Caramelized Pear Salad with Goat Cheese Toast

Caramelized Pear Salad with Goat Cheese Toast // NotWithoutSalt.com

It’s no surprise if you’ve been here long that right alongside that slice of cake or plate of cookies I’m huge fan of salads. But in order for a salad to be a meal I want there to be a bit of heft. Something tucked in between the greens that leaves me satisfied rather than eagerly pining for that bag of chips in the cupboard the moment I’ve set down my salad fork. Sometimes it’s lentils, rice or beans that provide a bit of chew and bulk to offset the frilly greens but in the case of this recipe we rely on a crisp toast with a bubbling pool of brûléed goat cheese. 

This salad comes straight from the streets of Lyon where I started the meal disappointed with the lack of crispy frites and walked away with a new found love of salad with cheese toasts. My recipe for a Caramelized Pear Salad with Goat Cheese Toast can be found on the Electrolux blog; Live. Love. Lux.

Caramelized Pear Salad with Goat Cheese Toast // NotWithoutSalt.com

Before you go I thought it’d be fun to share a few photos that Gabe took from our weekend trip to Portland and perhaps, I mean since you’re here anyway, I could ask for a bit of advice?

We had a lovely time in Portland. For short bursts I find their mini kite flying, unicycle riding and handle bar mustache donning folks endearing. Their food scene is enviable and while it is a bustling city it has a small town aesthetic and layout that is charming and quite easy to navigate whether on foot or hopping on the buss (Seattle, take note).

We interspersed the trip with a couple of sit down restaurants, many donut stops, and even an arcade. So, you know, something for everyone. But the kids wanted nothing to do with mom savoring a 2014 Pinot Noir from the Willamette valley.

“Mom, just chug it.” Number two protested.

“Why would I chug this? Do you know all the work that went into this glass of wine?” I replied. What followed was a five minute discourse on the process of wine making which, in my mind, was suppose to leave him with an appreciation for craftsmanship, hard work, farming, and to get him off my back so I could enjoy mah wine.

To this he replied, “because we have ice cream to eat.” What he was referring to was my promise of a visit to Salt and Straw after dinner. At least our waitress, who overheard our conversation, thought it hilarious.

20160306_Travel_Portland_0043 20160306_Travel_Portland_0054 20160306_Travel_Portland_0007 Travel Portland // NotWithoutSalt.com 20160Travel Portland // NotWithoutSalt.com306_Travel_Portland_0056 Travel Portland // NotWithoutSalt.com

Despite the whining and the dinner being far more hurried than had it just been Gabe and I, I still love our attempts at taking them out to restaurants that I enjoy. Again, they are off set with visits to parks and other more kid-centric activities but my hope is that one of these days they’ll appreciate our attempts. If anything we provided a bit of entertainment for the couple sitting next to us. The sweet silver-haired woman came up to us just as we were leaving to tell us how much she enjoyed sitting next to us. Despite the outbreak from our 5 year old who was brought to frantic tears when her mother (hello!) burst out laughing at a picture she drew of me which was simply an outstretched hand clutching a glass of wine. I told that sweet woman who admired our crazy how much I enjoyed sitting next to her and her husband watching them polish off that bottle at their own pace.

We’re planning a big trip with the kids this summer and if you’re reading this and have done a good bit of travel with young children I would love to hear some advice. Creative ways you’ve managed their grumbling, balanced out activities and adjusted your own expectations on the trip. Currently we’re planning on hitting London, France and Italy. More details to follow as we map out our crazy adventure. But if you have some family friendly stops along the way please feel free to mention. It should be noted that we are currently in a massive all-family Harry Potter phase so particular stops in London with Hogwart’s in mind would blow their minds. Who am I kidding? My mind would be blown too.

In case you are wondering where we caused scenes in Portland here are a few of our favorite spots:

Ex Novo Brewing Co. – Drink for a good cause and order bacon for the table!

Blue Star Donuts – Get the Créme Brulée Donut, please and thank you. 

Ground Kontrol Arcade – Go here and earn the title of best mom (and wife) ever – until they start complaining that these games are boring because they can just play them on the phone and they don’t hand out tickets to trade in for candy. I can’t win.

Ava Gene’s – Love this spot and they were so kind to us even with three kids in tow. Also, Salt and Straw is right down the street which makes for the perfect bribe set-up

Caramelized Pear Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts

Find the recipe for this salad over at the Electrolux blog; Live. Love. Lux.

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Dorie’s Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel

Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel // Notwithoutsalt.com

Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel // Notwithoutsalt.com

She had me at “every French person I know knows how to make a yogurt cake.” So, with Dorie’s guidance I bound into the kitchen hoping that a cake will transform me into a perfectly coiffed French woman who drinks thick, black coffee for breakfast, crisp baguette and runny cheese for lunch and steak frites for dinner. I half expected that with one bite French r’s would dance out of my mouth the way I dream about Breton salted butter dancing into it.

It’s clear to me why a cake like this one is known in every French home. I mean it’s not that they are all avid bakers and have loads of cake recipes up their sleeves, instead they prefer to leave the baking to the professionals, so says Dorie. But this cake is so easy to know as it comes together quickly and is suited for morning, afternoon or after dinner. The presence of yogurt and olive oil may have one believe that it’s not entirely unhealthy. And really, it’s not too sweet (especially if you leave off the caramel, but why do that?) but rather pleasantly balanced and simple enough to dress up with fresh fruit, softly whipped cream, a bit of jam, shavings of dark chocolate, or just leave it be.

Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel // Notwithoutsalt.com

Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel // Notwithoutsalt.com

The cake, however, left me still struggling with my French pronunciations, I continue to crave burgers more often than paté, I prefer flats to heels and I’m not afraid to take out the garbage in my pajamas. And yet, Dorie assures me that I have “the ability to be just right, no matter the moment.”

Okay fine, she wasn’t talking about me, she was talking about the cake. Which indeed is just right, no matter the moment, but I prefer to think that she meant that to be true for both people and cake. It doesn’t mean we always are right but I like to think that we all have that ability at any given moment. Regardless, with this cake in my arsenal I’m choosing to believe that I’m one step closer to being French.  

Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel // Notwithoutsalt.com

IMG_3333Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel // Notwithoutsalt.com

Dorie's Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Caramel

Makes one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf or an 8 or 9-inch round

Cake:

Unsalted butter, for greasing the loaf pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

3 blood oranges

1/2 cup plain, Greek-style yogurt (I like to use full-fat)

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup mild olive oil or another neutral flavor oil

For the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a loaf pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl add 1 cup of the sugar. To that add the zest of 1 of the blood oranges. Rub the zest into the sugar until mixed well and irresistibly fragrant; for a minute or two.

To the sugar add the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and oil and then whisk until well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and combine until no traces of flour remain and a glossy batter has formed. Take care not to mix too vigorously to avoid a tough cake.

Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until golden on top and a knife inserted deep into the middle of the cake emerges clean.

While the cake bakes prepare the caramel.

Slice off the peel of the oranges then slice deep purple/scarlet flesh into rounds. Then, in a skillet set over medium high heat add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in an even layer. Give this pan your undivided attention for the time being as caramel tends to initially be a bore and then *poof* it’s nearly burnt.

Leave the pan be until the sugar starts to caramelize and then you are free to give it a gentle stir. Wait until all the sugar is dissolved and the color of the caramel is shockingly mahogany before you add the orange slices. Break up some of the orange to release the juices. The caramel will seize initially and then return to a sauce once the juice warms up. Try to keep some of the orange pieces intact if you want some to decorate the top of the cake with a few oranges.

Set the cake on a baking rack to cool for 10 minutes while in the pan then cool completely on the rack. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Strain the caramel and pour it all over the top of the cake. Add the pieces of reserved orange to the top. Then serve just warm or let cool completely

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