Noah, get the ark. It’s Springtime in Chicago.

It is raining torrents. The back yard is flooded and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the rhododendron and astillbe the girls transplanted on Sunday does not float away. It’s praying time again: Lord, please keep the roof intact for one last Spring and I promise you we will find a way to replace it. Yep, it’s April in Chicago, the sky is dark green and threatening, temps are dropping fast, and I want cooked food. Here ‘s what Annie served instead.

Spinach Strawberry Salad pairs perfectly with a hearty and heart healthy Walnut Pate. Chow down

Spinach Strawberry Salad pairs perfectly with a hearty and heart healthy Walnut Pate. Chow down

Walnut Pate from a Jenny Cornbleet recipe that tasted, I swear, like meat. I kept taking small bites and saying, wait, WHAT is the taste here? Something woodsy? Something wood fired? I swapped out half the olive oil for walnut oil, she said smiling proudly. Meat, I purred, it tastes like meat. Annie beamed her best I made a cook-a-like smile.

Add to that a Strawberry and Spinach salad inspired by the wonderful low price of strawberries yesterday at the market. Drown the salad in Chef Tina Jo’s poppy seed dressing and slice some avocado on the side and you have no more whining for cooked food. I wanted to lick the plate. You will too. Lick the plate that is, just like I did when no one was watching.

When I was young Strawberry and Spinach Salad was all the rage. It was slathered in the most divine lemon, egg and sugar dressing and I always needed a long nap after eating that high glucose gobsmack of a side salad. Not so with our favorite Chef Tina Jo’s version. This is have your cake and eat it too kind of food with the comforts and full-bodied flavor of meat without the inflammatory consequences and a sweet side salad to boot. Let it rain. I’m in no pain.

 

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