beans in, the temperature will naturally drop and will need to return to a boil…that takes far less time the more water you have. Why so much salt? It helps lock in the color AND salted water boils at a higher temperature. (Don’t worry – very little of it will be left on the beans.) As quick a cooking as possible because the longer they’re in hot water the limper and paler they become and the more of their vitamins and minerals they’ll lose. Why the quick ice bath? If you don’t cool them immediately, they’ll continue cooking outside the pot, well beyond their perfect doneness. (Thank you Julia Childs – how to cook good green beans, one of the first things I learned from you as a young cook.)

As usual when presenting vegetables, I’ll leave quantities safely in your own able hands. Here are just a list of ingredients & a few guidelines.

Green Beans in Summer with Walnut Oil, Walnuts & Blue Cheese

Fresh, crisp brightly colored green beans

Walnut oil (so delicious! You won’t be sorry you picked some up if you haven’t already)

Walnuts

Coarse, crunchy salt (like Fleur gris or Maldon) – (See NOTE)

Blue cheese

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

~ ~ ~

NOTE on salt – if you enjoy salt, you’ll much prefer the crunchy little bits of a coarser, slower-dissolving kind in a dish like this. It adds another element & a distinctive texture to this simple dish.

Read more

grilled cauliflower & spinach salad

I hadn’t intended to limit my posts during these renovation weeks to vegetables and salads – wouldn’t you much rather see photos all oozy, fruit syrupy, coconut-sprinkled, chocolate-slathered, honey creamy rich swallows of sweetness that you’d gladly over-consume a day’s worth of calories to sink your face into? Of course you would. And HOW I disappoint – cauliflower, of all things! (So in hopes of making it up to you, may I direct you to a couple kitchens where they’re still putting wildly luscious things on the table that will have you drooling like a toddler cutting teeth? Merci beaucoup, Movita Beaucoup! I NEVER leave your place without a huge smile on my face and dreams of hand-feeding those I love with what you’ve just baked! And Smidge, who NEVER does things by dribs or drabs or “just a smidgens” – but goes ALL out with her exquisite cakes and cake-lets! If you don’t know and love these women already, may I suggest you should?)

Still…you don’t want to forget your vegetables completely do you? And here it is already Wegetable Vednesday!

I don’t know if you knew, but cauliflower ‘s quite the pacifistic vegetable. Mild and meek, ever-open to compromise, never jumping off the fork to assert itself. It’s SO compliant in fact, we can whip it into something very closely resembling mashed potatoes. Though it can be rather bland (flat out dull when boiled) clever humans have discovered various ways to color these pale flowers delicious. Fact is, it’s child’s play since cauliflower virtually never puts up a fight.

Grill it and toss it, while still warm, in a mustard & caper vinaigrette, tumble  in colorful spinach and tomatoes, toss fresh dill at it, and you have a scrumptiously hearty, fresh-as-Spring salad. (And though some are loathe to hear it, it’s chockablock full of vitamins too!)

Grilled cauliflower & Spinach Salad with Tomato, Dill & Capers

  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained & coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon French wholegrain mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3½ ounces (100 grams) baby spinach leaves
  • 25 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (black or brown) OPTIONAL
  • the juice of ½ lemon – at the end

Prepare the dressing: By hand or in a food processor or blender – mix together the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously or run the machine while adding HALF the oil (¼ cup) in a slow trickle. What will result is a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Set aside.

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green salad with blueberries, kiwi & goat cheese

For at least the next several weeks we have a three-part kitchen. The refrigerator is still where it belongs, but next week will be heading to the garage. Our prep space is on a long craft table set up in the dining room in front of the window – where until recently I took photos to share with you. We have the bare necessities there – the sorts of things you’d likely find at a campsite – well, okay, maybe an RV park, minus the generator. The clean up space (and the nearest water) is in our laundry room, about 100 yards (or more) away from everything. That’s also where we keep our espresso machine, because how could we consider going camping without it?

Between the clean-up space and the prep space are some stairs. On this side of the stairs are our dogs. On the other side of the stairs, a demolition crew going in and out the front door. Separating the two, at the base of the stairs, is a dog gate that I climb over with arms full of food, cutting board, salad bowl, etc etc etc. If you had a few minutes and you’re into pratfalls, you’d get a kick out of it. I’m bringing armloads of stuff to my office to prepare a salad and then to photograph it. So as you can imagine, there are a lot of “steps” involved in preparing something around here, especially something to share with people of such enormously good taste as yourselves. A lot of “foot-steps” that is. Apart from that, we’re keepin’ it simple around these parts. Here it is another Wegetable Vednesday and the show must go on!

This morning I headed to another one of Portland’s Farmers’ Markets, and this time I brought big girl camera and cash. This market too is on Portland’s park blocks, but smaller, cozier than last week’s. And, sadly, no fiddles. But there were glorious flowers and loads of beautiful vegetables and herbs to choose from.

I’m kind of a freak for salads, so I head to the greens first. But I’m apprehended by the perfume of fresh bouquets of mint and tender pillowy leaves of basil. And the greens, half of them were shades of purple! How could I resist? Another vender was selling goat cheese. Into the basket. (See those orange beets in the photo above? Those made it home too, but didn’t make it to the salad.) What did make it into the salad: the greens & the purples, the goat cheese, mint and basil, some plump bursty blueberries – and kiwi just ripe, back  at our campsite. They got tossed into a bowl, drizzled with olive oil and (blueberry infused) balsamic. But never mind if yours isn’t blueberry flavored, any balsamic you love will do! A little salt and pepper, glorious! Took a few photos then feasted simple!

(No amounts will be specified – just wing it! Have fun! We’re camping!)

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