Every night is date night when you’re married. Or, as my friends who have kids might say, “Every night is date night when you’re married without children*.” It’s true that as a young couple in a new town we get to spend a lot of time together. I love dates and am always looking for a reason to qualify something as a date. You can imagine me during our first month of marriage saying, “Hey…we’re on a date again!” Although we enjoy going out to restaurants and to dinner parties, date nights at home can be very special. Cooking our favorite food, sipping wine, and lighting candles at the dinner table help us both focus on each other and realize how good this love thing is.

This warm goat cheese salad is the perfect dish for date night. The velvety warm goat cheese fresh out of the oven adds decadence to the salad that pairs well with the tart and sweet cranberries.

*Kids love goat cheese! At least, the kids in my family sure do. Dad would say (in a goat voice), “Go-o-o-oat cheese is go-o-od!” I thought it was hilarious and that he was exactly right, it is go-o-od. If you have kids, be sure to let them in on date night when you’re serving this salad.

Ingredients:

4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
40 pistachios, shelled
1 cup sweet cranberries
4 half-inch slices goat cheese
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Favorite vinaigrette dressing

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Using your hands, place each piece of goat cheese in the egg whites, then transfer to the bread crumbs. Pat bread crumbs around the goat cheese and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick coating. Bake goat cheese for 12 minutes, or until soft and golden brown.

Prepare each salad plate with one handful of spinach, 10 pistachios and 1/4 cup cranberries.

Using a spatula, transfer one warm goat cheese slice atop each salad. Drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette.