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Monday, September 20, 2010

Raspberries Again--This Time in a Salad

After being quite chilly and overcast all day, this evening turned warm enough that a salad seemed enough for dinner, but I had no tomatoes in the house. (That has been the hard part of giving over my garden this year to all the other things in my life. How can it be late summer and NOT have tomatoes everywhere in the kitchen--just seems so wrong!)

What I did have, however, was a small amount of raspberry pulp left from an experiment making raspberry syrup, some cooked chicken, apples and bagged mixed greens that had been on sale over the weekend. The result was a great main dish salad that went perfectly with some toasted home-made whole wheat-flax seed bread.

The amounts given below are pretty approximate, enough for two or three as a main dish, and definitely flexible. That is one of the delights of tossed salads, the opportunity to mix together varying amounts of whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand. The key here is to have crunchy (the raw broccoli and apple), crisp (greens), and savory (freshly grated pepper and the chicken which had been roasted with an herbal seasoning rub) along with the sweet/tart dressing.

Late Summer Salad

Salad
3 to 4 c mixed salad greens of your choice
grated carrot and chopped red cabbage--about 1/2 c or so of each (if you have the iceberg type pre-packaged greens, these might be included)
1 c broccoli flowerets, cut in small pieces
1 to 2 small Macintosh apples, cored and diced--do not peel
1 to 2 c diced roast chicken (I used dark meat from chicken leg quarters)

Raspberry Honey Mustard dressing
3 T mashed raspberries (see NOTE)
2 to 4 T honey mustard dressing, your favorite brand

freshly grated black pepper to taste

1. Toss all but the raspberries, honey mustard dressing and black pepper together.
2. Mix the raspberries and honey mustard dressing. Taste and adjust proportions as desired and pour over the salad.
3. Sprinkle generously with grated black pepper.

NOTE: I started a raspberry syrup by cooking 2 cups of raspberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a cup of water about two minutes. This was then poured into a fine colander so that the juices could be separated from most of the seeds. (I still don't have a sieve that allows for all the raspberry seeds to be strained out.) There was a lot of pulp left behind with the seeds, so I decided to try using the leftover pulp in this salad. The flavor was excellent, and the seeds added one more level of texture to the salad.
Fresh raspberries crushed and sweetened very lightly could just as easily be substituted here; just mix with the honey mustard dressing and adjust the proportions as desired.

Oh--the syrup? With over a quart a day of berries right now, I am trying a lot of new ways to use this wonderful fruit, and it seemed like a quart of syrup would be great in the refrigerator for breakfast or for a quick dessert over ice cream or cottage pudding. I tasted my first experimental batch while it was still warm--great flavor but a little on the thin side. Seems like a little more testing and adjusting is in order before posting here.

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