Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

SPECIAL SHOCK MUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT…..after 47 days, the movers arrived with our stuff!!!!!! Yaaaaahhhhhhhoooooooo!!!

What a crazy, fun, and stressful experience moving across county has been There are no words for how much lighter Kieran and I feel since our stuff has been delivered. It’s like a weight’s been lifted from our shoulders, and we got to karate chop that weight square in the nuts.

Our driver called Kieran and confirmed he would be arriving between 6-7pm, on July 4th. We had some time to kill during the day so we rode our bikes over to Portland’s Craft Beer festival. For a $20 entrance fee, you got a plastic mug and 10 sampling beer tickets. We ran around visiting tasting booth after tasting booth, sampling the plethora of craft beers Portland has to offer.

Pear & Gorgonzola Salad

The festival put up a large tent to help folks find shade, unfortunately, so many people crammed under the tent, the temperature in the shade seemed hotter than braving the summer sun! Luckily, the event installed misting machines to blow mist on folks as they walked under it. Kieran and I parked ourselves next to the misting machine to seek refuge from the sun.

Being new to town, Kieran and I don’t know many people, so we felt socially awkward at first, however, we quickly met a great group of guys who put our social anxieties to ease. We ended up chatting with them for the remainder of our stay at the festival. They told us Portland has a craft beer festival every month (or more) so we’re hoping we see our new found buddies out and about soon.

After spending time at the craft beer festival, we biked back to our apartment, anticipating our moving company’s arrival, nervous to see what condition our stuff was in.

Long story short…contractually the moving company had until June 29th to deliver our belongings. Since they missed that deadline, I wanted a discount. Our moving company agreed, in writing, each day they were late, they would take money off what was owed. The moving company also confirmed we would not have to pay any additional moving fees. For example, they charge you extra if your apartment is a certain amount of feet away from the truck.

The moving company arrived and informed us he couldn’t honor the discount…we had to pay full price along with an extra $300 delivery fee. In order to get the discount Kieran and I would need to file a claim.

I saw red. I went bat shit….ape shit…..allllll the shits on the driver. After everything we went through there was no WAY I was going to pay full price, then continue dealing with the moving company later on. I wanted the discount I was promised in writing, and I wanted to be done with the moving company entirely. The poor driver certainly wasn’t prepared for my wrath, I went banshee on his ass. He made a call to the moving company and finally agreed to my terms. After long last, our stuff started coming off the truck.

Now, I’ve been bitching up a hurricane (I would say storm…but storm doesn’t even cover the amount of bitching I’ve been doing) about our moving company, so I wanted to balance out the negative with something positive. Even though it took our moving company 47 days to deliver our belongings…..so far…from what we can tell….they took really good care of our stuff. I’m almost done unpacking my kitchen boxes, and hardly anything was broken. So far I’ve found 1 plate and 2 wine glasses broken, not bad….not bad at all. We may find more broken items here and there as we continue to unpack, but so far I’m impressed with how carefully they treated everything we own. Thank you for that moving company, I sincerely appreciate it.

I also have to hand it to the moving company because they worked their asses off unloaded the truck in 100 degree heat.

Speaking of heat, Portland, OR has been CRAZY hot for the last 2-3 weeks. Hovering around 100 degrees the entire time with no rain. I don’t know about you guys, but when it’s hot outside I want something fresh and light. The LAST thing anyone wants to do is slave over a hot stove…which brings me to today’s recipe….Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Pecans

pear salad

I don’t know how the weather’s been in your neck of the woods, but it has been unseasonably hot in Portland. Folks we meet in town say June is suppose to be rainy and cool, but it’s been the exact opposite, Portland’s been clocking in around 100 degrees for the last 2-3 weeks with NO rain in sight. My husband and I can only imagine Portland knows we’re originally from Chicago, where “thunder snow” is a thing, so Portland’s doing it’s best to thaw us out. Even though we appreciate Portland’s attempt to defrost our bodies, the heat has been ridiculous. Next week is suppose to be 89 degrees and I can’t wait, It will feel like winter outside, I better bust out my winter jacket!

So…we all know….extremely hot temps outside + cooking over a hot stove = misery. So I’m here to cure what ails ye. This Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Pecans is PERFECT to make if you want to beat the summer heat. It’s crisp, fresh, and light, with the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour!

And you know what??? I like gorgonzola cheese now!! Who knew??? I use to hate gorgonzola growing up but suddenly I’m loving the shit out of it. What’s happening to me?? Who am I? Meh, who cares, I’m just happy I finally jumped on the gorgonzola cheese wagon.

Now, what I REALLLLLY love about this salad is the candied pecans. Instead of refined sugar, I used pure maple syrup, which is Earth’s all natural sweetener. The maple syrup paired perfect with the pecans, rendering them sweet, but not too sickly sweet.

Frankly, I am surprised any pecans made it onto the salad while I was preparing it, because I was going to TOWN, noshing on those pecans. I was snacking on them while they were cooking…cause you know…I own a food blog…I gotta taste my food….(shifty eyes)…..then I was snacking on them while they were cooling on the plate. How on earth I had any pecans left for the salad is beyond me because I practically face planted into those tasty son-of-a-bitches!

After I made my husband hide the pecans from me, I was able to refocus and make the salad.

I added chicken breasts to this salad (not pictured) for extra protein, but you can certainly skip it. In fact, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can skip the chicken and cheese all together. This salad certainly tastes phenomenal with Gorgonzola cheese, but it would taste great without it too. Also, if you don’t have AC…skip the chicken if you want. That way you don’t have to turn on the oven!

You’ll notice I didn’t make my own balsamic dressing for this recipe, but I have a good reason for that. Pure laziness. Seriously though, after bicycling to Portland’s Craft Beer Fest in 100 degree heat, then moving around and unpacking a bunch of boxes, I didn’t have the energy to drive to the grocery store. I decided to use the leftover balsamic dressing I had in my fridge and the recipe was really good. If you do have an amazing homemade balsamic dressing recipe, bust that baby out and pour it’s balsamic-y goodness allll ova this salad.

Real talk, this salad tasted amazing and it’s the perfect weeknight meal when you’re trying to beat the summer heat.

Enjoy!

Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Pecans

Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Pecans

Servings 2

Ingredients
  

The Salad:

  • 50z mix green salad
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped into cubes
  • Gorgonzola cheese, crumbed
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 1 cup blueberries (optional)
  • ½ avocado, cut into cubes (optional)
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and cut into cubes (optional)
  • Balsamic dressing (homemade or store bought)

Candied Pecans:

  • 1 cup pecans, halved
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Assemble the salad:

    Instructions
     

    Chicken, if using:

    • If you are using the chicken breast, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place raw chicken on a tin foil lined cookie sheet. Season the chicken, on both sides, with salt and pepper. You have enough flavors going on with the salad, no need to get crazy with spices on the chicken, unless you really want to. Put the chicken in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken registers at 165 degrees. Pull chicken out of the oven and let sit and cool. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into cubes and put aside until needed.

    Candied Pecans:

    • Warm a small sauce pan over medium heat.
    • Add 2 tablespoons of butter and occasionally swirl it around the pan until it completely melts.
    • Once the butter is completely melted, add the pecans to the pan. With a spatula or spoon, stir pecans into the butter until they are well coating. Then add the maple syrup, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Stir all the ingredients until everything is well combined.
    • Continuing with medium heat, wait for the mixture to start to bubble, then turn it down. The mixture will start bubbling almost immediately, so don't walk away, otherwise the ingredients may burn. Once you see the syrup bubbling, turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring often, for 15-17 minutes. After that time, pour the pecans onto a plate lined with tin foil. Using a fork, spoon, or spatula, gently separate the pecans into a single layer, otherwise you'll have a big pile of pecans stuck to each other. Set aside and let cool.

    Assemble the salad:

    • Put your mixed greens into a big bowl. Pour in your balsamic dressing, a tablespoon at a time, and toss the salad until the greens are all lightly coated with the dressing. I would refrain from using too much dressing, as the flavor will overpower the salad, instead of enhance it.
    • Transfer the mixed greens into a bowl, and top with the other ingredients.
    • Now enjoy!

    Notes

    I bought a 5oz container of Gorgonzola cheese and had plenty leftover for 10 lunch salads during the week.
    The ingredient amounts are subjective. Add more, or less, to your liking.
    Vegetarians and Vegans….this salad still tastes great without the cheese and chicken
    I do like to make my own salad dressing, so I know exactly what’s going into them, but I didn’t have the proper ingredients on hand this time. I’ve been up to my eye balls in boxes, trying to find my kitchen equipment, so I bought an all natural balsamic dressing at the store.
    If you do use the chicken breast, I timed it so I was cooking the chicken and the pecans at the same time. If you are not using the chicken, prepare the pecans, and let them cool, before preparing the salad. Pear oxidizes quickly and will immediately start browning on you.
    Yes, you can add all the ingredients, then toss the salad if you want. I like to add the other ingredients on top of the greens, only because when I toss them all together, the other ingredients seem to settle at the bottom of the bowl. So, whomever gets served last as hardly any mixed greens and allllll of the other toppings.

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