The beginning of this week brought some seriously wonderful experiences as I am happy to announce (finally!) that my long obsessed-over-manuscript, The Fresh Table: Cooking Louisiana All the Year Round (tentative title), is officially in the hands of my editor.
There’s something so absolutely wonderful about printing out 175+ pages of single spaced writing, searching for a paperclip large enough to pin it, and handing it to your editor. As Sylvia Plath once said, writing just isn’t writing until it’s actualized in print:
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing, which remark I guess shows I still don’t have a pure motive (O- it’s-such-fun-I-just-can’t-stop-who-cares-if-it’s-published-or-read) about writing….I still want to see it finally ritualized in print.
And this week, I got to see my own work “ritualized in print” and it felt, amazing. But just like Plath, I certainly care whether or not it is read.
Equally as amazing was the wonderfully kind reception I felt at LSU Press when turning the manuscript in to my editor (having it “in house” as the editorial lingo goes). I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing the director of LSU Press say, “we’re really excited about your book.” I’m sure they say this sentence to just about every new author, but in truth, it was the best compliment of my Tuesday.
In lieu of my upcoming publication and some rather delicious Pancetta I had lying around, I wanted to bring readers one of my favorite kinds of salads perfect in time for Valentine’s Day. I’m certain strawberries are consumed with extraordinary amounts on the 14th, but why wait till the day of love when you could eat them any day?
Sweet spring strawberries bedded with soft goat cheese, and crispy pancetta make for everyday elegance in a single meal. As for the Bourbon-Candied Pecans (recipe below), I think every girl deserves a little Bourbon, especially after finishing her first book.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Pancetta, and Bourbon-Candied Pecans
One of my favorite ways to serve spinach is with the addition of strawberries. As for my recipe for Bourbon-Candied Pecans, this version offers a little sneak peak at something you’ll be able to find in my new book, so eat up!
*2 cups spinach, washed
*1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
*1 cup strawberries, de-stemmed and halved
*2 ounces goat cheese, semi-soft or crumbled
*1/2 cup Bourbon-Candied Pecans (recipe follows)
*1 oz. Pancetta
*1 bag pecans, whole
*6 tablespoons salted butter
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 tablespoon honey
*1/3 cup sugar
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*1/3 cup good quality bourbon
1.)For Pecans: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking sheet and spread pecans evenly over it. Toast pecans for 3-5 minutes.
2.)On the stove top, melt down butter and whisk in brown and white sugar, vanilla, honey, and bourbon. Toss toasted pecans in glaze, and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes, or until mixture has reduced by one fourth and pecans are thickly coated. Turn off heat and cool for 5 minutes.
3.)On a parchment paper lined surface, spread bourbon candied pecans, keeping the pecans somewhat close together. Cool until candied pecans have hardened, break up, serve, and enjoy! Makes 10-12 servings of Bourbon Candied Pecans.
For Salad: Plate salad with spinach, tomatoes, strawberries, goat cheese, and bourbon candied pecans. In a small non-stick skillet, cook Pancetta until crispy and plate warm Pancetta over salad. Enjoy! Yield: Makes 1 salad entrée or two salad starters.
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Written by: Helana Brigman