Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ladies' Lunch Tuesday: Squash Soup and a Spinach Salad

Yesterday was Ladies' Lunch Tuesday here at Chez W, and I took the opportunity to use up some of my Thanksgiving leftovers. I made a delicious soup from leftover hubbard squash inspired by this recipe from the ever-talented Marye of Apron Strings and Simmering Things. The only difference was that I used turkey broth instead of cream and buttermilk, and of course leftover cooked hubbard squash instead of butternut. (I avoid buttermilk. Except in ranch dressing. That is my only exception.) It really lowered the fat content of the soup, and was a delicious, creamy treat. I think next time I'll add some crispy prosciutto croutons for garnish--yum!

I also served my famous baby spinach salad with maple-balsamic vinaigrette. This is the winning salad, folks, that never fails to please. It's very simple. Baby spinach. Crumbled blue cheese. Some kind of chopped nut (I like hazelnuts or pecans). A chopped apple or pear with skin on squirted with a wee bit of lemon juice. Dried cranberries. Then you can add anything else you like--I included some leftover torn turkey breast meat from the holiday bird and some cherry tomatoes. But no matter what you put in your salad, what brings it to star status is the dressing.

Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
makes 1-1/2 cups dressing

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
(you may substitute sugar free diabetic-safe maple flavored syrup if you need to with excellent results)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine syrup and vinegar in a bowl. While whisking constantly, add olive oil in a slow stream until thoroughly combined and emulsified. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Dark and sinfully syrupy, this dressing never fails to please, leaving eyes rolling as they devour their salads. And if you choose to use the sugar-free stuff, no one will be the wiser.

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