Red Cabbage Salad With Marcona Almonds & Blue Cheese

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Tasting new foods with people I love accounts for many of my favorite memories. I think of baking a pie with my dear friend Shannon, after we were inspired by the “Pie-Maker” from a show called Pushing Daisies. It was filled with a white chocolate ganache, orange zest, macadamia nuts, and a drizzle of dark chocolate on top. It was delicious and whimsical.

Before my husband and I were anything, we were friends who constantly talked about food and music. (Okay, so maybe we liked each other, but neither of us said anything for a while.) Once, he came over to help record some demos of my songs. Afterward, we decided to make eggs benedict for dinner. In case you were wondering, it is challenging to poach eggs while trying to appear cool and casual in front of for the person you are falling for.

Still today, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen together. We eat at home more often than not, but every now and then, we love to save up and go somewhere really wonderful. Last month, it was new restaurant called Barcalona. We were hesitant to go, partially because it is somewhat of a chain and partially because we have been dissapointed by many hip-looking restaurants that have sprung up in Nashville. I am happy to report that the food is original, delicious, and resonablly priced. The wine choices are available in half glasses, which is wonderful news for the kind of person who wants to try everything.

One particular dish we had stole the show: a salad with cabbage, hazelnuts, pears, and a Spanish blue cheese called Valdeón. It was a perfect combination of flavor and texture. We decided we wanted to try try and replicate it. The tricky thing about recipes like this is that they seem simple, but can be difficult to execute. Still, I think my recipe turned out pretty damn good!

I used Marcona almonds instead of hazelnuts, simply because they are the food of the gods. I also added quinoa and roasted broccoli for some added texture and heartiness. 

I recommend pairing this salad with My Piece of Land by Amanda Shires.