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Maple Syrup makes this All Seasons Salad sing

I hear up in the north woods the maple syrup season came early. I love using the real thing for cooking with maple syrup.

One of my favorite recipes of all time is this salad. I love it because it can be used all year around just by changing a few of the ingredients out. The base is a mix of bitter style greens or baby greens. The dressing stays the same all year around as well as the spiced pecans. The fruit and cheese changes with the season.

The dressing is a classic vinaigrette of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, canola or grape seed oil and mustard. It stays cohesive and does not separate once mixed because the mustard binds it. It is delicious and can be used for other salads that require a sweet and sour flavor.

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Wild and Gathered All Seasons Salad with Spicy Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette  Serves 10-12

I call this an “all seasons” salad because I serve it all year long, I just change the fruits and cheese for the season and serve a different version of it. I still serve it with Maple dressing and spicy nuts because it’s those flavors that make the salad special.

Summer salad  1- ½  pounds baby mixed or micro greens 6-8 ounces Bleu Cheese - Gorgonzola works well 1 pint Fresh Blueberries (local is best)

Fall Salad ½ pounds of baby mixed or micro greens 6-8 ounces Goat’s milk cheese, crumbled 2 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced

Winter Salad 1 – ½  pounds baby spinach or baby mixed greens 6-8 ounces Good Quality Parmesan cheese 1 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried figs

Spring Salad 1 ½ pounds baby mixed greens or micro greens 4 -6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled 1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced

Spicy Pecans Ingredients: 3 cups pecan pieces 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground white pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons sugar

Roast pecans on a cookie sheet at 350F for 15 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes. When they start to smell like toasted nuts, remove from oven and set aside. As nuts are roasting -Melt butter in a small bowl. Mix seasonings in a larger bowl. When nuts are toasted, toss in the bowl with the seasonings and add the butter. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and let dry for about an hour. (can be stored for up to a week in a air tight container)

Maple Vinaigrette Yields 2 1/2 cups Ingredients: 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup of onion, peeled and minced 2/3 cup of maple syrup 1 cup of canola oil 1 Tablespoon Brown mustard

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a food processor except oil and blend on high for 30 seconds. Drizzle in oil slowly


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