Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bacon Spinach Tomato Salad

One of my favorite salads
 So do you ever have one of those days where you completely forget an event that you are supposed to take food to?  On the way home from work you remember and are in panic because you have nothing in your house. It happens - well at least to me. It happens often enough that I have an easy go to salad.  It will feed a crowd and I can swing by the grocery and have it done in no time. Oh- I forgot to mention the best part, it is delicious. Really. I promise.

I remembered when I was about half way home, so I bought one of those big containers of mixed spinach and spring mix, a bag of croutons, and a pint of cherry tomatoes. I got home and made the salad dressing. I quickly microwaved some bacon so it had time to cool. Next I found a giant salad bowl and dumped the spinach/spring mix into the bowl. Next I added the tomatoes and the croutons. The croutons were followed by the bacon. Then I added some grated Parmesan cheese because I love cheese. I took the salad dressing with me because I hate wilted greens. That is it. I should have timed myself. I can't give you an exact time but I made the salad and changed clothes in less than 20 minutes. The best part of this salad was my husband told me on the way to the meeting (it was an aviation meeting all men except for Katie and me) that no one was going to want any salad. Guess what? It was all gone by the end of the meeting. I think they liked it. But then what's not to like?

Bacon Spinach Tomato Salad

The Dressing

1/4 Cup of Milk
3/4 Cup of Mayonnaise
1 Garlic Clove, Minced or 1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder (Not Garlic Salt)
Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste
A Couple of Dashes of Cayenne (Optional)

Whisk ingredients together.  Pour on the salad right before you serve it. I always rewhisk the dressing right before I add it to the salad. [Note for bigger salads like the one below-  use 1 part milk to 3 parts mayonnaise and adjust the seasonings]

The Salad

4-6 Slices of Bacon, Cooked
1 Large Container of Mixed Greens and/or Spinach
1 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
1 Bag of Croutons (Homemade are so much better if you have time)
Parmesan Cheese, Grated
The tomatoes really make this salad beautiful
Combine all of the ingredients. When ready to serve add the dressing and toss.

It is not as pretty tossed so I always wait to the last second to toss the salad
The bottom line: will I make this again?  Yes, I can't wait until we have summer ripe tomatoes (I am growing yellow pear tomatoes). They make this salad incredible. I am also growing my own spinach and spring mix so soon I will be able to harvest my own greens for this salad.  The other ingredient I really want to add is avocado. I think it would be amazing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Saturday in Springfield

The view from the plane
Today’s trip was to Springfield, Missouri. They were having a farmer’s market festival. With the promise of fresh veggies, we were off. We made a mistake; we flew into an airport (Springfield Downtown) that was closed on Saturday. Obviously, the runways still open but the office and more importantly the bathrooms were not. I made the mistake of drinking a large cup of coffee before we left and I was quite distressed about the lack of a  bathroom. Thankfully, a flight instructor heard Steven asking about the closed office and landed after us.  If you are a general aviation pilot or are married to one you already know this—pilots are some of the nicest and most helpful people you will meet.  Not only did he tell us about landing at Springfield National but also called over to verify that we could get a courtesy car. A huge thank you to Brian Morgan-- we looked him up later on the Internet- he is a flight instructor extraordinaire with over 10,000 hours of flight time. 

Springfield National is a tower controlled airport. That means you are vectored in which in turn means that you don’t just land.  At this point I am really regretting that cup of coffee. [For those of you thinking about flying in to Springfield National here is the general aviation information]. 

Springfield National is a fairly busy airport that has regional jet traffic. Jets go roughly 500 miles an hour and the Tin Dog goes approximately 110 miles an hours. Needless to say we probably held up some of the airport traffic when we landed—sorry.We parked in front of the General Aviation building and Steven took care of the plane. I was able to visit their lovely bathrooms. They had a custody car for us to use—they have 3 for general use and local maps.  Once again, nice friendly people.  And since it was a weekend aviation gas was 40 cents off a gallon.  Unfortunately, it was too late to go to the farmer’s market. Sigh. But the one thing having a small plane teaches you is flexibility. You can’t guarantee that you can fly on a particular day or at a particular time—safety always is the first consideration and the second and the third…..

The inside of the the Aviary Cafe and Creperie
So we decided to see some of the highlights of Springfield. First, we went to Aviary Cafe and Creperie and had some of the best pomme frites that I have every had. 
Pomme frites
Oh my they were yummy. Already mostly full, we followed these delicious tidbits up with crepes. I had the hen and pine crepe and Steven had duck confit crepe.  We couldn’t finish them and honestly we should have just gotten the pomme frites. Yes, they were that good. Trust me go and get them. You will not regret it. 
Words to live by 
Next up--- Askinosie Chocolate.  Owned by a lawyer who saw the light and left the practice of law and now makes insanely good chocolate.  A chocolate bar will set you back about $10.00  so you are paying premium prices but you are getting a premium product. We also bought some chocolate nibs for the next chocolate stout we will brew. I really liked soaking them in Jim Bean and adding it to the secondary so I will probably repeat the process with our next batch of beer.

Mother's brewery
Mother’s Brewery is also in Springfield and on my list of breweries to visit. Mother’s is best known for their IPAs. They have a lovely tasting room with friendly staff explaining the beers available for testing. Note: these are beers that you can only get at the brewery. Steven obviously could not taste the beers so he smelled the beers and I tasted them. 

Tasting menu
We narrowed the beers to Cheech and Chong IPA, two versions of the same beer with different yeasts. It is amazing the difference a yeast can make. I chose Chong- which is an “in your face” IPA and we bought a growler to go. Steven could taste it once we were home.

It was time to head home so we made our way back to the airport to our fully fueled plane. On the way home we enjoyed the sights from the sky. It really is beautiful from 3,000 feet. It was a bit bumpy. We saw flocks of white birds (maybe ducks) below us and even saw a lone eagle. I watched the earth get a bit less green as we headed north but it was clear that spring had finally sprung in Missouri.


Safely back at Roosterville Airport we transported our chocolate bars, nibs, and beer home.