Cranberry Spinach Salad

Ingredients:
1 TBS butter
3/2 c almonds, blanched and slivered
1 lb spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 c dried cranberries
2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1 TBS poppy seeds
1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c vegetable oil

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

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Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:
2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bit-size pieces
4 c sliced strawberries
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
2 TBS sesame seeds
1 TBS poppy seeds

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad)

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 – inch thick
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 c fresh basil leaf
coarse salt
freshly-ground black pepper
2 Tbsp drained capers (optional)
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices on a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with sliced tomatoes, overlapping for effect.

Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Sprinkle capers over the top.

Just before serving, drizzle some olive oil.

Note:  This dish should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy, and no vinegar of any kind goes on true Insalata Caprese.

Makes 4 servings.