Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad

I’m absolutely in love with this salad. Just writing about it makes me want to make it again. Even though it is still the middle of winter in most places, I’ve been on a huge salad kick thanks in part to our wacky weather (it was 80F/27C here over the weekend and now it’s cold and rainy…). This might be the perfect balance of light and salad-y and filling and hearty, which makes for a pretty good winter salad. The flavors in this salad combine perfectly. Every bite had the perfect balance of sweet, savory and tangy. I would preferred to use fresh apricots, and even though we are lucky enough to be getting in the start of our summer fruits here in Southern California, I just couldn’t find any fresh ones up to snuff. Dried worked just as well, but I personally like the fresh version over dried. I actually thought that the turkey was kind of lost in this salad. I would have enjoyed it just as much with out.

In theory this salad should be pretty quick to make. It’s easy enough to make if you are using regular bread and pre-cooked/leftover turkey, but since I like to make things difficult, that’s not the route I went. I made gluten-free focaccia and poached turkey tenders. Neither really took that much time at all, but definitely a little more work than the original recipe, but nothing over the top. You could still make this as a delicious weeknight meal even if you have to take a few extra gluten-free steps. It might be a bit strange to see bread as a major ingredient in a gluten-free salad, but I really liked how the [Chebe|http://www.chebe.com/] Focaccia worked. They reminded me of the croutons I used to make from ‘real’ bread many moons ago.

Turkey & Apricot Bread Salad
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.

  • 2 cups gluten-free focaccia bread, torn into bite-sized pieces (I recommend Chebe)
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, cut in thin slivers
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Cracked black pepper (optional)

Best Brussels Sprout Salad Ever

Brussels Sprout Salad

I love brussels sprouts. LOVE them. I have said it before and I will say it again. I am not even remotely embarrassed by my love of b. sprouts. This recipe is so simple and so fast and has such amazing ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong

I happen to really like vinegar and mustard, so this salad was right up my alley. I upped the amount of both the vinegar and mustard, so if you aren’t into that, you might want to tone it down a notch, but I think it came out perfectly. You could also add in other shredded or chopped veggies to this salad. I think granny smith apples would be awesome in this salad. Feel free to substitute the walnuts for almonds or pecans if that’s what you have on hand.

This makes a lot of salad! So unless you have a crowd or are eating multiple servings, you will have leftovers. I would suggest scaling the recipe down a bit. I ate some of the leftover salad the next day and while not quite as good as it was freshly made, it was still very tasty. I squeezed some fresh lemon juice on it to revitalize it a bit and luckily the walnuts hadn’t gone soggy! I was pretty happy about that.

Best Brussels Sprout Salad Ever (adapted from Shutterbean)

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, shredded (I used a food processor)
  • 3 ounces, Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 4 ounces toasted walnuts, in pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons apple cinder vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • dried minced garlic (optional)
  • salt & pepper

Shred the brussels sprouts in a food processor, mandolin or chop with a knife!  Toss the sprouts in a bowl, top with toasted walnuts & grated cheese.  In a small bowl, add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and mustard with a sprinkle of salt & pepper. And mix, mix, mix. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir thoroughly!  Best served immediately, but the salad will keep for 1 day.

Gluten Free Walnut Bread

Gluten Free Walnut Bread

(Un)Fortunately, my dogs decided that 5.30 am was an appropriate time to wake up yesterday morning. I’m the type of person, that once I’m awake, I am w i d e  awake. So, instead of pretending to try to sleep, I decided to bake. I made bread! I don’t know why, but this felt like a major accomplishment. Maybe because it was my first baking adventure of the new year or maybe because there was kneading and yeast and rising; I had never done any of that before. Part of the sense of accomplishment came from how good this bread was.

The end result was good. Like, real, full of gluten, good. I can eat gluten, Mama CC cannot, and even though I don’t eat gluten often, I am still the official compare-er(?) of ‘real’ bread and gluten-free bread. I couldn’t tell the difference. This bread had a really crunchy crust, which I feel like a lot of gluten-free breads lack. The crust reminded me of the type of loaf you get in bakeries. I definitely cut the bread too soon, it was still very hot, but I was too excited to wait. The bread it self was slightly denser than ‘real’ bread, but much, much lighter than most store-bought gluten-free bread that we’ve tried. Mama CC says it’s the closest thing she has had to real bread since she found out she had Celiac, which I would call a huge endorsement. All around, this recipes was a winner!

I was a little wary of the molasses/sugar that was added to the bread. I was concerned that the bread would turn out really sweet and more dessert like than bread like. I used molasses and you couldn’t even taste it.

I know I just went on and on about how great this gluten free bread is, but if gluten isn’t an issue for you, whole wheat flour would be perfect for this recipe. The end result would be nice and earthy with a nutty walnut touch.

GF Walnut Bread

Gluten Free Walnut Bread (from Tesco Real Food)

  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 320ml (11fl oz) milk
  • 450g (1lb) gluten-free or whole wheat flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons molasses or unrefined dark muscovado sugar
  • 50 grams (2 ounces) walnuts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons quick yeast/1 instant yeast packet if you are in the US
  1. Beat the vinegar, oil, molasses if you are using it, and eggs into the milk in a jug. Put the flour, salt, sugar if you are using it, and nuts into a bowl, and stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center, and pour in the liquid from the jug. With a dinner knife, combine all the ingredients until you have a sticky dough. Turn out onto a surface you have dusted with gluten-free flour, sprinkle some on the top and knead the dough for about five minutes until it is smooth.
  2. Lightly grease a baking tin, and formt the dough into a rough sausage shape, placing in the tin. Cover with oiled cling film, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Meanwhile heat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas mark 7. Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes. Turn out and cool thoroughly on a rack before slicing.

Ina Garten’s Chipotle & Rosemary Spiced Nuts

Ina Garten's Chipotle & Rosemary Spiced Nuts

Let’s talk about edible gifts for a while, shall we? I’m sure everyone has some kind work function, potluck, or ugly sweater party coming up during the next couple of weeks. Over the next few days I’ll share some wonderful recipes perfect for sharing at any and all of these said events. They would also make great gifts if you are poor like me and have to resort to making and baking your own or if you just want to impress your hosts.
I kind of fell in love with these when I made them for a dinner party. I used 10 ounces of pecans and 10 ounces of walnuts and had to use 2 big baking pans as a result. I didn’t have any almonds on hand and I don’t care for cashews that much, but the walnuts and pecans definitely held their own. One word about the baking pans, I used two, one dark metal, one light metal, the darker metal started to look like it was about to burn the last time I was stirring the nuts, so I ended up taking them out a bit early, the lighter metal sheet too the whole time.
The end result was kind of sweet, kind of smokey, kind of salty and totally delicious. I tasted the chipotle flavor and didn’t find it spicy at all, but it takes a lot of spice for me to even notice it. These would be great and easy appetizer for a holiday party or even as a quick homemade, edible gift. Anyone who gets these will love you.
Ina Garten’s Chipotle & Rosemary Spiced Nuts (from The Kitchn)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
  • 2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
  • 2 cups whole pecan halves (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
  • 1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.
  3. Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.
  4. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.