Friday, July 31, 2009

Cherry Almond Salad with Gorgonzola Maple dressing

It's salad week. Are you ready for this? My gosh! I was driving down the road and almost passed our farmer's market until I notice that cherries where 3 lbs for a dollar. No joke. After all the tire smoke and accident reports, I went in an loaded up. Ahhhh. I have found my mystical happy place. If I was 2 inches tall, I'd have a cherry in my rec room, right next to the bean bag.
So, in High School, we called the druggie freaks "stoners". I'm not really proud of the fact that I ever labeled anyone. Now whenever I take out the cherry stoner, I feel guilty...but only for a fleeting second.

This is the stoner my mom gave me.It's the non-drug freak (that mom would give to someone).
My oh my. A war broke loose in my kitchen. Every time one of the boys would take a turn punching the stones out, the other one would make the sound effect of an automatic weapon. I don't know if I should be proud or worried. Neither one ever morned the death of a fallen cherry. In fact, they ate the shattered remains. If I was a fruit rights advocate, this would have been utter horror to watch. Seriously...are there fruit rights advocates?
The dressing was pretty simple:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tsp black pepper
Oh I love Gorgonzola. If it didn't smell like stinky socks, I would wear a sachet of it around my neck to have on hand whenever I wanted a cheese fix. But, alas, it does have a distinct odor...not very flattering. As a side note, the first year and a half after my baby was born, the spit up that ended up on my clothes now and then would get that same exact smell. Now...don't let that stop you from putting it on your salad. It actually tastes immensely better than spit up. No. I haven't eaten spit up.
Whisk it into your dressing.
Look. It's really awesome. I promise.
I think this dressing would also be amazing with any fresh stone fruit like plums, nectarines and peaches.

I used 5 cups of fresh pitted cherries, 1/2 cup toasted blanched almonds. Just mixed into the dressing and then poured out very artistically on some Nappa cabbage.
For the record, they ate the salad so fast I couldn't even catch it on film! That followed by a "Mom, this is the beeeeest salad I ever had!". Yea, nothing like a 6 year old telling one that to make one feel like a freak genius...which may just be the new term for mom-cherry-stoners. If I must label myself. Chef Tess Bakeresse...freak genius. Feel free to never call me that.
Try it. I think you'll love it! Be a cherry stoner. Do you feel the peer pressure right now? There you go.


Rachelle said...

Oh I am loving this. Going to try it with some roasted pecans, cause they are my favorite.

Jana said...

I love you Tess! I may think that nickname from now on. But I'll try to control myself. When I have gargonzola cheese I need to try this one!

J. P. said...

These flavors have me thinkin' breakfast. mouth is watering.---lisa (stupid "remember me" button...why does the computer only remember JP? Doesn't he have enough friends already? Can't the computer at least like me better than JP?)

Chef Tess said...

Rachelle, pecans would be divine! I love that idea. can call me Tess anytime. My mom does. Blue cheese also works if you don't have Gorgonzola. Lisa, this would be an excellent breakfast or brunch addition! I love it. Oh and even if your computer comes up JP, I know it's you. Love you guys!

mlebagley said...

So you got the cherry pitter! I'm totally jealous girlfriend! We have a friend that has a gynormous bing cherry tree...must be 80 years old. Our family got to help eat some of them this year and taht cherry pitter would have come in handy. I'm a grown woman. I should go buy my own, huh?

Diana said...

I'm going to try this dressing with a pear/pecan/gorgonzola salad this Thanksgiving! Maybe a little sprinkle of dried cranberries? We have gobs of delicious pears from our tree and this would be a wonderful flavor combination.
The dressing sounds heavenly and very healthy, too! And how easy....