Holiday Salad | Mâche & Gala Apple

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and since I won't be cooking the bird myself, I think that few fun side dishes are in order. I usually try to start with an interesting, but light soup or salad. Last year I made butternut squash & pear soup with rosemary croutons, it was the perfect start to the meal. This year I was thinking that I would start with a bountiful salad with Gala apples, crunchy candied pecans, creamy Gorgonzola, and tender mâche (lamb's ear lettuce). To dress it, I used a simple honey dijon vinaigrette. The best part is that it can all be made a day in advance, and dressed right before serving.

Holiday Salad
Yield: 8 Servings

1 container mâche (lamb's ear lettuce)
1 Gala apple (thinly sliced)
1/2 lemon
 4 oz Gorgonzola
1 cup pecans
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
kosher salt
ground black pepper

In a small pan on your stovetop over low heat, melt the tablespoon of butter. Toss the pecans into it until they're coated in butter, then sprinkle them evenly with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes while tossing, then turn off the heat and allow them to cool completely.

In a large serving bowl, place your container of mâche. In a small bowl off to the side, place the sliced apple and toss them with the juice of the half of a lemon. Now, add the citrus coated apples to the large bowl with the mâche. Next, crumble the Gorgonzola into the salad, and add the cooled candied pecans as well.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, the juice of half of a lemon, one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of dijon mustard, as well as a bit of salt and pepper. Add this to the salad immediately before serving.



Sunday Meatballs

It's become a nice little tradition that every week, Alex's dad comes over and they enjoy watching football as I prepare a delicious Sunday supper. This particular Sunday was especially enjoyable for everyone, I made meatballs and they were spectacular. Granted, I also made homemade red sauce and pasta, but the meatballs were the star of the meal. I pulled them out of the oven and let them each try a bite and they were chomping at the bit for more. 

These weren't just your run-of-the-mill meatballs, they were full of my favorite things: sweet shallots, aromatic basil, fresh bread crumbs, salty parmesan cheese, and ground turkey. I also brushed them with garlic oil before they went into the oven, to ensure a perfectly crispy exterior.

Sunday Meatballs
Yield: 15 perfect meatballs

1/3 baguette, cut into cubes
1 lb ground turkey
1 shallot, minced
10 basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

In your food processor, add the cubed baguette and pulse it until it's the size of bread crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, just use a cup of panko bread crumbs. 

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, the fresh bread crumbs, the minced shallot, the chopped basil leaves, the grated parmesan, as well as the salt and pepper. Combine them with a fork. Next, in the same bowl, add in the heavy cream, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and the egg. Continue to mix the ingredients until they look the same throughout. 

Next, roll the mixture into meatballs with your hands, each meatball should be about 2" in diameter. Place the meatballs onto a sheet pan (preferably lined with parchment paper, it will make cleanup a cinch). 

Next, in a small bowl combine the minced garlic and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Brush the top of each meatball with the garlic-oil mixture. 

Finally, place the meatballs into the oven for 40 minutes.