Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Carver's Salad - Baking Bad's Virtual Fall Feast

A little confession....I heard there was a virtual feast being planned by Baking Bad, I wanted to participate, so I asked a friend if she could squirrel me an invite. Despite my lackadaisical blogging patterns, these fantastic bloggers took a chance and let me participate. Thank you and although I don't deserve to rub shoulders with all of you, I more than appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to do so.  

So here we have it a virtual fall feast...the word “feast” brings lots of great images to mind and the one I’m focusing on for this post is a finely set table.

(and hey, I know this type of picture isn't in the preferred style by all the food porn sites 
but I'm really diggin the grain, shadow and subtle color tones)

Growing up, Sunday dinner was a formal affair in my home. Well, formal in that Mom brought out the fine china and the table was formally set with linens, chargers and all the elements that make for an elegant meal. My parents wanted my three brothers, my sister and me to be exposed to the “finer” things in life, formal Sunday dinner was one attempt to tackle this goal. I think they did a pretty good job. We learned to eat with one hand in our lap, how to say, “please pass” and “thank you”. Some us know how to fold fancy napkins and I’m pretty sure we all know which side of the plate our spoon goes on. That however is where our formal training ended. Our topics and manner of discussion could never quite live up to the formality of the occasion.

There were no defined social boundaries during Sunday dinner. There were no parents and no children, we were contemporaries and [mostly] treated one another as such. No topic was off limits and no point of view was shunned. We were given a stage to articulate our thoughts and sometimes the discussion was animated and loud, sometimes someone left crying and more often, we laughed so hard that someone sprayed beverage out of their mouth (or nose).

It all seems perfectly normal to each of us but every time someone new comes for dinner we are reminded of how skewed our sense of normal really is – AND I LOVE IT! I love it so much that the most important item on my wedding registry was my fine china. I wanted to extend this tradition to my own family. I want my kids to learn how to be open and honest with their thoughts and feelings and I want them to be able to have great memories of the instances that these lessons are learned.

Sure I don’t have a dining room or a place to even pretend that we are somewhere more formal than where we really are, but you know me, I’m not going to let that stop me. What we lack in location we more than make up for in character and [sometimes in] food.

This salad is my attempt to introduce my kids to fancy food. Yes, I have to leave off the toasted almonds but the apples and craisins are a hit. The honey cider dressing helps too. 

Bon Appetit!

Carver’s Salad

serves: 8
1 small bunch baby spinach  (washed, dried and chilled)
1 head romaine lettuce (washed, dried and chilled)
1 head red leaf lettuce (washed, dried and chilled)
1 16 oz. bag raisins
1 cup sliced almonds, *roasted
1 golden delicious apple, sliced or cut into pieces

Honey Cider Dressing:
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons honey
6 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 ½ Tablespoons finely minced onion
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¾ Cups Oil 

Honey Cider Dressing:
  1. In a small microwave safe dish or in a saucepan, heat cider vinegar and honey together until honey dissolves.
  2. In small bowl whisk mayonnaise and Dijon mustard together until smooth
  3. Add in onion, fresh parsley, honey and cider vinegar then whisk together until combined.
  4. Whisk in the oil to emulsify then chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
  1. In a large salad bowl, toss lettuce, apples, craisins and *roasted almonds. If eating immediately, toss the salad with dressing and serve.

Notes: To toast almonds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pre-sliced almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and put in the oven for 10-20 minutes. Watch them closely to be sure they do not over roast.

Source: Dina’s Diner (unpublished) / family recipe



spicegirl said...

Beautiful salad. And I love the china. All this talk about formal dining makes me want to have a formal dinner. There's nothing I love more than toasted almonds and craisins on my salad, I can't wait to try this.

Moore or Less Cooking said...

Hi Apron Appeal! I am your newest follower! Love your salad, gorgeous pics. So happy that Baking Bad introduced us!!

Moore or Less Cooking


Laurel @ Lolly's Sweet Treats said...

Hi Gwenevere- your salad looks delicious! I love the combination of apples and cranberries. The honey cider dressing sounds wonderful as well :)

Claire said...

Your photos are so lovely and that salad looks amazing. I love the idea of a creamy vinaigrette.

Delicious Dishings said...

Honey cider dressing sounds delicious! What a great fall salad!

Elle Sees said...

never heard of this but adding it to my list asap

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great salad. Kudo's to you for extending the tradition with your kiddo's. What a great memory!

Mary said...

I'm drooling over this salad. I've been on a huge salad and dressing kick lately and this is completely my style. I think I'll make it tomorrow night. Thanks!

P.S. I love traditions like that with my kids as well. Coming from a family of 10, the dinner table memories are awesome.

Snow said...

Great scripture! That is so on point, I love that you took the time to share it: ) I wish I had thought to include it; ) Have you read Neal A. Maxwell's book 'Meek and Lowly?' Every time I hear (or read; ) that scripture, I remember that book..so good!

Your blog (and family!) are beautiful! I am already planning on trying to make your samoa cookies:D

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious dressing salad looks wonderful
about the soup I am not sure if it is french :) but it is easy to make and is delicious hope you get to try would love to hear what you think of it :)
regards Akheela

Roxana GreenGirl said...

I love the name of your salad. So fancy!

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

This looks amazing!! So fresh and light! I cant wait to try out your honey cider dressing Mmm! Great recipe

Mary said...

So, how weird is it that I have come back to drool over this salad THREE times already?! I need to make it and I just haven't had the chance. It's happening tomorrow and I'm giddy over it. There is an apple salad that I adore at a restaurant here and I'm betting this is a very close match to their dressing.

Kittiya said...

Carver's steak house spinach salad was always one of the main draws for me to visit their restaurant. It closed a few years ago in Peoria, AZ; it was always an expensive restaurant, and more classic 60's - 70's dining. Thank you for sharing this gem of a salad for taste buds everywhere, especially mine:)

Now, if I can find 2 more of my favs from Carver's - their atomic cocktail sauce for a shrimp cocktail, and one the best burgers I have ever had in my life. It wasn't on main menu, but they would make it for kids. It was awesome!

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