Saturday, November 13, 2010

Apple Pistachio Salad

I walked into the local coffee house last week and they had a red wreath on the door and Christmas music playing.  I'm all for enjoying the season, but can we at least get through Thanksgiving first?  In high school I worked at a Hallmark store and we put the Christmas ornaments out in July.  Yep, July!  I remember wondering who on earth would be out shopping for Christmas ornaments in July, but believe it or not, there were some folks.  "Folks," that's a good word for them.  My fellow colleague at the store, of similar age, used to call them the crazy crafty ladies.  I found myself admiring a few of the ornaments, and wondering (worrying) that maybe I'd turn into a crazy crafty lady myself in a few years.  Thankfully, my eclectic collection ended up being recipes, phew!  I am beginning to get into the holiday spirit with my cooking.  I ran across this recipe the other day and thought it was a nice, healthy alternative to all the high calorie food that gets served this time of year.  Of course I didn't have all the ingredients it called for, so I made some substitution.  I've included my version and the original.  I've made it both ways and found it delightful with either ingredient list.  Enjoy and happy holidays!

Adapted from the recipes at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

2 1/2 Cups fresh apples, chopped 1/4-1/2" chunks
1 1/2 Cup celery, diced (or use cucumber)
1/3 Cup dried currants (or use tart dried cherries)
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
2/3 Cup shelled pistachio nuts

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-1 1/2 Tablespoons honey, slightly warmed if solid
pinch salt

Soak chopped apples in lemon water for a few minutes to prevent browning, then strain.  Combine apples, celery (or cucumber), currents (or tart dried cherries), and nuts.

Make dressing by whisking together lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and salt.

Toss salad with dressing and mint.  Serve immediately. 

Note: If you plan to let the salad set for a while before serving, wait to add pistachios to prevent them from softening. 

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