Tag Archives: green salad

Spring Green Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spring Green Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

I’m so excited!  Spring has finally arrived in Southern Oregon!  According to the calendar, “technically” it’s still winter.  According to what is happening in my backyard, the calendar is way wrong :)…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A crocus blossom… One of the first flowers to make an appearance in our backyard early in the season.  I love the bright orange stamens and the purple and white streaked petals.  I have them planted in many places in our yard.  Some reside in pots, some are tucked under bushes and trees.  Crocuses grow only a few inches tall and come back every year during the month of March.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a shot of some pansies that I have planted in a hanging pot on my back patio.  Pansies are a regular staple to our yard in the spring and fall.  Every time I look at them they make me smile.  I enjoy the bright and cheerful colors outside my kitchen window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A close-up shot of a pansy blossom.  I was thrilled to capture this image with my camera.  Through the lens of my camera, I was able to see this amazing amount of detail on the flower.  I can’t see this level of detail even with my reading glasses on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A tulip poking its way through the soil.  I look forward to a big vase full of bright red blossoms on our dining room table in a short couple of weeks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Purple crocus.  What’s not to like about that deep rich indigo color?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Even the koi fish in our pond are starting to surface for the first handfuls of feed of the year.  This is Pumpkin…  He’s one of the original fish to live in our pond.  He’s almost 2 feet long and about 10 years old.  I remember the day when Bruce and I purchased him.  He was about 4 inches in length and shared a plastic bag with four other fish on the trip home. Several years later, we now have a total of 8 koi fish happily living in our pond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whenever I think of spring, one of the first things that come to mind is fresh picked strawberries.  I purchased a couple of pints of strawberries the other day and one of the things that I wanted to do with them was to make a spring like strawberry vinaigrette.  My Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette is a wonderfully pink colored salad dressing made with fresh strawberries, red wine vinegar, local honey, Dijon Mustard, canola oil and poppy seeds.  It’s a delicious vinaigrette to serve drizzled over a plate of fresh picked greens and sliced strawberries.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound strawberries (cleaned and hulled)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs honey or to taste
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds or to taste

Add strawberries, red wine vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and canola oil to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Splash more vinegar into the dressing if you want… Mix in the poppy seeds.  Makes 1 cup or 16 – 1 Tablespoon servings.  Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.

Green Salad (per serving)

  • 2 cups fresh lettuce
  • 1 thinly sliced radish
  • 2 strawberries (hulled and quartered)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 Tbs Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (or to taste)

Assemble by placing salad greens on a plate.  Arrange radishes, strawberries and radicchio on top of the greens.  Drizzle greens with the Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  Makes one serving.

Green Salad with Crater Lake Blue Cheese Dressing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Green Salad with Crater Lake Blue Cheese Dressing

One of the really cool things about living in Southern Oregon is that we are so lucky to have such a wonderful creamery located right here in the Rogue Valley.  It’s called the Rogue Creamery and in my opinion, the Rogue Creamery is home to some of the BEST blue cheese I have ever tasted.  Ever… The Rogue Creamery makes at least 8 different delicious varieties of award winning blue cheese and several amazing types of cheddar as well.  They’re all absolutely delicious!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crater Lake Blue Cheese

My Crater Lake Blue Cheese Salad Dressing was inspired by a day trip to Crater Lake National Park.  Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in the state of Oregon and one of the most cherished National Parks in the United States.  It’s about 90 miles from Rogue Valley and 250 miles from Portland.  Crater Lake is famous for its gorgeous blue water, breath taking scenery and the fact that it is one of the world’s deepest lakes.  In the summer months, tourists from all over the United States and the world flock to this destination.  In the winter months, only a fraction of the tourists come to visit due to the cold winter weather and icy road conditions.  There’s a visitor center, lodge, restaurant and gift shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The West Entrance to Crater Lake National Park.  The other entrances to the park are closed during the winter months.  The West Entrance is the only entrance open for access to the lake because maintaining the roads in winter is incredibly difficult.  Difficult because Crater Lake National Park gets on average of over 44 feet of snow accumulation per year!  Grab a tape measure and see just how much that is… You’ll find that it is a heck of a lot of snow!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before Bruce and I arrived at the West Entrance of the park, I asked him how much money we needed to pay for the admission. Well… Within minutes, I received my answer.  Surprisingly, the day we were there was free.  As you can see, there was no park ranger in the booth to take our money and there was a sign on the side of the booth that stated there was no cost for admission.  Crater Lake Lodge was closed for the season and the restaurant and gift shop was operating under “winter hours”.  Before scheduling a visit be sure to check the park fees, hours and rates on their website.  Also, if you plan to visit during the winter months, be sure to have chains on hand or studded snow tires on your vehicle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One more foot of snow and we would not have known that we were in a no parking zone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our first peek over the rim at Crater Lake in the winter.  Bruce and I had to climb over 10 foot snow banks in the parking lot just to get a view of the lake.  Once over the top, the view was breathtaking!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Do you see the thin layer of ice covering the lake?   In the summer months, the ice is gone and the water is a brilliant blue color that you would not easily forget.  The snow covered peak in the background is Mount Thielson.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view of the lake next to the lodge.  We were really careful not to get too close to the edge.  It’s crazy steep and trying to get close to the lake is not worth slipping into the caldera below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view looking down at the icy blue water.  When I shot this photo, it looked as if I was pointing the lens up towards the sky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An easterly view of the lake.  In the summer months you can drive around the entire rim of the lake.  Given the opportunity, you’ll find that it is one of the most visually stunning day trip drives that you will ever take in your life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wizard Island.  Wizard Island is a cinder cone that rises several hundred feet above the lake.  It is one of the most memorable features of Crater Lake.  If you ever have the chance to visit Oregon, trust me, you must schedule a visit to Crater Lake.

My Crater Lake inspired green salad with Crater Lake blue cheese dressing is simple to make, tastes delicious and is perfect for serving up on a busy weeknight or for a more formal weekend dinner.  It’s made with fresh organic lettuce, grape tomatoes, bits of blue cheese and drizzled with the Crater Lake Blue Cheese Dressing.  My blue cheese dressing is a combination of Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, fresh buttermilk, Greek yogurt, cracked pepper and a splash of low sodium soy sauce.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing.  Enjoy!  Tessa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A wedge of Roquefort blue cheese.  Another favorite!

Blue Cheese Dressing Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces Blue Cheese or Roquefort
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 – 5 ounce container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until desired consistency.  Store in a covered container up to a week.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

For each salad:

  • 2 cups fresh green lettuce or your favorite greens
  • 5 or 6 grape tomatoes
  • shredded carrots
  • sprinkle the top of each salad with bits of blue cheese
  • top with a tablespoon or two of the Blue Cheese Dressing
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste