Deb Mulvey from Wisconsin sent a generous box of cookbooks after my Culinary Cellar flood with a very sweet note. She had read about the flood, and being a cookbook lover herself, said the loss touched her heart, as well as the outpouring of generosity that followed. Deb is a Field Editor for Taste of Home magazine and she, along with many other Field Editors, sent cookbooks to help rebuild my culinary library. I learned quickly that the Field Editors are a generous group of cooking enthusiasts.
Deb said these books brought her much joy and she wanted to share them. Look at all those great titles! I decided on the “Eating Well in Season” because it had a recipe for a salad using pears, celery, white cheddar, and toasted pecans that sounded so good.
I love seasonal cookbooks. All the recipes in this book are healthy, easy, don’t use hard-to-find ingredients, and take only 45 minutes or less to prepare. This “Crunchy Pear and Celery Salad” became a favorite from the first bite. Pears are tossed with a dressing of a fruity vinegar and honey, then diced white cheddar cheese, celery, and toasted pecans are added. The mixture is piled up on butterhead lettuce leaves and served with a fresh grind of black pepper. That’s it! So good and so easy.
Isn’t it beautiful? I loved the crunchy additions of celery that is first soaked in ice water, and the toasted pecans. The blend of flavors are perfect for a lunch and there is even a suggestion for using other ingredients to make it a little different. For an Italian version you can use Parmesan and pine nuts, or a British version of Stilton cheese and toasted walnuts. I plan on trying those for sure.
Thank you, Deb, for these lovely books and for this salad recipe that I enjoyed so much!
- 4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
- 2 Tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry, or other fruit vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
- 1 cup diced white cheddar cheese
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 large leaves, butterhead or other lettuce
- Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into ½-inch pieces.
- Whisk vinegar, honey, and salt in mixing bowl until blended. Add the celery, cheese, and pecans. Stir to combine. Season with pepper.
- Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates. Top each with a portion of salad. Can be served immediately or chilled. Note: If not serving right away, add pecans right before serving,