This is the time of year when my culinary creativity begins to lack luster; the root vegetables seem boring, the squashes are turning soft, and nothing in the freezer is appealing. Determined to spark my appetite, I decide it’s time to visit some old friends; my collection of cookbooks and magazines.
Nothing beats the doldrums of a wintery day like curling up on the couch in front of a roaring fire, and pouring through pictures of artfully prepared and beautifully presented food. For that period of time I’m literally transported to Spain, enjoying a flaky chicken empanada stuffed with chorizo and raisins, and Turkey, nibbling tender lamb kebabs off a stick. Soon, my taste buds start to water, and the desire to cook returns.
Cynthia Finnemore Simonds, a self-described foodie from Newcastle and author of four cookbooks, was the inspiration for Apple & Broccoli Salad. I met Cynthia six years ago at a daylong workshop dedicated to helping food service workers incorporate more Maine foods into their menus. I made apple-carrot muffins, and Cynthia prepared blueberry-strawberry smoothies.
This January, Cynthia was at the Agricultural Trade Show in Augusta, demonstrating some of her delicious recipes. All of her books, published by Down East, contain innovative ideas, and striking photography. Her mantra is like mine; choose the highest quality, local ingredients.
The Apple & Broccoli Salad is a tasty and creative way to eat more fruits and veggies. I love the texture and flavors of this salad; crisp, crunchy, sweet, dense, and chewy. The combination of onion and maple syrup highlight the natural sweetness, and the sunflowers seeds provide a finishing touch. With “friends” like Cynthia’s books, we can all excite our palates and nourish our souls.
This recipe is adapted from Cynthia Finnemore Simonds book, “Fresh Maine Salads”. Enjoy your fruits & veggies!
Apple & Broccoli Salad
- 1 head broccoli
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries)
- 1 apple, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (pecans or walnuts), lightly toasted
- 4 tablespoon Downeaster Maple Mustard Marinade
- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt or mayonnaise
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- To prepare the salad: Wash and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Steam until it just turns green, and then blanch in cold water and drain. Combine the blanched broccoli and cut up apples in a large bowl. Toss with the lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add the dried fruit to the broccoli and apple. Add the dressing and stir well to coat. Let chill for at least 30 minutes or more for the flavors to marry. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Serve topped with toasted sunflower seeds.
- Makes four servings.