Sometimes, you just need a salad. Other times, you need a salad with lots of bacon and fat. This is the one! If you look at the photo above, you can see the origins of this recipe and that wicked moment of genius when the cauliflower was cut in favor of a pound of crispy, tasty bacon! Continue Reading


This is a recipe we adapted from The Purple Pig in Chicago. Easy and delicious! If beets are in season, go ahead and roast them and pickle them.


  • 1 jar (16 oz.) whole pickled beets (we used Aunt Nellie’s from County Market)
  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese (I stock up on these when Aldi has them. They can be frozen and pulled out to thaw anytime)
  • Heavy cream
  • Handful Pistachios shelled
  • Salt and cracked pepper

Drain beets and let them dry on a paper towel. Whipped goat cheese with about 2 T cream until smooth. Add some salt and cracked pepper. Break pistachios into pieces with the flat side of a large knife. Toast them in a dry pan until they start to brown. Put beets in a bowl, add cheese then top with nuts.

Served with Van Ruiten Pinot Grigio.


This is another recipe adapted from a restaurant – Cafe Lurcat in Naples, Florida. It is only four ingredients but it was a crowd pleaser at the tasting!


  • 4  med. Granny Smith apples
  • A bit of lemon juice
  • 4 ounces Manchego cheese
  • 8 chives (enough for 4 tablespoons chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – the best you can find
  • 2 pinches kosher salt

Cut the apples into matchsticks. We have a mandoline that makes this job a piece of cake. Toss into ice water with a bit of lemon juice so the apples don’t start turning brown. Cut the cheese into matchsticks. Thinly slice the chives. Toss all ingredients with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 pinches kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Served with Van Ruiten Sauvignon Blanc.


On a hot summer day, nothing is better than a refreshing Summer salad! This salad is easy to fix and full of bold flavors and textures. It features a crisp salad with candied pecans, brie cheese and Granny Smith apples, topped with grilled, blackened chicken and a robust chipotle dressing.

Candied Pecans

This first step is to candy the pecans, and you can do this well ahead of time.


  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans

Whisk the egg white for a few seconds, then add the seasoning and whisk to dissolve. Stir in pecans to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put in a 325 oven for about 25 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and pull the pecans out of the candy mixture before it hardens, setting aside on a bowl or plate. You’ll need some hot water to clean the sugar/egg mixture off the cookie sheet!

Chipotle Dressing

You can also make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate.


  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 1/2 T chicken broth
  • 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T minced canned chipotle chilies (in adobo sauce)
  • 1 T abodo sauce (from can)
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • Mix together and place in the fridge. Once it cools down, stir again, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Blackened Chicken Breasts

Take a few chicken breasts and generously coat with the following blackening spice.


  • 2 t paprika
  • 4 t dried thyme
  • 2 t onion powder
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 1 t ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t cumin

Turn your grill on high and toss on the breasts, turning and rotating every 4 minutes until they are done and you have a nice char. Slice against the grain and prepare the rest of salad.

Salad Base


  • Romaine lettuce (torn up small)
  • Other mixed lettuce or spinach leaves
  • 1/2 thinly sliced Granny Smith Apple
  • 2-3 ounces Brie cheese, sliced in thin wedges

Arrange the lettuce on the plates. Top with pecans, sliced apple and Brie wedges. Lay sliced blackened chicken over the salad and top with chipotle dressing. Enjoy!!

Try a fruity Sauvignon Blanc such as Dashwood or Brancott Estates with this delightful meal.