Monday, February 23, 2009

Salad Blues

Green salad is one of those dishes that I feel guilty if I don't serve, and bored if I do. My go to is lettuce, tomatoes, and either carrots, cucumbers, or green peppers. Really, really boring, especially in the winter when all of the ingredients are grown in California or a greenhouse, or both. I have a friend who is ridiculously good at making creative salads, sautéing beans, roasting garlic, going really crazy. His salads are always different and always delicious. I'm not close to that, but if I can put a little effort into it, I can come up with something pretty good. My husband is great at salads, because he thinks outside the box and adds raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, leftover pasta salad. So, in an effort to be more interesting, I've decided to write down some of the good salads I've made, and hope it will inspire me to make them more often. I think the key to a good salad is being willing to add the unusual.

All of these are without amounts, because in the end, who really measures ingredients for a salad?

Green salad with raw beets

Green peppers
Thinly sliced raw beets

Fancy spinach salad

Raw spinach
feta cheese
fresh raspberries
candied pecans or walnuts
vinaigrette (see recipe below)

To candy nuts, heat a frying pan, melt butter, add nuts, stir often until browned, add a generous sprinkling of sugar, stir constantly for another minute, remove from heat.

Chef's salad

hard boiled egg
green pepper

Spinach bacon onion

sauté onions
cook bacon, saving grease
toss grease into raw spinach
crumble bacon on top and add onions
add mushrooms or green beans or something else, if desired

Renée's Vinaigrette

equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar
add a generous splash tamari
add country style mustard (or any mustard you have)
add garlic powder and ground pepper
add dried basil, oregano, thyme, etc.

shake up and serve. Something about the tamari keeps this dressing from separating.