Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gutsy Cooks Club #30 Waldorf Salad

Finally spring has arrived to the Northwest as displayed by the blooming tulips and trees.

Now spring here means 56 degrees and rain showers occur most of the day but that's a true Washington spring even if it's supposed to happen in March as opposed to the end of April. Hey we'll celebrate summer coming in any way possible. And the final arrival of spring means summer has to be around the corner.

So this week's recipe for Gutsty Cooks from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible for Waldorf Salad I decided to go with the "willing summer to come" route in making some major adaptations.

Like most children of the 60's & 70's I grew up with Waldorf salad. Usually made by my grandmother for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Full of apples, celery and usually raisins. It's definitely a nostalgic dish for me.
Supposedly the Waldorf Salad Originated from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel
The version I grew up on usually looked something like this.
But I was in the mood to make it a bit more savory and more of a meal as I was serving it with soup on Monday night after a mentally exhausting day of figuring out how to help my district close the achievement gap with a team of my teachers attending the How Race Affects Learning conference. Heavy thinking and strategizing was a big part of the day. Something tasty was in order. I was thinking of an adaptation to be served in a sandwich wrap or maybe on a brioche roll.

I came home and knew I was going to make this dish and on my afternoon run I plotted out adding shrimp, tarragon and red onion served on an avocado. Similar to different summer seafood salads I've made with avocado but this will be a first with adapting a Waldorf.

And how can anything with these fresh ingredients be bad and I kept playing the flavors over and over in my head and still thought "hey, this could work."

I gathered my ingredients:

Did you know Washington State is the #1 apple producing states in the USA. So it's always bit disappointing to cut into an apple that is mushy and brown on the inside. 1 of my 4 tonight resulted in this disappointment.

I diced my apples, I used Braeburn because they were on sale. Pink Ladies are our current favorite apple. But even in the "Apple State" they were 3.99 a pound today. After dicing the apples I squeezed 1 lemon to keep them from turning brown.

I then chopped some celery, red onion, .
fresh tarragon and chives

I mixed these fresh ingredients with 1/2 cup light mayo and salt and pepper.

I then sliced open the avocados and was so happy to see they were just right. I've had bad luck with avocados lately it seems. These were firm but creamy. Just right!

I then added almonds to the salad mixture and scooped some salad on top of the avocados.

We served this light and fresh dish with some creamy basil tomato soup to round out our dinner.

We both thought it was the perfect Monday Night "summer will eventually come" kinda meal.

And G's only complaint is that he doesn't like raw celery. Of which my response was "the raw celery adds just the right bit of crunch needed."

My adapted Shrimp Waldorf Recipe: (I used little measuring and it turned out great, so adjust amounts to fit your needs.)
1/2 Small Salad Shrimp cooked, peeled and deveined (I bought them this way)
4 Braeburn Apples (Any crisp apple would work in my opinion)
1 lemon
3 stalks celery
1/4 red onion, diced
3 Tblspns fresh tarragon, chopped
2 Tblspns fresh chives, chopped
1/2 Cup Light Mayo
1/4 Cup sliced almonds
2 avocados sliced and pitted
salt & pepper

Mix ingredients with mayo. Serve on avocados.

We had plenty for our meal and at least 2-3 servings to have for lunch the next day as well.


  1. wow. talk about taking it and making it your own! Me thinks I like YOUR version better! You seriously got GUTSY!

  2. I know, right. I rarely get gutsy with these recipes. But this was one that I felt called for some GUTSY!


We'd love to hear about your favorite meals, restaurants, or wines, as well as anything else you'd like to share.....