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Chris’s Autumn Salad

December 13, 2010

For weeks, the following dish has been dancing in my memory and teasing my senses, like a song stuck in my head.  My friend Chris, the Cayenne Cupcake birthday boy, hosted a dinner party and made Autumn Salad/Topping.  The salad was served cold as a topping over thick, roasted sweet potato slices.  I tried to distinguish flavors, but  was so embarrassingly off.  It’s a perfect compliment of flavors- roasted, crunchy pecans, with sweet dried cranberries,  a fresh crunch of  the milder daikon radish and sweet English cucumber, followed by creamy tofu, all embracing a dijon vinaigrette.  I thought the tofu was a mild goat cheese.  So surprised when he shared the ingredient list, I ate two more of these appetizers.  No way tofu could be this good!

Finally, he granted me a visit yesterday evening to share his recipe and put my taste buds at ease.  I’m positive I will have this song stuck in my head again as soon as this bowl is emptied.

Chris’s Autumn Salad
Makes about 5 cups

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1/2  English cucumber,  finely diced
1 medium daikon radish (medium will be less peppery than small size), finely diced
1/2 c. + 2Tbsp raw crushed pecans, roasted
1/2 c. dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 lb. soft tofu, finely diced

To Do:
1: In a small bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar.  Incorporate dijon mustard.  Set aside.
2: In a medium bowl, combine shallot, cucumber, radish, pecans, cranberries and tofu.  Fold in the vinaigrette.  Refrigerate until serving. May be made the night before, but the color is best when made the same day.

An excellent topping for crackers, or best of all, thick roasted slices of sweet potato.

Thanks so much Chris!

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