Mothers and Daughters

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I posted a picture on Instagram last week of a picture of Scarlet sleeping with a little caption about how sometimes she screams ‘you’re not my best friend’ when she’s mad at me. She loves to tell me regularly that in fact she is the mother and I am the sister which puts her in charge and she would like a movie/milk on the couch/to not wear pants or any clothes really/candy for lunch thankyouverymuch.

She cracks me up that one. She’s not all sass all the time; but funny and spunky, sweet and so so loving in equal measure. She keeps me on my toes in new and interesting ways every day. In the same breath I want to pull my hair out and scoop her up and kiss her face. It’s agonizing sometimes this parenting thing, and I’ve been told many many times, I haven’t even hit the hard stuff yet.

The surprises in family life never cease to amaze me. How in one day you can feel like you’ve got a handle on your kids; what they need, what makes them tick, how to love them and in a matter of 20 minutes it can all fall apart and it feels like you’re starting all over again.

This salad is a little like parenting 3-year-olds: familiar and surprising all in one bite. A simple ingredient transforms a dish into something amazing. In this case, the caramelized onions take this springy salad from ho-hum to completely delicious. Adapted from Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine, this salad (or some version of it) is a staple at my house.

As is the case with almost everything I make, this recipe is easily adaptable. The original recipe called for sliced grapes, but I prefer strawberries. My rule of thumb is to make a dish according to the recipe the first time, and after that it’s fair game on swapping, changing and editing to personal taste. Apples, raspberries, feta cheese, gorgonzola, green or red grapes all work well so throw in whatever you have.

• 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
• 1 lb. baby spinach
• 1 tablespoon good olive oil
• 1 Bartlett pear (still a little firm), sliced
• 1 cup strawberries, sliced
• 1 cup Craisins or dried cherries
• 1 cup almonds, chopped
• 1 4-oz. container crumbled goat cheese

Maple Vinaigrette:
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• ½ cup olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

Start by caramelizing the onions. This can be done ahead of time, and the onions can be stored in the refrigerator. Using a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally until softened and a deep caramel color. This can take a while, up to 30-40 minutes, but be patient and keep stirring because the onions are what make the salad.

Layer all the ingredients of the salad over the baby spinach. If the onions are still warm, that’s great. If they were cooked earlier in the day, throw them into the salad straight from the fridge. Either way, they’ll taste good.

To make the vinaigrette, start with a glass jar and a lid, add the ingredients, seal the jar and give it a good shake. Taste and add more salt if needed. Dress the salad and enjoy!

You can find the original text and a beautiful picture of this salad HERE.

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