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Harvest Dinner Part 1

Well, I can’t believe November is almost over! So is the semester! Woo hoo! It has gone by really fast which sounds like a cliche but is true. Since we were in Vegas (lucky us) for Thanksgiving this year, I was determined to  have a big dinner when we were back. It finally happened a week or so ago and this post will also happily coincide with our American friends ‘  Thanksgiving. We had a couple of couples over including one tiny guest who was only interested in mashed sweet potato for some reason (probably because she only has 2 teeth). I did three courses and I’m going to share the details of the salad course today!

I wanted to do something fairly hearty but not too filling. I recently went to a great new vegetarian restaurant in town called The Acorn and had a delicious main that really inspired this dinner; it had spelt and mushrooms  and a beautifully savoury peppercorn sauce. I  loved the chewy and flavourful spelt and was determined to make some soon. I was a bit worried that the spelt would be labour intensive and would require like overnight  soaking and rinsing and have a four hour cooking time but when I looked it up I was pleasantly surprised. It’s easier to make than rice! I wanted some fall elements and some classic Thanksgiving flavours so cranberry was a must; arugula is one of my favourites so that was a must too. I hope you like the result!

Next week I’ll post about the main which was a Mushroom Pie with Roasted Vegetable Gravy

Spelt and Arugula Salad with Cranberry Apricot Dressing (serves 4-6)

the salad

1 C spelt (cook according to instructions here)

2/3 C. walnut pieces

2/3 C. dried cranberries

6 oz arugula (about half of one of those plastic containers of already washed leaves)

-once spelt has cooled combine with walnuts and cranberries

-place arugula in a separate bowl

the dressing

1/2 can cranberry concentrate, thawed

1/3 c. apricot jelly (I had apricot on hand but raspberry or strawberry would work too)

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 T sugar

1/2 c. olive oil (you can use a little more or less)

-place ingredients except oil in blender and turn on low

-pop that little thing out of the lid and add olive oil in a slow stream (I take no responsibility for blender spray mishaps!)

-once emulsified, check that the flavour is to your liking and add a little salt and pepper

-toss the spelt mixture with about half the dressing and let marinate for an hour or so

-toss the arugula with the other half right before serving

-place 2/3 C  spelt on the plate and top with some arugula- pile it up high for the best presentation

-enjoy!

The Finished Product

 

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