the Comfort of the Familiar…

Old Standbys

When times are tough, many of us turn to comfort food, along with possibly other comfort-related rituals, practices and substances. In this sweet life we live, coping with contant change alone can be tough. And life is always full of changes, good and bad. Image For me, comfort foods are often sweets and other sorts of creamy and not-so-healthy types of foods, lake macaroni and cheese and any kind of ice cream; (now I head for Luna & Larry’s organic coconut milk based dairy treat, a more clean-foods option than ice cream itself!) Being  the Head Cook of the family, I enjoy certain old standbys, the foods I go back and back to. These foods bring a level of comfort stemming from the familiarity of rituals. When it comes to food, like other parts of life, there is comfort in the familiar, the power of the known and well-loved. With many recent big events in my family, I’ve found myself making dishes (Like this shrimp with feta. ) One of these Old Standbys in our family is this delicious green salad with pear, blue cheese and pecans. I threw out the rule book and re-created this but I love not really following and recipe book, just my instincts (coconut oil instead of butter for the toasted pecans); the most important change I made was creating my own rasberry vinaigrette. So simple and so swoon-worthy good! ImageSally’s Salad, (cleaned up!)

3-4 Cups of greens (spring or any, really, I had Romain lettuce and it was fine.

​ 1-2 pears, peeled and chopping into large bite-sized pieces

1 Cup of crumbed Gorgonzola or other blue cheese

1/2 Cup of pecans, toasted and seasoned* (walnuts are good too)

Raspberry Vinaigrette:

1/2 C white Balsamic vinegar

1/3 C olive oil


Large handful of fresh raspberries

1 small clove garlic,

crushed salt and pepper to taste

Assemble the salad ingredients except for the nuts. In a saucepan, melt about 1 T of coconut oil and add the pecans to a medium-heat; spinkle with sea salt, to taste, about 1/2 T of organic or demerara sugar, a pinch of cayenne, cumin or chile or chipotle powder and toast until lightly crisped, stirring, and then place on a plate covered with paper towel to cool. toasted spiced pecans

Meanwhile, make the salad dressing by pouring 1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar into a glass bowl or measuring cup and then dumping a large handful of fresh raspberries into the oil. Using a fork or other favorite mashing instrument, crush the rasberries into the vinegar until mostly dissovled. Add in salt and pepper to taste, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/3 Cup olive oil and 1 t of dijon mustard. Whisk or shake well to combine. For a sweeter dressing,add 1 T of honey or maple syrup.   Pour the salad dressing over the salad right before serving. I had extra.