My favorite thing to make (and eat!) in the summer is salad. With so many vegetables in season, the possibilities are endless! When I begin to make a salad, I actually start by choosing what kind of cheese I'm in the mood for; then I select the other ingredients and vinaigrette I want to make based on what would pair nicely with that cheese (my priorities may or may not have to do with the fact that I'm from Wisconsin...). Do I want feta? Just some grated Parmesan? Or... maybe today is the day for some rich and creamy goat cheese? Yep. That's today.

cucumber, toasted walnut, and goat cheese greens with a rhubarb vinaigrette

1 tablespoon butter
1 12" stalk rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 cup vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cucumber, sliced
6 cups salad greens

Melt the butter in a small cast iron skillet. Sauté the rhubarb in the butter for two minutes, then add the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the pan. Sauté for five minutes, until the rhubarb begins to soften and forms a paste. In the mean time, toast the walnuts in a skillet on medium heat for about five minutes, stirring often so they don't burn, until you begin to smell their nutty flavor. Remove from the heat as soon as they are toasted. When the rhubarb is done, purée the paste with the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and Dijon mustard. Add the salad greens, cucumber, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts to a large serving bowl. Dress with the rhubarb vinaigrette by turning the salad to coat evenly and serve immediately. The vinaigrette is thick and, of course, brown, from the vinegar, so the greens may not look the most appealing at first sight once coated, so try to fluff, if you will, the greens a bit for aesthetic purposes before serving. Your guests will forget what it looked like very quickly once they taste the vinaigrette, I promise:)

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