No sooner did I snap that photo of that beautiful sugar maple this past weekend, then…BAM! We pull up to the local home improvement store to see a blow up monstrosity of a Santa in front. This wasn’t your normal, tacky, kitschy, nylon lawn Santa. No, this one very likely rose above the lowest roof line on my house. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but please let’s tidy up one holiday before moving on to the next, shall we? (Do you think I went a little too far when I posted a photo of it on Facebook with the caption “This is what’s wrong with our country”?)
I’m pretty sure that someone is going to plunk down $250 and that Santa will be making an appearance in some poor sod’s neighborhood. And before I get comments from all you lawn inflatable lovers out there, please know that I’m not dissing you-just your holiday decorating style.
While that front yard will definitely be too busy, a salad can never have too much going on in my book. When I saw a pear infused balsamic vinegar in the grocery store, I was both intrigued and excited to make a salad dressing with it. Wonderful substitutions are allowed in this salad and could include walnuts, goat cheese, roasted beets, or pumpkin seeds.
1 small red onion
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 ounces hazelnuts, halved and lightly toasted
5 1/2 ounces salad leaves (your personal favorite mixture). I used butter lettuce, spinach, and field greens
6 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
for the dressing:
2 1/2 tsp pear infused balsamic vinegar (may substitute with plain balsamic vinegar)
drop of dijon mustard
4 Tbsp safflower oil (hazelnut oil may be substituted)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp confectioner sugar (or to taste)
Whisk together ingredients for dressing and season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Halve the red onion and cut into crescent-shaped slices. Put the slices into a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until soft with slightly caramelized tips, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Halve and core the pears, then cut lengthways into slices approximately 1/4 inch thick. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sautee the pear slices on each side until just golden, being careful not to overcook them.
Toss the salad leaves with the hazelnuts, then divide among 6 plates. Add pear slices and warm onion to each plate and scatter cheese. Drizzle plates with dressing or serve on the side.