Welcome to Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. This is a place for me to post recipes of all kinds...along with other miscellaneous fodder from my so-called life here in the south. Who knows what you will find here. Could be anything from my husband...known as IT Guy...to my kids and beautiful grandbabies that are growing up way too fast right before my eyes. But...mostly this will be a place for food. I hope you'll see something you like and if you decide to try something from the list...leave me a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When we lived in California, we lived right down the street from a Trader Joe's. LOVE that store! One of the things they sold there that I really enjoyed was a spinach salad. It had the raspberry dressing...but it also had feta cheese, dried cranberries and candied pecans. Oh. So. Good. Once in a while, a friend and I would go there and pick ourselves up a salad, pretend it didn't have an calories whatsoever and just enjoy it. Yum. Since moving to the south, we DO have Trader Joe's but the stores here don't carry the same salad. Must be a regional thing or something. Well..never fear! I made my own version of their salad and I have to say...I'm pretty impressed with myself. If you're into froo-froo salads like this...you will love it! So good. I told IT Guy...psshhhh....TJ's aint got nuthin' on me!

Spinach Salad 
with Raspberry Dressing 
(and other yummy stuff)

1 bag Spinach
1 4-ounce container crumbled Feta cheese
1 6-ounce bag Craisins
Candied Pecans ~ recipe follows (or buy ready made)
Raspberry Dressing ~ recipe follows (or buy ready made)

Pile it on your plate and eat!!

Here are all the salad fixin's.

Raspberry Dressing

1 6-ounce package fresh raspberries
5 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
Cracked black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a blender, place the raspberries, Balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey and black pepper.

Blend until well combined then while blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil.

Makes about 2 cups of dressing. Store in the fridge in a jar with a well fitting lid. Shake before using.

The ingredients for the dressing.

Put everything in the blender EXCEPT the olive oil.

After everything's blended, drizzle in the 
olive oil while the blender's running.

Here you go!

Candied Pecans

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pecans - halves or very rough chopped
1 tablespoon butter

Cover a small cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place sugar in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until sugar begins to melt and turns golden and caramel-y….stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir, then dump in the pecans, stirring quickly. 

Immediately turn pecans onto parchment paper. Separate with two forks and allow to cool. The pecans can be broken into smaller pieces once they are completely cooled.

For the candied pecans.

Heat the sugar over medium heat in a medium sized skillet.

As the sugar heats, it will start to melt. 
First it will get kind of lumpy. See?

And lumpier. Don't panic! It WILL melt. 
Just keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Yuck.

See how melt-y it is? 
Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the butter and let that melt.

Then stir in the pecans.

Working quickly, spread the pecans 
out onto some parchment paper. 
When they are completely cooled, 
you can break them into smaller pieces.