Salad with Roasted Pears, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Our friend Danny showed us this cartoon about words for the internet. Sorry for our brief hiatus from the intertubes. We haven't had much time for the blogonet since leaving Penn. We headed to Alex's home in Connecticut and did some cooking, but we've been pretty lazy about getting the recipes to the webosphere. Enough.

Really though: We are officially on winter break, which will likely mean very few posts over the next couple weeks. Keep checking though, happy holidays, and we'll be back full-force during the second week of January.

In the meantime, here's a favorite salad that we conjured up for Alex's family. The warm pears make it perfect for winter, and the way we cut them makes the salad look really, really pretty. The dressing is unique and light, so this works well as a first course. The recipe is a four-star from Epicurious, and we offer some slight modifications here.

3 bunches fresh thyme sprigs
4 bartlett pears (about 2 1/2 pounds), halved and cored
1/4 cup honey
8 oz. spring mix lettuce (or your fave, butter lettuce works well too)
6 ounces blue cheese, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

4 tablespoons white grape juice and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 400. Place thyme sprigs on a baking sheet. Place pear halves, cut side down, on work surface. Starting 1/2 inch from stem and leaving pear half intact, cut each lengthwise into scant 1/3- to 1/2-inch-wide slices. Press pear to fan slices; place on the thyme sprigs. Drizzle pears with honey, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes until pears are tender. Let cool on baking sheet. To make the dressing, whisk ingredients together. Plate the lettuce, top with cheese and nuts, place pear alongside greens. Drizzle with dressing.