A friend of mine just had a baby and I wanted to make her something that used spring flavors, was satisfying, not too spicy and a little different:
*I have to give credit to another friend, Erin, who made me a wonderful meal of salad with nuts, parmesean and bacon, a creamy, curry spiked carrot soup and the most tender roast chicken. It was so divine I can't stop thinking about it. I totally copied her.
Spinach and Apple Salad with Bacon
from Always in Season
makes 6 servings
1/4 c. olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. prepared mustard
salt and pepper to taste
5 slices of bacon
1/4 c. sliced almonds
8 cups baby spinach
1 unpeeled red apple, chopped
3 green onions
(I also added grated shards of parmesean cheese. I use a vegetable peeler and peel off big slices.)
For the vinaigrette, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper in a covered jar; shake to blend well. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
For the salad, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove, drain and crumble the bacon, reserving 1 T. drippings in the skillet.
Add the almonds to the skillet. Cook over high heat until the almonds are browned, shaking constantly.
Combine the spinach, apple and green onions in a large salad bowl. Add the bacon and almonds. Add the vinaigrette and toss to mix well. (Add parmesean on top if using).
Creamy Carrot Soup with Fresh Dill
from Once Upon a Tart
makes 6 servings
The flavor of this soup is amazing. I need to work on getting it smooth, mine turned out a little too much like baby food, but I don't have an immersion blender, maybe that's the secret!
1 big yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 T. unsalted butter
1 T. olive oil
2 lbs. medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 big russet potato, peeled and diced
4 c. vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 c. chopped fresh dill, plus more to top the soup
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 c. light (or heavy) cream
1. Saute the onion in the butter and oil in a large soup pot over high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if you see the onion browning. When the onion has begun to reduce in volume, in about 5-10 min. lower the heat and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes more, until it is tender and translucent.
2. Add the carrots and potato and cook for 15-20 minutes, until some of the potato pieces begin to brown slightly.
3. Add the stock to the soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the carrots are soft enough to mash against the side of the soup pot with a fork or wooden spoon.
4. Remove the soup from the heat to puree. If you're using an immersion blender, you can puree the soup in the pot. Otherwise, wait a few minutes, until soup cools.
5. If you don't have an immersion blender, scoop up some soup with a ladle or a measuring cup and pour it into the bowl of a food processor (or a blender) fitted with a metal blade, and blend until the soup is smooth. Pour the pureed soup into a bowl while you puree the remaining soup in batches.
6. Return the pureed soup to the soup pot. Stir in the dill, salt and pepper, and cream, and warm the soup over medium heat before serving. This soup should be thick, but not so thick that your spoon stands up in it. Add more cream or stock to thin it. Serve warm and top with chopped fresh dill.