It was Molly's very first signing, and it was only a mile or so from her house, so she had tons of friends and family out to cheer her on. Melissa Bourbon always brings a smile and her adorable wrought iron dress form (which is so cute it makes *me* smile). And Diane was promoting her newest book which happens to feature a pink beehive and extra hold hairspray ... so, you guessed it, she donned a tall pink beehive wig.
|Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, me, Diane Kelly, and Molly Cannon|
Add the balloons and Molly's purple feather fascinator (sent by a Canadian friend for good luck) and NO ONE walked past without gawking.
Needless to say, much laughter ensued.
I have to confess, I haven't eaten at a Cheesecake Factory in about fifteen years. I associate it with too-big portions and lots of fried food, so I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of up-market salads and tasty little nibbles.
I had a roasted beet salad (with apples, goat cheese, and pecans) that inspired this recipe. Seriously, it was so tasty that I was immediately inspired to try to replicate it. This isn't quite right (for one thing, I didn't bother with picking up any goat cheese), but it was still dang tasty.
A note on roasting beets: If you don't have access to pre-roasted beets in your grocery store, it's easy (if a bit messy) to make your own. Preheat oven to 375. Scrub beets and cut the greens off. Rub with a little oil (canola or olive), wrap in foil, and bake for about an hour (until a knife slides in easily). Allow to cool and the cut off tops and bottoms, slide off the skins, and dice. Dress leftovers with a little vinegar for a yummy side dish. Remember, beet juice stains, so cook with care!
|Beets, roasted and diced|
Roasted Beet and Apple Salad
6 Tbs. salad oil (I used half canola, half EVOO)
2 Tbs. coarse grained mustard
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
two or three grinds (or a pinch) of freshly ground black pepper
baby salad greens
diced roasted beets
diced granny smith apple
Combine salad ingredients in proportions that look good to you (I used about 1 c. of beets, 1/2 an apple, 1/4 c. pecans, and 2 c. salad greens). Dress to taste.
Take it to the next level by serving with some high end goat cheese and crusty French bread.