4 May 2011

A Berry-licious Menu with a Salad of Mesclun with Berries and Sweet Spiced Almonds

Mesclun with Berries and Sweet Spiced Almonds

We are so glad you have decided to join us once again for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. This is a monthly event where 5 ladies and one gent in two neighbouring countries, Canada and the United States, get together to create a delicious meal with a theme in mind. We are now in our second year and continue to share a love for Cooking Light magazine which has an emphasis on healthy eating and living. This is a team effort where we combine what Cooking Light readers like best...good food with great company!!! Every month millions of readers turn to Cooking Light for recipes, advice on nutrition and fitness. This months theme "A Berry-Licious Season" was chosen by Roz of La Bella Vita.

Lets see what we have cooked up for you with this months theme. If you would care to join in either link your post using berries or add your link to the Linky tool below.


One of my favourite summer activities is picking wild raspberries with my friends here in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. You can find a myriad of wild berries from tiny pistachio-sized wild strawberries to robust and flavourful blackberries. The waning weeks of summer are the best time to be out in the bush, as the berries are ripe and intensely flavourful, in contrast to the sometimes bland-tasting commercial varieties from the grocery store.

Wild-berry harvesting is a Canadian tradition. Picking blackberries in British Columbia, salmon and partridge berries in Newfoundland, wild blueberries in northern Ontario and Saskatoon berries in Saskatchewan and Alberta will find locals scouring the countryside for their "secret" patch. Over 200 species of small, fleshy, wild fruits and berries grow in Canada. A pint of wild blueberries from Northern Ontario sells for close to eight dollars in the trendy health-food stores of Toronto, where many consumers are motivated not only by the fantastic taste but also by increasing scientific evidence about the health benefits of berries.

Spring has only just nicely arrived and here I am already dreaming of summer when berries will be ripe for the picking. To get me into Spring mode I prepared a powerhouse salad from the pages of Cooking Light but instead of using raspberries I used what was in season... at least in California...and worked with strawberries. The reddish pigments that give these berries their appealing colour continue to shine as super nutrients that help prevent disease.

 Lets see what the rest of our group came up with!

Jerry of  Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants starts our celebration with some Raspberry Daiquiris. I am more than happy to raise my glass to you Jerry for starting us off so well at this months supper club

Roz of La Bella Vita  brings the "piece de resistance Pork Medallions with Spicy Pomegranate-Blueberry Reduction . With chipotles and blueberries this makes a tangy addition with that WOW factor.

Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen complements our Berry-licious menu with a Strawberry-Avocado Salsa. Wouldn't this make a delicious accompaniment to any meat dish.

Next Sandi of The Whistlestop Cafe wowed us with a side of a Raspberry Asparagus Medley perfect for Spring. Way to go Sandi!
 
To accompany our meal I brought along an outstanding salad of Mesclun with Berries and Sweet Spiced Almonds. Strawberries add bright colour and several good-for-you nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. Chives, members of the onion family, add phenols and flavonoids.

As a finale to a delicious meal Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club brings us a comforting dish of  Balsamic Strawberry Topping. This is perfect for on top of your favourite ice cream, pound cake or angel food cake.


**Mesclun with Berries and Sweet Spiced Almonds**
  • 5 cups gourmet salad greens
  • 1 3/4 cups raspberries (about 1 [6-ounce] container)- strawberries were in season
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon country-style Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons Sweet Spiced Almonds
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over lettuce mixture; toss gently to coat. Arrange 1 cup salad on each of 6 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon Sweet Spiced Almonds.

**Sweet Spiced Almonds**

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine almonds and next 4 ingredients (through cumin) in a small bowl. Stir in egg white. Spread mixture evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Stir mixture; bake an additional 15 minutes or until crisp. Transfer foil to a wire rack; cool almond mixture. Break almond mixture into small pieces.

Note: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.


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21 comments:

  1. What a perfectly splendid salad, Val! I love the combo of fresh berries and spiced nuts. Delicious!!

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  2. A beautiful spring sald! What a palatable combination of grest flavors.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. I love the combination of berry and nuts in this salad! So good!

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  4. Oooh i have to try this, it looks so good!

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  5. absolutely delicious salad Vall! gloria

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  6. What a super fun salad! these mix-ins definitely make each bite into a new adventure!

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  7. what a colourful combination.

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  8. Strawberries are so good in a salad, an the spiced almonds sound like a great addition! I've been curious about salmon berries, and I've never seen one. I need to visit Newfoundland and pick some one of these days!

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  9. I have been seeing gorgeous salads all over the blogosphere today. Must be spring!

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  10. I would love this salad. Such a beautiful combination!

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  11. Great salad Val. I'm so glad it's springtime.
    Sam

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  12. What a wonderful sounding combination of flavours and textures! I look forward to trying this one out.

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  13. I make a similar salad using baby spinach but with a different dressing. I'd love to try yours for a change of pace! Great sounding berry recipes.

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  14. I wish I was having this salad for lunch!

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  15. I adore strawberries in salads, Val. And what a super idea to add some sweet spiced almonds to your vinaigrette. Love that idea!

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  16. what an appealing summer salad! those spiced almonds are something on which i could snack any time--lovely addition!

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  17. What a stunning salad. I have a few strawberry plants outside. Hope I get lots of berries so I can make this.
    *kisses* HH

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  18. Val, your salad is really lovely. I'm a huge fan of strawberries and the way you've used them and the spiced nuts makes for a wonderful taste treat. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  19. Simply beautiful salad. I am off to visit your friends. The menus are tempting

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  20. I love berries. We get strawberries here - lots this time of year, but the rest are pretty rare - and really expensive. Recently I've been able to buy them frozen... Did I say I love berries?

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  21. Refreshing and delicious salad Val. What a great pairing. The spiced nuts must make this interesting indeed. Hugs!!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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