What a week it has been.
I am not the mushy, kiss-kiss, get swept away with romantic Valentine’s Day notions kind of chick.
I am, however, the gluttonous, bake-bake, get carried away with too many tasty Valentine goodies sort of gal, so needless to say, it was a busy week.
First off, there were all those cookies to make for my dear seniors at Meals on Wheels because no one, I repeat no one, should be without some kind of heart on Valentine’s Day (one of my guys even remarked that he didn’t have a Valentine and could he give me an air kiss?). It’s amazing the power of a simple, old-fashioned sugar cookie. Especially when it’s glazed with a pretty blue frosting enhanced with freshly squeezed orange juice.
Bonus points if it’s an unexpected after school treat.
And then on to a weekend full of surprises and fun. In the Kline household, fun is a must.
There were sleepovers with two of Charlotte’s dearest friends, Sophia and Audrey. We celebrated their arrival with a favorite, Pasta Carbonara from Tyler Florence (I will tell you about that in a later post).
Nothing like a pound of bacon to get the weekend off to a great start (and before you blame TF for that, the gluttony of additional pork is all me).
The next couple days were a blur. I remember there were great breakfasts.
There was time outside in beautiful parks and time inside curled up watching movies.
There were new places to discover, including a great new ice cream place. I will tell you about it later, but suffice it to say it’s killer.
All that, and an estate sale sale with some wonderful finds — and because it was Sunday, all half off. Yippee.
The sale was in my neighborhood, and the circa-1930’s bungalow looked like it was frozen in time. I love the treasures I found — the silverware will be used in my picnic set and for kid’s lunches (something I will enjoy but won’t freak out over if it accidentally gets tossed). The French mustard jar will hold smoked salt next to my stove, the webbing is for a picnic blanket I want to make, and the polka dot scarf is for me when I feel a Grace-Kelly-riding-in-my-open-convertible moment coming on and my hair needs taming.
All throughout the weekend, hearts were everywhere. Heart shaped chocolate boxes. Heart pancakes. Even heart shaped grill cheese sandwiches. I may not not need fancy jewelry, but I do need grilled sustenance from time to time. Doesn’t everybody?
And perhaps best of all was fete-ing a dear friend who celebrated her upcoming 50th birthday with a cocktail party. It was BYO, and tired of making finger foods post-holiday, I decided to switch it up with a salad. After all, it was almost 65 degrees out.
This salad is loosely based on one I had eight years ago at Wildwood Restaurant (R.I.P.). I believe it had arugula, corn and blackberry, and it was spectacular. This is my homage to that salad of yore.
I love all the colors and textures — white feta, brown roasted pecans, vivid green spinach, cheery corn and inky dark blackberries, all tossed together with raspberry vinegar and just the tiniest bit of grapeseed oil which is heated to wilt the greens ever so slightly.
It went quickly, but I managed first to save some for my hubby left at home with the flu (if that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what does.)
I am a lucky girl. A loving family. The sweetest dog on the planet. Amazing pals. An abundance of good food. The greatest little city in America.
I can’t imagine a better Valentine.
- 1½ C. corn niblets (approximately 3 ears of corn or you could use 1 -2 cans of corn)
- ⅓ C. raspberry or pomegranate vinegar
- 12 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 C. feta, crumbled
- 1 C. toasted pecans (pieces are fine)
- 2 C. fresh blackberries (raspberries will work, too)
- ¼ C. grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- If using fresh corn, throw fresh kernels in boiling water for 60 seconds and then drain. You don't want mushy corn, and this is just enough time to bring out corn's intrinsic sweetness.
- Drizzle vinegar over spinach leaves. Toss.
- Add feta, pecans, blackberries to spinach and give quick toss.
- Heat up oil until almost smoking, and then turn off heat. Drizzle oil over all the spinach leaves, mixing it up as you go (so not oil hits one part of the greens only), and then allow some of the spinach to warm up on the still hot pan, wilting some (not all) of the greens.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.