Thursday, May 7, 2009

spring salad and wedding cookies

In attempt to find a new and interesting salad for my SIL's wedding shower, I came across this recipe for a salad. Here is the recipe as written.

Blueberry Spinach Salad

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a jar with a tight fitting lid mix the first 5 ingredients together. Assemble the rest of the salad in a large bowl pouring dressing over right before serving.

I tested out a version of this salad out on a friend who was visiting (thanks Steph for being my guinea pig!). Here are my substitutions:

I used raspberry white balsamic vinegar and feta cheese for the blue cheese. The store was out of blueberries so I used strawberries and I used my friend Susan's awesome sugared nut recipe (which I will post) with walnuts instead of pecans.

Susan's Awesome Sugared Nuts

2 cups nuts
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a glass bowl and stirring to mix. Microwave in one minute intervals and stir. It is finished when the mixture crystallizes. Pour out on a plate or baking pan to cool- breaking up clumps. My microwave takes about 7 minutes total. You can even add cinnamon or cayenne pepper to them if you would like but I like them best plain:)

In the final shower for the salad, I used a mixture of spinach and spring lettuce mix and used blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. The dressing was served on the side. It was beautiful and very tasty!

I also made some wedding shaped cookies as favors with fondant and royal icing . The recipe was from the William Sonoma website. It makes a very rich and flavorful cookie.

Sugar Cookies

16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 piece vanilla bean, about 2 inches long
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds into the butter mixture. Mix well. In a sifter, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the speed to low and beat until well mixed.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, then flatten the balls into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.) Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Gather up and re-roll the scraps and cut out more cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough disks. Bake until the cookies are golden on the edges, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Makes 24 to 30 cookies.

I think that using real vanilla bean is such a nice touch since the ingredients are so simple. You can get them in the grocery spice section or online. After the cookies cooled completely I spread a thin layer of buttercream icing (to act as glue) and then rolled out fondant and used the cookie cutter and put the fondant cutout on top of each cookie. Royal icing was used to make simple embellishments. So pretty!

Thanks J for all of your help and planning for the shower. I think it turned out great!


Anita said...

your cookies are beautiful!

b*&%h !!!

Stephanie said...

love the salad as you know! lol

cookies look like something martha stewart would make! ;)