Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homemade Copycat: Trader Joe's Harvest Salad

Oh, hi! After a major break from blogging, I'm finally back. And this time, I have a bachelor's degree! Pretty cool, huh? I've been really freaking busy writing IEPs and creating interventions for students and interning full-time in a 1st and 2nd grade classroom. Whew! I get exhausted just thinking about all that work. It feels great to be done and to have a little free time for blogging and exercising and holding babies.

The other big change around here is that I am eating meat again. And I'm not eating gluten. Or grains. Or legumes. I eat some dairy and corn (as you'll see in the recipe below) but am not going too overboard.

I'm cuckoo bananas for salad right now. We make it at least twice a week and eat it for dinner, then have the leftovers for lunch. This salad comes from a ready to eat container of salad I tried at Trader Joe's last week called Harvest Salad with Grilled Chicken. I was a little skeptical of the creamy Dijon dressing I saw in the package at first, but I instantly fell in love with it once it touched my tongue. It tasted just like the dressing my mom makes for Chopped Salad! I was able to get that recipe from her and it's what I used to make the homemade version.

This recipe has quite a bit of prep work, but it comes together easily if these ingredients are the kind of things you have ready in your fridge. Hard boiled eggs, steamed green beans, and a few chunks of leftover grilled chicken all happened to make their way into my life this past week, so this salad was a go.

Here's how to make it! I really hope you do. The dressing recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups; enough to dress 8 salads. That means you'll make it once for you and your loved ones, fall in love, and have enough dressing to make it again the following week!

Harvest Salad with Dijon Dressing

To make the dressing, you'll need:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup olive oil

1. Combine the egg yolk and water in a small bowl and whisk well. Cover the bowl with a small plate and microwave on high for 10 seconds. Whisk it. Microwave for another 5 seconds. Whisk it. Microwave another 5 seconds. Whisk it. Keep the plate over the bowl and let the yolk sit for 1 minute.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine the egg, garlic, Dijon, salt, pepper, dry mustard, sugar, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Process to blend.
3. Slowly add the olive oil with the motor running. I like to pour from as high as my arm will go, creating a thin stream of oil that emulsifies beautifully with the other ingredients.
4. Cover and refrigerate dressing until ready to use.

To make the salad, you'll need:
1 head of lettuce, such as red leaf
1 cup chicken, such as TJ's organic chicken tenders
1/2 pound green beans
1 cup corn
4 eggs
1 tomato
1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, such as TJ's Canadian extra sharp white cheddar

1. Chop up your lettuce. Divide evenly in four dishes.
2. Grill your chicken. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Let it cool. Cube.
3. Steam beans. Or roast them, if you're fancy. Cool.
4. Steam corn. Cool.
5. Hard boil the eggs. Slice in half. I like my hard boiled eggs fairly yolky. Here's my method for hard boiling: Put eggs in pan. Cover eggs with cold water. Turn on burner. Once boiling, set timer for 5 minutes and 55 seconds. Ding! Place eggs in ice water bath. Peel once cool enough to handle.
6. Slice tommy the tomato.
7. Cube cheese.
8. Now arrange everything as gorgeously as you are capable of atop the lettuce. Drizzle with spoonfuls of the Dijon dressing. Sprinkle eggs with black pepper. Sit outside with a fork and a glass of ice water and fall in love with this salad.

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