Lately I’ve been feeling like a very naughty blogger. I’ve been absent; the worst kind there is. I profusely apologize for the long delay since my last post and hope that I haven’t lost too many of the small pool of readers that I have. Thankfully, I have a pretty good excuse for being less than diligent with my postings. Kevin and I have just purchased our first home. Hurray! After four tireless months of searching for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, and countless disappointments, we found “the one”. We moved in two weeks ago and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. I’ve barely had time to think let alone sit down at the computer and type out full coherent sentences. Hopefully I’m making sense so far. Bear with me if I have some flubs here or there.

Anyways, this is my first Sunday home with absolutely nothing to do but housework, blog, and cook my heart out. What a wonderful feeling that is. Now, I take blogging very seriously so it absolutely killed me to be gone for so long and it killed me even more to not be able to cook up a storm like I usually do. The past couple days I’ve been brainstorming like crazy thinking of all the things I must make before the cold weather takes over. So let the end of summer begin!

I try to have a salad with all of our dinners but usually it’s just a simple mixed green salad tossed with a quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette. Every once in a while we have a salad that blows my simple go to salad out of the water.  I had one similar to this at a local restaurant during happy hour a while ago and have wanted to recreate it at home ever since.  This is one of those salads that I could be completely satisfied with for a meal; that is as long as I have a nice glass of wine and chewy piece of bread. Those two things are always necessary for salad only meals, always.

There are so many different flavors and textures going on here, but somehow they all fit together perfectly.  Citrus comes not only from the mandarin oranges but from the fresh orange juice in the dressing and pairs just right with creamy goat cheese and avocado. Definitely a perfect bright and delicious summer salad.

Now, let’s talk goat cheese croquettes. Creamy goat cheese is first rolled into a ball, and dipped in egg and Italian bread crumbs and then deep fried in canola oil. Little pieces of heaven, I tell ya. Once you pop one in your mouth you may not be able to stop. I may or may not have eaten about five of these before they made it to the plate. Or maybe 8, but who’s counting? Not only do these guys pair well with this salad but you could even serve them at a cocktail party as a little one bite hors d’oeuvre.  I’ll warn you though; you must make an obscene amount, because they will be consumed in no time.

Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese Croquettes

Serves 4

1 package arugula or mixed greens

4 ounces goat cheese

½ cup Italian bread crumbs

2 eggs + 1 tablespoon water

¼ red onion sliced

11 ounce can mandarin oranges

1 avocado sliced

Juice of one orange

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

Salt & pepper

Form goat cheese into balls using a teaspoon as measurement. Freeze 10-15 minutes until firm. Whisk eggs and water in bowl.  Place breadcrumbs in bowl. Coat goat cheese in egg mixture then breadcrumbs. Repeat. Place back in the freezer for five minutes. (Can be made advance).  Bring about two inches of canola oil to 375 degrees. Fry goat cheese until golden brown 1-2 minutes.  Place on a baking sheet and keep in a warm oven while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Whisk orange juice and vinegar together. Slowly whisky in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Place lettuce in shallow serving plate. Top with red onion, mandarin oranges, and avocado. Toss with vinaigrette. DO NOT OVERDRESS! Place warm goat cheese croquets around serving plate.  Season with salt and pepper.

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