Tobins' Tastes: Walnut, Apple & Warm Goat Cheese Salad With A Champagne Vinaigrette

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Walnut, Apple & Warm Goat Cheese Salad With A Champagne Vinaigrette

In our nine years together, something Justin and I have always loved doing together is discovering new and exciting restaurants and bars. We are Food Network and Cooking Channel fanatics and I am slightly embarrassed to admit that have the TV Food Maps app on our phones.

The first thing we do when we plan a vacation is instantly search the area we are visiting for eateries that have been featured on shows like Diners, Drive Ins & Dives or Best Thing I Ever Ate. Justin can spend hours planning our meals and snacks alone.

One of the perks of dating long distance for close to four years that was we were constantly in new cities and towns as we drove back and forth which allowed us to spend our date nights at a new restaurant each time we got to see each other.

Now that we are married and live in the same house/town, we often reminisce about date night meals past and talk about what we will get the next time we are in said city and whatever restaurant. Please tell me we aren't the only ones who day dream aloud about future eating experiences?!?

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Since it isn't practical or affordable to just jump in the car or on a plane and visit our all time favorite places, we have started recreating our favorite meals at home right in the comfort of our own kitchen. Remember my Turkey, Apple & Brie Sandwiches?

On our way to visit my grandparents in West Palm Beach for New Years, Justin and I stopped in Stuart where he use to live and had a little date night at Carmela's Brick Oven Pizza. It is a romantic little pizza place with brick walls and amazing food. When he was in school and I had just started working, he save up and take me there for a special date night. Sometimes we would even spring for a bottle of wine or dessert : )

This time we ordered an amazing brick oven pizza and decided to start out with the house goat cheese salad. I could not believe we had never tried it. It was quite possibly the best salad I have ever eaten: mixed greens, walnuts, cucumbers, and julienned apples topped with a slice of warmed goat cheese and a champagne vinaigrette. It was sweet, tangy and perfect.

Since the New Year, we have been trying to keep our dinners light so we have been eating lots of soup and salads. This salad was quick and easy to make and since I have the ingredients on hand now I imagine we will be eating once a week, our own little stroll down memory lane and a date night all without changing out of my comfy pants.

Walnut, Apple & Goat Cheese Salad
  • 1 bag of Mixed Greens
  • 1 large Fuji Apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or more if you like)
  • 2 oz of goat cheese
  • Herb Seasoned Croutons (optional-we used homemade from left over french bread)
  • Champagne Vinaigrette (homemade or store bought, I used Marzetti Simply Dressed)
1.) Slice the goat cheese into individual pats in whatever thickness/size you prefer. Place them on a baking sheet covered with tin foil and warm in the oven at 350 degrees for about five minutes.

2.) While the goat cheese is getting warmed up, peel and julienne the apple and then peel and dice the cucumber.

3.) In a large bowl toss together the mixed greens, 2/3 of the apple pieces, the diced cucumber and crushed walnuts. Add desired amount of dressing and toss to evenly coat.

4.) Plate the salad mixture and top with more apple pieces and a few croutons. Right before serving carefully scoop up the warmed slices of goat cheese and place on the sliced apples on the top of the salad. This allows each person to mix in their own goat cheese as they like best.

5.) Serve quickly so the greens don't get soggy and the cheese is still nice and warm when you start eating.

Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.

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