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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Painted Desert Salad

Ten days is a long time to be away from home. The leaves had barely bud on the trees when I left,  now everything is fully green. I got back just in time to harvest some spruce tips (more on that later), and have chives fresh from the garden on my scrambled eggs. I still have a few vacation posts, but I want to get back to my regular blogging schedule and recipe sharing. I missed being here.
I'm always surprised how ready I am to return after some time away. I spent all winter dreaming of this vacation, but around day seven I was more than ready to come home. I had originally thought I would take vacation through Memorial Day. I'm so glad I came back early as the weather here has been just beautiful.  We were invited to a potluck Monday night, which was the perfect way to finish the weekend and the official end of my vacation.This is the same group of folks we spend Christmas and New Year's with and can they ever cook. Good food is always in order at these parties. David always teases me about being the food blogger as I am always put to shame. So, I am glad I didn't miss it.
I brought this salad. It is hard for me to believe that I have never shared this one here. It is one of my favorites, has been since 2007 according to the notes in my cookbook. It is my go-to recipe when I have to bring a salad to a potluck. It is hard to make a salad that people get really excited about. This one is always a hit. This makes a lot of salad, enough to feed a crowd. Feel free to adjust to your needs.

Painted Desert Salad
from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook (one of my all-time favorites)

Vinaigrette Ingredients
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Pure maple syrup
1 1/2  tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Pureed chipotles peppers in adobo sauce *see note
1/8 tsp Liquid smoke
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Olive oil

Salad Ingredients
Salad greens, fresh from the garden if possible
2 Red peppers, roasted
2 Avocados
6 oz. White cheddar cheese, smoked or aged
1/4 tbsp Pine nuts, toasted
8-10 sprigs Sage, fresh

*To make pureed chipotles, place one can of chilis in adobo sauce in a pint canning jar. Using an immersion blender, process until smooth. You can also puree them in a food processor. Remove one tablespoon for this recipe, save the rest for other recipes such as Yam and Pepita Quesadillas. This makes a great condiment for a lot of recipes, I also like adding a bit to bean dip. 

To roast red peppers, halve and seed the peppers. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet and place under broiler on High until the skins puff up, blister, and turn black in spots (5-8 minutes). I prefer to leave the skins on, but the original recipe calls for removing them as soon as they are cool enough to handle, I'll leave it up to you. Leave peppers to cool while you make the vinaigrette.

Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a quart size canning jar. Use an immersion blender, mix  until smooth. Again, you could do this in a food processor, but I find my method to create a lot less mess. You will most likely have more dressing than you need for this salad. I like having a little extra for a side salad the next day. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Place pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat; using a circular motion, keep the skillet moving until the nuts are toasted. Be sure to remove them from the pan at this point as they will continue to cook and possibly burn in the hot skillet.

Slice the roasted peppers into long thin strips. Cube the avocados. Cube or grate the cheese. Stem the sage and cut into thin strips using kitchen shears.

To serve, toss the greens, peppers and sage with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Garnish with cheese, pine nuts and additional vinaigrette as needed.


  1. Your salad is so beautifully arranged.

  2. The most gorgeous, fresh, and so colorful salad. Would love eating this everyday.

  3. You had me at chipolte...

  4. Lisa- Thanks

    Elra- Me too!

    alaskafoodmom- I hear you there!


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