Two really great things happened to me in the past month— my homemade red wine vinegar is finally healthy and Kathy introduced me to roasted vegetables in a green salad. I'm not sure what event was more impactful but when they came together on my plate, I had joy in my little heart. My path to homemade vinegar was full of pot-holes, really big and unmarked pot-holes. I bought my vinegar mother, put her in the crock with decent red wine, put the cap on the crock and went on my merry way for 2 months. Big mistake. I opened the crock and it smelled exactly like nail polish remover, not exactly what I was shooting for.
I searched the internet but it seemed nearly everyone had great success in their vinegar production and I couldn't find much information on what to do when the vinegar smells horrid (except throw it out and start over). I was not about to throw it out, I had two months invested and it was too cold to have another mother shipped— evidently, they need to stay warm in order to turn wine into vinegar. So, I decided to do it my way and disregard the instructions. I added some water, sugar, more wine and stirred it vigorously every third day. I waited and waited and stirred and stirred. Finally, six weeks later, I took a whiff and the most beautiful acidic aroma wafted into my nose. Homemade red wine vinegar is everything I hoped it would be— lightly acidic and fresh tasting, and not a hint of acetone to be found.
Back to the roasted vegetable revelation. I knew a salad with roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel and onion combined with Sassy Nanny goat cheese and my red wine vinaigrette would be just the ticket for a spring dinner. Soon, I will have lots of fresh vegetables from the garden to dress up in a salad but for now, roasted vegetables were a nod to the passing of winter.
Sassy Roasted Vegetable Salad
Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed and sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pear, sliced
4 cups spring mix or spinach (or a combination of both)
1/2 cup Sassy Nanny Lake Effect goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and whisk until fully incorporated and slightly thickened.
Place vegetables, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil in a sheet tray lined with parchment. Roast for 30 minutes or until softened and caramelized. Set aside to cool. Assemble the salad with roasted vegetables and pear slices and then toss with the vinaigrette. Place the goat cheese on top of the salad, taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.