Oops, I went a little overboard..........! You see, I was shopping at my local grocery this past week and saw the most beautiful lemons. I know this sounds crazy, but when I see really pretty produce, I think my heart actually beats a little faster. So, I took a closer look and then I saw the price - 10 for $10, yikes! I decided right then and there that, sadly, any lemon recipes would have to wait till the price came down a bit.
The next day, however, I stopped at Aldi and there I saw the same big gorgeous lemons, 5 in a bag, for 99 cents! Oh my, I couldn't help myself and bought 4 bags - this was just too good of a buy to pass up! I dragged them home and now I have "lemons, lemons, everywhere"!
Lemons Here, Lemons There, Lemons, Lemons Everywhere!
I am writing today to let you know that it is officially "Lemon Week" here at The Cafe´. So, all the recipes that I share this week will be featuring lemons in one form or another. The only problem is that I have been having quite a battle with myself over which recipes to include. See, I have
some, a bunch, a ton, well really a "gazillion" fantastic lemon recipes, both sweet and savory! I have been making lists, crossing-off, adding-on, etc. and I think I've finally come up with five winning selections! I'm hoping you'll be pleased, despite the fact that you are victims of my over zealous, "can't pass up a good buy" problem! (I believe that I have had this problem passed on from my dear sister, Dana who is the QUEEN of bargain shoppers!)
Today is the first day of spring so I just had to share this wonderful salad with you. It's not only beautiful to look at, but tastes beyond amazing! The bright lemon-shallot dressing is the perfect partner for the sweet strawberries and clementine oranges. The dried cranberries are combined with a just a bit of wine or liqueur and then briefly warmed to make them "come alive". (But please don't tell anyone I'm serving drunken cranberries!) The smooth and creamy blue cheese adds just enough "bite" to make your taste buds smile! You don't want to miss this salad.
I served it along side a wonderful pita pizza which I'll be sharing soon, once we get past this lemon obsession! It would also be delicious as a meal with grilled chicken, shrimp or whatever leftover meat you might have hanging around in your fridge.
P.S. When you see how incredibly simple it is to make this dressing (much easier than running to the grocery store) and how delicious it is, you may never want store-bought salad dressing again!
P.P.S. Did you know that pansies are edible? How fun is that?
Strawberry and Clementine Salad with Lemon-Shallot Dressing
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (buy the best the you can afford - it makes a difference)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2-3 teaspoons honey
1 small shallot minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin oil oil
1. Place all ingredients except the oil in a medium size bowl and mix well. Add olive oil in a thin stream while whisking continuously. Let sit while preparing salad.
Strawberry and Clementine Salad
1 bag butter lettuce (you can substitute whatever type of lettuce you prefer - I like the butter or bib lettuce as it is fairly bland and allows the other strong flavors in the sald to shine.)
8-10 strawberries, halved, and then cut into 3 wedges
3 clementines, peeled and white membranes removed
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup drunken cranberries*
1/3-1/2 cup bleu cheese (I really like Point Reyes or Maytag but use whatever is your favorite, splurge a little on this ingredient if you can!)
Place lettuce in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with several tablespoons of dressing and toss with salad tongs or two forks. Keep adding dressing, a tablespoon at a time until lettuce is coated. Place strawberries, clementines, cranberries and onion in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon or two of dressing and toss to coat. Arrange fruit attractively on top of lettuce. Pass extra dressing at table. ENJOY!!!
Fill pint size or small jar with dried cranberries. Add 1 tablespoon white wine or Grand Marnier or Limoncello (orange and lemon flavoured liqueurs) Cover jar with a small piece of plastic wrap and place in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Let cool a bit before adding some of these to your salad. The rest will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, tightly cover. When you want to use some of them, just rewarm for 15-20 seconds in the microwave, again covered with a small piece of plastic wrap. The flavor that the small amount of wine or liqueur adds is amazing!