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Season To Taste

When in St. Charles, Mo., my husband and I never fail to visit a quaint little café located in the downtown historical district. There is NOTHING “fast food” about the place.

The decadent daily specials are written on a charming little chalkboard and placed adjacent to the front door. Once the specials are gone, and they do go quickly, it is strictly menu ordering only! No one considers moaning at this aspect of dining because everything from the menu is prepared fresh each day and all the food is made “from scratch.”

The hardest part is trying to decide what to eat because it seems a bit gauche to sit down and order the left side of the menu!

SUMMER SALAD WITH POPPYSEED DRESSING

Dressing:

1 cup sugar, 1 small red onion, peeled and quartered, 1 and 3/4 cups salad oil, 1 cup white vinegar, 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbsp. poppyseeds. In a 2 quart bowl, put the sugar and poppyseeds and set aside. Put the onion and vinegar in a blender and pulse for a minute or so until the onion is finely chopped. Add mustard and salt. Pulse for another 30 seconds. Then with the blender running, slowly stream in the salad oil. This is the crucial part of this recipe so it is important that you SLOWLY STREAM IN THE OIL. Pour into the mixing bowl with the sugar and poppyseeds and mix well using a wire whisk.

Salad: Baby spinach leaves, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, mangoes, thinly sliced red onion, toasted almonds, and thin slices of fresh pineapple.

Another Version: Baby spinach leaves, crumbled bacon, dried cranberries, green onions and feta cheese.

Third Version: Arugula, watermelon, feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion and fresh cilantro

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