However, I received a package in the mail the other day that inspired me to put aside the have-tos for a minute and take time to get my butt back in the kitchen. The kind folks at OXO sent me one of their newest healthy eating tools, the Salad Dressing Shaker, to play around with. I'm sure most cooks have at least one OXO tool in their kitchen. Their products are beautifully designed and actually work to make cooking easier and more enjoyable.
If you've never made your own salad dressings, please do. They are so easy to throw together and so much healthier than the bottled stuff. I have to say that the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker made an easy task, even easier and solved one of the challenges of making vinaigrette; combining the ingredients and then serving the dressing without making a mess. Mason jars are great for shaking up the ingredients but messy to pour from. Cute little cruets are pretty to serve from, but impossible to use to incorporate the dressing after the ingredients have settled. This handy little salad dressing shaker fixes both of those problems while adding other super features including measurements on the side of the bottle eliminating the need to dirty up more dishes.
Anxious to try out my new toy, I turned to my current favorite cookbook, Tupelo Honey Cafe Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, because it has a bunch of salad dressing recipes that I've been wanting to try. I always add some type of nut to my salads and that is often pecans so the Pecan Vinaigrette seemed like the perfect choice to add to my salad of grilled chicken, Swiss cheese and Fuji apples. I loved the nuttiness of the dressing expect this one will make regular appearances around here. I loved this salad. Elegant, easy and delicious.
Not only did OXO send me a Salad Dressing Shaker but they gave me one to share with one of my readers! To enter:
GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!
Inspire me by leaving a comment telling me your favorite salad dressing.
(complete as many as you like, just make sure you come back here and leave a comment for each)
1) Like me on Facebook
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3) Tweet about this giveaway. You can use this or make up your own:
I just entered to win a @OXO Salad Dressing Shaker from @candygirlky and you can too http://bit.ly/JhL6NU !
The winner will receive a OXO Salad Dressing Shaker in green. Contest is open to US residents only and will end at 11:59 PM on April 27, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random using the true random number generator at random.org and contacted via the email associated with the winning comment number. I will notify the winner via email by April 29, 2012. The winner must respond within two days with their mailing address.
Disclosure: I received the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker at no cost as part of their Blogger Outreach Program. My opinions are my own.
Mixed Greens with Grilled Chicken, Apple, Cheese & Pecan Vinaigrette
slightly adapted from Tupelo Honey Cafe Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black peper
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Salad
1/4 cup pecans
8 ounces chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
seasoning (I use a Tuscan blend)
6-8 cups mixed greens
2 ounces Swiss cheese, diced
1/2 Fuji apple, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans for both vinaigrette and salad on baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes just until the pecans become fragrant. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they don't burn. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Once pecans are cool set aside 1/4 cup for salad. Place remaining 1/4 cup of pecans in food processor and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal.
Place cider vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, honey, sugar, salt, and pepper in salad dressing shaker. Screw on top and shake to combine ingredients. Add canola and olive oils and ground pecans and shake until blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the salad: Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and seasoning. Grill until cooked through. Set aside.
Place salad greens on four plates. Evenly divide cheese, apples, pecans, and chicken among each plate and place on top of greens. Drizzle with Pecan Vinaigrette.