Arugula Pear Pomegranate Salad

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salad ingredients:

arugula, rinsed and dried
cucumber, sliced
carmelized pear slices (see recipe below)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp water
candied pecans (see recipe below)
goat cheese
kalamata olives
balsamic dressing  
(see recipe below)

Plate the arugula. Add the cucumber, pear, pecans, goat cheese, and olives. Dress the salad with the balsamic dressing.

Carmelized Pear Slices
adapted from 
2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachel Ray

To prepare the pear, cut in half vertically through the core. Use a small spoon or melon baller to remove the core. Slice the pear into thin slices.

Mix the sugar, cayenne, and water in a small bowl, blending thoroughly. Pour into a medium-sized skillet, preferably nonstick or cast iron, over high heat. The bubbles will start out slow, speed up, and slow down again at which point the sugar will begin to turn brown. Add the pear slices, tossing to coat them with the sugary mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a cookie sheet and allow to cool.

Candied Pecans

1 cup raw pecan halves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp agave
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine the pecans with the olive oil and stir to coat. Add the agave and then the sugar, stirring after each ingredient.

Put the pecans in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Stir for one minute then add the spices. Stir constantly until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to parchment paper and quickly spread out. Set aside to cool.

Balsamic Dressing

4 tbsp white balsamic (or balsamic of your choice)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp agave (or other sweetener of choice)
1 garlic clove, minced

Pour the balsamic into a bowl or measuring cup. Add the mustard and whisk. Continue to whisk while slowly adding the olive oil. Add the agave and garlic, whisk again.

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