The horrible task of cleaning out one’s attic is daunting, which is why I absolutely avoid it at all costs. For heaven’s sake, we typically put things up there for the primary reason of hiding away the god awful and rarely used. My attic is no different…a rather dingy and stuffy storage unit that collects dust and cobwebs on dated furniture and horrific art (my husband’s, not mine, LOL!).
However, earlier this summer, a request from my mother-in-law forced me to address my attic’s bulge. The task ahead was to style her recently renovated lake house basement on a tight budget. This was the perfect excuse to edit my attic and make use of anything salvage-worthy. It is almost embarrassing to admit that we installed a coffee table, a chair and ottoman set, a painting, numerous throw pillows and a lamp courtesy of my attic…heck, maybe I should be in the furniture consignment business rather than spending my time as a food blogger!
Joking aside, the act of ciphering through my depot of crap helped me learn that some things are worth keeping. It was comforting to stumble upon my little girl’s box of Kindergarten art projects and to relive my son’s sweet articulation of “Why My Mommy Loves Me.” But, it was the framed 2002 Gourmet Magazine that stopped me in my tracks.
At the ambitious age of 24, I pompously decided to submit recipes to various national publications, disregarding the opportunity local press could provide. Of course, I heard nothing…not a peep of encouragement…nada. So, I left my recipe writing to my 3-ring binder and moved along without another consideration. Then one day, late that summer, I picked up a Gourmet Magazine while waiting to check-out at the local grocer. Holy sh**! There was my Raspberry Spinach Salad recipe in the “Sugar and Spice” section of the issue!
That was one of the coolest moments of my young-adult life. In my mind, this spectacular affirmation was reason to keep cooking and to never stop dreaming that my passion for food could translate into something more than a pretty plate. This fall, my love of sharing cooking stories and creating recipes will reach further heights, as I begin contributing to the luxury lifestyle magazine, Charlotte Girl.
In the meantime, I want to celebrate my first achievement in written press with you. This Raspberry Spinach Salad is simple, yet unexpectedly timeless. The basic element of the salad is neatly tossed in olive oil, raspberry wine vinegar, salt and pepper. And, to add a hint of youthful elegance, the dressed baby spinach is garnished with brown-sugar dusted walnuts and fresh raspberries. Quite straightforward, and utterly delicious!
Enjoy and here’s to living out dreams and keeping some things preciously preserved in the attic. Xoxo, E.
- 1 T Unsalted Butter
- ⅓ c Walnut Pieces (or coarsely chopped Walnut Halves)
- 1 T packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 T Raspberry Wine Vinegar
- ¼ t Salt
- ⅛ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 T Extra-virgin Olive Oil
- 5 oz Baby Spinach
- ½ c Fresh Rasperries
- To Make the Brown-sugar Dusted Walnuts:
- Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and saute, stirring constantly 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, remove from the heat and stir until the nuts are well-coated. Spread the nuts onto a buttered baking sheet and let cool 5 minutes.
- To Make the Vinaigrette and Assemble the Salad:
- Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Then, whisk in the oil until well combined. Add the spinach and toss. Divide the dressed greens among 4 salad plates and top with fresh berries and walnuts.