FALL in LOVE with FALL salad

ppWith our gardens filled with persimmons and pomegranates and Thanksgiving around the corner I was inspired to throw a few of my favorite fruits together and make a festive salad. Simple and delicious with colors that scream Fall, this salad will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving feast or a new just because treat. And don’t worry if you don’t think persimmons are your thing, give this combination a chance and you just might become a fan .

pp

FALL in LOVE with FALL salad (for 4)

  • 1 bag of Arugula (5 oz)
  • 3 Persimmons
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 1 Red onion
  • Chia Seeds
  • Olive oil, one lemon, salt and pepper for dressing

I started off by slivering off round thin pieces of persimmon ( I used a mandoline) which can get tricky since some might not come out perfect, but its for taste so don’t worry. Place each sliver one by one covering each individual plate as I did or on your dish of choice if you are making a bigger salad. Take the arugula and toss with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt pepper and when its ready place the greens in the middle of your dish so the persimmons are still visible. Add your red onions slices and I actually added slices of fennel as an afterthought which was great, and then top it off with sprinkles of chia and pomegranate seeds.  The salad is not only visually appetizing but taste amazing and fresh. Hope you enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Fresh Mozzarella Crostini

Tomato Peach Crostinis

Over the weekend I spent some time working in the garden with my pops – weeding, picking oranges, checking sugar levels on the wine grapes and harvesting a large batch of heirloom tomatoes.

Homegrown Heirloom Tomatoes

I absolutely LOVE heirlooms due to their refreshing and sweet flavor and unique colors and shapes.  Now what to do with this batch of colorful beauties? Recently I experience a delicious dish from French Blue in St. Helena, California which inspired tonight’s appetizer. They offer this irresistible house made farmers cheese over grilled bread topped with strawberries and tomatoes. It’s to die for. So, that is the inspiration to this Heirloom, Peach and Fresh Mozzarella crostini. Sweet and savory, this is the perfect summertime appetizer.

Heirloom Tomato, Peach &  Fresh Mozzarella Crostini

3 – 4 small / medium heirloom tomatoes (or 1 large one), sliced
1 large peach, thinly sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Baguette of your choice (I used Casa LaBelle Rustic Baguette)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Heirloom Tomato Crostini

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice baguette into 1/2 inch slices and coat with olive oil. Season lightly with salt & pepper and bake them for about 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove crostini’s from the oven and layer with a peach slice, tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

How to Make Tomato Crostini


Ingredients used:

  • Casa LaBelle Bread – Casa LaBelle is a small bakery located in the tiny resort town of Monte Rio in Sonoma County.
  • Peach, Mozzarella and Sweet BasilMike’s Truck Garden (one of my favorite local produce stands)
  • Heirloom Tomatoes – homegrown and straight from the garden.

Enjoy! ~Crystal

Pearl Couscous With Dry Fruits, Nuts and a Citrus Vinaigrette

Pearl Couscous

As you know from my previous post, I LOVE couscous. What is couscous exactly? It’s a coarsely ground pasta made from semolina, a type of wheat. Why do I love it?  It’s versatile, healthy (loaded with protein, selenium and potassium)  and it’s quick to prepare.

Today’s recipe is a beautiful fusion of Israeli couscous (pearl couscous), dried fruits, fresh herbs, local  cheese and nuts inspired by friend and Executive Chef, Robin Lehnhoff-McCray.

This easy lunch or light dinner option pairs perfectly with a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc and a warm afternoon on the patio.  Enjoy and cheers to the warmer days ahead!

  • 4 cups cooked Pearl Couscous
  • ¼ cup dry apricots, chopped
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dry cranberries
  • ½ bunch fresh mint, chopped
  • ½ bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup Valley Ford Estero Gold cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill for 1 hour then serve.

Serves 5


Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • ½ cup Meyer lemon juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine zest, mustard, juices, sugar and parsley. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (This recipe makes 1 ½ cups of vinaigrette. Save the remaining dressing and toss with fresh greens the next day!)

*Enjoy – Crystal