Monday, January 3, 2011

Wilted Spinach Salad with Balsamic Mushrooms

Driving brings out a lot of emotions in me. First, there's anger because most people do not know how to drive. I'm not talking real complex movements here, but basic things such as staying in the lanes. It's especially worse when that vehicle is a truck. That brings out my second emotion, which is nervousness. I am a nervous driver to begin with, so it just doesn't help when there is a huge truck swerving around. I also panic when I see cops. I don't speed too much, but just the fact that a police can stop you for any reason and give you a ticket for any reason really scares me! Then there are moments when I just burst out singing or contemplate quietly. And moments of regret for drinking that coffee so quickly because now I have to find a restroom. But it's a fun me-time trip. That was what today was like. After 6 hours of driving from Jersey to Virginia, I safely made it into town in the afternoon.

I knew there would be absolutely nothing for me to eat when I got home, so I stopped by Wal-Mart to make this salad. It's always a win when all the ingredients in a recipe are foods I love, so it made me happy and relieved to be eating real food and not something I picked up at a fast food joint on my road trip. One downside is that I forgot to buy corn! I was so upset when I realized this because I was imagining biting into the corn as I was eating this salad. I've been on a corn kick lately, so it's been corn, corn, corn in everything I ate lately. It was still good without the corn, but it would have been even better. I had sunflower seeds on hand, so I replaced that for the cashews. And no access to shiitake mushrooms here so I used white button mushrooms. I had this as a side with my pork chop. I'm going through a pork phase now. I forgot how good it tastes...

Wilted Spinach Salad with Balsamic Mushrooms

Wilted Spinach Salad with Balsamic Mushrooms [Makes 2 servings]
From Healthy. Happy. Life.

- 3/4 cup corn (fresh when in season; otherwise, frozen)
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2 tsp + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp plump raisins (optional)
- 1 bag baby spinach (or 1 large bunch fresh organic spinach, leaves and soft stems)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, divided
- 5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp course sea salt
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. If you're using bagged spinach, skip this first step. Otherwise, wash and dry spinach well. Remove tough stems. Rough chop remaining leaves and soft stems.
2. In a saute pan, drizzle 2 tsp oil. Turn heat to medium-high. Add corn (and raisins, if using) and saute until corn starts to brown. Add in cashews and saute for another minute. Careful not to burn cashews. Place into a small bowl and set aside.
3. In the same saute pan, add 1 tbsp vinegar, and an optional drizzle of oil. Add spinach. Turn heat to medium and cover spinach with a loose lid or piece of tin foil to 'steam' and wilt the leaves. When the leaves are tender, add the corn and cashew mixture. Fold lightly. Transfer this mixture to serving bowl. Grind black pepper over top.
4. In the same saute pan, add 1 tbsp oil and mushrooms. Saute until tender. Add in chopped parsley and continue to saute. Towards the end of saute, add in the balsamic vinegar. Toss well. Add sea salt. Transfer mushrooms to your serving bowl - gently lay on top of spinach.

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