Friday, June 22, 2012

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Pears Poached in Sweet Wine

A Simple Summer Meal

My kitchen is now functioning! I have the cabinets, counters, sink and all the appliances in and running. However, we are still doing the tiles and the cabinet trim so it is still a construction zone. While I am cooking, I am keeping it simple as I must share space with my husband who is measuring and fitting the trim to the cabinets.

So I am keeping things simple! Still I thought there may be someone out there who would like some simple recipes for summer. It has been so hot that we have not wanted heavy meals and I am just so happy to be preparing our dinners at home because we are getting more fresh vegetables! We made a simple supper this week on a ridiculously hot day. I decided on a salad and a nice little dessert of wine and vanilla poached pears.

For our salad, I wanted to use some of the beautiful strawberries I had along with baby spinach.

Spinach, Strawberry and Toasted Almond Salad

I really don’t measure the salad ingredients. It is a couple handfuls of spinach per person and a generous sprinkle of strawberries with a smattering of almonds. But it was approximately:

8 oz of spinach

6 oz of strawberries

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Sweet balsamic vinaigrette to taste

Wash spinach, even if it is bagged and “washed”

Clean and slice strawberries

Toast almonds in 350 oven for about 5-7 minutes until just starting to brown.

Place spinach in large bowl and  mix in a little vinaigrette. Taste and add a little more as needed. You can put the extra in a bottle on the table.  Gently mix in strawberries. Plate salad and sprinkle with almonds. Serve.

Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

2  parts balsamic vinegar- like raspberry balsamic ( I usually use 4 TBSPN)

1 part sugar, agave or honey ( I usually use 2 TBSPN)

Pinch of salt

1 part light olive oil ( I usually use 2 TBSPN)

And for dessert…

I love desserts made with fruit. This one is simple yet so flavorful. You can choose to top this with a nice scoop of ice cream. Or, for a lower calorie treat, use less sugar and serve the pears on their own without ice cream.

Since this batch is for a family week night meal, I made it kind of rustic with a bit of skin left on. I also opted to keep it easy but halving pears rather than keeping them whole. Whole pears look nicer but these were fine for tonight.

Pears poached in sweet wine with vanilla

About 4 pears ( either one pear per person or half per person)

About  4 cups sweet white wine such as Moscato or Riesling

About ½  cup water

About ¾ cup brown or white sugar*

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick

*I like the flavor of brown sugar but white looks nice

For whole pears, peel and core most of middle from the bottom of the pear.  For halves, peel, cut and core.

Place the wine, water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon stick in late pot and bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring a couple times.

Lower heat and add pears, simmering. Spoon sauce over pears every few minutes. Simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until pears are tender but not overly mushy or falling apart.

Remove pears to serving bowls and increase heat, bringing sauce to a boil. Keep on a low boil for 20 minutes. Cool for a couple minutes and then spoon over pears and top with a scoop of ice cream.


  1. What a very elegant dish - sophisticated flavors but not so much to become overcomplicated or dissuade less adventurous eaters. Really well done!

    1. Well thank you very much. The recipes on your blog are wonderful! I look forward to trying them.

  2. Oh my goodness! You are so amazing! Everything you make sounds delicious. I really love that salad though. I'd like to try making it. Yum!