So the kids are off to Grandma's for a couple of days and it's just Steven & I. The weather has been fairly warm, if overcast, and on night's like this we just want to kick back after work and enjoy each other's company over a simple dinner. Steven's not one to say much about what I cook, he likes my cooking and enjoys everything I fix so I know something is especially good when he says "This salad is really good!", which he did so here's what I did:
Maple Glazed Pecans
Spread 2 cups of pecan halves in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place in cold oven & set oven to 350 degrees. Toast them until the insides start to turn golden brown - about 10-15 minutes. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, measure out 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 c. brown sugar. Mix well. Set aside. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper - and set this aside too. Put 1 tbls. butter, 2 tbls. water and 4 tbls. maple syrup in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir to coat, continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated - about 3-5 minutes. Pour nuts into bowl with salt/sugar mixture and toss until coated. Spread onto paper covered baking sheet to cool.
In a small bowl mix together 2 tbls. grainy, dijon mustard, 2 tbls. honey & enough white wine vinegar to make a smooth sauce. Stream in Extra Virgin Olive Oil until all are well-blended. Grate in 1 small clove of garlic. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing and Maple Glazed Pecans
baby spinach leaves
cucumber, cut in half and sliced (seed it if the seeds are too large)
scallions, chopped (whites and greens)
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or any blue cheese you prefer)
Maple Glazed Pecans
Put the spinach greens in a bowl, add cucumber & scallions. Dress with Honey-Mustard Dressing, to taste, and toss. Top with Blue Cheese and Maple Glazed Pecans - delicious!
You can store the left over pecans in an airtight container - freeze them if you won't use them within a week or two. The dressing made enough for a couple large salads or several 2 person salads, store any extra in the refrigerator.
I hope you like it!