I love cumin in a vinaigrette, something my friend Sue had to coax me into trying once. All earthy and sexy, I think it takes the innocent perky apple and sultries her up a little. But don't worry, she'd never leave her best friends cheese and nuts behind. They're going out for a night on the town too, hence the sparkly lemon and cilantro. You decide if the onion is allowed to attend that party, sometimes she is a little overbearing. . . —Sadassa_Ulna
Head Red Leaf Lettuce
Apples, any eating variety that's fresh & crispy
Toast walnut halves in a hot skillet, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Rinse and pat (or spin) dry lettuce; tear into large bite-size pieces. Arrange in a large serving bowl. This will keep (covered) for several hours/overnight in the fridge if necessary.
Juice and strain lemon; measure out 2 tbsp. juice into a medium bowl.
Add walnut oil and 2 tbsp. maple syrup to lemon juice. Whisk vigorously until frothy; sprinkle in cumin, salt and pepper and whisk some more until thoroughly blended. Dip some lettuce into the mix and taste; adjust spices accordingly. This will keep (covered) overnight in the fridge if necessary, however it will need re-whisking (or shake in a lidded jar).
Quarter the apples and slice lengthwise into thin wedges. Dip a slice into the dressing and taste. Add a little more maple syrup and walnut oil if your apples are more tart than sweet. (Or, add more lemon juice if the apples are really sweet) Drop remaining slices into the vinaigrette as you chop to keep them from turning brown.
Rinse & dry cilantro and chop coarsely, measure out at least 3 tablespoons. Sprinkle about two thirds over the greens, and save the rest for garnishing. Chop the cooled walnuts, leaving some whole.
Remove apples from vinaigrette with a fork and arrange on the greens. Toss just the top a little to fluff. Add the walnuts. Garnish with red onion on the side if desired. Stir remaining dressing and drizzle over salad. This can keep up to one hour in the refrigerator in its assembled state.
Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to pare the cheese into thin strips directly over the salad. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro, all the while fluffing the top and making it beautiful. Take photos and post to your favorite food website before tossing.
Growing up I was the world's pickiest eater, that is, until my children were born. Karma. Neither of my parents were much into cooking; it was the height of eating fat-free or anything with oat bran added. I taught myself some basics, mostly baking, following the guidelines of a well-worn copy of Joy of Cooking. I was a ballet dancer and a teacher suggested I lose weight. As I began reading about diet and nutrition I became interested in natural foods, which led to a job at a macrobiotic natural foods market in Center City Philadelphia; this was way before Whole Foods came to the area. I learned a lot about food in general. I ate strictly vegan for a while, although I don't now, but I still like it when a recipe can taste great without butter or bacon! In short, my approach to cooking is idiosyncratic, and I don't know very much about cooking meat or proper technique. I love to bake and I am still working on expanding my palate and my repertoire. The hardest part is getting the whole family to try new things!
So aside from my food status, I am an architect who likes to garden and play music. I'm married with two kids, and I hope to get a dog someday.