The Inspired Plate Monthly Challenge | January | Healthy

Welcome to The Inspired Plate January challenge. This month our theme is "Healthy". Whew!! I have total baking and heavy food fare burnout. It has been so refreshing cooking on the lighter side with a New Years resolution I am trying to commit to.

With our cool weather I have still been craving dishes on the warmer side, so using Pinterest as a design tool, I pinned salad ideas, fruits and hearty vegetables that looked pretty and would handle my grill pan. (one of my favorite cast iron beauties) And this is what we created! One of my favorite DMC recipes is the toast and crouton embellishments. It is a fantastical way to add "bling" to a simple salad. Your guests won't be able to figure out why your simple looking salad tastes like a gourmet epicurean delight! Check out my "Olive and Anchovy" Crouton on this salad here!

I'm going to tell you a secret that I follow for these TIP challenges. I first choose my props and colors. I set the stage a few times before I actually cook any of the food, and then I photograph my prop table with empty dishes and plates using all sorts of different angles. For this shoot I changed dishes, bowls and napkins.. even my prop boards three times before I was happy with my decision. Then I decide on my recipe. I create my recipe around my shoot for these challenges. That won't be the case if you are shooting commercially or an editorial piece. Usually the food and recipe articles are pre-planned a year in advance by the publication or the vendor who hired you. Stay tuned throughout the year, one of our challenges will be a food vendor shoot. :)

My DMC recipe.. I couldn't have enjoyed a salad better than this one! It was so delicious and healthy! Hope you try it.. you'll LOVE it! And make sure you top some of the toast with the pear, chevre cheese and walnuts. It is SOOO good!

The DMC "Grilled Sweet & Savory Salad"

Small head of Green Leaf lettuce cleaned and dried
Small head of Radicchio cleaned and dried
2 medium firm Bosc Pears cut into quarters brushed lightly with olive oil
1 Baguette sliced
4 Tbs. Red Current Port Jam
Olive Oil
2 cups Baby Brussel Sprouts cleaned and outer leaves removed and cut in 1/2
1/2 cup Walnuts
Chevre Goat Cheese; log or crumbles
Italian Parsley cleaned and dried
Balsamic Glaze

Preheat oven to 450˚.
Mix 4 Tbs. of Red Current Port Jam with 5 Tbs. of olive oil together in a bowl. Brush baguette slices with oil and jam dressing on both sides. *Reserve remainder of dressing. Place bread slices on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, till golden. Oven temperatures vary. Keep an eye on them so they don't over bake.

In a cast iron pan heat up 2 tsp. olive oil. Add the brussel sprout halves and a few dashes of salt. Add 1 tsp. of butter and saute turning often till sprouts are browned and begin to get tender. Add walnuts and continue tossing so the walnuts don't burn. After a minute or two, take the brussel sprouts and walnuts off the heat and set a side.

On a preheated grill pan.. or any skillet if you don't have a grill, place pears cut side down pressing firmly for a few seconds to get grill lines. Let cook for two minutes and turn to the other sliced side of pear. Repeat until pear is tender but still has a nice bite. (not too soft) Set a side.

Time to arrange your salad!

With the remainder Red Current Port Jam and Olive oil, add a few tsp. of Balsamic glaze and stir to mix.

In any fashion, tear apart your lettuce and radicchio in a salad bowl. Arrange the toasts, pears, brussel sprouts, walnuts, parsley and chevre cheese. Drizzle a small amount of the dressing over the salad. Enjoy!

I served my healthy salad with a healthy glass of apple juice. Healthy you ask, isn't all apple juice healthy?? :)  Simple 1/2 water and 1/2 apple juice makes for a much less sugary drink. We have been serving apple juice to our 4 kids like this FOREVER!

Apple Juice and Water.. 1/2 and 1/2

I am so glad you visit us here at The Inspired Plate month to month.
We have a great line up of gals and I can't wait to see what "Healthy" delicacies they have in store for us! Next up is my sweet and amazing friend Kim Kelly | Food Photographer and Writer. I'll tell you what.. Kim is the health guru.. umm, except for those killer brownies, :) and I am sure you won't be disappointed with her amazing recipes! After you visit her blog make sure you check out her Pinterest page too!

Please stop by The Inspired Plate's Facebook page, we look forward to being friends!



Tammy Bilodeau said...

Beautiful Laurie! Great looking salad spilling out of that bowl. Love the close up angles you took along the way. That worn out board makes for a great table top, making the colours in your veggies and such come alive. Great job

Tiffany | Peanut Blossom said...

Gorgeous, Laurie!! I agree with Tammy, the colors just pop right off the screen because of your styling. Fantastic work!

Jennifer Grant said...

This looks AMAZING. I showed it briefly to my mom and she was "I WANT TO EAT THAT! NOW!!" ;-)
So beautiful. It looks like it would be fantastic-filled with many of my favorite salad bits.
Those grilled pears look fantastic!!!
Beautifully executed as always-I feel like we can always count on your food photography to set the bar!

Kim - Liv LIfe said...

My dear Laurie... I have prop envy!!! That glass that you served the apple juice in is beautiful and makes the juice all that much more special.
I've never grilled a pear... but just looking at this has me nearly headed out to fire up my grill. Pears are a favorite around our house, and I'll be the grilling brings out the sweetness even more.
Both of your setups are so pretty and both just perfect, but if I had to pick one I bet you know me well enough to know which one I would have done!! ;)
Beautiful salad, my friend. And thank you for your lovely words. I'm thankful this group has brought you into my life.

Claudia said...

Isn't it ironic that we try to eat healthy in January - when all I really want is to be warmed and comforted from the snow and ice and wind. But I can get behind this salad because I love salad and it has pears. It has colors. It is packed with flavor. Yes - eating healthy this way makes me smile.

Kat said...

Fabulous colors Laurie, the pop against the rustic background really make my mouth water.

Stacey said...

SOOOO beautiful Laurie. I love your amazing props and that board is to die for. Gorgeous presentation and that salad looks amazing AND healthy!

Chelsea Richards said...

Mouthwatering and dumbfounded! ! ! It was just looking through my own eyes in person! ! ! Superb!!! Two thumbs up. . .