Debbie Dance Uhrig
On the way home from my wonderful trip to Kansas I pondered what I would feature in the column this week. Every cook/chef has their own favorite recipes, and this one is probably one of mine. I was thinking about Valentine’s Day and how I choose to stay at home and cook for my family. Sure, I enjoy going out, but perhaps when everyone in town isn’t. This salad would be different and refreshing for the likes of many palates. You can find this recipe in my first cookbook, ‘Simply Yours’.
The weather was perfect for my travels and I even had a friend, Susie, accompany me to Haven and McPherson, Kansas. The wonderful staff at The Rural Messenger, welcomed us and it was great visiting with the employees and Editor Mike, at the paper. Then it was on to The Cook’s Nook, in McPherson, Kansas, for a full morning of cooking. We left plenty of time to visit the community of Yoder, KS and a little spot in Haven, called Willie’s. My only regret was I wasn’t hungry for a burger while we were enjoying our time at Willie’s. Homemade hamburger buns and burgers, I’m still kicking myself for not purchasing one for the road.
The rolling hills of Kansas brought us beautiful sunsets and the people, as always, were warm and gracious. The Uhrig side of my family welcomed us into their homes for quick overnight stays. The time was short, but so very enjoyable.
Every time I leave these communities I’m looking forward to the next visit.
This Sunday would be a great time to tantalize your loved ones with a fantastic Valentine dinner. The dinner doesn’t have to be elaborate to be special. The spinach salad would be great with a grilled steak, salmon or tuna steak for starters. Add a simple baked potato (with toppings), purchased hot rolls, and the favorite dessert of your loved one to complete a terrific meal.
Sometimes I think that people imagine that at every meal I serve absolutely everything from scratch. Absolutely not! I am human, I work every day just like many working wives and mothers. The key is in the planning! Desserts and breads can be made in advance as well as specialty beverages. Leaving a host plenty of time for adding special touches like flowers, linens, décor and the proper ambience. Oh for goodness sakes, don’t forget the music and after dinner coffee. I had dinner in Wichita at a small restaurant in Andover called, ‘Metro Bistro,’ when I ordered decaf coffee, after dinner, they served pressed coffee. It was delicious and so impressive. Made you feel special and there were no sweets involved!
About two weeks ago I was in Kansas City dining at ‘Bravo’, an Italian restaurant. My husband saw my ‘tab’ when I got home and informed me I had sure spent a great deal of money on ‘lunch’. I looked at him and said, ‘Yes, perhaps, but it was necessary.’ The outstanding meal, service, company and ambience were a gift to myself. It comforted me in ways that perhaps only a woman can explain. Oh yes, I am worthy! Ladies, don’t forget that you are always worthy!
My next journey leads me to the southern part of Kansas City to Cockrill’s Mercantile, which is south of KC, highway 50, on Saturday, March 5th. If you’re looking for a weekend road trip to a cook’s haven, this is certainly the ticket. You will find yourself in an old-time country store surrounded by numerous other buildings featuring a baking building, outdoor décor, fiesta ware, and a multitude of cooking tools, cookware and specialty foods. The buildings encircle a beautiful garden area providing lots of seating and relaxing. (Hint: For the husbands!)
Enjoy the good weather while it lasts, and embrace each day. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.
Base salad ingredients upon the number in attendance.
Granny smith apples, chunk with the peels left on.
(Rinse in lemon water, pineapple juice, or white soda pop to keep from turning.)
Chopped walnuts, Roasted if desired
Serve with Honey Mustard Dressing
Honey Mustard Dressing
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice to thin
Horseradish to taste
Mix everything together with a whisk except for the orange juice. You will use the orange juice lastly to thin the dressing to your desired thickness. Chill until ready to use. Also great with chicken strips!