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Cooking with Pete: winter solstice salad

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Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

For the next wave of recipes, Pete and Barb collaborated with John Hinman, the former owner of Nosh (now Kaos) and the current baker at Marczyk's, on a winter solstice menu, beginning with a butter lettuce salad with tangerines, candied walnuts, and pickled red onions.

Tangerine Butter Lettuce Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Candied Walnuts

Dressing:

2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar Juice of 3 tangerines, about a third of a cup 3/4 cup olive oil 1 clove garlic, peeled 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons honey Seeds of one vanilla bean Salt and pepper to taste

Assembly:

Toss everything in a blender and purée until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Alternatively, combine ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk.

Pickled Red Onions:

One small red onion, julienned 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Dash of salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and spices. Add onions. Let sit for 2 hours.

Candied Walnuts:

Preheat over to 350-degrees

2 handfuls of walnuts, bits and pieces 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons white sugar 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon vinegar Crumbled Stilton, optional

Spread walnuts on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Bake the walnuts in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes. Meanwhile whisk the other ingredients together in a bowl. Add walnuts to the bowl and toss until coated. Place the nuts back on the sheet pan covered with parchment paper and bake until nuts are candied, about 10 minutes.

Salad assembly:

In a big bowl, add the lettuce and just enough dressing to coat the leaves, gently mixing the leaves using your hands. Stack each plate with lettuce, going from big leaves to small leaves. Sprinkle nuts on the salad and top with pickled onions and crumbled Stilton, if desired.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Who's Drinking with Pete.

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