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DSCN3623Food:

Holiday Cobb- serves 6 as a starter or 12 at a party

For the salad:

1 medium winter squash (I use kabocha), butternut, pumpkin

6 slices of bacon (I use Clifford Farms)

heaping 1/2-3/4 c. tart dried cherries, lightly chopped (I use local ones but you can find in the bulk section of most grocery stores)

4oz-6oz blue cheese, cut into small cubes (I use Snowy Mountain Creamery Delano, you find this at the downtown market, Caputo’s or Liberty Heights Fresh, maybe Harmon’s)

2 heads of lettuce, I use one head of red leaf romaine and one head of butter leaf lettuce

1 c. spiced pistachios, recipe to follow

1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

fennel blossom (find at Caputo’s, not crucial)

For the dressing:

2 T. mustard, spicy or Dijon

3 T. apple cider vinegar

3 T. Honey Wine Vinegar, can be found at local retailers (if you can’t find this sub with your favorite vinegar, preferably one that has a little sweetness)

2 T. pure maple syrup

3/4 c. olive oil

salt and pepper

DSCN3621Directions:

-Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

-Squash of choice: peel if needed, scoop out seeds and cut into one inch chunks. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and fennel blossom if using. Bake until knife tender, 30 min or more.

DSCN3605-Bacon: line a baking sheet with parchment, if you have one, place a cooling rack over the lined baking sheet and then lay the bacon in a single layer on the cooling rack. Bake 15-20 min flipping once. Best to cook this with the squash. Let cool, chop and set aside.

DSCN3606-Lettuce: wash, spin/dry and tear into bite size pieces and lay out on big platter. Squeeze the lemon over the lettuce and lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

DSCN3607-Spiced pistachios: place 2 cups of raw pistachios in a mixing bowl and season with, 1 1/2 T. melted butter or olive oil, 2 t. Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 t. real salt, 1/4 t. garlic salt, 1/4 t. cumin, 1/4 t. paprika, chili powder, 1/8 t. cayenne pepper. Toss and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 30 min, toss a few times while cooking. Let cool and set aside.

DSCN3618Dressing: all of the ingredients go into a jar, shake, shake, shake. Season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

-Put it all together: you can lay the ingredients in a row like I did above or you can scatter the ingredients over the lettuce anyway you see fit. Salad can be served cold or at room temperature. The salad will last about 3-4 days UNDRESSED (no dressing) in the fridge. Weather at home or at a party I keep the dressing in a separate container and let my friends dress their own portions. EAT!

Love:

I love this salad, I have made this for two different occasions and both times it was a hit, it is a flavor explosion in your mouth! This time of year we need a few interesting recipe that are easy to throw together and will blow your friends and family away. This salad uses both local and seasonal ingredients which are pretty easy to find and can also be made vegan or vegetarian to suit your guests. Also, if you have any leftover dressing use it to season some veggies you might be roasting, like Brussels sprouts. I have family coming in this weekend and I can’t wait to make this for them. I hope this salad makes you look like a rockstar at your next get together. Happy Holidays and ENJOY!

DSCN3624

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