Linda’s Tree House Salad, David’s Grilled Lamb Chops and The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

June 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Lamb, Salads | 28 Comments
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Pull up a chair and sit back and relax, we’ve got a lot to cover in this post.

From now on, I think I’m going to let our friends Linda and David be my recipe “finders”. Everything passed on from them has been outstanding. Let’s take a look at some great finds, compliments of our friends. This most recent story starts with David being asked to be a judge at a car show in Canon City, CO. They asked us to keep their dog, Sassy, for their overnight stay that Saturday. 

Linda gave me this recipe for Tree House Salad a couple of years ago. To date it’s one of my favorite little salads to serve. With simple ingredients topped with a sweet and tangy dressing, in my books you’ve got a winner. I wasn’t sure where the name came from so before starting this post, I Googled the title. I was directed to  Treehouse Restaurant in Atlanta, but their Treehouse Salad didn’t resemble Linda’s at all. With all that said, here’s the recipe she gave me and I just happened to serve it the Saturday night we were keeping Sassy. 

I mean really, does it get any easier than this, and served with a simple no frills grilled hamburger, it made for a great summer meal.

Linda’s Tree House Salad:

1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 heads lettuce — 1 romaine, 1 leafy
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup baked walnuts
1 can hearts of palm — drained/sliced

  • Mix first 6 ingredients for dressing (that’s through salt and pepper).
  • Bake walnuts 350 degrees 15 minutes.
  • Mix together.
  • Servings: 4

When they stopped by on Sunday to pick up Sassy, we somehow ended up on the subject of lamb and I’m sure glad we did because David shared his easy, yet elegant and delicious method for preparing lamb chops.  He buys a rack of lamb and then has the butcher slice them into individual chops. He slathers them in olive oil, then sprinkles with lemon pepper and grills for 4 – 5 minutes per side. As an additional  instruction he directed us to leave one chop clean of the lemon pepper and after cooking, serve that one to our little dogs. David, Chili and Z were in heaven and most certainly thank you!  They happily devoured it and felt very spoiled in the process.

I served this with a grilled romaine salad with Warm Honey Bacon Vinaigrette that I found over at Nibble Me This.  Thanks Chris, delicious. And a bowl of Bean Salad. These lamb chops are certainly worthy for an elegant dinner party as well as a casual summer meal.  As tender as the best beef tenderloin you’ve ever had and delicate with a slight lemon flavor, we LOVED them.

While in Canon City, David and Linda visited The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey and brought us back a thank you souvenir.  Let’s take a look.

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey (from their website)

Several years ago, some simple Benedictine Fathers had a dream…a dream of a fine winery located on the grounds of the historic Holy Cross Abbey in Canon City, Colorado. Today, that dream is a reality and the staff at the winery invites you to share in the vision of those dynamic and innovative monks.  Since 2002, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey has been attracting visitors from all over the world. Located on the pastoral and serene grounds of the Holy Cross Abbey, nestled against the spectacular backdrop of the Wet Mountains, the winery and tasting room are shining examples of what draws visitors to Canon City and Fremont County.

Their Sauv Blanc was exactly what I look for in a crisp white wine. I totally agree with the description from their site and we loved it. ” A blend of 50% barrel fermented sur-lie (aged on the lees) and 50% stainless steel fermented and aged.  Full hints of oak, grass and melon in the nose, followed by a creamy smoothness that glides across the palate.” 

Canon City is about a two-hour drive Southwest of Denver. We must make time for a day trip to the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey and a picnic at the famous Royal Gorge.  Sounds like a perfect day.

We enjoyed and paired the wine with a tray full of snack food on the back patio for an easy weeknight dinner. Chopped fruit, a simple pasta salad, creamy Amadeus cheese, pickled asparagus, a sesame cucumber salad I found over at Simply Recipes, and some water crackers. Perfect summer food if you ask me.

But wait, there’s more. Linda also gave me this gift as a thank you for our simple job of babysitting. It’s a wide chopping knife that when turned over, also acts as a scooper to make your job even easier. I love this thing!  I bet I’ve used it almost daily. Linda said she found it Sur La Table and that she also has one and uses it all the time. It’s a great little gadget Linda, thanks for the gift.

Linda’s Tree House Salad, David’s Grilled Lamb Chops and Holy Cross Abbey Sauvignon Blanc…It’s What’s For Summer Food.

One Year Ago: Roasted Asparagus and Baby Artichokes

Two Years Ago: Grilled Scallops with Asparagus Romaine Salad



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  1. Lovely post! A day trip to Canyon City sounds like just the thing. Love that chopping knife too, so I guess there’s also a trip to Sure La Table in my future.

    • I love Sur la Table.

  2. I love that chopper knife!

  3. It was a mistake to peek before I run out to get a bite to eat. I am so hungry I must keep from devouring the screen. But I’ve now got a plan…trip to the store for hearts of palm and I’ll just come home and make a salad; even better! Love that knife too. I use my chef’s knife as a scooper sometimes but it’s just OK…the width of that blade is perfect and besides…yes, it is cute!

  4. Very simple and Summery. Nice.

  5. I love the salad, been on a sald kick lately for lunch. very cool chooper


    • I make a lot of light meal salads several times a week. Love how fresh they taste and how healthy I feel. 🙂

  6. Lovely recipes. Your wine photo is just beautiful!

    • Thanks so much Karen!

  7. Blue cheese, walnuts, hearts of palm – now you’re talking my language. I agree with Karen. Your wine photo is spectacular Lea Ann.

    • Thanks Sam. I wish I would have thought to take that photo while the glass was still frosty.

  8. That salad is right up my alley! Love the heart of palm addition too.

  9. It all looks great. I’ll have to try the tree house salad too.

    • It’s one of my favorite, but then again, I love sweet dressings.

  10. Everything looks good. The winery trip should be great! (I’m going to have to look up that chopper!)

    • I tried to find it on the Sur la Table web site so I could link and had no luck… not sure what to call it maybe?

  11. I read the first line, put my computer down and went and got a glass of wine. First your friends salad and lamb chops both sound really good. That Chris guy sure is a source of good recipes and there’s still time for you to buy your ticket and show up next Sunday to meet him in the flesh. Frontier has just started direct flights to Denver so I checked their fares and as you might expect for a holiday, they’re sticking it to you. Many years ago, we made a trip to Denver and went to the Royal Gorge – it’s an impressive ditch. Your dishes all look very good and you gotta like the way those Catholic Clergy think.

    • LOL .. I would most certainly agree that the Royal Gorge is an impressive ditch. I see no reason to prepare lamb chops any other way, and promptly deleted two sub-par recipes I had in my database. I’m sure that dressing is close to what Bev makes, but wanted to try the honey version of Chris’s. It was ohmygawdgood. I most certainly would love to come next weekend. We’ve ended up with reservations in Keystone for Sat. night. Good friends Son is getting married. So I’ll be sitting on top of a ski slope drinking wine and getting altitude dizzy, and you’ll have to enjoy all that wonderful food and frivolity without me … darnit.

      • I’ve spent many a happy hour atop the Keystone slopes – It was my favorite place to ski.

  12. What a great collection of wonderful dishes in one post! I love the salads and the lamb chops sound wonderful. We haven’t done any on the grill yet this season and I’d love to try this preparation.

    • Thanks Susan, I don’t usually pack so many different food items into one post, they just all tied to my friends David and Linda who contributed all the recipes. Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

  13. Wow, this is a recipe-filled post with a lot to enjoy! My mouth started watering when you described the chops. What an easy way to prepare them. And that salad sounds like a must try. I’m loving the idea of peanut oil and rice vinager. I’m with you on those simple back patio noshes . . . perfect way to enjoy the evening! That little tool has “buy me” written all over it. I am always looking for a new fun gadget.

    Lastly (I promise) I LOVE that wine photo. The colors, the angle, everything; just beautiful!

  14. That Tree House salad just went on my must-make list! David and Linda certainly are great people for finding the best recipes! Love the simple way with lamb chops too.
    Interesting knife….l’ll go to Sur La Table and investigate.

  15. Great summer salad … but then again, you could put toasted walnuts and blue cheese on road kill and I’d love it! Cheers!

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