Apple and Spinach Salad with Cheddar

Please read the following, which is the most amusing excerpt I have ever seen in a cooking recipe:

“Bring salad to table, pause for admiration of your arrangement, pour on the dressing, toss and serve.”

With these explicit instructions, I ensured that my family “oohed” and “ahhed” for an appropriate amount of time before I tossed and served this salad.  I was very proud.

Believe it or not, this meal represented the first time I have ever eaten a spinach salad.  I have decided that it is critical for me to try other leafy greens, and expand my salad appreciation beyond that of the caesar variety.  Consistent with what my mom has been telling me for years and years, spinach does not have that much of a taste.  It was nice though – like a softer, more chewy version of lettuce.  Like lettuce without the gross white spines that I always try to pick out my salads.

The three main add-ins to this salad: apples, toasted almonds and cheddar cheese, made a HUGE difference and I got several compliments throughout the meal from both my mom and dad.  My younger brother, however, refused to eat more than a single leaf, at which time he proclaimed that the salad tasted like Lay’s chips.  Regardless of my brother’s distaste, the entire big bowl of salad was demolished by the end of dinner and, as my mom just said, “there’s no bigger compliment than to have an empty bowl at the end of the meal.”

PS: Toasting almonds makes the most insanely huge difference.  Try it.
PPS: I used Royal Gala apples and normal cheddar cheese…cheaper, yet still delicious.


Apple Torte

With the weather having cooled off enough for me to cook without breaking out into a sweat, I decided it was time to rev-up the oven and bake again.  Craving something with apples in it, I was perfectly pleased with the simplicity of Canadian Living’s Apple Tort recipe.  The recipe also allowed me to pop down to the NEW specialty grocery market in my neighbourhood and pick up some apples (I used spartan).  This store is actually a two minute walk from my house, and will be a great place to go to pick up last minute blogging ingredients for foodie adventures in the future!

In the past, I’ve made one other apple dessert using a Canadian Living recipe (see the results: layered apple cake, a father’s day treat), and this apple torte turned out just as well, if not better, than that cake (and it was good!).  Being a huge fan of toasted almonds, I sprinkled an extra handful on top of the torte, along with some brown sugar, to add some colour to the top of the dish.  My pictures (and taste buds) benefitted from these last-minute additions, and they made the torte wonderfully photogenic.