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A Recipe for Orchard Apple Salad… a taste of autumn

Orchard Apple Salad

I’ve been daydreaming about autumn again today, particularly about our local orchards and their fresh apple cider and delicious potato doughnuts sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon! With the magical smell of autumn in the air come other heavenly aromas of the season. Autumn trips to the apple orchard or cider mill are the type of thing that beautiful childhood memories are made of. I have been more than happy to pass these traditions down to my own daughter and someday my grandkids…hint…hint. My daughter follows my blog so that is for you kidlet! Some of these wonderful places have been around as long as the 1800s.

As a child a trip to the apple orchard was a yearly journey. Mom and dad would dress us up in warm mittens and scarves which we would be peeling off in no time after exploring everything the orchard had to offer. The lazy autumn sun would beat down on our faces and we’d be oblivious of anything else other than picking the best of the best and to see who could get the most apples into their basket. The cool nights in Ontario were perfect for keeping the apples crisp and fresh with a slightly sour tang that is just not duplicated any other time of the year.

Now here in British Columbia I passed this tradition down to my own daughter who loved to hop aboard the hay wagon, head for the petting zoo to see how the animals had grown over the summer months; all the while with a huge smile and a moustache of cinnamon and sugar. We would spend countless hours roaming the corn maze and filling our faces with luscious butter tarts and warming ourselves with mulled apple cider pressed from the apples that morning.

The first apple trees were planted in the Okanagan Valley well over a 100 years ago. Father Pandosy, a priest, had arrived in Kelowna in 1859 to set up a Catholic mission here. He was one of the first white settlers in the Okanagan Valley. On the mission property, he planted a few apple trees for the other residents of the mission.The Okanagan’s first commercial orchard did not appear until over 30 years after Father Pandosy planted his first few trees.

What better way to explore these autumnal flavours with a fresh harvest salad made with apples gleaned from your own local orchards. Start your own traditions or pass them down to the next generation. This salad is a recipe from Travis Hackle a local chef that has been altered slightly to make use of what I had available. I am submitting this recipe to the No Croutons Required event this month with the theme - The Storecupboard Round. The challenge this month is to create a vegetarian soup or salad using ingredients already in your cupboard and not heading to the local shops. In my cupboard I had walnuts, apple cider vinegar, olive and grapeseed oils, Dijon mustard, dried rosemary and parsley, dried cranberries and blueberries. To use my friend Giz’s words, “The results were nothing short of magical”.

The founders of this event are the talented duo Holler of Tinned Tomatoes and fellow Canadian Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. Both of these ladies follow a vegetarian and healthy lifestyle which is evident in each of their feature stories. They have heard me say this before but they are both such sweeties that I have to participate in their event as often as I can…and I will say it again!!

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**Orchard Apple Salad**

Toasted Walnuts

1 cup walnut halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch dry thyme
sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

100 ml apple cider vinegar
100 ml olive oil
200 ml grapeseed oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
50 ml water
2 teaspoons white sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Salad 2 - 3 lb mixed greens
2 apples, sliced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Vinaigrette: Thoroughly blend all ingredients in a blender.

Toasted Walnuts: Toss ingredients together and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 400 F.

Salad: Toss the lettuce leaves and vinaigrette together. Plate and top with the toasted walnuts and remaining salad ingredients.

You might also enjoy………………….

Jamie Oliver - Southern Pecan and Apple Salad
White on Rice Couple - Asian and Pistachio Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Canadian Living - Apple and Spinach Salad with Cheddar
Fearless Kitchen - Apple, Honeyed Walnut and Paneer Salad
Food Network - Apple Carpaccio with Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad, Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Epic Roots - Mâche Salad with Caramelized Pearl Onions and Green Apple