Baby Spinach as a Blank Canvas

At Poppy’s house, we start most meals with a salad. More often than not, the greens used are baby spinach or a blend of baby spinach and spring mix. Spinach ranks number 2, right below kale as the healthiest salad greens. But unlike kale, spinach doesn’t constantly remind you how healthy it is while you’re eating it.

If we are making even a pretense of eating healthy, the last thing you want to do is use some store-bought dressing packed with calories and chemicals, especially since making a basic salad dressing is so simple and quick. If you have the ingredients handy, I would say 30 seconds, maybe a minute if you’re listening to some good jazz, having a glass of wine and dancing around the kitchen (just sayin’).

My go-to dressing is a variation on the basic Balsamic Vinaigrette: Continue reading “Baby Spinach as a Blank Canvas”

Get a “wedgie”, Wedge Salad that is!


True confession time… I love cooking, but I’m easily bored if I feel like I’m making the same thing over and over again. Poppy’s “go-to salad” is well received and lends itself to subtle variations, but I’ve made it at least a bazillion times. (OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration)

I was looking to do something a little different that would make a good presentation, quick to assemble and tasty.

This is Poppy’s take on the wedge salad –

First an editorial comment on lettuce … I’m sure there’s a more boring vegetable than iceberg lettuce, but I can’t think of one right now. Even our humble Ferguson Shop N’ Save has a good variety of lettuces to choose from … don’t be boring people!

For this salad I grabbed a head of green leaf lettuce. It was a good-sized head so quartering it yielded an ample serving for everyone.

I wanted a warm dressing for this salad. Bacon drippings are the common ingredient for warm dressings but I didn’t want to go to the trouble of cooking bacon. Fortunately I’ve been cooking bacon in the oven on a foiled-lined baking sheet for several years now and made it a practice to keep a ceramic bowl in the freezer to receive the hot drippings. The frozen bacon drippings come in handy for a lot of things.

With a sturdy knife I chiseled out a few good chunks of solid bacon drippings and started melting them in a small saucepan. To convince myself that I was eating healthy, I mixed in an equal amount of EVOO to dilute the fat content, without losing too much of the flavor.

Next in the saucepan went several tablespoons of Julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil.

I let them simmer for a few minutes and gave them time to get acquainted with the bacon drippings and olive oil.

While they were sharing secrets and flavors, I took the opportunity to grate some parmesan cheese.

After drizzling the lettuce with the warm dressing, I topped it with a little coarse ground black pepper and the grated parmesan.

Guaranteed  the best “wedgie” you’ve ever had!


If you do have time to cook up some bacon, a little crumbled on top of this salad would be divine!