Monday, August 27, 2007

Grapety Goodness

It's summer. It's hot. It's the perfect time for salads! I decided to use the ingredients for this week's Platinum Challenge to create a great summer salad. Once again, the ingredients are grape, basil, black beans, avocado, and rice.

This salad uses grapes, basil, and rice. I used spinach as a base, because, well, spinach is the best for summer salads. The wild rice added the nutty flavor I love in a salad, and the grapes paired so well with blue cheese! Jon really liked the salad, he took one bite and told me how good it was. Yay for summer salads!

Supplementary, I've been waiting to make a cool drink ever since I saw Sarah's entry in the first Platinum Chef Challenge. She made a strawberry basil cocktail and I thought it was a brilliant idea. In case you haven't picked it up, I'm kinda obsessed with herbs in my drinks this summer (mint, sage, basil...) So I took the baton and headed off. Instead of strawberries I used grapes and basil, muddled together in the bottom of a glass. I topped this with some with some fresh squeezed lime juice, vodka, and 7-up, served over crushed ice. It was yummy!

Summer Spinach Salad
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 3/4 cups water
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
1Granny Smith apple, cut into 8 wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups trimmed spinach
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a jar. Cover jar tightly, and shake vigorously; set aside.

1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the wild rice; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender.

2. Combine apple wedges and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl, and toss well. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add apple mixture. Cook for 6 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

3. Combine cooked wild rice, spinach, chicken, grapes, and cheese in a large bowl. Add the dressing, and toss well. Top each serving with 4 apple wedges.


  1. This salad looks SO GOOD. My fave salads are those with spinach, fruit, candied nuts, and cheese.


  2. Because The Monkey and I share a brain, we like the same things.

    I am definitely going to have to try that salad sometime!

  3. You're my hero for having amazing creativity in the kitchen... I'm incredibly envious of you..

    Oh by the way.. tag you're it..

    Your turn to post 8 random things about yourself and tag someone else.