During my “grown up gap year’ almost exactly a year ago, I had the chance to reconnect with my best college gal pals for a weekend in Wisconsin. I treasure this crew. We’re scattered all over the country - Oregon, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin - and can go months without chatting in any substantive way. Texting yes, (especially about book recommendations), but chatting, not so much. As with the best of old friends, when we do get together, if feels like no time has passed at all. In many ways, I think we’re closer now than we ever have been.
We spent the better part of 48 hours in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, parked around dear Katie’s kitchen table talking non-stop about issues big and small while her darling children wandered in and out between volleyball games and play practices and homecoming dances likely thinking: “Dear Lord, are these women ever going to stop talking?!” We briefly contemplating going out to dinner on the Saturday night, but opted for a cozy dinner in.
After an adventure to the local grocery store (did you know ranch flavored cheese curds are a thing in Wisconsin?) Jen and I got to work putting together a quick chicken piccata and a butternut squash risotto. Perfect combo for a cozy fall day.
I also wanted to share this salad with the gals. This salad has become our go-to salad at House Morell. Loosely inspired by a salad served at El Che Steakhouse & Bar in Chicago, peppery arugula and sweet/tart apples combine with salty manchego and crunchy pops of sunflower seeds. I toss it in a fall-inspired maple mustard dressing.. Yum! Be sure to select tart apples, such as Granny Smiths or Pink Ladys.
I promise, you’ll want to add it to your salad rotation as well.
This crew of mine loves to bond over books. Here are some of my recent book crushes:
Arugula Salad with Apples, Manchego + Sunflower Seeds
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1 bag of arugula (about 7 ounces)
3 small tart apples, such as Granny Smith, or Pink Lady sliced thin
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup manchego cheese, shaved
2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
Combine the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Place all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and stir or shake to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad to taste and toss. (You may not need all of the dressing, so save a bit for later.)