In my humble opinion a perfect meal, anytime of year is a luscious salad, a well-flavored delicious soup and a chunk of crusty bread.
Here’s the latest trio I served up.
Creamy Olive Soup. This is a delicious and elegant soup and with white wine, both black and pimento-stuffed olives, light cream, is a knockout anytime of year. This can be served as a first course, or add some chicken to make a heartier entrée. You’ll find the recipe below.
Orange, Avocado Spinach Salad. How is this for a blend of flavors and textures: lush fresh spinach, juicy oranges, smooth creamy avocado, green onion, garlic with the tang of vinegar and sweet orange juice. Anyone interested? A lot of salads come out of my kitchen and this is one of my favorite recipes ever. You’ll find my personal salad rules and the recipe below.
Costco has some of my favorite little chewy yummy baquettes. They come in a bag of six and I always grab a sack for the freezer.
Let’s talk about salads. My rules for pampering those beautiful greens into deliciousness are simple.
- Use the best ingredients
- A thorough washing.
- A thorough drying (moisture dilutes dressings).
- A large salad bowl to make vigorous tossing easy.
- Garlic, crushed, and rubbed around your serving bowl before anything else is added. Some say peel the garlic clove and rub over inside of bowl then discard garlic. Don’t be a wimp, add the whole crushed clove.
- Chilled salad plates from the freezer always make a salad taste better.
- Tossing the greens in oil before applying and tossing with dressing. This seals the leaves’ own moisture, flavor and will keep it looking fresh and crisp.
- Try always to make your own dressings. Why not? Easy, delicious and better tasting.
So with all that said, let’s make that salad.
Orange, Avocado and Spinach Salad
6 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3 T. red wine vinegar (I used white balsamic raspberry vinegar this time)
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. sugar or honey (warm honey so it will blend easily)
- 1/2 t. soy sauce
- 1 t. grated orange rind
- Several good grinds of fresh black pepper
In your serving bowl, squeeze 1 clove garlic through a garlic press. Rub the garlic around the bowl. Pour in 1/2 cup peanut oil. Add the spinach and toss to coat. Working quickly add:
- 1 – 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced with green tops included
Shake the contents of the jar vigorously, pour over the salad, toss a couple of times and divide onto chilled plates. Serve immediately.
Creamy Olive Soup
- In a saucepan melt 4 T. butter
- Saute 1/4 cup each finely diced onion, carrot and celery
- When vegetables have softened sprinkle them with 5 T. unbleached white flour
- Gradually whisk in 4 C. chicken stock
- Stir vigorously with the whisk as you raise the heat to medium to prevent lumps. When stock is smooth and slightly thick, transfer from skillet to your soup pot. Add 1 C. white wine.
- Simmer for 20 minutes then stir in 1 1/2 C. half and half.
- Lower heat, do not allow soup to boil.
- Add 1/2 C. cooked white rice
- 1/4 C. each sliced large black and pimento-stuffed green olives.
- 1/4 C. frozen peas
- 2 C. cooked chicken breast which has been cut into bite sized pieces.
Heat through, taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle in some white pepper and salt if needed.
Creamy Olive Soup…It’s What’s For Dinner.