Thursday, August 11, 2011

Haute Cuisine 1.02

Inspired by a mini-salad I had at La Folie, I took the components I remembered (specifically sweet cherry tomato, a sweet but semi-creamy vinaigrette, and chopped hazelnuts) and fashioned a salad of my own.  Now, the first thing you need to know about me and salads is that essentially my entire life I have never eaten salad.  I hate it.  Absolutely hate any raw greens.  So, naturally, coming up with a sizeable equivalent to the tiny bite-sized salad I had at La Folie took some thinking.  Also, since I did not know what kind of vinaigrette they used, I had to make one myself, which was new as well. are the results.  

I have to say one thing right up front - the vinaigrette is f***ing AMAZING.  I have never liked the idea of using salad dressing, because in my mind, you're just eating sauce and covering up the disgusting taste of raw leafy greens.  Or raw other things that I don't like.  I also generally hate tomatoes, but in small bites, and if they are the tiny sweet ones, apparently I can tolerate, and even enjoy them.  So... here's the recipe I came up with, including the recipe for the vinaigrette.

Rachael's Sweet and Creamy Vinaigrette - 4 stars 
- 1/3 c white balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- Spritzing of lemon/lime juice (optional)
- 1/2 c sweet white/rose wine
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tea spoons (utensil, not measuring) 2% greek yogurt

Directions: Heat wine over medium/medium-high, add the honey; when mixed well and reduced by ½, remove from heat and add to vinegar.  Then on medium-low, heat the oil and herbs.  After warmed, add to the vinegar/wine mixture, and lemon/lime juice and the greek yogurt.  Let sit for a few hours to let the oils absorb the herb essences.  Transfer to a holding container or a container with a water-tight lid, and shake vigorously until sufficiently mixed.  Take a taste, and be amazed.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Hazelnuts - 4 stars
- Cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Cucumbers (in sixths)
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Basil leaves
- Rachael's Sweet and Creamy Vinaigrette

You can alter the proportions however you want or add random things, but I added a sprinkling of the feta and the hazelnuts on top, cut the basil (minus a couple leaves for garnish) into small pieces, and lightly mixed.  Again, I hate salad, and kind of hate tomatoes, but this is actually good.

I gave each 4 stars is appropriate because while they are each very amazing, it was my first shot at both and I am sure I can make better things with time.

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