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A sweet sort of salad and a holiday dinner

On the first night of Sukkot (the Jewish holiday where we build funny booths and, if we’re good, live in them for a week), I made a brisket so finger-lickin’ that none was left over for sandwiches. Truthfully, I never plan recipes in advance, and I’m not one for precise measurements (as you may have noticed…) so making a brisket consists of taking sauces and spices out of my pantry and adding them to the pan, one by one, until it seems right. I can’t taste the sauce as I go, since I add make it in the pan with the meat, but so far I haven’t had any problems, so be it a flawed method, it’s my method and I’m stickin’ to it.

Anyway, the brisket was so good, I decided to make my chicken in exactly the same way: a mix of homemade tomato sauce, last night’s red wine (a nice cheap cab), a splash of bbq sauce, a dash of soy sauce, sea salt and fresh pepper, and the key ingredient — dried oranges and cranberries. The fruit infuse the sauce as it cooks, leaving you with an orange-scented brisket (or chicken) which deceives your guests with its complexity. Unfortunately, due to the holiday, I have no pics of the meat. Some other time though, promise.

About the salad….I wanted to bring the same orange scents into the salad I was serving, but dried oranges are rather unpleasant to eat, in my opinion, as they can be a bit leathery and slightly bitter. I decided instead to add some of the cranberries, which had absorbed much of the orange scent from being dried and roasted together. Their tart, citric quality complemented my salad of baby spinach, asian pear, carrot, and caramelized nuts. My vinaigrette was super simple: 2 parts dijon, 2 parts honey(I used buckwheat, which has a very distinctive flavor), 3 parts lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and a health drizzle of olive oil whisked in. Try this one at home, folks — it’s a winner.

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