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Friday, December 12, 2014

Pomegranate Salad

Pomegranate Salad
Are you knee-deep in holiday sweets yet? Since it's already two weeks into December, that scenario is almost impossible to avoid. It can be easy to forget that life is not all about the butter...the sugar...the chocolate...the glacé fruit (okay, maybe nobody ever thinks it's about the glacé fruit). That is why I'm sharing this salad with you today. Okay, that and the fact that I'm today's stop for the Sharing Morocco blog tour!

The thing is, looking at this salad, you don't necessarily think healthy. You think beautiful—or at least I do. The deep, rich reds and greens that come straight from the earth rather than a tube. Busting out this salad in the middle of the holiday madness is like bringing home somebody to meet your family for the first time. Everybody's nervous and wondering if they'll fit in. But instead of being awkward, it's like they were supposed to have been there all along. They just fit.

Aside from the colors that just scream winter, I think it has a lot to do with the addition of lightly candied nuts and nature's own little sugar bursts, dates. This salad is just one of the many vibrant dishes lining the pages of the new (released in October) cookbook by Ruth Barnes, otherwise known as The Petite Gourmande.

Pomegranate Dressing for Pomegranate Salad
Barnes brings us into "her" Morocco by giving us a bit of history, both her own and the traditions of the cuisine. I found myself reading this cookbook like a novel (and those are my favorite kinds of cookbooks). I enjoy a little learnin' with my cooking!

Whether you're already familiar with Moroccan cooking, or are curious to learn more, this book would make an awesome addition to your bookshelf. I personally love giving cookbooks as gifts, especially if you include some sort of cooking vessel or utensil that the person can use in conjunction with it. I can see this book alongside a beautiful tagine, a few spice sachets, or some linens in bold, rich colors brightening somebody's holidays.

Pomegranate Salad
Spring greens tossed with candied pecans and dates, then topped with pomegranate arils and goat cheese make up this salad dressed in a pomegranate vinaigrette.
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Pomegranate Salad
from Sharing Morocco by Ruth Barnes, printed with permission of Greenleaf  Book Group Press (October 7, 2014)
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Keywords: salad vegetarian goat cheese dates pecans pomegranate Moroccan

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    • 12 ounces spring mix salad
    • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
    • 1/2 cup pitted, sliced dates
    • 1/2 pound candied pecans
    • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
    • 2 tablespoons pourable honey
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    Place the salad greens in a large serving bowl. Top with the pomegranate seeds, dates, and pecans.

    Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

    Pour the dressing over the salad and sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

    my notes:
    I used chopped dates in place of the sliced ones (because I already had a container of them). I candied my pecans with a little bit of cinnamon and cardamom (SO GOOD). I used white wine vinegar in the dressing in place of the champagne vinegar.

    I think next time I'll make a batch of Moroccan Flat Bread (or Rghaïf) to serve alongside this salad...that would make for one heavenly meal!

    Pomegranate Salad + the Sharing Morocco blog tour, review, and giveaway

    Sharing Morocco
    Exotic Flavors from my Kitchen to Yours

    author: Ruth Barnes
    publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
    photos: yes
    hard cover: 304 pages

    chapters/sections: Introduction | Food & Family | French & Spanish Influence | The Maghreb | Moroccan Tea Culture | Drinks | Spice Market | Salads & Soups | The Tagine | Main Courses | Street Food | Side Dishes | Desserts | Locally Grown  | Where to Buy Ingredients

    fun features: The first few section in this cookbook are not recipes, but rather an intro and behind the scenes look at Barnes, her food influences, and some of the influences and traditions of Moroccan cooking. If you look at the chapters/sections listed above, the titles that don't list an actual "course" are the ones that contain a deeper glimpse.

    (a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen: Duck Tagine with Figs and Port Sauce, Meatballs and Olives Served with Pine Nut Rice Pilaf, Baked Trout Stuffed with Rice and Dates, Almond Milk with Orange Blossom Water, Saffron Rice with Nuts Raisins and Onions, Seafood Bastilla, Honey Pastry Triangles with Almonds, Chocolate Baklava with Hazelnuts Orange Blossom Water and Honey, Ribbon Pastry with Honey, Moroccan-Style Raspberry Soufflé with Rose Water

    about the author: Ruth Barnes, The Petite Gourmande, grew up in Israel in a large culinary Moroccan family on a farm filled with fresh and colorful food rich with the flavors and traditions of the world. She learned to cook from the women in her family who regularly prepared meals for her large immediate and extended family, neighbors, and community members. For Ruth, cooking, creating, and designing are a passion, and she has made it her life's work.

    further info: website | facebook | twitter | pinterest | youtube

    recipe(s) I have already tried: Pomegranate Salad

    Would you like to win a copy of Sharing Morocco? If so, simply answer this question in the comment section below (mandatory entry):

    What is your favorite Moroccan food, dish, or beverage?
    (If you've never tried Moroccan food, just tell me a dish you'd like to try!)

    After you've commented with your answer, be sure to record  your entry in the rafflecopter widget below. Completing this mandatory entry will then open up optional ways to get more entries into the contest.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, December 18, 2014. One winner will be chosen via random draw and notified via email within 48 hours of the close of this contest, and given 24 hours in which to respond. If no response is received within that time frame, a new winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified (if the mandatory comment is not received, yet the box is checked, all entries by that person will be voided).

    I received a free copy of this book as part of the book tour. As always, opinions are my own.